Self Defense for the Streets

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by stampe » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:45 pm

Tashi James wrote:Yes, if you add muscle mass to a body that is already out of alignment it may compound ones ability to apply Taijiquan principles. Perhaps Adam Smith was referring to Taiji boxing not western style boxing? In which case a different methodology in regard to power and strategy is employed.

The classics warn that to rely on 'li' muscular force is unsustainable. Case in point there are very few western boxers who keep their skill into old age, however, many examples of elder Taijiquan practitioners who continue to carry outstanding abilities.
I agree with you about to much 'Li" strength as something that impairs the ability to apply Taijiquan principles. However I did suggest boxing to a Taijiquan practitioner for basic self defense skills. Taijiquan is a martial art that uses "yi" "chi" and 'Li" and derives its power from "jin". Robert Smith was not referring to Taiji boxing. He was clear about Western boxing. there is something much more deadly than boxing or taijiquan. It is a person who can clearly understand the functions and purpose of both making a fighting force based on taijiquan principles combined with the powerful striking ability of a western boxer. William CC Chen comes to mind here.... Scott Rodell knows this too as he teaches some of this info in his San Shou classes.

power = speed X mass... increase speed by turning thumb over-snap the punches, increase mass by using correct stances and turning your core, using the strength of your legs. If your stance is not correct , it is the source of problems with power and mobility.

Boxing in my experience has not had any negative effects with body mass. I've lost weight and got leaner. Most taiji folks are out of shape and when I went to a Taiji tournament- all the judges and "masters and experts" were fat and disgusting. Several of them gained some major weight each year I see them and this is quite disappointing for "masters" who promote health. I can only image how 'out of breath' they will be in the first minute in a fight.
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by J HepworthYoung » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:03 pm

I've met several boxers and they can have very formidable skills; that arise out of practice. C.C. Chen did add gloved boxing type practice to his curriculum for practical reasons.

However I wonder about what the image of health is and do not agree with what the standard consensus is.

If you have doubts about so called masters stamina and skill, you should challenge them yourself. I don't think that body size has anything to do with being a master or having skill. You might look down on them because they are big and soft, they might look down on you for not being big and soft. They could feel the same way about you, as you do about them. All it is, is opinion. I am lean, 150lbs, 31 years old. In addition to taijiquan I train in capoeira, it is very demanding of stamina and power and balance. Some of the people I train with are big heavy people, you might call them fat. They do not lack for speed, power or stamina, in fact most of these fat guys can show skinny guys like me (runners build) a thing or two about stamina. I respect skill, and shape often has almost nothing to do with it.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by stampe » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:22 pm

If you have doubts about so called masters stamina and skill, you should challenge them yourself. I don't think that body size has anything to do with being a master or having skill. You might look down on them because they are big and soft, they might look down on you for not being big and soft. They could feel the same way about you, as you do about them. All it is, is opinion. I am lean, 150lbs, 31 years old. In addition to taijiquan I train in capoeira, it is very demanding of stamina and power and balance. Some of the people I train with are big heavy people, you might call them fat. They do not lack for speed, power or stamina, in fact most of these fat guys can show skinny guys like me (runners build) a thing or two about stamina. I respect skill, and shape often has almost nothing to do with it
No need to challenge anyone...that is uncivil. Ha!- besides.... those Masters haven't the nerve to step in the ring. ok maybe i am over generalizing on unfit taijiquan people, but I've experienced these people who organize these push hands events, most are out of shape. I been to many push hands gatherings and there is nothing more annoying than someone getting winded by push hands. Hell I train with fat guys all the time. They called Heavy Weights. I can understand getting winded by sparring, but there is a huge difference between a fat guy who only trains taijiquan, and the fat guys who is train hard like at our MMA school. I have had to hold boxing mitts and thai pads for these heavy weights, some get tired fast and some dont. Yes- I at 145 lb. even spar them. These heavies...some on fight team actually go in the cage, so i know some that do and dont lack for speed, power, stamina. The winner of Ultimate fighter last year Roy "Big Country" Nelson has the real deal respectable skills for a heavy. he did Shaolin at one point in his career. my respect goes to those who are fit to fight.

back to thread-

The topic here however is Self Defense for the streets and a confrontation demands a "fight or flight" response from your nervous system. the smartest thing is to use your brain and avoid the situation...give up the money to a nutcase with a gun, but if a person is in a drunk stupor and assaults you....at least be fit to RUN! if a guy grabs you....be alert and quick enough to evade the grab. The cornered rat will fight back! at least try to kick a guy in the nads or a right cross to the chin or temple if it comes down to a struggle. know ground skills and how to get away...90% of confrontations go to the ground.
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by J HepworthYoung » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:13 pm

I find that agree with I what you wrote, except for the thing about fights going to the ground.

