How To Fight Summarized

This was written to a student a while back who was struggling in his exploration of his own abilities. There are no secrets here, just basic info, but if you’ve never put words to the basic info that you, or your teacher just do, perhaps this is a good starting point. It’s very unlikely this addresses everything but it is sufficiently broad enough to help with a bunch.

I have a question for you. A friend of mine is a black belt in TKD he’s pretty fast when he throws kicks, and [uses] different combinations [than I’m used to], always one kick immediately after another kick so he always catches me. How do you deal with that?

It depends on how you are fighting.

[None of my available materials right now address tactics or methods so much as just the body culture you need, and overall ideas. I’ve always preferred that people figure it out by experimenting rather than being told. It’s a more fruitful method to development of a personal methodology IMO. Anyway, it’s probably a missing component to what I have created over the years for people and I’ll have to look at doing some.]

In any case, I have fought TKD guys, Karate guys, Kung fu, Kuntao, Wing Chun guys, Kali guys, Hapkido guys, etc. It matters a great deal how you are fighting. Are you fighting to touch or to hit? Hit or to hurt? Hurt or to injure? Injure or kill? If the intent is not there to at least hurt it makes ANY fighting more difficult.

Also, when you “fight” anyone you must remember that there are several ways to deal with it. It doesn’t matter a great deal who they are or what style:

1. Close or open the gap. Closing reduces the required space for kicking attacks and opening makes their kicks irrelevant and gives you time to observe. Kicking requires a certain distance between you and the kicker. If you stand still or stay on line and he kicks, he gets to choose when and how often he kicks. Meaning HE/SHE gets to create the combinations and you’re left to defend yourself (reaction versus action). Move out of defense and into offense. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and Masukan)

[Kicking in this regard is really any type of attack but I was specifically addressing kicks.]

2. Use angles. Don’t just stand there or even back up. Those are the two least effective options for evasion. In a pinch you may do it, but it’s not preferred. If you back up against any type of attack, in a straight line, they will be able to continue to attack. In response to kicks specifically, remember that they are not very maneuverable. If you choose to back up for the initial attack, you should do so at an angle. In all cases, the attacker will be forced to change simple combinations into complex ones when the body has to re-orient. Additionally, if you do both, close the gap and change angle, it really messes with the combative relationship. (Gerak, Langkah, Ales, and if you close the gap, Masukan)

3. Every attack generates from or through one of four places – either shoulder or either hip. If you want to defend against any attack the best way is to go to the source. Attack the source of the attack directly. I normally just block kicks by kicking the kick as it starts, or by attacking the hip or upper thigh close to where it generates. The same can be done for strikes of any kind. This is best when combined with the previous two points. The key is to “block” in a way that is destructive to structure. Not just blocking or attacking the limb that as kicking or striking, but actually destroying structure by doing so. (Totokan and or Timbilan)

4. Close the gap, attack, change angle, destroy structure, and then monitor additional attacks by putting your hands or feet in ready positions to deal with additional attacks by monitoring the zones from which they generate. Additionally, by closing the gap and catching or locking the attacker you can nullify many follow up attacks. This is only a good option if you haven’t already and aren’t able to destroy the opponent. I don’t advocate this over hitting the attacker repeatedly or breaking down their structure, but it does work if you close the gap but are unable to effectively attack. (Pencegah Tangan, Tangkapan, and Kuncian)

5. Fight the way you fight best. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, learn to control the relationship of the fight. Be able to break away, get up, and release when you want to, or close, grab, shove or strike and kick. By doing so, you’re allowing yourself to use the tools you want to use and are comfortable using. Do not fight the other persons fight. This is hard to remember sometimes, especially if you’re getting hit. You are still better to fight your best fight, than to fight their best fight.

6. Be ready to take it to the end. Be willing to close, over-run, take a hit, and get close. Do what is necessary to do. Be willing to move beyond injuring to killing. Intent to do harm as quickly as possible is necessary. To what level of course, needs to be determined responsibly. If there is a weapon involved on the part of the attacker, for example, it is not enough to injure in most cases, you need be willing to move to killing. Pembas.

Those are my suggestions. How they work for you will depend on your skill and understanding, and of course the attackers skill and understanding and the sweat you put into your study.

Guru Stark
Pencak Silat Pertempuran

Sean Stark
Founder of Pencak Silat Pertempuran. In looking for a martial art that was practical and artistic I found Pencak Silat. In silat I found an art that's organic nature allowed me to change it to make it culturally realistic and still allowed me to have the benefit of art and body culture.

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“My first thought was, who am I to teach?”