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Stone River Kung Fu

This is a continuation of the first self defense article. As such this article will deal with training scenerios and the potential theory behind them.

The disclaimer, which should be understood by most people on the earth, is that I was not there when these techniques were developed. I had no input into their creation, all theory came after the training had been achieved and I looked at the pattern created by the totality. Then I looked at the problems solved by the pattern of training. I have done this for every art I have trained and so has every other teacher I have ever spoken with. I would like to tell everybody that I was not alive three hundred years ago and all of my information is from training, which would be first person, and historical information that is, at best, third person.

Most versions of self defense commonly taught cause two results, if effective. One is that the person continues to train and eventually builds real skill. The second is that the person can take a beating longer before losing the fight. There are a few teachers that try and find the biggest problem in the students life and solve that problem. Effectively, the student learns to defeat one opponent. This leads to the fact that most teachers avoid self defense classes since they don't work. Only a continuous program will build and maintain the skills necessary for defense.

Semantically, this article speaks of defense when the first article pointed out that, only by being an attacker could a situation be resolved. This may confuse some people. In the future I will always refer to meeting an attack as opposed to defending from an attack.

Certain things are important in an attack situation.

1. Skill

2. Attacking from a powerful position.

3. foreknowledge of the opponent.

4. Awareness of the objective.

5. Awareness of hostility.

1. Skill

Skill takes into account all information that directly applies to fighting. What are the prefered weapons? What targets are most effecient for those weapons? What is the timing involved for use of prefered techniques? The most important skill is being stable. Does your program teach stances. Most people laugh at stancework but try and punch while standing. Unless you are surprising a drunk person, and have friends holding him, you won't cause that much damage. Every endevour which involves power has stancework involved. Pushing a car takes power and the bow stance is what you see when you watch someone push a car. Even bowling has a specific foot pattern and stance for power generation. What makes people think that punching and kicking require less stability than bowling? A stance allows the attacker to attack without worry. When attacking, many things require attention. Will I fall over? What if I miss? What if he doesn't go down? What will his counter attack be? In a stance, many of those things can be ignored. If I am in a horse stance, I can block my whole body with one arm. There is a very limited angle which will damage my knee. You have to get through both arms to strike the groin. The horse stance is very stable from the side so tackles are more difficult. I can ignore all of those details and focus on striking with power. No hopping around or complex shifting. Dropping into a Horse stance automatically solves a host of problems for attacking as well as meeting an attack. Teaching stancework is simply the easiest way to teach people skill. Punching with power is automatically easier and more time is left over for shifting to another stance and then kicking. If you are in a stance then you can automatically generate power in a strike. Telling people that they don't need a stance is the single biggest reason that ground fighting has any popularity. Nearly any stance will stop throws and joint locks. Nearly every modern martial artist is actually training to be week against throws and joint locks. If they removed the foundation of their art then who are they teaching defense against?

2. Attacking from a powerful position

Stancework factors big in this, however there is much more to it. Do you wait until you are in an alley to confront someone? Do you turn on the people who wish to help you? Do you ignore weapons because you don't need them. Do you refuse help and weapons because it would be week or dishonorable? Do you wait till you are surrounded? If you answered yes to any of those then you are a chump and deserve your beating.

What is a powerful position? Both feet on the ground is a plus. So is faceing your opponent. Having friends and family or cops on your side would be a good idea. While a weapon itself does not magically convey power or skill, it certainly improves the efficiency of any attacking movement. The first lesson of power should be weakness. If you can't see you are weak then you can't see power or skill. Being in a position where your weaknesses don't matter is the first step. An attacker in a wheelchair would not fight near stairs. A blind attacker might want to attack at night. Where, when, and how do you have power - attack then.

3. Foreknowledge of the opponent

Foreknowledge does not require a network of ninjas watching all possible opponents. It simply means that you have knowledge of attacks before the attacks. Forms and applications of movements can help with this. Physical concepts are the starting point with this training. If the opponent can touch you then you can touch him. If they are punching with one hand then the other hand must do something to help or be out of the way. People who kick have to lift one leg in the air. These concepts sound simple but they are at the core of every art I have seen so far. This still counts as foreknowledge and should be passed on to students. Obviously only personal limitations can be known but experience will help infer the limitations of other people. With training, the knowledge of the opponent can be gleaned closer and closer to the actual situation. Did the opponent choose a tactic without hesitation? did he attack from the left or the right? Did he circle to a specific location before striking? has he repeated the same movement twice or does he try different things during combat? All of these give information about the opponent and his level of training. Simple forms often assume a lack of foreknowledge on the students part. They begin with a block That requires the student to face the opponent and then shows movements which hit all possible locations that the opponent could be. Simple but repititious. Also effective for the beginner against a similiarly trained opponent. It should be obvious that techniques assume that there is some way in which you could win.

4. Awareness of the objective.

Awareness of the objective means that there is an objective which the attacker wishes to achieve. This becomes important because it is possible to make the objective unreachable and end the confrontation without killing or dieing.
When a person attacks, they often have an objective which does not result in your death. This may not seem obvious, but you don't have to know the actual reason behind the attack. You only have to take possible reasons into account when you decide how to react.
There are certain attackers who are looking for easy prey. Weak, confused, unaware, or scared people will attract their attention. After that initial moment they will then look to see how difficult a target you are. Contrary to popular belief, the beating comes first. In a rape, robbery or mugging; the initial contact is supposed to confuse you so the action is easier. You might get a criminal on his/her first time out but the attack always goes a little easier after the first brick to the head. It is just more efficient to attack first rather than negotiate with the victim. Obviously a more skilled crimenal will be able to achieve an objective more effeciently. Pickpockets are an example. A good pickpocket will not only pick your pocket without your awareness, (s)he will choose a target who won't bother to check their pockets for awhile. This is not the kind of crimenal you will need to fight off.
The kind of attacker who confronts you and demands something is looking for the rush of dominance or is desperate. How do you tell the difference? The hospital bill is a good indicator. In most instances, running is your best option. Nothing makes an objective unattainable like being out of range. It may also help if what they ask for is something you don't need and can afford to give. The problem with the last option is what if they ask for more? When will they be satisfied?
In a smaller sentence; awareness of the objective can allow you to determine whether a fight is necessary and ,if so, give you options as to where and when to have the fight.

5. Awareness of hostility
Awareness of hostility is an interesting skill since it is possible to attack others first for any percieved slight. This is not, technicly, self defense. I will assume, for the purpose of this treatis, that your attacker actually wants to fight you. The longer the physical distance from awareness of hostility to the attack, the better prepared you will be for the attack. The longer the time frame from awareness to attack, the more choice of location you will have as well as the option to attack first.