Most of the people that go to the ground in bar and street fights and such around here end up being hurt far worse, for having been stomped on or kicked by a friend of the person they were grabbing. Sometimes the grappler is stabbed by someone they never see.

However among the type A personalities there is a ton of highschool wrestling background and I have seen some types of people go to the ground consistently. Poor fighters often go to the ground after a few rounds of bad upright fighting, I've seen this a lot in online videos.

Grappling is employed by the US army, because as it says in the manual, the one who wins the fight is the one whose friends show up with guns first. It certainly works well in controlled conditions but it has some major drawbacks. One should train against it because grapplers are common, but masterful grapplers are rare.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by Linda Heenan » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:38 am

This week a young man was attacked on a Sydney train late at night. His wallet, with very little money in it, was stolen and he was left unconsious in the aisle. He is now in an induced coma in intensive care. Let's take a situation like this - a common scenario. I often travel on Sydney trains at night and try to stay in safest areas. But if a person was sitting on a train like that and some young thugs decided to bash them up after stealing the wallet, so they wouldn't be able to give the alarm, which skills would some of you use to escape this. You are sitting down, the seats are high backed in sets of two. If someone approaches up the aisle, they block the only escape route and the seats are so close you couldn't even stand up. There isn't enough room to get your legs up to kick either. There is nothing to grab to make a shield. You wouldn't have a weapon. What would you do?
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:04 am

I practice my taiji sitting down sometimes. Grasp sparrows tail for the most part, the kicks are just too hard to do from a sitting position!

Seriously.
If someone approaches up the aisle, they block the only escape route and the seats are so close you couldn't even stand up. There isn't enough room to get your legs up to kick either. There is nothing to grab to make a shield. You wouldn't have a weapon. What would you do?
I'd attempt to use strategy, communication and violence, perhaps all at once.
I'd attempt to employ listening energy and to keep my hands up to guard my head. Since I am lower I will try to have peng ready and if I get a chance I will pluck and press violently upon an attaching limb, trying to overdraw my duifang and then stun them or break the arm. None of this I can say I could do for sure. I would employ speech to attempt to de-escalate and calm the situation, however knowing full well where the situation is at I would used the speech and communication to gain a disconnect or opening. If I can get my words to make the fellow drop his guard in range, thinking I won't defend myself, then I would go for the throat. I do love Peng, Pluck and Press as a combination.

However as child I got in fights on school buses about three or four times in school. Slamming heads into seats and furniture, pinning people down and hitting them, hitting with books (I am seldom without one when on public transit) and lots of headlocks were common in close quarters. Biting, scratching, pinching, hair pulling were common too. Close quarters fights are uglier and the scene is easier to use as a weapon than a wide open space. Many thugs are well practiced at their game too, they have it down and they know their surroundings.

So: perhaps I would end up in a coma if I was in that situation. My teacher taught me to do two things, avoid violence when possible, and never arrive at a feeling of having been defeated. That does not mean one does not acknowledge greater skill, but it means that one never gives up. In push hands there is a moment where many people accept that they have been pushed, it is only then that they are easily dealt with. Keep your calm and never give up, many thugs use intimidation as a weapon before they attack. Don't differentiate into any mental or physical posture and you have disarmed one of their strongest weapons, the ability to use fear to make people predictable.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by Roland Tepp » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:22 am

Linda Heenan wrote:If someone approaches up the aisle, they block the only escape route and the seats are so close you couldn't even stand up. There isn't enough room to get your legs up to kick either. There is nothing to grab to make a shield. You wouldn't have a weapon. What would you do?
Nothing.

You're screwed in this case. There's nothing to do except try to remain calm and controlled and try to calm down the assailants.

I've been in this type of situation and the only thing I could do was to avoid the assault to go beyond the occasional (weakish) punches to the ribs, chin or back of the neck/head, that accompanied some fine remarks about my supposed sexual orientation, social status or that of my mother's...

I got pounded a fair bit, but none of that hurt too much and after a while I had to get off the bus and though they wanted to continue the assault in the open ground at the bus station, I was lucky enough to get few buy-standers to come to my aid... at which point the assailants "lost interest" in me... ;)

I believe I was saved by 2 things - I did not try to fight back when I was cornered to the point of immobility -- and I was saved by the good fellow citizens, doing their civil duty and not just standing by, watching as some poor stranger is getting a beating... (thanks, guys, whoever you were)
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by stampe » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:41 am

Linda,

sorry to hear about your fellow country mate.

