If you want to be prepared to defend yourself realistically on the street, you are going to have to prepare RIGHT NOW in a controlled training environment, how you can both GUARD against getting knocked out and at the same time, take a PUNCH and keep fighting. Regardless, if you are talking about knife, stick or gun, Hardcore Combatives or BJJ Grappling, at the root of all of it is the word FIGHT…and out there on the street it could be a FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!
The “Default” Position
One of the fundamentals of fighting, regardless of style, is knowing how to DEFEND YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. Remembering the awesome Boxing movie “Million Dollar Baby”; this was the fundamental that Clint Eastwood time and time again tried to drill into Maggie, and in the end, it was failing to heed this fundamental that got her.
The CO has to understand, Murphy’s Law is in effect 24/7/365 on the street, punches will be flying and can come out of nowhere, from one or multiple opponents. Even with the right guard technique, no matter which one you prescribe, the inevitability of getting hit is there, the Default Position just guarantees a degree of “damage control” to keep you in the fight.
The LOGIC is simple: You get Knocked Out, the game is over!
A word about the on-going debate in the Combatives community about the Natural Instinctive Flinch Response vs a trained “Default” Position. On this subject I tend to agree with Southnarc who stated “I don’t think that you can ever truly; totally over-ride the natural flinch response if you are taken completely by surprise.” The key as I see it, is to as much as possible, integrate those instinctive responses with a simple guard that protects you from getting knocked out and/or knocked over. I consider this concept an essential part of the Combative Continuum, as It carries right over into combative stick/knife and shooting as well; work with what your body does naturally as much as possible.
Where most people go wrong in their Combatives training as I see it, is they try and invent ways to AVOID getting hit, instead of training to GUARD, absorb the strikes and finish the fight (destroy the opponent). Now I am not saying go out there and offer your face as an easy target, by all means, Keep up your guard, move and strike… but in any fight, despite your best efforts, you are most likely going to take a punch..that’s the name of the game, the KEY is to NOT get Knocked Out by using a Default Guard which protects those sensitive areas which when struck hard enough, can “knock you out” and render you UNCONSCIOUS:
Hinges of the jaw
Sides of the neck.
A Simple concept really, but isn’t it the simplest things that often give people the most problems?
In this afterword, Kelly draws corollaries between what is taught in the USMC Field Manual (FM 1) Warfighting and what is experienced in personal combat using Combatives for self-defense. Kelly divides these corollaries into Several distinct sections: War, Friction, Uncertainty, Fluidity, Disorder, The Human Factor & Violence and Danger.
FM 1: “It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object to be acted upon but an independent and animate force with its own objectives and plans.”
Combative Corollary: Always Train with an ACTIVE partner and not someone who is robotic or remains fixed in place while you execute a technique. Never allow the use of staged pillar assaults to support your technique. Encourage your partner to move and act freely, because your attacker will.
FM 1: “Friction is the force that resist all action and saps energy.”
Combative Corollary: Fighting for your life saps your strength MUCH MORE quickly than training or competition. Be Aware of this fact.
FM 1: “Friction may be mental, as in indecision over a course of action.”
Combative Corollary: Don’t learn too many alternative techniques because it will only result in indecisiveness under duress and INCREASE reaction time. See HICKS LAW.
FM 1: “The very nature of WAR makes certainty impossible; all actions in WAR are based on incomplete, inaccurate or even contradictory information.”
Combative Corollary: You will never have all the information you would like to have before needing to act except in the most obvious cases.
FM 1: “We can learn to fight effectively despite uncertainty by developing simple, flexible plans; planning for LIKELY contingencies and FOSTERING INITIATIVE.”
Combative Corollary: Avoid complex and intricate techniques. Take the initiative when warranted and pre-emptively attack. Strike unexpectedly. If a technique fails, immediately branch and EXPLODE into another. As quickly as you recognize them, EXPLOIT new targets.
FM 1: “Risk is equally common to ACTION or INACTION.”
Combative Corollary: You must risk being hurt in order to hurt others. As an attacker gestates, you’re at risk EQUALLY if you use violence and if you don’t.
FM 1: “Since war is a fluid phenomenon, it’s conduct requires flexibility of thought.”
Combatives Corollary: Rage with reason. Keep your wits about you in order to see and then seize the fleeting opportunities discussed above. Stay flexible in the attack. Rely on your rapid-targeting process and quickly branch from one technique to another, exploiting opportunities as quickly as they present themselves to overwhelm your attacker.
FM 1: “As the situation changes continuously, we are forced to improvise again and again until finally our actions have little, if any, resemblance to the original scheme.”
Combatives Corollary: There is a saying in the military: “No operations order survives the first shot.” Similarly, no Kata survives the first punch. Faced with disorder, ESTABLISH ORDER WITH OVERWHELMING FEROCITY. Once you have the momentum, stay on your toes and keep the attacker backing up on his heels. Ruthlessly and Relentlessly CLOSE WITH and finish the enemy.
THE HUMAN FACTOR
FM 1: “Since War is an act of violence based on irreconcilable disagreement, it will invariably inflame and be shaped by human emotions.”
Combatives Corollary: Channel your Rage, but rely on your Training.
Violence and Danger
FM 1: “Violence is an essential element of war and its immediate result is bloodshed, destruction and suffering. While the magnitude of violence may vary with the object and means of war, the violent essence of war will never change. Any study of war that neglects this basic truth is misleading or incomplete.”
Combatives Corollary: Your primary goal is to AVOID, your secondary goal is the ESCAPE UNHARMED. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of the situation, sometimes it will be necessary to seriously injure or perhaps kill an assailant in order to prevail. For that reason, you must never confuse Combatives with a “Gentle Art.”