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Ever hear that expression, “wait for it. Wait for it!”
Or how about in American baseball, that infamous ”off-speed”
There is always much ado about training too slow and plain slow,
to later train and perform fast and even faster still. The topic of “fight-speed”
is always popping up in social media, sports, seminars and classes. Dan
Inosanto once said in a seminar I attended years ago,
“train slow, fight slow.”
He was suggesting that you needed to up-your-speed. I think we all get this point
intellectually, but we don’t always physically train speeds proportionately. Much time is spent on slow and half-speeds? How much can we safely do full speed? And is super-fast always the best? What about a needed change of pace?
Changing the pace? Breaking the speed? The rhythm? This essay isn’t exactly on Bruce Lee’s Broken Rhythm Method. I mean, it can be, partially. On his view of broken rhythm, he said, “there is nothing better than free-style sparring in the
practice of any combative art. In sparring you should wear suitable protective
equipment and go all out. Then you can truly learn the correct timing and
distance for the delivery of the kicks, punches, etc. It is a good idea to spar
with all types of individuals--tall, short, fast, clumsy. Yes, at times a
clumsy fellow will mess up a better man because his awkwardness serves as a
sort of broken rhythm.” – Bruce Lee interview.
But to break a rhythm, you have to first create a rhythm.
And in so, so many typical, “street fights” there is no time to officially create and establish a rhythm or a pattern, to create a set-up if you will, as in a sports duel
or ring fights. Maybe not so much in a 5 second, so-called quick, street
fight. There is no round 2 or round 3 in the street fight, as they say. (There might
be in military battlefield strategy.) No time to observe, experiment, and probe, probe, probe
with jabs, set up patterns, rhythms, etc. But, I think a smart/savvy
person can still slow things up very quickly if needed in those short 5 or so
seconds. That application is not breaking a rhythm where none existed, it's just velocity and targeting.
Through the years I have noted that fakes I have worked on
in kick boxing or weapon sparring can fail. Oh, they were very clever, and they were so very logical. But, I worked them fast or very fast against very fast-read-and-react
people. But when doing them against slower or newer people, these folks did not
have time to react to the fake and the fake did not make an opening or an
opportunity. Against these folks, I had to slow myself down, sometimes
ridiculously down, to get them to see them and react to these fakes and feints.
The need for working at medium speed? Sometimes race cars just
have to slow down to take a curve. Or, wait and swing differently to hit a slower
pitch in baseball. You need to have an opponent see and react to a fake, for
the fake to fake him out. More important than being just flat out fast all the time, is also being able to adopt to another moving person, which might just be a move or two
at medium speed. Or a “stop action even!” How that other person moves, his
arms, torso, head, and the speed by which they move needs your adaptation.
Hitting moving things at different speeds, reading the speed, is quite different than
hitting focus mitts and heavy bags, which leads us back to the need for sparring, for interacting.
“The feint's value is as an attack. It is not a physical
attack on the opponent, but as an attack on his position, his wits, and on his
confidence. Human reaction times are around a quarter of a second on average,
higher in athletes. This means that for all intents and purposes the difference
between a feinted jab (from appropriate range) and a real one is whether there
is an impact—be it on the glove or on the face—or if the opponent recovers from
his flinch reflecting on the words of Marvin Martian—“where's the kaboom?”. The
more fatigued a fighter becomes, the more he goes to what has been trained into
him or to his instincts, and the more predictably he starts reaching after
feints.” – Fightland by Jack Slack Guns and speeds? Of course in the subjects of hand, stick, and knife
fighting, understanding and using various speeds may be important. In some gun fighting
when drawing the pistol flat-out speed, speed, speed is needed. But there are
times in history, when turning slowly and pulling a gun slowly drops off the
reaction radar of another gunman, one expecting the fast cues of a quick draw, one prepared to react to sudden fast speedy move, not slow.
This is a great book on the subject of seeing, reacting and how the "pros" are capable of reading movement and waiting, even in milliseconds.
“Once I saw a
prizefighter boxing a yokel. The fighter was swift and amazingly
scientific. His body was one violent flow of rapid rhythmic action. He hit
the yokel a hundred times while the yokel held up his arms in stunned
surprise. But suddenly the yokel, rolling about in the gale of
boxing gloves, struck one blow and knocked science, speed and footwork as
cold as a well-digger's posterior. The smart money hit the canvas. The long
shot got the nod. The yokel had simply stepped inside of his opponent's
sense of time.” - Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man
Timing. The Force Necessary, “Combat Clock” I use for
training is not just about angles of attack and footwork, it is also about
timing. What clock isn’t about timing anyway? The Combat Clock concept also works
within the Who? What? Where? When? How and Why framework embedded in every aspect of our training. The word “when,” is
all about time and timing. When will you fight? That is a big question, the
Macro question. Then the smaller questions fall into place - like when you take a left step? When will you throw a right hand strike - all the many Micro questions.
Review of the FN Combat Clock essentials:
* The When of the "Ws and H" Module.
