Self defence tips
   
     

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Martial art

The difference in quality between Chinese martial arts and fighting arts is measured by effect.
A martial art has to render the attacker incapable very quickly; no locks, no holds, no taking turns, no negotiation.
Speed and power is everything.


Time

Martial arts like taijiquan have one significant drawback - they take much longer to learn than fighting arts do.
Also, a deeper understanding of principles, strategy etc is necessary.


Modernity

To a martial artist (e.g. Sifu Waller), self defence is about deciding which applications to use to avoid being put in prison.
It is like fighting with one arm tied behind his back.
Much of the syllabus is too risky to use in modern society.


Protecting yourself

To an untrained person (e.g. a student) self defence is about seeing what we can actually pull off in unrehearsed combat.
To facilitate this, the training must be 'natural' seeming and draw upon our developing physical strengths.
Technical skill is lacking, so self defence needs to be functional and practical, not elegant.


Objective

Martial arts are offensive. Self defence is defensive.
The aim of a martial art is to maim and/or kill. The aim of self defence is to avoid being harmed.
Make sense?


Tips

These tips are from experts in self defence.
If you want to read more, we recommend that you buy their books:
 

One of my friends studied judo for years and years. She was waiting for a chance to use it, but for a long time nobody tried to attack her. Then one day somebody grabbed her in a parking lot - and she slugged him with her purse!

And then she thought, "Oh! What happened to my judo?"

She must have been practicing judo as if it were an isolated thing. We should always practice to let the immediacy of the moment come through. Then you always have a sense of what you are doing now.


(Chungliang Al Huang)



You can do forms and visualise and all that kind of stuff - that's really good when you train on your own. But when you are with other people practicing techniques, it gives a 'live' quality to the training.

(Tim Cartmell) 



The sword, which has now become his 'soul', no longer rests lightly in its scabbard. Thus it may be that he avoids combat with an unworthy opponent, a cockscomb who brags about his muscles, accepting the charge of cowardice with smiling indifference.

(Eugen Herrigel)



It is essential to see both sides without moving the eyeballs.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



Be still, when attacked by the opponent, be tranquil and move in stillness; changes caused by my opponent fill him with wonder.

(Song of the 13 patterns)



When fighting an opponent who feints, stay calm, don't respond. If your opponent is in range it doesn't matter whether the attack is a feint or not, just step in and attack.

(Lau Kim Hong)



The correct rhythm not only gives you maximum power, it helps you conserve energy so you know when to use force and when not to.

 (Tim Cartmell) 



The word seriousness is elaborated on by the saying "One aim with no distractions".

 (Takuan Soho) 



The body should respond immediately to the requests of the mind. The less the gap between the two, the more efficient the action will be (in medical terms this is called 'reflex').

 
 (Vanda Scaravelli)
 



Without understanding where the opponent's weaknesses are you cannot borrow their strength to use against them.

(Cheng Man Ching)



Shock is a result of your own resistance to an external force. When you allow this force to come into you and spin around with you, you can have fun with it. This is an example of being vulnerable, of not being afraid to be flexible, and open to receive.

(Chungliang Al Huang)



When you fight in the street, there is only one goal in your head and that's to escape. It's not your job to punish them, that's the court's job. If a guy attacks you and you can duck, push him down and run out of the alley or out of the bar, and get in your car and go, you can escape unharmed. They might call you names, but that was smart.

 (Tim Cartmell) 



Follow the opponent and not your own inclination. Later your body can follow your mind, and you can control yourself and still follow the opponent. When you only follow your own inclination, you are clumsy, but when you follow the opponent, then your hands can distinguish and weigh accurately the amount of his force, and measure the distance of his approach with no mistake. Advancing and retreating, everywhere the coordination is perfect. After studying for a long time, your technique will become skilful.

(Li I-Yu)



If the essence of the person is weak and fearful, he may put on a gentle act, but the reality he manifests is hard. A person compensates for internal weakness by becoming aggressive and defensive. A transformation is required, one that cannot occur when a person sees taijiquan as an empty dance or a shoving match.
 
 (Wolfe Lowenthal)



It is essential to make sure that obstacles are to the rear of your opponents, then chase them into an obstacle any way you can. When you get opponents to an obstacle, in order to prevent them from observing the situation, press your attack without letup so that they cannot look around.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



Try, whenever possible, to wait for your attacker to throw the first punch for this is the moment when he uses the greatest amount of strength and so you will have far more force to 'borrow'.

(Lau Kim Hong)
 
 

If your opponent is bigger than you or using strength it should be to your advantage. Use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds and then borrow his strength.

(Cheng Man Ching)



Every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today’s techniques will be different tomorrow. Do not get caught up with the form and appearance of a challenge.

