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GETTING YOUR MIND RIGHT, PART IV

 
By Lt Col Al Ridenhour Listen there's only your sword and his sword and nothing else, got it?--Eric Bana as Hector in Troy 
In the movie "Troy," Hector's brother (played by Orlando Bloom) is preparing for the fight of his life and starts to babble nonsense. Hector (played by Eric Bana), sensing his brother's fear, grabs him and shakes him silly in order to get his mind right, and in so doing utters the best line in the whole movie because it really cuts to the heart of the matter.  

Entering to Win

In my newsletter "TOOL DEVELOPMENT PART II: GUIDING THE STRIKES" I discuss several ways to enter if someone has entered your Sphere of Influence or if you have decided to attack the attacker and preempt his actions. Because of developed Sensitivity, once you begin to strike, you know where the other person is in relation to your weapons. This allows you to seemingly always know what they are going to do before they do it, cutting them down with little or no thought. As Miyamoto Musashi states in "The Book of Five Rings,"

"Whenever you cross swords with an enemy you must not think of cutting him either strongly or weakly; just think of cutting and killing him. Be intent solely on killing the enemy. Killing is the same for people who know about fighting and for those who do not...cutting down the enemy is the Way of strategy, and there is no need for many refinements of it. "

That's what I'm talking about! When fighting, one of the things that you must do is be able to penetrate the center of the opponent. In order to do so, more often that not, you must move into them. However, because they may be too far away, you will have to Long Step as you launch into them instead of over-reaching. This will prevent you from becoming overcommitted and losing balance if they change their body position.

Below in Figure 1a you can see that when you move forward taking a normal step, the distance covered may not be adequate since they are still well outside of your Sphere of Influence. However, after Long Stepping (1b) by sinking your weight and stepping 1 and 1/2 times your natural stride you can cover the same distance in the same amount of time. Since you have to assume that they may try to enter with an attack of their own, the ideal way to step is in 1c  where you step in on an angle. This allows you to Long Step in while getting off line from his weapons and gaining penetration.  This defines "being unavailable yet unavoidable". 

Figures 2 and 3 show this concept in action. Figures 2b and c show the distance you will cover in relation to their body and figures 3 b and c show the actual penetration and are self-explanatory.  Also notice the dotted line in figures 1c, 2c and 3c. This line represents the center of the opponent's body. It is this point that you want to penetrate at all times.
Bear in mind that their center [see Figure 4] is always in relation to where you are striking so it will change depending on where you are at the time you strike and at what angle your attack comes in on. Notice that no matter which way they turn your strikes are still focused on penetrating their center. This is what we mean by "finding the straight line in the circle."

Okay here we go, in figure 5a below we see an attacker within our field of view. However, since they are outside of our sphere of influence they are still too far away for us to affect them. Since their intentions may be unknown, all that we can do is continue to keep an eye on them and watch them for any sudden movements that they may make toward us. In 5b we can see that the attacker has chosen to attack. Because he has now entered our sphere of influence, we are able to respond since they are now within range of our weapons.

In 5c, because perhaps we have sensed an attack or their body language changes in some way, rather than wait for the attack to come to us, we step in and close the distance by moving our sphere of influence into range where we can effectively strike. In figure 5d, we can see that as the attacker made his move toward us as we reacted, we were able to preempt his attack by stepping in and attacking the attacker.  It should be noted that of all of these scenarios, if you attempt to attack the attacker, 5d is probably the most likely scenario, whereas if it is a surprise attack against you, 5b is probably the most likely scenario where you'll probably have to employ some sort of dropping strike in order to gain penetration to stop his motion. 

Now below in figure 6a we see a situation where for some reason the attacker is making his move toward you. Since you really don't know what he's going to do you have to decide to step and change your body position in order to throw his timing off. In most cases just like with the bar room sucker puncher if you can avoid their initial onrush it dramatically tips the odds. The key here is it doesn't matter which way you step or change (including stepping into them) as long as you step and strike at the same time protecting your throat and eyes as you enter.

In 6b you can see that as you step off line you can deliver a side chop simultaneously and as long as you do not move beyond your Sphere of Influence, even if you miss you can quickly recover since you're on balance and capable of changing your root point at will.  Notice in figure 6c that there is an arching motion to the step; this is because sometimes you may, depending on the speed they come in at, have to box step around them as you deliver. This ability is extremely important, especially if you have to fend off multiple attackers, in which case you are constantly moving in order to avoid being trapped between them. Figure 6d shows what I was describing in 5b above. This is just a simple drop strike as you enter because for a variety of reasons there was no time to step off line and all you could do was either step in and strike or drop strike as they attempt to enter. 

