First rule of self defense

Postby DavidJ » Mon Mar 12, 2001 8:35 pm

Michael, Audi, Bob3,

Interesting responses, I like them.

The story I told speaks of two ideals, one has to do with intent, "do no harm," and the other has to do with a very high level of physical fitness and prowess.

The first you should carry with you at all times. The second may be where you're headed, but certainly shouldn't be confused with where you are.

David
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Postby NickC » Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:57 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steve:
<B>I agree completely. Since everything we do is in response to the opponent's movements, it is difficult to justify striking first.
Steve</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi this is my first posting!

I think we respond to their behaviour way before a physical attack. Martial Arts defence starts way before a punch is launched, irrespective of style. I think that waiting for the punch is a tad tardy. From what I understand Tai Chi starts with intention and we should be feeling the opponents 'next moves' way before the blow has a chance of landing.
I think the adage 'start last finish first' may be mis-leading. If someone looks at you meanly you can 'out intention' them straight away. Did that start a fight? I didn't stare meanly first, but I struck before him - with intention.
If I read his intention, feel the ill-intent, cannot disuade him from attacking, but smack him before he punches - did I attack first? I think I was just pro-active in my defence. The law of the land and your upbringing may not agree with you and would rather have physical proof of his ill-intent before any retaliation - but that's way too late for real self-defence. Why give the opponent a chance? Why is physically attacking first giving him a chance? If I'm good I should be able to attack without serious error. Intention, for example, can freeze an opponent like an animal in a car's headlights. And if I achieve this, why not wade staight in?

I think the first rule should be to switch on your intention. In fact if you can, keep it ticking over most of the time. Then you'll have less suprises and more chances to avoid bad situations altogether.

I've written this in a rush whilst at work (tee hee). Despite this, I hope it still makes some sense.

Kindest regards to all,
Nick C.
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Postby DavidJ » Mon Mar 26, 2001 5:57 pm

Hi Nick C,

If someone brandishes a gun, even the law can recognize the intent to harm. If someone say's "I'm gonna take your head off," that's a declaration of intent, same as brandishing a gun. But people can seem to have harmful intentions when they don't, like when they are just scared and mouthing off.

If it seem that someone is moving towards you with the intent to harm, give them room, if they continue to try to get withing range, warn them, if that fails, then probably the intent is clear.

But...

...you wrote, "Intention, for example, can freeze an opponent like an animal in a car's headlights. And if I achieve this, why not wade staight in? I think the first rule should be to switch on your intention. In fact if you can, keep it ticking over most of the time..."

Your defense is triggered by another's intent, and you think you should walk around showing the same intent? This is too clever by half.
Everyone who agrees with you would automatically have a punch out with everyone else who agrees with you.

David Salvia


[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 03-26-2001).]
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Postby Michael » Mon Mar 26, 2001 10:35 pm

A friend of mine used to say to persons who threaten him--"If you really want to fight, know that it is to the death!" It usually worked. But it is a different world now than when he used that line. This is using intent. Know that the other person may think that this is just fine. In such a situation it is you (him) who has escalated the encounter. This may force the person to produce a weapon or maybe he is just a better fighter than you. This can be rather dangerous. You may only find yourself in this type of situation once or twice in your life (depending on where you live of course). You have to hope that the opponent(s) does not call your bluff with impunity.

If one can not talk the other person out of violence and you cannot get away, let him commit first if you have any skill. Then get there first. If the opponent thinks that you are an "easy mark" he may let his guard down a bit which you can take advantage of. If your skills in taiji are not that great, only you know what you ae capable of and how you need to respond and in what order.

When you act tough, that is what you may get in return. I know a guy who is a weight lifter. He has a huge upper body. He has lots of trouble with people wanting to prove themselves against him. These people see his size as a threat in a way. If he had a tough guy look on his face all the time he would probably double the amount of fights people want to pick with him.

They say the best defense when faced with an oncoming group of people (and you are alone) who seem to have bad intent is to look like you are nuts. There is no ego gratification in beating up someone who mentally "retarded" (though you still may get robbed). I Used this once and nothing happened other than some pushing and shoving, whether anything serious would have happened I don't know--but that is OK.

Be careful!



[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 03-26-2001).]
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Postby NickC » Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:22 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DavidJ:
[B]Hi Nick C,
Your defense is triggered by another's intent, and you think you should walk around showing the same intent? This is too clever by half.
Everyone who agrees with you would automatically have a punch out with everyone else who agrees with you.

