I have a few scenarios that I'm interested in running through. If I'm faced with ridiculously obvious one strike attacks with compliant attackers, I feel comfortable that I can handle them. But when it comes to someone blitzing straight down the line throwing straight punches, windmills, looping punches, etc., what are some appropriate responses?
Also, on a different note, how essential do you think atemi is in a street fight? Especially with this kind of aggressive attack. Would you use it merely as a distraction, a set-up, or a fight ender alone?
Sorry where this might be redundant, and I essentially
have only a little more time in than you do, but since I couldn't make it to training today, I'd like to wrap my mind around this a little bit. Although, as scenarios go, the following isn't very specific.
The short answer is always, "it depends." A direct, sustained, and well-balanced attack will lay anyone out unless they can perceive it well enough to stop it in some way. My thinking is "simply" to track/match the movements of the other person with my own body with an aim for readiness in any direction (this means also paying attention to how I'm engaging my own body; I try to have a sense of engaging my whole body; literally feeling as much of my body as possible as I track the other person's); slipping their strength/force and adding to their momentum in an effort to overextend some part of their body and then to continue hyperextending that part until the attacker is immobilized or projecting his body far enough to give me room to run (if he drops straight down and for whatever reason I don't maintain irimi well enough, the attacker could just "bounce" into a takedown...and if they're aggressive, they will). "Wind milling" or straight blast becomes moot until the strike manifests, so I try not to think about that too much. I'm guessing this is somewhat in line with the single strike paradigm; if we can gain control at the initial moment of contact, the 2, 3 of a 1, 2, 3 disappears. The question becomes how to move as a cohesive unit, but that takes some time. In my school we are taught to think of the follow-up attack and more senior students will ask each other to try harder at making that "2" strike happen.
Atemi is crucial. I would use it to whatever extent I could. It could be a fight ender if the right opening presented itself to me (hopefully through my being able to create the opening in the first place...possibly through a "distracting atemi"). There's either an opening or not; beyond that it's a matter of how much of my body I can get behind it (and how much I need).
From the pedagogical standpoint, I really like David's description. My brief exposure to Tomiki Ryu showed a similar kind of pressure progression. Most schools probably use that basic principle, but it stands to reason the differences in emphasis will shape how it gets trained into the body's automatic responses. Basically, when it comes to training for better handling a relatively good fighter, you have to train with relatively good fighters. I remember reading about Bruce Lee describing how a group of martial artists thought he was amateur because he "only" knew 3 kicks. His response was that those 3 kicks could handle whatever they had. So, as always, there's what you know and then there's how well you can apply it to the spontaneous demands of the organic moment.
My freshly minted wooden nickel; hopefully not too disjointed. As usual, I'm being crawled on by my 2-year old (he's pretty aggressive and I am regularly overwhelmed