MY STRIKE IS MY BLOCK

How you employ these concepts is entirely up to you; it is purely subjective based on what you feel through your sensitivity, and spatial and kinesthetic awareness.

Now that you have entered the fight, this is where the flow (if required comes into play). If they attempt to change their body, fight back or whatever because you have now made contact with them, by striking them you now know where they are in relation to your body. THIS IS HOW THE GUIDED CHAOS APPLIES AFTER YOU HAVE ENTERED! Up until that point, with regard to my strikes, I pretty much use straight Close Combat Karate however it is because of the KCD training that I am able to remain loose, balanced, sensitive and coordinated on the way in as I strike. Any changes in his body are immediately met with more punishing blows. 

Also because of the GUIDED CHAOS training, regardless of his body position in relation to mine, I am able to strike from multiple directions because of the adaptive nature of the art. In my mind, as I enter, I'm only concerned with two things: his weapons and my weapons. I do not strike hard nor strike soft. I strike to kill. He either deals with it or gets destroyed, thus my strike becomes my block and my block becomes my strike. Please reread what I just said because if you get that point then the rest is so easy you won't believe it. This understanding is what eludes many people in the martial arts community because much of their striking relies on either getting the drop on the other guy or relying on momentum to carry them through, or their striking relies on setting up their strikes either through subterfuge or some form of bogus fighting combination. Hhowever if you can avoid their initial onrush there's really not much else they can do...except get hit if you're on your game. 