David Salvia
</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Dave,

Yes ok, point taken, I suppose my first historic posting may have made me look like some sort of psychopath. Oh well.

I suppose the main point I was trying to get at was the idea that defense starts from reading a situation and reading a person etc. and us Tai Chi folk do that by using our intent - either overtly or subtlely. I think that this is a positive advantage we have and should use. I don't know many arts that develop yi like tai chi. I think it's the first 'technique' that should be used in self-defence, before all others. Some say 'no yi no chi'. No chi - how can we defend? We're pretty much tied into using energy for defense aren't we?

Nick.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Mar 28, 2001 2:05 am

Hi Nick,

You point to an interesting aspect/interpretation of the idea "the mind leads."

Where the mind may be seen primarily as motivating, ie. intent, I think that it also includes awareness, which is part of what you're talking about.

Kind of like entering situations mind first.

Intent and awareness are both linked to the mind. Is this what you meant to get at with your first post?

David
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Postby NickC » Wed Mar 28, 2001 10:05 am

Dave,

Yes, basically.
IMO the fight doesn't start with contact, but with everything that led up to that contact. To focus only on that is too little too late. From what I've been taught you should already have intention projecting (and spiralling) at the opponent before contact is made. So the first rule (IMO) should be something about intention and awareness. After all the energy us tai chi folk use isn't based in the physical anyway. Sometimes boxers can lose the fight before they even step into the ring etc etc etc.

I suppose in terms of rules I would propose something like:
1. Awareness
2. Intention (projection of chi, mind, force, whatever etc)
3. Stuff you decide or feel you should do based on how the opponent reacted to the first 2 rules.
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Postby Michael » Thu Mar 29, 2001 4:53 pm

NickC,
Interesting thoughts. Now if I understand you correctly, i would suggest that it would be awarness not "intent" to be the focus however. "Intent" puts you on a course so to speak. Once a course is taken it slows change. Your use of the word "intent" in your postings seems to actually imply the word "attitude". Intent is more appropriately used in the direction of physical actions in taiji. One does not project "chi", "intent", or "mind" through the air, but one can do so with attitude.

Avoid, diffuse, run, but do not create!
If it all fails it would be better to put yourself in the wuji state where all possibilities can occur and where your awareness encompasses everything. This is what brings success in taiji combat. We empty ourselves to respond faster than the opponent can move. The Daoists say that the "clear shinning mind" takes you where you want to go and to where your acts are appropriate. This is true in life and in the martial arts.

Projecting "intent" ("attitude") towards the potential opponent creates a situation that will work on cowards, but it can push the other type into action, maybe before you are ready. By preparing the offensive first in a sense, you make it a little harder(or slower) to change to the defensive. The same is not true however if you switch them around. This is a major distinction of the "soft" or "internal" arts, taiji especially.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 03-29-2001).]
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Postby NickC » Fri Mar 30, 2001 12:24 pm

Mike,

Yeah, I reckon I agree with you. I like the application of wuji, which tends not to have much focus put on it when people start talking applications. I think I see what you mean in terms of distinguishing between intent, awareness and attitude.

However, what is it when people are controlled without being touched? Is that intent or attitude or what. I know this is a 'touchy' debate and people are split on what they believe, but if you do believe in it - how can attitude fully account for the phenomenon? Is it chi, intent and mind travelling through the air, compliance or hypnotism or....?

Nick C.
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Postby Michael » Sat Mar 31, 2001 5:20 pm

I don't have any problem with what others believe. I can only comment on what I know from experience. Attitude can influence another. For example, in the case of an abusive relationship the abuser creates a climate that SEEMS to control the victim. The control is really the victim controlling him/herself by their own fear. Nobody does anything to another(other than physical violence), we do it to ourselves.

In the case of a confrontation between persons where no relationship exists, intimidation is the focus. It may be a show of confidence, or hostility or whatever..producing fear, discomfort, or doubt in the other. Again it is the person who is the object of the intimidation who is controlling their own reactions---influenced obviously by the other. One can control the situation he find himself in but not anothers. I know this is semantics, but true.

In the case of sending chi across space to effect or control another, Iam a non-believer. When doing Chi-gung when a point like the Laogung passes or lingers over another point there may be felt a something feeling like a jolt of electricity. This may pass over several inches of space. The closer, the more powerful it is felt.

