The 5 Levels of Cooperation
(or, How to Ruin Your Self-defense
Without Even Trying!)

By Ken Freeman

Fatal Flaw #2: Structuring the Fight

"You can't fool your subconscious mind. It knows what's real and what's illusion when it comes to life-and-death struggles. Regardless of fighting style, your mind and body will move naturally, responding purely to the attacker's motion instead of following an internal script." --From the book Attack Proof: The Ultimate Guide to Personal Protection I will simply provide two examples, though they are essentially one and the same in the grand scheme because they apply to every form of fighting that has no appreciation for the randomly chaotic nature of a fight. Guided Chaos assumes all fights are hell storms of un-patterned, un-choreographed movement.

The first example is fighting systems where the practitioners practice what they falsely believe to be scientifically predetermined responses of the human bodyto damage. The practitioners feel that this is a blueprint which allows them to bypass training where both parties are actively resisting.

What I mean by activeresistance is training where both parties are performing to their maximum ability to simultaneously avoid and inflict damage or at least some type of control. Training in any other fashion to the exclusion of this is presumptuous as well as dangerous as it completely stunts any real sensitivity development. In other words, unless you can get your stuff off first, what you are doing by removing active resistance is nothing more than a demo.

After structuring the fight, they attempt to add randomness by free-fighting and still fall short because instead of appreciating random chaos, they are essentially turning the fight into perfect pieces of a beautiful puzzle which they put back together in any way they see fit. This is not reality.

The second would be the malpractice of Chi Sao or Kata, whereartists are guilty of practicing prearranged forms or techniques derived from forms in which the footwork and strikes are predetermined like a choreographed dance. Even if the techniques are in random order, this does nothing whatsoever in helping one to handle the random chaos which occurs in a violent conflict that could always potentially escalate.

Since they've already decided that the fight has a script, their minds can't handle any deviation from the truth and will often lock up, leading to stiffness and inaction.Just as often and equally detrimental, they'll completely abandon all the form and training they've spent yearsattempting to perfectbecause they were training for a dynamic that didn't exist for serious fighting in the first place.

Wild Animals Fight Wildly--Without Resorting to "Animal Forms"

Animals fight in the manner that suits their anatomy best. They have no notion of "form" and are limited only by the laws of physics in their reactive freedom. By attempting to structure your style in the classic kung fu sense after an animal "form" completely misses the point. The most efficient way for humans to fight would maximize the physical attributes of the human anatomy while having absolute reactive freedom.

Regardless of skill level, often all you'll see in any serious fight is the characteristic wildness seen ina street brawl between fighters who have no formal training whatsoever. Our point has always been that accepting the fight as random and chaotic as opposed to methodical and beautiful is half the battle. Since the movementsare going to resemble that of absolute wild men or animals, it is far more advantageous to start from a point of completely random and un-choreographed movement as we do when Polishing the Sphere (a critical Guided Chaos drill) and then ingrain those movements with the 5 Principles of Combat. Those 5 areLooseness, Balance, Body Unity, Sensitivity and Freedom of Action.

It is detrimental and time consuming to start from any structured point of motion when we know that all serious fights have no form. This is the reason why you hear about Black Belts getting beat down by street fighters. It is because they are trying to change the nature of the fight and structure it the way they wish it to happen.

Limitations of Mixed Martial Arts

To the credit of most Mixed Martial Artists, they intermix striking into their tool development and often have a very firm understanding of what I speak about. To some degree, many of their best fighters have developed a level of sensitivity simply from training5 hours a day and not starting from anywhere near as structured of a point of motion as traditionalists.

Understand however, that in most sport fights there is no way to negate overwhelming speed and strength advantages because you are limited in what you can do, both morally and legally. However,in some fights during MMA competitions, you'll often see knock down drag out fights where all structure goes completely out of the window. I'll explain a typical scenario which I've observed several times.

The general theme would be a wild flurry of strikes from sparring range beforesomeone gets caught witha punch, dazed and taken or knocked to the ground where they are continually hit with punches. Ironically, the person in controlling position (not knocked down) rarely spends much time going for submissions, they'll usually strike until the fight is stopped by knock out or by the referee. The exceptions are when the guy turns his back to avoid the punches, in which case the strikergoes for the rear naked choke.

My criticism is that they use a ton of yang energy at close range by either clinching or getting entangled in some other fashion. Often, you'll see the random chaotic motion only occur in short bursts as the clinching usually grinds their movement to a screeching halt. From the ground, even when they strike, they still try to control the other fighter byusing strength or positioning. Sometimes you'll see kicks attempted by the guy on the ground, but they are usually ineffective. Understand that the problem with this type of movement only applies to self defense, not the ring and I'll cover all of this in detail during later sections.

However, before I end this section I'd like to add a very importantobservation that applies to Part 3 of these articles. Something that holds true for all systems that structure their fights in the cooperative manners described, is that they never train at the same speed, thus ignoring the fact that in adrenaline raged fights, allparties will move at maximum reflexive speed, which is approximately the same for all human beings.

To be continued....

Next: The Flaw of Training With Protective Equipment

Ken Freeman is a 1st degree Black Belt in Guided Chaos (Ki Chuan Do), the adaptive, free-form internal art created by former forensic homicide expert John Perkins. He is the leader of the Chicago KCD Training Group. See More articles and DVDs can be found at