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Old 05-06-2003, 09:18 PM   #50
Mark Jakabcsin
Dojo: Charlotte Systema, Charlotte, NC
Location: Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 207
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Maybe self-protection reflexes are learned and not ingrained. I just thought about a child learning to catch a ball. If self-protection reflexes were automatic the child would never get bonked in the head with the ball. He'd move or deflect it


You make a very interesting theoretical point but it has limited practical application. Remember that balance is a learned response, it is NOT a reflex and yet you can manipulate it like a reflex. Eventually over time balance becomes as close to a reflex as possible but it is still not a reflex, similar to the self-protection defenses you mention above. Note people with severe head trauma or protracted comas need to re-learn how to walk. Their bodies have forgotten how to balance, however they still have their reflexes, i.e. balance or self-protection (ball catching) defenses are learned but reflex like once learned.

IMO, one of the major reasons why people are having trouble with manipulating these 'self-protection reflexes' (nice descriptive phrase) is that THEY aren't REAL with their manipulation. If you want someone to react to your atemi, your atemi must be real and 'YOU' must believe your atemi is real. If you don't believe in it how in the hell can you expect your attacker to believe in it. BE REAL!

The second major problem I normally see when folks try to accomplish such manipulation is that they move too fast and frequently outside the range of vision of the attacker. If my motion is so fast my attacker barely sees it or if my motion is outside the range of their vision there is no way they are going to react. 'In general' (big quotes there) any manipulation must be accomplished at the same speed or slower than the attacker and within their range of vision. If they still don't react as you want so what, your atemi is for real. Right?

Short story. A few months ago at a seminar I was working with a retired state police officer, who had more than his fair share of real life situations. During his attack I moved off line and initiated a left hook to his jaw. It was a fairly big, somewhat lazy hook, but it landed square on his jaw and dropped him to one knee and I never got to accomplish the intended technique. He got up a little pissed and I asked if he was being real with his attack. He said he was so I asked if he saw the hook.

He said, 'Sure it was big and slow, how could I miss it.'

I asked why he didn't move out of the way.

He said, 'Because I didn't think you were really going to hit me, this is training and I am the attacker, not you.'

I asked him what he did when he was confronting someone as a police officer and he saw a hook coming. He said he would move and then beat the crap out of them. I asked, 'Then, if you were being real then why did my slow hook land? Why didn't you move?'

After the dumb look on his face expired he realized it was his fault he got hit and not mine. Plus, I never apologize when someone else doesn't do the minumum to protect themselves. Not surprisingly he started moving after that and his mental state went from dojo to real.

Some might say this is not doable with all beginners (although Mike was far from a beginner). I would counter that in not doing so you are cheating your partner in the most valuable training of the day, that of uke. When we are uke we should be learning how to do the minumum to protect ourselves (moving out of the way of a slow hook would qualify here).

When we are uke we 'should' be learning what it means to attack another person so we understand what is going on mentally in the attacker and how to manipulate it (this takes time). IMO, many of the best leasons are learned when playing the role of uke not tori. However, as I travel around I frequently see uke's that are more worried about what tori is doing and ignoring 'their' learning opportunities. Sad.


P.S. Survival is moment to moment, techniques are a myth.

Last edited by Mark Jakabcsin : 05-06-2003 at 09:21 PM.
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