Saturday, July 26, 2008

Appropriate Use of Force

For the past two days we have been reviewing a series of joint locking techniques. These techniques consist of trapping some part of the body, like the elbow, shoulder, wrist or thumb. When you feel these techniques even lightly applied your knees turn to jello. If force is applied to that one small part of the body the whole body just melts, and in that moment you can lead your opponent wherever you want.

The key is learning how to apply that force at just the right angle with perfect timing. I was practicing one today and I went left instead of right; I noted this worked fine since I still controlled the person and my elbow was in a perfect position for a strike. Shaval (the instructor) however was not going to let me off that easy; he noted that from the position we started I had a number of strikes available to me.

"If someone grabs you with both hands" he said "I am grateful because both my hands are free to strike his face
with each word he showed a strike.

"The point is not to break our friends nose here, but to control them"


A true martial artist has a large arsenal at his disposal for any situation. He can launch a debilitating kick, or simply escape the grasp. In this case we apply pressure to a tiny joint and basically arrest their movement. This is the essence of martial arts.

We are not street fighters who simply seek to win a conflict. We are artists who turn conflict into art; the ideal outcome could be no conflict at all.

If someone grabs you what is the best response?
Escape their grasp?
Strike the arm so they release and think twice?
Lock their weak joints and bring them to the ground?
Strike them so hard that they are permenantly injured?

A fighter always goes to the last option, they seek to fight and win. The artists will instantly apply the correct response.

This is why we must train our philosophy and hearts as much as our body. If we only go around hitting people at every conflict then you are probably going to eventually wind up in jail or the hospital; not to mention unnecessary pain you inflict on others. Yet only with a lack of fear and complete awareness can we react with the correct response.

We must use our art to get the desired outcome. Applying a small amount of force to a weak point.

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