Do you know your weaknesses, more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?
There is something that we should never forget, and that is…
why we are training?
We are learning to defend ourselves against a persons or persons that intends us serious physical harm.
Despite that training is fun and enjoyable, as I think it should be…
We are not playing.
We are not learning to dance.
Question? Do you know your weaknesses, and more importantly, do you know how to avoid them?
How can we plan for something that we do not even know is going to happen?
Let’s start with the worse thing we can think of, it will be different for all of us but be honest to yourself, there is no need for anyone else to know, we all have one darker fear and if we are ever slipping towards it, we will panic big time if we have not at least played it out in our minds a few times.
My favourite military maxim that should always be considered is …. ‘no battle plan survives contact with the enemy’.
This is not about being real, it is about being semi-prepared, engage your imagination, if in doubt about what would happen in a real situation pick the worst option you can think of.
I will use my worst fear as an example, but it is just the thought process that is important, develop, ask and answer your own questions.
My biggest worry is that I am on the floor!!!
Question #1. How did I get here?
Did the Bad Guy knock me down? Did he catch a kick I attempted and threw me? Did I trip over my own feet?
Most fights that end up on the floor are there because people fall over much more than someone does Ju-Jitsu.
Whatever caused this problem becomes an area for involvement in our training, develop a style that kicks less, stays out of reach of your partner, and develops a better, more well-balanced movement.
Question #2. Could I have prevented this?
If it was something the Bad Guy did what happened that allowed him to be in a position to do that?
Was it his skill and speed or was it a case of me being inattentive or late to respond?
Either way, this problem was caused by not being in control of my personal space and something I can take into training is the question “what does it mean to control my personal space”?
As a training exercise in Chi Sau get a friend to continuously press you and work on maintaining the same shape, position and distance from them at all times.
Ask yourself can I control my personal space by standing in one spot while my attacker is mobile, there is no correct or incorrect answer here, just a specific personal idea that we can train to be more natural.
Question #3. Was he fast or was I slow?
We can always work on our speed, especially the speed we think, our body only ever works at the speed of our thoughts, to a very large extent being quick is about having fewer choices to deliberate on.
Do not waste valuable mental processing time on trying to develop or use ‘Mind Force’, be deliberate and only think about things you can do that will actively help.
If we do not know how to transition from one situation or one position to another we will be stuck in both time and space and an easy target.
Again as a Chi Sau drill work on changing shapes, stances, and positions in space.
Create a drill in Chi Sau where one partner applies a strong forward drive, and the other partner tries to find a way to get behind the aggressor, do not be nice to each other, make it a win / lose game.
In training we usually tend to just do as we are told, often there is no genuine connection to what we as students think may happen, or what we may need, and very rarely is there any student input to reflect a personal worry or experience.
As Instructors we should encourage this type of engagement, as students, we should force ourselves to ask questions, even when we think they may be stupid.
Nearly everything we do in Wing Chun falls under the umbrella of simultaneous attack and defence, in so many street situations this is a practical impossibility. The IDEA is sound, but how close can we get to it?
In street situations the attacker has no time to try to find the best shot, there is no feinting, no dodging and weaving patiently seeking a better position, it is just a flurry of whatever and it is instantly in our face.
Most street violence that Wing Chun would engage with, the average mugging, for instance, is over in less time than it takes to read this sentence.
I am serious, if we lose control of the first 4 or 5 seconds it is ‘lights out and go home’.
If we do not see it coming we are not going to stop it from happening, this is an alarming thought, but it is what it is.
There is a saying in the Boxing World, “it is the punch you do not see that knocks you out”!
Question #4. Why was I unprepared?
No one can teach functional situational awareness because the situation changes from day to day and place to place, because of this most situations we find ourselves in will appear to be almost out of nowhere.
Unpreparedness is our default position, get used to it, train it.
If our regular training does not include ways to regain a good position from a bad position then the prognosis will be terminal, do not fall for the fantasy that Biu Gee teaches emergency techniques, find a way to make space and regain balance.
Question #5. How did this situation arise?
The only way to avoid potential problems is to see them as they evolve, and leave before conception.
Most people that fail in a violent situation do not fail because of a lack of skill or ability, it is usually a lack of trust, or a lack of confidence all made more destructive by the shock inherent in being attacked.
There are hundreds if not thousands of violently effective people who have no training at all in our world, but they are courageous to the level of foolhardiness, they will walk into our fists, we have a huge advantage if we can only bring it to the fore.
This is what all training should be. Any other approach is leading to the wrong choice at the wrong time.
Work on your weaknesses, play to your strengths.