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Old 04-21-2008, 07:30 PM   #9
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: Soft Power, A Magnetic Approach to Practice

Sharon Seymour wrote: View Post
How interesting to read folks' varying responses to this article! I was struck by "The key is to be able to focus more attention on the feeling and form of your movement than the speed and power of the attacker." For me, this idea presents the very powerful martial strategy of responding from your own frame of reference.
To me, a statement like the one you quoted is somewhat akin to saying "The key is to be more skilled than your opponent." It's not really a martial strategy but a martial truism. What the author is suggesting, though, is not just that one should focus on one's own movement, but that focusing on and enjoying one's movement will somehow create a "magnetic" force that in and of itself controls the attacker. I find that notion to be wildly unrealistic.

To be drawn into your attacker's frame of reference is to allow the attacker to dictate your options and have the initiative in the interaction. Only by waiting until the attack is committed can I find the optimal response - if I am tied up trying to anticipate my opponent's decision, I'm already stuck and will probably be too slow in my response.
You seem to be contradicting yourself here. If you don't want the attacker to take the initiative and dictate your options then I would suggest that you do not wait until the attack is "committed" (whatever that means) in order to try to "find the optional response" but that you make the attacker choose from several sub-optimal responses that you have made available through your own movement. This is a fairly basic strategy that is common knowledge to people in many martial arts.

The idea of "enjoy[ing] the sensation of your own movement" is certainly a challenging one. The primary definition of "enjoy" is "to receive pleasure from;" a secondary definition is "to have the use of" or "benefit from."* This seems to reinforce the idea of staying in your own space and inviting the attack in to your center of power.
I don't think it is a challenging idea at all, but actually a rather simple one. However, by itself I do not think it will be even remotely effective in a physical conflict. I also don't see how it in any way suggests staying confined to your own space or "inviting the attack in." I would think that, in a real conflict, inviting someone who is trained and skilled at attacking to do so would be a very bad idea. Even inviting someone who is unskilled or untrained at attacking to do so seems to me to be needless and unwise.

I don't want to buy in to aggression. If someone chooses that mode of expression, it is their option, and I can choose to stay in my space or mindset and meet them there. The learning curve for truly receiving attacks has been very long for me. The reaction of slamming the door to protect my space is deeply rooted.
The issue isn't really one of choice but of the ability to overcome the other person's will and ability to inflict aggression upon you with your own ability to remain centered and avoid letting that aggression control you (either physically or psychologically). I find the author's ideas on how to do this to be overly simplistic and out of touch with reality.
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