Culminating all of the information one might learn under any given self-defense system, they can find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information. By the time the person would have found a functional answer, they would have been beaten severely. The point is that one has to find a simplistic way to deal with real situations now, given all of the background information one has obtained.
In a violent, serious, threatening altercation one has to weigh how they train in the dojo/self-defense school vs. what they should really do out in the real world. So many times students are taught strategies which take too long, and are dependent on so many variables (i.e. size of their opponent, where they are fighting, etc.). What they tend to forget is the old cliche saying, “You fight like you train, so you need to train how you fight”. Using the concepts of simplicity, economy of motion and the mindset of using whatever it takes to prevail, reigns as being the best no nonsense defense strategy.
Martial artists and “self-defense experts” have to once again synthesize their information. They have to make it simplistic. Under a stressful situation, they have to realize they are only going to remember the basics – regardless of the fact that one’s body can only do the basics – as complex and fine motor skills go out the window when pumped with adrenaline!
Therefore, one has to train the way they are going to fight, or want to realistically fight. They have to condition themselves with a simple strategy for each Area of Combat. Therefore, a quick reference list of the simple “Plan A” strategies will be explained soon. One will find that they are not only very simplistic, but very effective and efficient. First, one has to learn the Plan A and B theory.
Plan A is the first line of defense, against common attacks such as a punch, takedown, dealing with a knife stab or bear hug from behind. In a perfect world “Plan A” will always work, however, no one lives in a perfect world. That is why one also has to train a “Plan B” strategy as well. They need something they can use if Plan A breaks down, does not produce the desired results, or simply fails.
The problem with these Plan B strategies is that they are very dependent on other variables such as opponent’s size, strength, and skill. They do not take into account the environment one is fighting in, nor do they realize these plans could take an extended amount of time to work. Never the less, they work, but these back up plans take longer to train, and get good at, while their success rate is much less than the Plan A’s. The best way to see these differences is to take each Area and break it down into its proper Plan A (primary action) and Plan B (back up plan). Remember, using what Bruce said, we must “Absorb what is useful, and reject what is useless…”. If it does not work consistently, efficiently, and is easy to learn – discard it. At the very least do not set it as one’s primary response.
5 AREAS OF COMBAT
The following will break down each area of combat, and specifically explain each “Plan A and B”.
Kick Boxing Range:
Plan A: Spend a minimal amount of time in this range. Take a couple seconds to assess one’s opponent, find an opening, and inflict pain against a universal weak spot (i.e. groin, shin, eyes, etc.). Use quick and gross motor based moves so they work well under stress and need minimum amount of time learning and performing them.
Plan B: If one gets stuck in this range, they will have to resort back to their regular kick boxing skills. Footwork, combinations of kicks, in addition to solid boxing tools will either get one back out to a safe range, or help break down an opponent to create an opening.
Plan A vs. B: Plan A helps one to fight smarter, while Plan B has one fight harder. It is similar to the fact that one can take a tree down with an axe or a sledgehammer. One is just the smarter choice, as Plan A is the axe for this range. See the opponent as a door one has to get through. A person may pound (or punch and kick) on it all day long, and sooner or later the door might fall. Or, a person can use a key, and with one direct tool open the door easier, faster, and without the results of bloody knuckles.
Close Quarter Combat:
Plan A: This is the range one has the most amount of leverage. Heavy artillery tools such as elbows, knees, and head butts inflict stunning and destructive blows to anyone. Use these tools in combination and find out how to truly end any fight in seconds.
Plan B: Disengage out of this range or engage further into taking down one’s opponent to the ground. Staying in close quarters range, and not using these tools gives one’s opponent an opportunity to use their heavy artillery. Therefore, the best plan is to get out or progress to the ground. Do not stay in kicking or boxing range, and just exchange strikes. The risk vs. reward ratio is equal at best, and if one is the smaller, weaker, or less skilled the odds are not in one’s favor.
Plan A vs. B: Imagine one is up against a 6’8” 350 lbs opponent. He will most likely laugh at a punch, and smother another down on the ground. The secret: use heavy artillery, as talked about above. A knee to the groin, powerful head butt, and barrage of elbows will take anyone down. Once again, people get up after punches, and get out of grappling holds, but rarely keep fighting after a couple elbows, knees, or head butts.
Plan A: Against popular belief, one is not going to take two minutes to set up an arm bar in a violent situation. Remember, we’re talking about serious altercations here, where one fears severe bodily harm, rape, or death. Therefore, when one is on the ground, they have to bite, eye gouge, pinch, and scratch, in addition to strike all those targets which are illegal to strike in tournaments.
