KI CHUAN DO TRAINING TIPS #9:
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS:
Is there a nerve or a pressure point you can pinch or push at to make your opponent's body go completely limp?
The premise that pressure points are effective for self defense is mostly B.S. People are swayed by kungfu flicks, vulcan death grips, and staged demos with cooperative students. Yes you can cause pain to a willing subject, but when the spit hits the fan, any street cop or soldier in combat will tell you that there are only 2 really effective pressure points that will save your life: stabbing into the eyes or slamming into the throat. If the attacker is under extreme adrenaline rage, even the groin is an ineffective target. Teaching that some magical, mystical, secret spots on, say, the arms will save your life is potentially dangerous and irresponsible.
The same holds true for locks, holds and throws. John Perkins was at a crime scene where another officer, an expert and instructor in compliance techniques, was lifted and slammed against a steel pipe despite his "lock" by a very un-compliant attacker. World War II hand-to-hand combat instructor Col. Rex Applegate clearly said that strikes are preferable to throws.
Matt Kovsky, Attackproof co-author
"I have a bad shoulder that has been dislocated several times. This happened many years ago and I have never had anything done to correct the problem. Although it sometimes causes me pain I am still able to lift weights (carefully) and use it in a normal manner. I'm not sure how it would do under extreme conditions. What advise do you have for someone with an injury like mine?"
I too have a bad shoulder (actually two) from playing football, so I know the feeling. One thing that I do is I ensure whenever I use my arms that I have as much of my body behind them as possible. Believe it or not, most of the time when you suffer injuries such as ours it is usually a direct result of our arms or shoulders being out of position or alignment in relation to our bodies (i.e., poor body unity).
You want to focus on the body unity and movement exercises such as "dry land swimming" and "rowing the boat" etc... as outlined in Attack Proof along with continuing to develop your tendon strength in your shoulders. The Dynamic Contraction exercises in the book will be a huge help since many of the motions are similar to the type that you would do if you were doing physical therapy, which brings me to probably the best advice I can give you.
Go see a physical therapist or a doctor of rehabilitative medicine or what is known as a "Physiatrist." I have a client that I teach privately who is a Physiatrist and he has worked on me in the past. He's also a licensed acupuncturist and he has done wonders for my shoulders, knees etc... (If you've never had it for mild pain relief acupuncture is an incredible drug free treatment.)
I was stubborn for many years and I'll tell you what, I regret not seeking out a doctor sooner. Just as I'm an expert at hitting people in the head, well he's an expert at putting people back together and getting them up and running to the point where in many cases they can regain nearly 100% percent full function of whatever area of the body they have injured.
Lt Col Al
You emphasize the development of "internal energy" in your training. The concept of "chi" as it has historically been used (i.e. some kind of undifferentiated "life force") is obviously untenable given what we now know scientifically about the body's metabolism of foodstuffs for energy. What do you mean by the term "internal energy?"
The subject of chi is both very simple and very complex. The west completely misunderstands chi because of a difference in cultures. It has been romanticized and mythologized by western TV and movies out of all proportion into something both comic and supernatural until it has lost any semblance of its original meaning. Chi is simply an ancient Taoist catch all definition for all forms of energy. There are literally thousands of types of chi: Sun chi (heat, light), mood and emotion chi, (emotions are forms of energy-notice how they can deplete or energize you), food chi (the energy food gives you) and, for our purposes, martial fighting chi.
We in the west tend to compartmentalize and categorize our concepts of energy and lose sight of its essential nature: all matter is energy, and all energy flows. Interestingly, this is NOT "eastern" esoteric nonsense, this is the crux of advanced western particle physics. We in the west remove this sense of interconnectedness from our culture (except those spiritually so enlightened) and it is to our detriment for understanding not only how life works, but practical things like martial arts.
What is the definition of chi as it pertains to martial arts? It is absurdly simple and can be found in ancient Chinese scripture quoted in no-nonsense books such as the Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle (and also quoted in our book): "Chi is the circulating point of finesse in the body". The western translation: Balance, Body Unity, Looseness, and Sensitivity (as we stress over and over in our book). In other words, coordination and GRACE. When you've got it all, the results SEEM magical. That's it. Not levitation or shooting lightning bolts from your fingers.
So what is internal energy? For an extremely detailed explanation, read our
book, but all it is simply is using balance, body unity, looseness and
sensitivity to maximize the physics and alignment of your body when fighting
instead of relying on "external energy" (pure muscular strength) which is useless when your attacker is bigger and stronger than you are and actually REDUCES the level of balance, body unity, looseness and sensitivity available to you under duress.
Matt Kovsky, Attackproof co-author
Comments on Newsletter #8 "Slow Training":
"Lt. Col. AL:
In addition to being true for fighting, your article is 100% accurate in many other endeavors as well. I was a hammer thrower and shot putter in College and the only way to throw farther was to obtain proper technique, not to muscle the implement. I was much smaller than most of the other athletes, but usually beat them through speed and technique. In fact, the reason many Russian throwers were ranked so highly, in addition to steroids, was the fact that they were so fast and had precise technique.
Additionally, I currently train as a bodybuilder and often life very heavy weights relative to my own bodyweight. The secret is not to muscle the weight, but knowing the proper angles, leverages, and "feel" of the bar. Very often, for example, if I have 350 pounds on the bench, I can tell as soon as it comes off the rack if I will be successful in the lift or not. It is hard to explain, but after time, you just know it. The same is true for Squats or Olympic lifts.
Having trained hardcore in different sports for 15 years, your article can't be stressed enough, but sometimes, I find, one cannot understand these concepts through reading, but only through patience and diligence."
Home of Martial Realists:
"A true link between Internal and External Martial Arts"