There are no absolutes

The following article first appeared on my forum as I was inspired to write it after reading several threads which were very specific in nature.

It is critical to understand that there are no absolutes. There is no black and white in combat or defense, there is no 'always' or 'never', there is nothing but an infinite amount of shades of grey, speculations, maybe's and IT DEPENDS!

How long does a street fight last? 10 sec.? 25 sec.? A minute? A minute an a half? Honestly...? Who fucking cares? It will last as long as it will last... the question is, will you? How conditioned are you? Do you understand the effects of emotional and psychological stress and how it affects your performance? What are you prepared to do?

I train my students overkill. They are prepared to go 5 minutes straight if they have to, 10 minutes or half an hour of that is what it takes. So they don't care if the average is 10 seconds or 3 minutes. That is a concern they don't have to even think about because they are prepared to go on and on until they are safe, whatever it takes. I am often asked why our workouts in our classes are so grueling, why I allow the fights to go on for 20 minutes non stop sometimes, why the overkill if a street fight only lasts X amount of seconds... because you never know. Prepare for the Terminator so everyone and everything else will pale in comparison.

"When you throw a kick (or punch or strike or whatever you wish to insert here) where do you land after?"

It depends. What was your opponents reaction? Did your strike have the desired effect? What was the result of your choice?

"When someone throws a straight punch, I was told to always move to the out-side and never to the in-side, is this correct?"

It depends. Does your opponent have a friend standing on his out-side? Are you leaning against a wall which is 'his out-side'? Is the hand or arm you are 'supposes to' block, parry, jam whatever with functional that day (I.e., is it in a sling, broken wrist maybe, sprained, tendanitis in the shoulder?)

"When defending against a knife ALWAYS stabilize the weapon hand before attacking." - When defending against the knife, NEVER stabilize the weapon hand just attack, attack, attack!"

It depends. Where's the knife? Close, far, stabbing you? What is your opponent doing? Is it a static attack? Is it dynamic? Is he leadng with the knife or coming at you Folsom prison style? Does he have a friend? Is his friend aremed?

Do you see what I am getting at here? There are no absolutes!

"DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WHEN IT IS CALLED UPON." - Senshido Adage - This philosophy will help create clarity in the moment. Fixation on this or that may get you killed. There are no black and white answers.

Train your defenses in various scenarios to find out what you will do. Meaning: You want to work on defense against a static knife attack at the throat? Good. First work the principles and concepts, then the physical defenses until you are comfortable with them.

Next. Take that situation, the static knife attack, and do it under the following cnditions;

  1. You're alone.
  2. A love one is with you when it is occuring. (This one alone can be done in various ways, your loved one can become hysterical, cooperative, none cooperative, faint, scream, cry, grab your arm, hug you, threaten the mugger etc.) each of these will require a different tactical solution.
  3. Your attacker has a friend. (Again, you can play with this one, his friend is armed as well, his friend is passive, agressive, drunk, hyperactive, trying to convince the mugger to just kill you and take your stuff, trying to convince the mugger to forget about it and just leave etc.)
  4. Your good arm is an a sling.
  5. Your left ankle is badly sprained (put thumb tacks in your shoes to simulate a sprain, see if you feel like putting weight on your ankle then )

The list can go and on and on... see if your "technique" remains the same through out. See if the results are the same every time...

There are no absolutes.

This is why we do not teach techniques but conceptual guidelines, tool and target development, strategies and tactics...

Richard Dimitri