Counter Control through Self Control – Part 1

The principles and mechanics of martial form and function are relatively easy for everyone to grasp, at least on a cognitive level: Your opponent attempts to attack you, and you then defend accordingly. Such a simple concept.

Like many aspects of the martial arts, it is not enough to just look at the very plain and basic meaning of this statement, in doing so you are just working mechanically and becoming nothing more than an automaton. Instead of a living, thinking and feeling human being which not only completes, but LIVES through each movement. Every technique must be defined by you, and will be affected by your background, your personality, and your own particular philosophy on life and death.

If martial training was indeed so easy that all we need to do is follow a format, we would all be masters of the art in only a few months. Fortunately, or unfortunately if you simply require a quick-fix or a band-aid for your self-belief, the truth is something much more complex than simply following a three-step process of: 1. Foot here, 2. Hands here, 3. Push here,

Why do i say fortunately? Simply because the process of mechanical procedure can only function within a set of specified and defined parameters, and the highly individualised, fast-moving, fluid dynamic of training in the Dojo does not allow for this, never mind the myriad of complexities provided by, and in addition to, an unstable environment within a real-world scenario, should a real situation arise and you be compelled to act in defence.

Any given situation introduces an element of fallibility not just in our own capacity to deal with the techniques and the situation, but also within the focus and also the determination of the incoming attack. If either of these factors is incompatible, then the technique is doomed to fail.

Given that we cannot expect out attackers to be pleasantly appreciative of our limitations in ability, understanding, form, execution and confidence, the onus for change must lie solely on our own shoulders. Unless we are able to change the fundamental aspect of how we choose to deal with the attacker and the method or style of attack used, it is more than likely that our defence will therefore not be completely effective.

In order to make the most of our ability, we must simulate and become at once the attack and the defence combined as one fully committed action, free from restraints imposed upon ourselves, by ourselves. This is the essence of training, and in order to be realised first we must focus not on the individuals or the outcome, but on the way we choose to interact within any given moment. Control, then becomes the key factor, but oftentimes not in the way we first think.

We cannot hope to control any attack without first seeking to control fully and completely our own selves – control of body, mind, and spirit, with a single focus on remaining fluid and aware of the changing dynamic of any given martial situation.

(to be Continued in Part 2).

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