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Reality versus Theory in Fighting Applications

My training partner Tom came over for a couple of hours today. We put down the mats and went through fighting applications from the first three movements of Laojia Yilu -- the commencement, Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar, and Lazy About Tying the Coat.

Two hours on these movements and we didn't even get to all the applications.

But what we tried to do is apply the applications to real fighting situations, not the type of one-steps in which the partner holds the arm out or doesn't move when you grab them.

It isn't pretty when it's more realistic. It can be very effective, but it isn't always pretty.

Military generals always say that the best plans fall apart upon first contact with the enemy. The same is true with martial arts fighting applications. What looks real pretty and clean in a classroom situation takes on unpredictable qualities, and requires instant changes based upon the way your opponent reacts in a more realistic encounter.

The arm break in Buddha's Warrior works well but you have to really anticipate your opponent's punch so they can't withdraw the arm. The leg sweep in Buddha's Warrior works very well and can quickly change into an arm bar takedown over the leg, but the key is catching the punch with both hands and then very quickly placing your leg in front of his to be in the right position.

The crotch strike in Buddha's Warrior works very well -- first doing a palm sweep of the punch. You can also change the crotch strike into an uppercut fist strike to the ribs.

Perhaps my favorite today was the arm break and takedown in Lazy About Tying the Coat.

It's December 8, and the high temperature today is around 82 degrees here in Tampa, so Tom and I were practicing outside on the back patio. I was sweatin' to the oldies in the sun. I love Florida, where you can just go outside and practice through the "winter." You should all move down here so we can train. Hurry!

But in the meantime, try to work on your fighting applications against realistic attacks. Progressing in these arts involves study and hard work, just like a college class. Experiment and find out what works and what doesn't and you'll gain valuable insights about the arts.


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