I would go with J Young on this- the situation looks gloomy- bite, scratch, pull hair, smash heads into objects (walls, floor, chairs), grab something to hit them with like a bottle...I would add- if you have a pen or key- attack the eyes or throat- go for the large thug first...attack one quickly then go to the next...Know where you are. for instance if you live in a bad place with a high degree of violence (chicago comes to mind) carry a swiss pocket knife or get a gun permit. Know your environment. If Sydney is that bad- protect yourself.

as for fights commonly going to the ground...that was from a Police violence report back in like 2005 and trying to get women to know basic self defense.

m
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by Linda Heenan » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:49 pm

Okay, so in a cornered situation, we are saying the mental training from taijiquan is good for keeping calm and good listening skills, but the physical goes right back to my original thinking that simple reflex defense is the most likely to succeed. I'm not too bad with an elbow.

Australians can't carry guns, by the way and if we carry a knife it has to be for a very good reason. I usually take an orange to peel with it. Everything changes if the attackers have weapons. Tashi taught me a lock that turns the knife back on the assailant, which he learnt from another martial art.

I usually keep my wallet in my sock when in Sydney. (Female clothes are not known for pockets.) I'm thinking that it would be best in the sock to the window side, not the aisle side, on a train. Then if someon wanted it, I wouldn't be able to reach without getting out and standing up. If they wanted it that badly, they would have to let me take a better position. Also, keeping it there puts it near my foot ... which is quite useful if someone wants to try taking it. If they make me get it myself, there are all sorts of things I can imagine doing if I'm low and the attacker is standing close enough to reach.
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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:43 pm

I live in the US and can carry several weapons. I have keychain that is a small aluminium stick, and frequently have a small knife. Be that as it may, I do not carry either of them as weapons and would use my hands and feet to defend myself.

As you mention, the reflexes you have programmed into your body will dominate. Few people have such reflexes when it comes to weapons. Your hands and feet (and elbows etc) are weapons enough and as a person training in martial arts you have reflexes that reflect the work you have put into them.

But it has been said by people far wiser than I that Taijiquan is largely a mental exercise, even as it is physical. While physical reflexes are vital, so are mental reflexes. After all there is no opponent, just (a) duifang.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by Nik » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:25 pm

First is, protect yourself. Neutralize incoming hands whatever way you can with your forearms or hands (there are dedicated deflection exercises for that in Bagua), or evade them with head movement like a boxer (if in doubt, DUCK), then go in low (enough) and go for a double handed strong push, with fajin if you have, into a wall if available. You should train such pushing manouvres with a somewhat capable partner who doesn't injure easily, as it takes some feeling to maximize your impact by turning the opponent on pushing, pushing low down, or use a cutting movement to push/press with your forearm to get a bigger range and longer throw. You can also walk someone a couple of steps by sticking and keeping him destabilized (one hand belt-level one to the shoulder or under the armpit) before finally pushing. Follow up for the really bad case is a repeated rebound of head against the wall, but that is lethal even when done by a woman. Two should be enough for a KO when done with some sensitivity, full out it's a showstopper to the morgue. Can also be done on the ground. Don't know about the intensity of your fajin/peng type strength exertions, that can get pretty good also for women. An elbow, palm or fist to the chin tip/throat with full-out jin can knock over or out anyone who is not extremely above your size.

The not so nice answer if plan A fails is that BJJ-type skills on the ground come in handy. A technically skillful woman can easily armbar, kneebar or choke out a male who doesn't understand he is in danger. Collar chokes work quickly if not countered.

However, a fight of this dimension always can lead to get smacked into the face heavily. If things are in that stage, there is no room anymore to not fight for ones life. Not a nice experience if that happens, but a woman I know has put two armed muggers to the ICU while getting shot in the arm, with sheer force and CMA skills (some variation of punches and qinna to the arm/shoulder). For me, the difficult point is at this point, when things didn't come in like a hurricane, but eroded slowly. Sometimes it's difficult to get going, as you feel divided between fighting and hoping that not fighting might deescalate the situation.

