When to move

I’ve been training many systems over many years, and am now once again looking at all of them, to try get a better understanding.

My first thoughts today are on, what is the most important thing when confronted and a physical altercation is unavoidable.  I think that knowing when to move has to come first.  I also think that many of the training methods we all use to develop different skills could cause us to misunderstand this concept.

Many of us have heard that the one that strikes first, normally wins.  While this may be true with most untrained and many trained martial artists, it certainly wouldn’t be self defense.  Not to mention that in order for someone to attack they have to close the gap to reach their opponent, leaving themselves open as they do so. Of course there are many methods of minimizing this risk, that I’ll go into another time.

I tend to focus on martial arts for my health these days, but my training and mind set tend to be more real world self defense, then sport oriented. With that in mind, if you move first you will be perceived as the aggressor. Even if you win, you could end up in jail, and/or getting sued. Moral ideologies aside. You need to assume you are being taped, and witnessed these days. Of course depending on the situation, you may decide it is better to take your chances with 12 jurors, then 6 pall bearers. These are just thoughts. I want it clearly understood I would never advocate violence.

Many of us train techniques, and have someone throw a specific strike at us to practice our technique. While you can certainly get good at that, and it is a helpful training method, waiting to see the technique coming at you before you move can be problematic. There is always going to be someone bigger, faster and stronger then you. This is especially true as we get older. Not to mention all the fakes, feints, and other methods used to deceive you as your opponent attacks.

Some also want to touch, using sensitivity for their responsiveness. I certainly agree you can feel and react much quicker then, you can see an react.  Once I touch, I certainly follow that ideology. However there is that gap that has to be closed to get to that point. To creep into, or let an opponent with a blade come close enough to cut you, before protecting yourself could be a fatal mistake.

I believe all technique/principles followed must work with or a against a weapon, as well as empty hands.  All valid strategies/techniques  must also not only apply to one-on-one confrontations, but not leave you defenseless  to multiple attackers. Martial Arts developed for battlefield conditions. I view self defense to be under the same conditions, with the exception that civil laws apply .  I can not stress enough how much you need to be aware of your local laws in regards to self defense.  A sport is an entirely different situation, and has rules. Therefore different strategies apply.

Now that I have considered all the above my belief is that you need to move on motion. This will allow you to react faster, even when dealing with an opponent that is quicker then you are. Now when I say move on motion, I mean just that. Any perceived motion on your opponents part. It is like pulling the trigger on a gun, you can’t hesitate. If they move (any kind of movement), or you think they move, you pull the trigger and explode. Using this method you don’t expose yourself to counter attack as the person that moves first does. However I will remind you that if you move when they thought of moving (instead of physically moving), you’ll move on time, but could appear to move first on a surveillance tape in a court of law. But by the time we’ve gotten to this point I would have tried to talk my way out of the situation, tried to walk or run away. That will also be evident.

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