Stupid Moves

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Maybe some of those stupid moves they teach in traditional martial arts aren’t so stupid in the right context, Rory Miller (Meditations on Violence) notes:

The snake circle above looks like something out of a bad movie. If you were to make the action sparring it would look like the stupid circling and posturing from a seventies martial arts flick. (I’ve been sick for the last week, so I’ve been watching a lot of those.) But dirty, close and ugly, the technique is completely different.

When a threat is at bad breath range and slams something towards your stomach (fist or knife, if you take the time to look it is too late) that snake circle parries it across his body, comes up under the elbow (to give away one of the biggest secrets, there is a point on the elbow where you can control a threat’s entire body, often without using your hands) and the circle continues, controlling that elbow as you take the threat’s face and (using another leverage point) lever his head back beyond his point of balance. When it works right, he is forced to fall straight back without being able to move his feet. Very hard on the spine. When it doesn’t work right it still controls the weapon hand, the spine, and breaks his balance while leaving you a free hand (as well as knees and feet). That’s kind of useful.

The X-block also gets a lot of heat in certain circles. It’s not a good sparring technique. It’s a big obvious move that leaves your head wide open. It pins your weight forward. There’s no finesse to it. But up close it has a lot that you want from a quick emergency technique: All gross motor skill. Fast. Covers a wide area (aiming takes time, precision takes more finely skilled motor muscles). Works on most linear or rising attacks — foot, fist, knife… even a gun draw. There is a big clue here. A lot of things that are stupid for sparring or dueling have elements that make them good for assault survival.

Leave a Reply