The last answer is, carry a weapon and be ready to use it. Small knife is sufficient. But I don't know your countries dealing with that in self defense situations. It also takes the sense to feel if you are about to get killed, or face a stupid who just wants to push someone around.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by TienLungTaoist » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:49 am

I believe that if you practice a martial art, if you practice intent, you will react correctly when things get ugly. To use your taichi to protect yourself just practice your postures (ie. part the wild horses mane) with another person. use it as a self defense technique and once you get the hang of it just practice you taichi form with a fighting intent. visualize you opponent and use what you know. When I teach my taichi class (even my older students) I go over the martial application of each technique and run them through the form and tell them to focus on defense and counter attack and to shoot that Jing into their imaginary opponent. I am pretty confident that when you find yourself in an altercation you will react with the proper technique just by feeling your opponents movement (puch hands sticking hand etc.) and will use the right technique (natural occurring variation of your form derived self defense). I spent the first 8 years of training with little sparring (maybe 5 times) Now that im in a sparring heavy karate school I work very well just by reacting using the techniques i have embedded in my nature through years of practice. I even surprised my self when I was in my first fight against black belts and brown belt. In Chinese Boxing (Gung Fu) all your curriculum self defense techniques come from your forms. They are like the songs and poems that help us remember the right way to practice our art. the form is just that a form or model of the fighting techniques. When you practice it as a fight rather than a meditative movement you have a Gung Fu form. Thats like the original taichi forms that were slow to focus the energy and explosive to release the energy into an imaginary opponent. I practice my taichi in all those ways.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by Psi Man » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:47 am

If you practice the form hours a day, how much of it comes out in sanshou? For most people, probably about 20% of form skill is retained and translates to sanshou skill. And probably only about 20% of that sanshou skill comes out in a surprise, real situation. Everyone talks big about using martial arts on the street or whatever, but if you look at this thread, in most of the real encounters people have mentioned, they ended up relatively powerless and unable to do anything drastic like what we train in sanshou, much less an action movie.

So I wonder sometimes if sanshou is physically relevant to a lot of self-defense scenarios. Rather it's probably mentally relevant: the most important part of self-defense is always being "on", aware, calm (not taking punches personally) and getting past any freeze that comes up in a surprise situation.

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Re: Self Defense for the Streets

Post by lpboyle » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:11 am

This is a good question, how much of our practice comes out in free fighting, how much is applied in self-defense? That answer, it seems to me, is going to change for every individual. I'm very much a beginning student of taiji, in a self-defense situation I'm probably going to rely on taiji very little compared to skills I already have and have used in the past. This is simply because I have not spent as much time training in taiji as I have training in other things at this point in my life. Maybe a few years down the road when taiji movements and, more importantly, principles are more thoroughly worked into my muscle memory this will probably change.

Now, I have been in a fairly large number of self-defense situations over the years. Some had a low level of threat (an acquaintance feeling his beer muscles back in my army days) others had a much higher level of threat (getting robbed, jumped by multiple opponents, becoming the common enemy to two people already fighting). I've survived all of this. I won't lie and say I've won every fight I've ever been in, but the only permanent injury I carry comes from a car accident. 90% of the time when I've come away unscathed from such a confrontation it's because I've used the best weapon a human being can carry - the 3 pounds app of gray and white matter between my ears. I've talked my way out of more fights than have ever been ended with my fists. Running for me has never been much of an option, I've never been able to spring very well although distance running and cycling I used to be good at. These days, I have to walk with a cane as a result of aforementioned car accident (I can do my taiji form unassisted but walking any distance requires my cane) so running really isn't an option for me.

Fights I have been in that have turned physical have been a mixed bag, but I've always managed to come away with my life, and most of my body intact. Sometimes this has been the results of martial arts training, other times military training, and others my own instinct to "fight dirty." What has often worked for me - not being the strongest, fastest, or most skilled person - is making a physical confrontation very serious very quickly. Strikes to the groin, eyes, throat, ears - biting, spitting, knees, elbows, rocks, sand, keys, breath spray/cigarette lighter combo, burning a person with a lit cigarette held in my fist. Many attackers are not willing to make something into a life or death situation and if they feel you are willing then they will reconsider making you a target. Just walking around projecting confidence in your attitude and body language can go a long way into preventing being selected as a target. Again, the best weapon a person has is their brain. If faced with a gun - hand over the wallet, if faced with a knife - hand over the wallet, if handing over the wallet won't let you come away unscathed - fight with every tool at your disposal, with every ounce and fiber of your being. Even in the case of a mouse fighting a snake there are times when the mouse wins. (just ask somebody who does reptile rescue) The question that has to be asked is "is this worth my life" any time a person chooses fight over flight loss of life is a possibility.

Does taiji give us the tools do do that? Does taijiquan allow a person to fight with every ounce and fiber of their being? To me that all depends on the person studying it.

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