Often when we are taught a martial art we are taught patterns and rhythms in our practice. We might do three blocks and then three punches with the idea being that after our blocks the opportunity arises for our strikes. It is thought of as a game of strategy, pugilistic chess, one trading off the other. Jook Lum and other infighting short fist styles are particularly guilty of this. “He’s going to throw so many punches and I will mor sao block them and return my attack. This is never going to happen in real life. Once you are on the defensive blocking punches you have no control of the fight. You are reacting to the attacker as opposed to acting on the attack. This might be difficult to understand but think about it; once you are in a defensive mode it is very hard to turn it around to offense. For one thing, we look for the opportunity to counter as opposed to creating the opening to counter.
If you don’t think you do this consider this; think about how you might envision a fight with a person and what you would do. Now think about being attacked by a dog or a bobcat; do you think the same way? I doubt it. In the human attack you might think sequences but in the animal attack you most likely think an unending barrage. The animal attack does not trade offense and defense. It is a constant barrage of attacks. You must understand this on the street. This is not a ring fight but a matter of life and death. When in a deadly attack everything you do must be to end the fight quickly and effectively. You must fully engage in it to win. There are no trade offs; the first mistake and someone fails. It begins with the first fist and doesn’t end till someone is down. There is no trade back in forth like in the movies. Train with this in mind. You must see the opening in the attack. You must attack the attack not defend against it. This does not mean power against power but even in avoiding a blow you are delivering one. This is very difficult to train for but ultimately the only thing that will help you to survive. There is no chess game here, there is only the moment and everything happens in that moment. Fights are not neat and clean but fast and chaotic. They are not perceived but enacted in the moment. You must know this moment.
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