Plan B: In this back up plan one falls back on their tournament ground skills. Locks, chokes, and multi move techniques are the back up. Although there is a sizeable difference between tournament and street grappling, tournament skills are needed in street applications such as positioning, basic awareness, efficient/effective techniques, and other attributes.
Plan A vs. B: The UFC’s and other “no rules” tournaments helped the martial world for the most part. However, it also mislead many, helping them believe a woman should be looking for that leg lock during a rape attempt, instead of a vicious way out (i.e. eye gouge to kick off to escape). When in this range, know what one’s ethics and risk vs. reward ratio are, to exhibit the best tools for the situation.
Plan A: Watch one’s distance and cut the hand which is holding the incoming weapon wielded by your opponent, which is called “defanging the snake” in the Asian arts. When the opponent comes in to initiate a cut, use that opportunity to cut their weapon’s hand. It is a perfect mixture of an offensive and defensive move. Remember, do not go after them, have them come in to strike. Then see that weapon’s hand as a target, not something to fear.
Plan B: Assuming one cannot run or if they are unarmed, they want to inflict pain, close the gap and isolate the weapon hand. After doing this, using a combination of close quarters tools, including bites and eye rakes, would help end the fight quickly. Against a blunt weapon, this is a very practical back up plan. However, if one has a knife, the risk vs. reward ratio gets very unbalanced. Closing the gap against a knife may not seem intelligent. However, staying out in a range where one is getting cut up does not make any sense as well. Sometimes Plan B is the lesser of two evils, which is why it’s Plan B.
Plan A vs. B: This is a sticky situation, no lie about it. But do not lie to oneself by training in a controlled manner, with a set of planned attacks and responses. If one honestly tries a multi move disarm against an unchoreographed knife attack, they quickly find out that it is a crapshoot, with a success rate worse than Las Vegas. Once again, the chances of pulling off a disarm which contains complex and fine motor skills is unrealistic. Training in an unpredictable way surely shows the differences between the three main options one has: defang, close the gap, or disarm.
Plan A: Grab a weapon, any weapon. Bar stool, bottle, pocket knife, tire iron, car antenna, keys, lose stick, pen, or anything. In a multiple opponent situation, the odds are already stacked up against the single person.
Therefore, one has to grab an equalizer to balance out the situation. After getting a weapon, if the opponents come in, strike them. If not, disengage the situation as far as possible (i.e. leave!).
Plan B: If one cannot find a weapon, or get to one quick enough, they will have to fight empty handed. When one or more attacks are coming in, zone to a position where one has to only fight one person at a time. In this short time one has to fight a one on one fight, they must inflict quick pain, close the gap, and use heavy artillery. After hitting the first with a variety of elbows, eye rakes, head butts, and knees, throw them out of the way and go to contestant number two and repeat the program.
Plan A vs. B: Given the seriousness of the situation, these two plans actually work very well. Most will find that when the single person picks up a weapon the other opponents start to have second thoughts on attacking. In those situations one cannot find a weapon, or get to one quickly, they have to learn to fight one person at a time. Zoning, moving, and striking at the same time works the best given the uneven odds.
Once again, in a perfect world Plan A would work 99.9% of the time. For the other 0.1% of instances, Plan B would pick up the slack. But again, no one lives in a perfect world. Variables such as environment, skill levels of both the “good guys and bad guys”, in addition to even luck, play a part in any altercation. Sometimes the Plan A’s stated previously will have a very high success rate, and sometimes they will be lower. Plan B’s sometimes work very well, and other times may not even have a chance to shine. The point is that practitioners must do the only thing they have control over to increase the chances of success that these more intelligent strategies can give someone. That one thing is training… realistic, consistent training.
Chances are far greater for success when training a couple options repeatedly in an intense method, as opposed to dozens upon dozens of options infrequently. One of the best ways to decrease reaction time, in addition to increasing the chance of success, is to train a primary plan followed with a backup strategy. Within this training method one has to keep a couple important tips in mind:
- Train with unpredictable variables. For instance, have training opponents feed different energies (takedowns, different angles of punches, etc).
- Train with a variety of partners. Big, small, fast, strong, unskilled, savvy… get them all in there.
- Train in different environments. In small rooms, dim the lights, in cold weather, on the beach, out in parking lots, etc.
- Train hard. Start out slow, but increase intensity as skill improves, and break a sweat every time.
- Train smart. Because safety comes first, train with proper gear, and balanced ethical responses.
Integrate these into one’s training methods, and watch the ability to simplify skyrocket, while also keeping methods and strategies in reality.