When a palm strike is used and the energy (chi) is brought forth it is much more powerful when used against another accupuncture point, lets say on the chest. It it less powerful when delivered to a non-point, and a fist maybe even less powerful. But to effect one at a distance is improbable, and is a thing of legends. Touch is necessary. In the case of demonsrations where people are flung across the room without being touched is a conditioned response between teacher and student or it is staged. None of these people can do it to YOU, unless you want it to happen. Now, were the great sages of the past able to perform such feats? We will never Know. There are none of that caliber walking around who would ever LET us test it, that I am sure of, they would keep such ability a secret.
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Postby Audi » Sat Mar 31, 2001 8:03 pm

Nick,

You may be touching on what is described as "the shen (spirit/mind) issuing itself without the aid of yi (intent) or qi (energy)," as is described in the literature. I do not know much about "shen" issuing, but presume it covers such things as the physical effects of charisma or how one person's mere presence can affect another.

By the way, I am one of those people who has great skepticism of unusual qi claims and find the parts of T'ai Chi that are fully consistent with modern scientific views quite enough to keep me busy.

Audi
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Postby NickC » Mon Apr 02, 2001 10:09 am

Actually I'm quite uncomfortable on this topic, because I really don't understand enough to comment. I suppose I was wondering more what other people would say. I've done other Martial Arts for quite a long time, but Tai Chi for only 1.5 yrs. The whole internal thing is still quite mysterious to me. From where I am now, anything looks possible and much of what I've experienced myself I cannot explain using science. It's just too damn complicated! Every time I've said "it's this" or "it's that" I've ended up looking a bit stupid within a couple of weeks when it's all changed and my current "theory" evapourates like morning dew.

Cheers for your thoughts though, I am still thinking about them.

NickC.
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Postby Michael » Mon Apr 02, 2001 3:59 pm

Nick, you do not appear stupid at all, you appear to be thinking and investigating. That is good. That is what we are all doing.
You say that you have been doing other martial arts before coming to taiji. From that kind of experience taiji can look rather complicated. It really is not. But it is a slow process, much, much slower to gain skill as compared to Karate or Hard style kung Fu.
Some people make it appear much more complicated than it is with terminology etc. Sometimes it is hard to determine if what various people tell you is "true" or "correct". If you can create the proper structure, find what they call "sung", and practice hard and practice more, it will teach you all. It becomes less and less complicated. Some have said that when you find "IT" it will make you laugh about how simple it all is. As for myself, I am not yet laughing, nor do not expect to be for a loooooong time.

i agree whole heartedly with Audi about the scientific mechanics of taiji being enough work. I may ask him if he has ever felt "chi" crossing space between two accupunture points. I expect you have felt the movement in your own body. This always "jolts" me when it occurs (transmisson of "electricity" or "chi" between two points) as I tend to be a pretty scientific person generally (trained Biologist).
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Postby NickC » Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:21 pm

Yes, my own chi experiences includes jolts etc., but I can't pin-point it to meridian points etc. it feels much more general to me.
A lot seems to be connected to releasing emotions.
Have you been to Chu Gin Soon's website and seen the mpegs there of people being tossed around and manipulated?
How can science explain that simply? It's just to complex. Can't just say - it's this, or it's that.
I suppose just duck your head down and get on with the energy work and see what happens.
When talking about background in external systems making it hard to see how simple Tai Chi is, I'm not so sure. The body mechanics of Tai Chi I can twig on very easily and from where I was before Tai Chi, get the feeling and flow etc. much much faster than a rank beginner. It's the energy work - the real internal stuff - that is way complicated. The body mechanics if physics and structures etc. Sets of rules. But the use of chi whilst moving and how to cultivate it etc. - can't explain it using science.
I have some biology background, but not too much at a cellular level. More anatomy, physiology like a first/second yr medical student, so maybe you can think of theories to explain chi more easily than me.
NickC.
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Postby Michael » Tue Apr 03, 2001 10:38 pm

I find that no matter what the activity, if one forces anything the desired results come slowly or not at all. You are right, just work hard, and then harder and the results will come. Let it happen.

try single movement practice to develop your awareness of the WHOLE BODY performing the technique. Some say that this is the fastest and surest way to develop awareness and use of "chi". But regardles of the training method, "sung" is what is needed.

Can't say what chi is. I only know what I feel. Some say bio/mechanical/electrical energy. From the production of energy by mitochondria, the oxygen, hormones.....all rolled up into one.

Here is another first rule of self defense-- quell the emotions. Emotions cloud the picture and slow you down.
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