“Once the combative mind frees itself of the obstructions from necessity (primarily caused by the fixation with technique), it will evolve to its highest state of absorption and enhance its moment to moment capabilities with refined accuracy. The "fight," from its earliest point to its state of incompleteness, is so vast that any attempts at locking onto specifics deludes our chances of survival from the minimal... to the extreme.”
This was part of a reply given to someone a while back by a senior Korean martial arts instructor.
Let's take the first part of the quote and work from there. "Once the combative mind frees itself of the obstructions from necessity (primarily caused by the fixation with technique), it will evolve to its highest state of absorption and enhance its moment to moment capabilities with refined accuracy." The majority of combative systems today, traditional and modern alike rely either solely on or 90% of the time on physical tactics. It's either about grappling or striking, or about which 'technique' is most efficient under which attacks, etc. When the fight isn't bound by rules, codes, or previous agreements such as sparring or athletic events, then human behavior becomes the primary source in which information is filtered. The state of mind in which the individual is in at the moment, based on the time and events of the day or week's occurrences, will have a predominant effect in his reactions in that moment. We cannot change an individual's core behavioral components, but it is possible to activate quicker tactical reactions to behaviorally rooted situations. For instance, fighting or defending against an unarmed man requires different tactical implementations than fighting or defending yourself against two armed men. If you possess but a solidified technical response then you will be consistently prompted by your 'mind' to perform that response, whether the situation calls for it or not. If the situation presented happens to be outside of your combative safe zone, then you will possibly freeze upWhen sparring or competing, we are in a 'prepared' state of mind fighting in a combative safe zone. Unfortunately you are fixating, i.e. you are concentrating and using your skills against only one opponent who happens to be in a safe and comfortable zone.In a nutshell, if you're fixating or limited within the factions of a 'style' or 'system,' anything that happens outside that realm will not be handled properly. The majority of these sport systems do not take into consideration behavioral elements and tactical awareness. It's not about a takedown, an arm bar, a choke, a kick, or a 3-punch combination; techniques are INCIDENTAL and INVOLUNTARY. Emotional inertia and behavioral filtration are the delivery system that allows these technical applications to succeed. The wrong tool at the wrong time can get you killed!! We're not talking about the drunk at the local bar either. A fight is just a fight. You win, you lose, an ego is bruised, a nose is broken, and it's over. This is the commonness that creates presumption that sport combat is fully functional... under these types of 'common' situations, sport combat is highly functional. But what if the level has been increased a couple of degrees? Suppose now the drunk is a hardcore street-fighter armed with a switchblade knife? And he is assisted by two or three members of his gang?The majority of sports fighters will find it impossible to properly handle such situations correctly. Most will revert to Jackie Chan - Jet Lee flicks which will, in most cases, and after just a few seconds make them look like they were involved in a car accident.
Let's examine the second part of the quote. "The ' street-fight,' from its earliest point to its state of incompleteness, is so vast that any attempts at locking onto specifics deludes our chances of survival from the minimal... to the extreme." As stated above, a street-fight isn't purely a physical phenomenon, it is one that involves psychological warfare, emotional contingencies, and tactical and situational awareness – as well as intuitiveness and an ability to read the 'future' based on an accurate perception of the past and present. A ' street-fight,' per se, only ends when one side is cease to be a risk to the other party and that is usually after not more than 10 to 15 seconds. Imagine the following: You're out with your girlfriend (fiancé, wife, whomever) and this guy starts to hit on her in front of you. She politely declines and he insists, saying, "Why don't you leave this mshamba and come with me so I can show you what a real man is like?" He shoves you off your stool, where you lose your balance and fall to the floor. You get back up and confront him. Before you can go pre-emptive, his friend grabs you from behind. Now, if it had reached that level you have failed because you were supposed to be aware of your surroundings,(situational awareness. remember?)Each and every fight whose roots aren't sport oriented has a pre-contact stage, a physical stage, and lingering aftermath.
As practitioners of a reality based style, at Taekwon-do I.T.F. the first thing we do is impart to them the necessary skills (profiling, situational and environmental awareness, assault indicators, tactical threat assessments etc.) to avoid a potential threat or confrontation. Then we arm them with pre-contact psychology (fear and stress management, adrenal stress conditioning, perception time enhancement, reaction time reduction, etc.) in order to move, not necessarily 'faster' than the opponent, but earlier. The third step is the physical portion. We cover all ranges of combat (contrary to popular belief, we're not all about flashy and fancy kicking that you see in movies). We rely heavily on athletic ability, conditioning the students through functional combative strength training. We cover tool and target development in the kicking, boxing, close quarter combat, grappling, and ground fighting. We have separated grappling and ground fighting because you can grapple standing up. All the ranges are then worked together through drills, sparring, and scenario based training. I believe in this type of I.T.F. Taekwon-do’s military approach to training. If you're not sweating, bleeding, and invoking stress on a physical, psychological, and emotional level in your training, then you are not training for reality.
The last step (not necessarily in training time, but for explanation purposes) is to teach students the legalities of their actions. It is important to look at the legal, moral, and ethical aspects of self-preservation, as you don't want to end up in prison because you put some drunk in a coma through excessive force.
Currently Tanzania Taekwon-do Association has developed the Civilian Anti – Terrorist and Tactical Self Defense Program which stresses on Awareness and Close Quarter Fighting as it has been found that most cases of assaults, robberies etc occur in a confined space, like in a car during a car jacking.