Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wait for it! Off-Speeds, Timing, Delays, Fakes and Feints in Fighting



Ever hear that expression, “wait for it. Wait for it!”

Or how about in American baseball, that infamous ”off-speed” pitch.




     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, 6, 9
         - 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?








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