Attract Safety: Instinctive Self Defence
Your action in any situation is dependent on how well you instinctively react in that critical moment. People will generally first act on the knowledge they have gained from DVDs and a few nights in a gym learning self-defense. They think they know what to do; for example, as the person or hoodie comes forward and reaches out towards you, you must take the first evasive – but, stop, it’s all over, whilst you were thinking of taking that first evasive action, he has already taken you down, everything is a blur. My friends, in all combative Martial Arts you have no time to think. In the Western Martial Art of boxing, what you see in the ring during a serious bout is a series of blows, counter blows, weaving and dodging – neither has time to think of the first blow or counter blow. What you see is an instinctive action of blows, counter blows, weaving and dodging created by a systematic form of training or practice.
The concert pianist doesn’t have to place a finger consciously on each key; if he did, his concerto would be a total disaster, and that classical recital a total failure. If his passion and desire are to be a concert pianist, he must then add to his knowledge of the written music and keyboard many hours of “PRACTICE”, in order to achieve the same interpretation of the theme on his keys as the boxer in the ring.
There is no easy way to be proficient in any discipline except through the boring repetition of practicing the same movements or techniques. But it is your passion for that discipline that will drive you to success. Serious self-defense practitioners, professional bouncers, and many self-defense students practice each movement a minimum of 3000 to 5000 times before it becomes a habit before you can react to an assault instinctively.
So, let’s look at an average repetition of 4000 times to achieve your goal of mastering a move in one month: That is approximately 134 repetitions a day, which would take about 20 minutes to complete. It is so easily achievable to gain that very important feeling of self-confidence, to begin to banish your fears and start to learn to trust your instincts. And it is your instincts that you will react during those first few critical seconds.
During the annual “Budokwai” Judo display at the Albert Hall in London, in the 1960s, the highlight of the evening was the 1 against 10 competition, which was always a Senior Judoka against the National Team. On this night, Mr. Watanabe 6th Dan would take each member of the British Judo National Team in turn and, as he defeated his first opponent, the second opponent would step on to the mat, and so on. On this night, he defeated the ten members of the team in just over two minutes and his favorite technique on that night was the Tai Otoshi.
Sadly (although it didn’t make much of a difference), Mr. Watanabe had sprained his right ankle earlier that week and it was heavily bandaged before he walked on the mat; when he walked off the mat, he turned to one of the other contestants and said, “I am just beginning to get the feel of that Tai Otoshi.” In other words, he had been practicing the Tai Otoshi for possibly 20 years or more, and it became part of an instinctive reaction to a movement, a sudden calculated step by his opponent that would allow Mr. Watanabe to execute his favorite throw. It has often been said that Judo is very much like a game of chess on the mat; the master can always anticipate the next move his pupil will take before he executes his move, in this case, his Tai Otoshi.
It is this instinctive action that we must achieve through repetition and practice; there is no other way to achieve this. But here comes the crunch: to just simply carry out a series of movements repeatedly, with no specific technique or timing, creates a bad habit, and the wrong instinctive reaction. It is not sufficient to just place one foot in front of the other, twist, turn and then visualize throwing your opponent or parrying his attack; you would fail to achieve your purpose, to create a smooth, coordinated, uninterrupted throw or parry.
If you wish to practice a defense technique, you would, for instance, do the following: as your opponent comes forward and attempts to grab you with his right hand:
(1) step off his attack line, women(2) at the same time, parry his right hand across with your left palm, and (3) then counter attack with a right hammer blow to the side of his head. In practices, you would not over step in (1), but would maintain your balance; in (2) you would not over reach as your left-hand moves across to parry his right hand; and in (3) the force of your blow would come from your hip. You would therefore practice the correct steps, and maintain your balance, your strength and the maximum force in that blow to the side of his head. The purpose of your practice is to imitate exactly the movement of your throw or your evasive technique.