Monday, May 11, 2015

Progression of readyness

I was watching a video about a new SD gadget. Basically, a marriage between a kubotan and a manriki (gusari) made of cord, both turned keychain. Modern materials and all that, but that was basically the case.

Two things bothered me. The first was that the marketing techniques were either clumsy punches, twisted so that you could use the pointy bits, or, well, control-takedowns that worked. They worked because the techniques didn't use the widget at all. Sure, it was there; sure, it did add some extra pain. It changed nothing.

And that got me thinking. Those techniques could have come from any modernized traditional art. "Defence against punch, number 69", but with a weapon in your hands.

That has so many holes...

You see, you're getting a self defence weapon and acting from the assumption you'll have it ready. Rory would have a fit. Marc would have to get a new keyboard.

Everything has levels. Self defence has levels. Like Rory insists, MA like to concentrate on a very particular level he calls the "duel", and it filters down to SD.

If someone's attacking you, you might find yourself in any of five stages: Surprised, Perceptful, Aware, Facing and Deployed.

Surprised is what happens when your first notice is the floor hitting your face after a sudden shift in balance. You're way behind in any way that counts. You have to reset, you have to defend, you have to get up... Chancy.

Percepful is what happens when you realize there's something wrong as the baseball bat falls. You're still going to have trouble, but you can minimize the first attack and your attacker has to reorient some while you aren't left in such a vulnerable position.

Aware is that "there's something wrong, here" feeling. You're in what some people call "orange" or "yellow". There something that's calling your instincts, maybe someone specific. If you start working from here, you may avoid the event completely. The shift in your body language alone might do it.

Facing is your problem in front of you. You don't have a stance, you don't have weapons, but it's not going to blindside you. You're ready. You know it, he knows it. That knowledge alone may, again, erase the problem before it begins. Or may create another one if you start a macho dance.

Deployed Add a stance and/or a weapon. That widget I first mentioned, a cane, your raised fists. Whatever. Again, the presence of a weapon might erase the problem... or might get you into worse trouble, physical and psychological, than you ever imagined.

The mistake of many martial artists is that they assume they'll be working at the fourth level, or even the fifth. Some manage to train for the third. Very few go below that.

The mistake of many SD "tools" is that they refuse to think below the fifth level. How do I deploy a chained weight in the street? Depending on the situation, you just gave permission to anyone on sight to take you down ("He threatened my friend with a weapon, officer"), and that would include a cop who found you right then, weapon at the ready.

So... deployment. How many SD tools can be deployed easily? When do you deploy them? How? Discreetly? Menacingly? Can you deploy them under pressure?

So, two things: avoid the first three levels, try to avoid the last two. And don't become inspector Gadget. Don't trust a gizmo you don't know if you'll even have with you. Because the next SD fashion that sweeps around might make you change your tool. However, your eyes will probably be with you; use those.

Take care.

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