To Act

Movements performed very quickly is genetically determined and controlled by built-in features for survival in the reptilian brain. Such programs explain, for example, why certain movements (eg, wince), cannot be stopped once they had been launched.

Our use of Budo’s body skills are based on the subject (kokoro; 心), which acts instinctively, and they are not a collection of techniques or technology combinations. Hatsumi Sensei writes in the book Togakure Ninpo Taijutsu:

“During a hanbojutsu lesson, I was asked, “when the opponent hooks my arm completely with his stick with which technique can I escape?” In real combat (Jissen; 実践) I let the arm be broken! With the force of spirit, I let my arm be broken, but also use that moment to create an opening that occurs in the opponent’s body-mind (Taishin; 体心) technique and grasp victory thereby. I catch the moment. In actual combat, there are no techniques/tricks. Gendai budoka (modern martial artists; 現代武道家), appear as technique collectors. It is useless to simply know the technique of real combat. “

In modern martial arts (Gendai Budo; 現代武道) the term “technique” is usually equated with a physical response to an attack. It is used in the XYZ model that says

“If the attacker does X, you must do Y, which results in Z”.

At the most, discussion in different languages issues arise;
• “what technique should be used against a wrestler/boxer/man with knife, etc.”
• “what is your favorite technique”
• “… is the best self defense technique”
and so on.

The problem of “techniques” in the above XYZ context is that those who use them do it to strive toward specific expected results (such as shutdown, KO or to follow up with the next technique), as opposed to as a consequence of the situation that arises (=act).

The problem lies in an inability to see the battle/fight/life outside the “system”; outside a methodical use of predetermined technique combinations.
By “hard coded” finished reactions using drill exercise or scenario-based training, I feel safer facing a threat, but unfortunately I have not increased my chances of survival more than marginally.
In reality, I can not force the situation using learned techniques. In reality it is the aggressor and the resulting state that control and dictate my movements, that my acts I have contact with my subjects (kokoro).
In the training hall stands my companion with whom I switch, in reality he deflects, that is, that he ducks or “hollows out” in accordance with our internal reflections.

Any technique based systems, (e.g., defense against a choke from the front). Usually uses a simple movement which releases the assault, but what should one do if the attacker while coming with a knee to the groin? Or if his knees attack was only a feint for the attacker to be able to score against ones nose. Does he have to learn three techniques? And additionally to learn another new technique for each variant of the attack.

In our Budo we start the body’s natural alarm reactions to avoid an attack. When I’m countered I perform either Ura (inside, usually a variation; 裏) or Omote (outside, usually the plan form;表) . Selection of techniques and tools are controlled by each opponent, his center of gravity, and the distance to the opponent.
There are countless ways to react to a blow to the face. It depends on the strike, angle, position, relative distance, energy, speed, etc. In addition, it is critical to understand that the battle will happen by surprise and puts me in a disadvantageous situation, or if I am prepared, as in a boxing ring. For each item I have impaired my reaction time by 58%, says Hick’s Law.

The primitive alarm reaction reptilian brain instinctively/precociously perceives something as an attack trigger, taken in through a perceptual system and sorted through the thalamus directly to the amygdala where it is classified as a threat and a survival reflex triggers an act. This entire reflex is triggered in 12/1000 of a second. Had it gone through the cognitive system (including “Tendon Reflex”) would have taken twice as long to even come up with the technique that is suitable to use, in addition to the execution time for the technique itself.

Instead of focusing on training a finite number of techniques against an infinite number of attack variants, you should focus the development of mindfulness, sometimes called Mushin (without thought; 無心).
To memorize a technique or combination for every possible scenario is unsustainable. Predetermined reactions to attacks that can consist of multiple variables is a waste of time and a construction of false confidence.

Technique-based systems look at self-defense from a purely physical perspective, possibly with elements of sports psychology. They have difficulty understanding the holistic orientation in which techniques should be used as variables in a situation governed by behavioral and neurological aspects.
A technique fixes the individual at its use and prevents creativity.


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