* So easy to remember
* Angles of Attack, Basic 4 and Advanced 12
- Basic angles training – the 4 corners of the clock, 12, 3,
- Advanced angles training – the 12 numbers of the clock
* Directions for Footwork and Ground Maneuvers
* Body and Arm Positioning by the numbers
* Apportioning and Prioritizing Training Time Topics/Subjects
* Fighting Speeds and Adaptability.
* Length of the fight. How long will this last? How much “gas” do you have?
Have you heard about the Five Minute Rule? It goes like this.
"If someone shows
me a fighting tactic or technique, and I can't learn it in five minutes. Its
worthless to me. Or, if I show someone something and they cannot learn it in
five minutes, its worthless."
It is a rule that declares if a move is too
complicated and too hard to learn it should be forgotten. We do have a 2 minute egg and 4 minute mile and now a five minute fight technique?
This often gets quoted and I mean to say, I agree with the idea in general, conceptually to
some extent. I get the premise. In the same way that I think and say "fighting is more like checkers and less like chess."
But, it is situational. For example, there have been times I have shown to a group, say, a
jujitsu-like move and the group, as though it was struck with
a contagious brain disease, simply failed to "get it." A move all others get pretty easily, pretty quickly. I scratched my head watching them
struggle, while for years other groups have caught onto the idea and movements
very quickly. So the five minute rule depends on the person? And, or
then the individuals in the group? Perhaps a new "Group-Dependant, Five Minute
Rule" is in order? Perhaps?..
Learning, grasping it and then using it is different, in this world of perishable skills. Being "good" at doing something is different than seeing and "learning" it's concept in 5 minutes.
But I do sometimes wonder. Who came up the "five-minute" part. Why FIVE
minutes? Why not 10? Or 20? Is it just a casual expression? An arbitrary figure?
Surely there is no cognitive science, neurological and biological to that selection. Maybe some of the best
stuff may take all of six minutes and 14 seconds?
That is why I never use a 5 minute rule, or any rule in any discussion. I prefer -
"fighting is more like checkers and less like chess," To sum such things up.
This blog itself is called “Who,
What, Where, When, How and Why.” The phrase was first presented to me in the
Army military police academy in the early 1970s. It was a checklist on how police
officers should write a report. Answer those questions, big and small. But
later I learned that a detective must further answer these questions, and a
prosecutor must delve even deeper. You never know what weird little thing
becomes vitally important in a trial.
Then I learned I could really apply
all the questions to training objectives, and then…to ALL phases of life. Yes! I
could certainly apply it to self defense, training and protection. And also…to buying
a house. Getting married. Even trying to get to and use a neighborhood ATM
safely. Even planning a military invasion like D-Day. Body guarding the president?
Answer these W and H questions as a framework.
I have used this Ws and H idea for
about 25 years now as a spinal cord and mainstay of my personal protection jobs and my training courses. I
introduce the Ws and the H in level one of all my training programs to set the
stage for all subsequent levels. Others have gotten on this “Ws and H” band
wagon too, certainly everyone I have instructed. But some believers I haven’t instructed
personally, but have read me or seen my films - so - some were inspired by me.
Some were inspired by me and just won’t admit it. Others found it by themselves. You
know who you are. Still, few beat this important drum hard like I do. I didn’t
invent it. I just use the hell out of it. You should too.
Using it really takes about three
rounds, three passes though, to really cover the questions well enough, because
you realize you need to jump back to a previous W to answer the next W and so
on. And, you certainly need the latest, unbiased, solid intel to evaluate your
With the who, what, where, when,
how and why, survival and preparation questions, two variations are important
to consider. First, all have “duality”
Duality By duality I mean a “you” and “him” duality. Or an “us” and “them”
quality. The classic idea of dualism is really a two-fold division in several
spiritual, religious, and philosophical doctrines. Confusing sometimes, but at
times this idea is the best way to properly explain the diverse aspects of
Take the duality of first “Who”
question for example. You must answer “who are you?” and “who do you think you
will be fighting?”
Macro and Micro/Big and Small The second variation covers micro
and macro answers. The answers can be big as in concepts or small as in very
detailed and specifics. An example of that? “What” will he do? He will rob you.
“What” will you do? Stop him, for the macro, or big plan, big picture. Then
move down on to smaller specifics such as if you move here, precisely what will
he do next? The micro.
example is - when I ask you the big questions like, “when do you think you
might be mugged?” You might answer with something big like, “at the ATM.” Good
answer. Big answer to the big question. But the “when” question has many little
‘whens “ to it also. Little whens that are important to counter-tactics and
survival. Like - when does he step in too close to you? When does he actually
pull and show his gun? When does he actually turn to leave?
Why are the little questions also worth
mentioning here? All fighting is situational and positional. The big "when"
question is the situational part. The little "when" questions are the small positional
parts. A lot of fight training starts with the situational and then eventually
concerns itself with positions. These precise answers, the small and little
physical steps of the enemy are important when planning to fight or run for
“who, what, where, when, how and why” essays to follow are about getting a working knowledge of problem solving.
Coming soon…The "Ws and H" part 2: The
First W Question – The Who?