Yesterday at Living Water Martial Arts, we worked on the Fighting Measure, or measuring distance and timing in a fight.
Having every martial arts tool at the ready is something I am deeply interested in. For example: Tae Kwon Do and Karate teach a round kick that strikes with the instep of the foot, or the part of your foot that is covered by the shoelaces. Muay Thai teaches a round kick that strikes with the shin of the leg, in other words, a little higher up the leg then Tae Kwon Do or Karate. Krav Maga and Muay Thai also teach a round knee strike, still farther up the leg.
If the human body, our common basic anatomy possesses the ability to use each of these tools, then why don't we train them all? Why do some arts neglect tools that are available to the human body? (This could also apply to only training to kick at certain heights, low or high, why neglect the totality of the tools available to the human body? It seems simply to be nonsensical.)
I understand the concept of specialization and mastery, as Bruce Lee famously put it, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." I understand this. You want to sharpen and polish a tool to make it sharp and effective. However, I feel that in order to make the most use of the tools we have been given, we should practice all applications of our hammer, our wrench and our nails, not only use a hammer's claw and forget how to drive a nail.
How do I marry these two ideas together? Mastery and Totality? In a word, Concepts. Dan Inosanto has already coined the phrase in Jeet Kune Do, the idea of something as it relates to Bruce Lee's teachings, of a Concept, for example, throwing someone off balance might be a concept, how you do that mechanically is up to you.
When thinking of the Fighting Measure, or using the right tool at the right distance, I like to think of the line of attack, if we imagine the face of a clock surrounding our opponent, we might throw a round kick at the 3 o'clock position, striking their rib cage, perhaps their floating rib. Now, the distance might change slightly on us, if we are at the edge of kicking range, the Tae Kwon Do/Karate Kick is a great tool, slightly closer, the Muay Thai shin kick is ideal, closer still, the Knee strike from Krav Maga and Muay Thai. If mentally we train ourselves to judge this distance, find the timing, and use proper tool at the proper moment, without artificial limitation, (My art does not strike like that!) it is there that I believe, great success will be found.
Attack without limit.
Until next time my friends.