GETTING STARTED
The following descriptions of some basic entry techniques are from my newsletter TOOL DEVELOPMENT PART II: GUIDNG THE STRIKES. I figured I'd save folks the trouble of going back to look this stuff up. The techniques described below are but a small sample of what you are capable of doing. Again I merely present them as a basis from which to start. When practicing them, as always, whether on a heavy bag or with a partner, start off ultra-slow, working up to full speed while under control of your Sphere of Influence. At the end of this section I provide a list of drills to practice. Side Chop Entry -- as you enter you are going to hit right off the bat with a side strike right out of the Close Combat Karate as taught within Guided Chaos. This forces the attacker to either move block or be destroyed. If they block the strike or move, based on what you feel, as they move (because you have struck them) you are now able to re-adjust and continue to strike. If they continue to back up, mow them down with the strike.  Enter with the Drac -- when entering either with the side strike or palm heel strike etc… If they block the strike immediately fold to the Drac penetrating with your elbow deeply then unfold from the Drac flowing to another strike and mow them down.  The Drac position looks like you're holding a cape in front of your face like Count Dracula with you face and eyes nestled behind your horizontally extended elbow with your hand in a chop position poised to strike.Fold and Answer the Phone -- this is done in the same way as folding to the Drac only you are now going to answer the phone. Your arm is in a vertical position with your chop's palm facing your ear and your elbow pointing out alongside your eyes. I find this works especially well when dealing with taller opponents. As with the Drac, spear/penetrate with your elbow deeply then unfold flowing to another strike and mow them down, don't let them off the hook for an instant. For  more detail on the Drac and Phone, see our book Attackproof.Stacking Sphere Entry -- I love this move. When performing this entry you are going to enter with your arm slightly bent and your lead hand on a 20º degree angle. In doing so it allows you to deflect their oncoming strikes and penetrate with a palm strike all in one move since the angle of your hand provides a significant mechanical advantage. Ensure that you raise the shoulder of the striking arm and tucking the chin as you enter in order to protect your head, face and neck. [For a more detailed explanation of this see Skimming Energy in Attack Proof.] Drop Strike Entry -- if for some reason they attempt to enter first you can blunt much of their power by dropping into their movement, striking first. If for some reason they get their strike off first you can still nullify their attack by dropping on their lead arm and into the strike as you move off line, ricocheting into your kill strike, skimming off of their body as you enter or going for some type of tool destruction on the way in. Ensure that after your first drop that you continue to drop as you enter. Bladed Entry -- this is done with all of the strikes as mentioned above only now you are going to immediately stepp off-line striking simultaneously as you enter. Ensure that you only step and strike within your sphere of influence since this move will set them up for a session of brutal multi-hitting. If you've every worked with Master Carron this is that pin ball effect he creates as he racks you back and forth between shots bringing you to the point of near unconsciousness. You literally feel like the ball in the pin ball machine, only you want to drop through the hole, but he won't let you… Enter from the Kick -- just as the title says, you want to enter by sending a powerful kick right from the start immediately followed up with some sort of strike. This action takes place literally within the blink of an eye. The secret is in keeping the kick low, dropping in with your whole body right after the kick and allowing no time for them to recover; then striking again as you catch yourself on the drop. This will also set up all of your hand strikes and subsequent kicks. I use this when I need to negate another person's reach or speed as I enter. This in turn buys me time so that I receive nothing while they get everything.Below are a series of progressive drills you can practice slowly with a partner to develop the coordination speed and timing to apply such lethal strikes.  Ensure you alternate sides when practicing these drills; eventually you will work up to where you can employ them from virtually any angle. Below is my 12 -- Step Striking Entry Plan: 1- Side chop moving forwards (to the throat) 2- Side chop, palm heel (to the face) moving forwards 3- Side chop, palm heel, knee strike moving forwards 4- Side chop, palm heel, knee strike, elbow strike (to the neck) moving forwards 5- Step off line and strike with a side chop (to the neck) 6- Step off line and strike with a side chop and knee strike 7- Step off line and strike with a side chop and front kick to the near side leg 8- Front kick moving forward (low kick) 9- Front kick to palm heel moving forward  10- Front kick to side chop,  palm heel, moving forward  11- Front kick to side chop,  palm heel, knee strike, moving forward 12- Front kick to side chop,  palm heel, knee strike, elbow strike moving forward  Supplemental Drills: Heavy Bag / Striking Shield Attack Drill -- Stand in front of the heavy bag close enough to where you can touch it and have your training partner pull the bag back and then have him let go of the bag, as soon as you see the bag move toward you step in and perform a drop strike on the bag using the techniques as described above. The same drill should also be performed using the striking shield by having your training partner move in; as soon as you see the shield move toward you step in and perform a drop strike using the techniques as described above.  Next perform the same drill only this time step off line and perform the same set of drills as described above for stepping off line and striking, either against the heavy bag or the shields. Once you get proficient at this, perform the same drill from the side to develop the ability to react to an attack out of the corner of your eye.  Key point to remember is once you notice the movement of the bag or shield, strike immediately, turning into the pad with your entire body; resist the temptation to twist your torso otherwise you will cause your body to become out of alignment with your root.  Wobble Board Drop Strike Drill - Perform all of the upper body drills above either with the heavy bag or against the shields on the wobble boards focusing on the upper body strikes. Ensure that you do not hop up as you drop but sink straight down on the board as you drop. Next perform the same drill only this time, while standing off the board, just as you see the heavy bag move toward you, drop step onto the wobble board and strike.  At a more advanced level, your training partner will either bump you from behind with the heavy bag or shield and you will then turn and perform the same drill. Yet a step up from that is to perform the same drill against the striking shield, only now your partner will move away from you or side to side forcing you to long step and strike from different angles while maintaining balance and control over your Sphere of Influence.   Key points to remember:

 

Do's

Don'ts
--Keep the majority of your strikes above the shoulder
--Strike to the neck from every angle

--Strike with all of your might and strike to penetrate


--Strike to kill, never strike to wound. This training will allow you to back off if need be, but  remember: if you're not hitting with all your might, then this is a fight you didn't need to be in.


--Maintain an outward focus; be especially receptive to sudden movement

--Control you sphere of influence or personal zone

--Always be prepared to step off line

--Always be prepared to go into action and use deadly force

--Think about what you want to do in the event of an ambush, kidnapping attempt etc... develop your battle drill, practice, practice, practice. Then "what if" every possible scenario you can think of and repeat the steps above

--Never ever give up fighting
 
--Do not attempt to grapple or control people;  it will only slow you down, if someone grabs you strike them in the eyes or the throat
--Do not go to the ground and grapple with an attacker, if you fall to the ground, strike and kick with all of your might and get to your feet as quickly as possible

--Never let them get the drop on you and never drop your guard

--Do not allow people to encroach on your space

--Do not allow yourself to be cornered or boxed in

--Never ever allow yourself to be moved from one location to another, it's always better for them and worse for you

--Do not ever assume the enemy will behave in a predictable manner, the enemy will always do what he wants