 (Ueshiba)



Discerning the rhythm when the time comes, one strikes spontaneously and naturally scores.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



It is necessary to be continually mindful; to whatever part of the body is touched the mind should go. You must discover the information by non-discrimination and non-resistance. After a practicing for a long time, the opponent will be controlled by me and I will not be controlled by him.

(Li I-Yu)



You must not allow the opponent to put any force on you.

(Cheng Man Ching)



When I'm throwing you, you don't feel a lot of force, you don't feel a lot of anything; we're kind of moving around and suddenly you fall. That's internal.

 (Tim Cartmell) 



When attacked you should always 'slip' the attack. Never meet force with force, or your opponent will be able to borrow your strength .

(Lau Kim Hong)



Generally the body goes on the offensive first,
followed up by the stroke of the sword.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



There are also tempo opportunities when the opponent makes conscious movement, that is, he steps forward, makes an invitation, etc. In such and similar cases,
the moment for attack is when he is executing the movement because until he finishes it, he cannot change to the reverse.

 (Bruce Lee)



Taijiquan at its highest level is one touch and your opponent is unable to do as he wants.

(Cheng Man Ching)




When you want to attack, you remain calm and quiet, then get the jump on your opponent by attacking suddenly and quickly.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



If you want to live in peace with yourself, leave others to live in peace. Do everything in your power to prevent or reduce violence whenever you can, and avoid perpetrating it yourself, whether physically, emotionally or psychically.

(Barefoot Doctor)
 
 

If the qi is dispersed, then it is not stored and is easy to scatter. Let the qi penetrate the spine and the inhalation and exhalation be smooth and unimpeded throughout the entire body. The inhalation closes and gathers, the exhalation opens and discharges. Because the inhalation can naturally raise and also uproot the opponent, the exhalation can naturally sink down and also fa jing him.

(Li I-Yu)
 
 

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

(Lau Kim Hong)



Anybody that's done a combat sport like boxing, wrestling or jujitsu knows that the first person who loses his wind loses the fight, regardless of skill level.

 (Tim Cartmell) 



Mood is a thing for cattle or loveplay, not for fighting.

 (Dune)
 
 

Stopping an opponent's attack at the initial onset, not letting him follow through, is the sense of 'holding down the pillow'.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



In fighting always try to control one of your opponent's arms while attacking with your other arm. Cut down his options while increasing your own.

(Lau Kim Hong)



It is elusive and evasive, yet it does manifest itself.

(Lao Tzu)



When adversaries are excited and evidently are in a hurry to act, you behave as though you are completely unfazed, giving the appearance of being thoroughly relaxed and at ease.

 
(Miyamoto Musashi)



The fastest, most powerful hand movements are the ones that use no strength.

(Cheng Man Ching)



It is essential that you follow what he does, not letting him relax for a moment
.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



Always aim to upset your opponent's balance.

(Lau Kim Hong)
 


Manipulate their attention, making them think confusing thoughts about what you are going to do. It means finding a rhythm that will fluster adversaries.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



In all the martial arts the critical foundation that must be cultivated by the student  is mindfulness.

(Ron Sieh)



The idea is that when you close in on an opponent, you get in there quickly, before the opponent strikes, without putting forth a hand at all.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



An inflexible army never wins a war. A rigid tree is ready for the axe.

(Lao Tzu)



To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.

 (Sun Tzu)


When you inflict pain on part of his body each time an opponent makes an aggressive move, his body will weaken by degrees until he is ready to collapse
and it is easy to beat him.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



In taijiquan there is no one-two. Only one. The source of power is in the waist, with the root in the foot.

(Cheng Man Ching)

 

Vulnerability does not mean losing or going weak or that its time to give up. It is the source of our information. We are always vulnerable. Everything can hurt us. To feel deeply demands courage; to stay awake and open under duress gives us the opportunity to effectively change our circumstances.

 (Ron Sieh)



The state of mind should remain the same as normal... let there be no change at all - with the mind open and direct, neither tense nor relax, centering the mind so that there is no imbalance, calmly relax your mind, and savour this moment of ease thoroughly, so that the relaxation does not stop its relaxation for even an instant.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)



It is inadvisable to punch unless you are sticking to your opponent, except when your move is a feint.

(Lau Kim Hong)



You began to notice how people stand or walk, movements that make them vulnerable to this or that attack. You started to see the gaps in some people's sitting and standing postures, and how these people tend to go through life blindly in terms of their awareness and personal safety.

(Dave Lowry)



But then, I'd rather be a killer than a victim.

(Blade Runner)
 


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Page created 1 September 1994
Last updated 29 August 2019