Saturday, January 23, 2010

Surveillance work

Take a walk in a crowded place eg a market. Start a conversation with a stranger. While engaging the stranger survey the surroundings and note how you can move naturally to view everything all around you without appearing like you are doing surveillance work. Make a mental note of all the objects that you can see in your surroundings such as reflecting surfaces, door ways, high fences, staircases, side lanes, pedestrian bridges and escalators, police station, bus and taxi stops, street lights and sign boards, hand railings, manholes, roadside drains and gutters, etc, etc. Repeat the drill in another crowded spot eg a shopping mall, minding all the surrounding details.

This is a solo street survival drill and survival is about not being where it is dangerous. The odds of escaping and surviving an unprovoked assault in the street are better that way and you don't have to be the meanest martial art fighter or the hardest puncher to live another day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Developing good body alignment

Throwing and catching objects while on the move

Throw and catch things any which way as you walk eg common objects such as tennis balls, basketball, bottles, paper boxes, bags, sticks, etc. Throw the objects in font of you, to the sides, from back to the front, front to the back, one side to the next, from under the legs to the head, and so on. Pay the most attention to the breath and your posture and the least to catching the objects.

Although this is a solo exercise it can also be executed with a partner. With a partner just throw things, catch, and return throw to each other while both of you are on the move.

The main purpose of this drill is not to catch the objects but to keep good body structure, awareness and alignment while you are moving about. This drill is also about preserving your awareness while multi-tasking eg, while evading a group attack you have to look for openings in your attackers from which you can launch counter strikes or any other options that you decide to do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Natural movements in the preservation of self and the human spirit

...striking helps us clean ourselves of self-pity and fear...

For the sake of self survival from harm and the preservation of the human spirit striking helps us control the structure and focus of attackers in combat...striking helps us clean ourselves of self-pity and striking can be executed with almost all the body parts it is important to think of striking as movements, not as techniques or katas because when we attach a name or label to something with a specific description we stop to grow and evolve our combat survival and response capabilities...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Surviving a mob attack

A mob attack in a pub
Imagine you are cornered and surrounded by a group of menacing thugs who is about to lynch you. In this scary situation many a victim, paralyzed by sheer terror, would either lash out violently at the attackers or freeze on the spot thereby triggering the signal for the mob to attack him. Usually before the lynching there would be the initial process of harassment characterised by pushing, shoving and shouting of obscenities to frighten the victim into total submission and surrender. If the victim can keep the lid on his panic and keep his calm and cool before the harassment escalates to a full scale bloody lynching there is still the chance of making an escape. Traditional martial arts training in the comfort zone of the dojo may not equip the practitioner with the necessary skills and experience to handle a mob attack in the street. In the event of a mob attack the priority of the victim is not to fight back but to exit from the scene as soon as possible.

A mass attack drill
One person in the centre is surrounded by a group of people in a circle. The attackers in the circle start to push and shove the defender all around using hands, fists and legs. As the defender is being pushed around he lets the movement pass through him without attaching to it and also maintain the upright body alignment as much as he can in order to move freely and remains unharmed.
Turkish parlimentarians

By letting go of the ego and tension the defender decides the direction to move freely in such a manner that the pushes and strikes of his attackers cancel out each other and in the process allows himself himself to stay out. As the defender is being pushed around he keeps track of his surrounding using breathing as a tool for maintaining conscious relaxation and awareness under stress.

While being pushed around and without telegraphing his true intention to the angry mob the primary objective of the defender then is to spot openings in the ring of attackers to break out from the circle, escape and ultimately ensure his survival.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Walking freely

Walking with
bended knees
Walking with the lower body independent of the upper body

Start by lowering your torso while keeping it upright by bending the legs at the knees. Walking slowly and adopting a low posture step forward with your advancing leg toward the direction that you intend to advance no matter where the body is headed. Be mindful not to twist and turn the upper body going the way you intend. As you move breathe freely in a relaxed way. After doing this exercise for a while your legs will gradually become strengthened.