Relative positioning

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If your eyes are not constantly receiving information concerning your attackers, you will be caught off guard. Do not put too much attention on any one thing. Maintain a 360

Your situation

Be very conscious of where you are situated relative to your attackers. Are you in the centre of the circle or the outside? Do people have a clear route of attack or are they hampered by their associates?
Is your back to a wall?

The Art of War counsels careful consideration of your position at every step of your defence. You cannot afford to become cornered or trapped at any time.


Over-committing yourself will lead to instant defeat. You must let your attackers come to you and then entangle them in one another. Use the least amount of force.


The more simple your counter, the fewer mistakes you will make. Be circuitous in evasion, but direct in striking. Limit your steps to the absolute minimum without rooting yourself to the spot.
If you can simply turn and shift your weight, then do so.


If you become entangled or over-committed, abort immediately and re-establish your centre. Only when you are centred and in control of your own body can you hope to control anyone else.


They move, you move. Never establish a position of fixity. Respond like their own shadow.

Make your presence cloying and intrusive, sticky and insubstantial - take what you need and deny them everything. Never stop yielding; gravity is your greatest weapon.

Body shield

Take a person as a shield whenever you can and use them as a tool. Make the attackers strike their own associate. When it is time to release your shield, pitch them into somebody else.


Redirect incoming force so that it veers back out into the circle. The more erratic the better. Encourage your attackers to strike one another.
Use your yielding skills to borrow direction and power from each attacker, slipping around their body and subtly changing their trajectory.


There is no way that you can reasonably neutralise every punch, kick or grapple. Often you must simply move aside and strike. Be careful not to simply dance.
Use the alignment of your body to compromise each attacker - aim to reduce their options whilst increasing your own.


Make sure that the angle of contact when striking is optimal. Maintain the 5 bows and avoid hitting hard areas on your attacker's body. Do not squander strikes with half-hearted taps.


Find the groundpath and drop your weight deep into their centre. Do not forget about your legs, hips, back, shoulders and the length of each arm.
People quickly become hand-oriented and neglect to use every single part of their body.

Never think of pushing your opponent far away - just taking them off-balance will do.

(Lau Kim Hong)

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Page created 25 August 2002
Last updated 13 December 2019