5 Ways to Ruin Your Self-Defense Training, Part 4

by Ken Freeman - Date: 2007-01-01 - Word Count: 1534 Share This!

Part 4: Disregarding Vital Targets

"You may wonder what might prevent your attacker from using these tactics also. Actually nothing, except that you will be better at it. Guided Chaos levels the playing field. The ability to both deliver and avoid these tactics for survival is based purely on looseness, body unity, balance and sensitivity- aspects virtually no one else teaches, especially on the ground." --From the book Attack Proof: The Ultimate Guide to Personal Protection

Taking It to the Ground...

Since people panic on the ground and move with tension, they telegraph their movements and move in a "reaching" instead of "striking" fashion, thus leaving their limbs susceptible to locks and breaks before they can even reach their targets. As the hand is faster than the eye, an object moving between two points can't be picked up by the focus zones of the eye if it travels faster than approximately 1/16th of a second. For this reason, it is important to think in terms of hundredths of seconds instead of tenths or full seconds, as that type of movement would be far too slow for our purposes.

Also, because our sphere of influence moves to the ground on our own terms while still maintaining the same attributes from our upright position, our mobility is not affected in the same manner as a grappler or another striker who is uncomfortable with the ground. It is because of this maintenance of speed and mobility that we are able to attack these vital targets with impunity, even from the ground.

Maintaining mobility and power on the ground completely allows you to strike any and every part of your attacker's body with incapacitating damage. However, for the purpose of this section, I'd like to focus on two primary target "areas", the eyes and throat. A secondary and highly controversial target is the groin which is ideally attacked with crushing/twisting force.

Grappling Creates Open Targets

There is a lot of misunderstanding as to how you should attack the eyes and a lot more mythology going on about eye gouges and throat attacks not altering the nature of a fight. Contrary to what many proponents of grappling have been mislead to believe, a person cannot sacrifice the usage of both of their arms and simultaneously protect these targets, even if they have what they believe to be positional dominance.

Unless you have engaged in either entanglement or resisted in some fashion, it is entirely too easy to target these areas with either multiple, repeated blows or as a method of gaining control of the attacker's head. As a side note, we do not support the belief of one "magic blow". To do so would be a violation of the sub principle of "Reactive Looseness". We don't stop moving until we can either escape or the opponent can no longer attack.

The problem is that people have become so fixated on grappling being the equivalent or "end all" of ground fighting that they are completely overlooking these methods because of the extreme simplicity. When non-grapplers mention the eyes and throat, grapplers envision them attempting to break out of some complicated twist or lock that they have manipulated their opponent into by way of superior position (knee on mount, side control, etc.) This is not the case, because if you move correctly, those complex locks will never occur in the first place as the transition into positional dominance, or positional dominance itself leaves them completely exposed. The reason I can speak in this manner is not overconfidence, but the simple fact that this stuff really is that simple to counter as they literally provide a free path to those targets when they sacrifice their mobility for setup or control purposes. This is fine for sport, but not self defense.

Grappling Mythology

Here's an email from Lt. Col. Al that further supports and explains this view:

"One of the problems we have is that the counters to such grappling techniques are truly 'so simple' that no one wants to believe it. The simpler something seems, the less likely people are to believe in its effectiveness, it's just the way our minds work, even in the military there are many people including combat vets who think that grappling works in real fights." "The head is very easy to manipulate and takes less effort to control than the body. However, any sort of head manipulation is also dangerous, which is why in sport fighting, there are all sorts of rules as to what you can and can't do when grabbing the head. The eye sockets and nose are like natural handles when manipulating the head and make it too easy to control or injure someone, which once again is why they are not allowed in sport fighting. Besides, if such techniques were allowed, they would invalidate many of the techniques of various fighting arts which pride themselves on being able to control people through physical technique and athletic prowess."

"[In real conditions] if they are able to get away with it, it's only because they were dealing with someone who is not skilled in the art of assassination, which brings me to my next point. Real martial arts are rooted in the dark art of "quick" [incapacitation or even] death! I cannot overemphasize that final point." Even after a demonstration where I attempted the mount, I found it extremely difficult to accept that simple, high speed, potentially lethal strikes could nullify these positions with such ease. All of the techniques that I'd learned previously were much more complicated, involved entanglement and were a lot slower.

The Groin Attack

Very often, we will hear absolutely ridiculous counterarguments to attacking vital targets along the lines of "it is difficult to attack the groin when a lot of people these days fashionably "sag" their pants", or "what if the guy has on a cup?" Here Lt. Col. Al will elaborate from an email where we discussed this matter:

"Like yourself, I've heard this all before as well and I have to tell you that you don't need to be a martial arts expert to understand that this is nothing more than a bogus argument."

"What you need to remind people of is that the only fight we are really training for is the one that comes in the form of an attack [in the real world], not a sportive contest. First of all, bad guys don't walk around wearing a cup and if they do, then they're probably not right in the head to begin with, so you have a bigger problem on your hands aside from dealing with a guy trying to protect his family jewels in a fight. Also, the primary target areas that people want to focus on are the eyes and throat anyway."

"As for someone wearing a lot of clothing, remember that multiple layers will provide some protection against slashes with a knife and protect the skin, but it will not protect against a compression injury. Any type of strike capable of penetrating to the bone will not be affected by someone wearing say a large jacket. Even someone wearing a flack vest is not immune from getting their body compressed if a strike, such as a powerful kick is properly placed." "As a final note to all of this, remember that people who say things such as, "well, what if they are wearing a cup?", these folks are knuckleheads and should not be taken seriously. This is the same mindset of people who when they know you study a martial art, the first thing they say to you is, "well what would you do if I had a gun, pulled a gun, etc...", you know the lines. The reason they say such things is completely out of deep rooted fears and insecurities as they know that anyone who trains in the dark art of death could possibly "end it" for them in an instant or at least completely invalidate their nonsense. You are a threat to their egos so they have to say such things to make themselves feel better. Trust me, even my buddies who are grapplers go through the same type of nonsense. It's interesting too because whenever challenged these guys become very sheepish [Note: a person that wants to assassinate you will just shoot you and will not let you know what their intentions are until it's probably too late for you to react.]"

"Usually this shuts them down and they cut the crap, but it also reveals their real fears. We had a guy one time make an unbelievably stupid comment at one of our schools when John was explaining the importance of focusing on eye and throat strikes. This jerk who was observing the class made a comment along the lines of "well what if they are wearing goggles?" So John asked, "Does anyone think that if a person were wearing a pair of goggles it would deter you from crushing their skull?" John also added, "What kind of moron walks around the street wearing a pair of safety goggles?" or words to that effect. He was then offered the opportunity to join the class which he of course sheepishly declined, typical." to be continued...

Next--Part 5, The Conclusion: "OK, here I am, now hit me!"

Related Tags: self-defense, karate, mma, mixed martial arts, tai chi, kung fu, bruce lee, ju jitsu

Ken Freeman is a 1st degree Black Belt in Guided Chaos (Ki Chuan Do), the adaptive, free-form internal art created by former forensic homicide investigator John Perkins. He is the leader of the Chicago KCD Training Group. See http://attackproof.com/ More articles and DVDs can be found at http://www.attackproof.com/FREE-self-defense-NEWSLETTER.html

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