Martial Arts Tips – The 5 Rules Of Fighting

 This image crossed my path the other day and though there’s never an end to “tips,” especially in this arena, these are five solid goodies to start. They might apply to a professional fighter, but they also make sense in a self-defense scenario.

NEVER MOVE BACK IN A STRAIGHT LINE

When you get “offline” (for example, at a 45% angle), you are forcing your opponent to slow down. As he redirects to refocus his energy on you, his strikes become weaker, and a window of opportunity opens during which you can retreat to a safe direction, strike back if still under threat, etc.

Moving straight back can also have you backed into something (or on the ground!) pretty quick.  A stagger is a stronger base from which to work, keeping you on your feet….where you need to stay.

 

NEVER SET

Keep moving! A stationary target is a lot easier to catch and strike. Movement also makes it easier to catch your opponent by surprise – a strike from a stand-still telegraphs your intentions much faster than if you are dodging about.

 

REDIRECT

Along with number one… When the opponent has to shift his focus, he also has to shift his weight, balance, and strength, giving you the upper hand.

 

FIGHT YOUR OPPONENT AS HE FIGHTS YOU

You never know what a person’s background is, or necessarily their style of fighting. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to observe, but try to pick up on what he is…and isn’t…doing…as well as what he has in his arsenal. A knife fight when you aren’t armed means you’ve got a bold opponent fighting you (think: lunging slashes and stabs, unafraid of being cut in return.) If you happen to have a knife also, his movements are going to become a lot shorter, hesitant, and self-protective.

Stand your ground as much as you are able, maintaining that you are not a victim or someone to be pushed around.  The more calm a person can be (and it is a challenge, assuredly) the more nerve you will evoke in the other person. Chip away at the opponent’s self-confidence and he’s going to be a lot easier to get away from, or submit (obviously depending on the circumstance.)

 

PLACE YOUR OPPONENT WHERE YOU WANT HIM

If you are fighter by sport or profession, STUDY…and study hard. Observe what you can before hand.  If you have no ability to do so, test him to see which strikes he’s resorting to, or whether he wants to stay standing vs get you to the ground, whether he baits you, prefers kicks to punches, and which kinds…  When you understand what you are working with, you know where the weaknesses are.  

If in a self-defense scenario, you aren’t going to have time on your side. Do your best to note the person’s movement, as it is guaranteed to be either: their natural movement (and going to occur again), or their preferred movement (and going to occur again.) Being aware of the other person’s overall body movement can also keep us focused, giving us less time to panic.

 

Obviously, there are a slew of techniques and tips and methodologies out there…but these are good tidbits to keep in mind.

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The Secrets Of Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu is probably one of my favorite Arts – its unique and unorthodox techniques, its higher-level, somewhat ethereal concepts, and the intriguing furtiveness captivated me from the get go.  It is, truly, an Art…and as a dancer and ice skater at heart, artistry is my language.

I’ve (rather sadly) seen traditional Arts dismissed as irrelevant – many modern-day practitioners want techniques that they can apply to modern-day scenarios.  Makes sense.  But therein lies the deception. Being rooted in a deep and complicated history also means that there are thousands of gems lying within the teachings.  Ones that have not only stood the test of time – when it was truly life and death – but ones that can also be very readily adapted and applied to “today.”

BudoRyoNinjutsu

One of the most interesting facets of Ninjutsu is the whole air of “secrecy.”  It sounds like an exaggeration but trust me, it isn’t.  Even within the walls of an official school, we find lots of “Henka,”or variations on specific techniques – the thing is, they are not always relayed in a straight-forward fashion, and sometimes are only hinted at.  For some Artists, that idea doesn’t go over (I can feel the eye rolls.)

While reading a Curriculum, for example, you might see images that don’t always jive with what the written directions are saying.  It ISN’T a lost-in-translation mistake either.  It’s completely deliberate.

The idea here is not that the “powers that be” of Traditional Ninpo are aiming to be unreasonably difficult, nor necessarily that they want to add some mysterious air that the Art can’t back up.  It’s more about the principle that learning is very much about DOing. Your Sensei is “passing down” the traditions, so to speak, and it drives home the idea that just reading a book, going online, or cerebrally understanding concepts ISN’T enough.  Martial Arts transcends any one approach – it takes grasping the fundamentals intellectually, absolutely, but the Art cannot be realized without being fully hands-on.

Taking it a step further, there are countless layers to the Art – you may learn a technique at one level, only to discover – throughout your own progression – profound jewels embedded deeply with in them…ones you neither could see, nor were capable of comprehending, in earlier training.

Ninpo embraces that we are not always ready for all of the “secrets” but that to develop our true “artistry” will take time, hard work, both finessing and breaking down the techniques until we can create our own. I suppose in a way many Martial Arts take that tact but here, some of the information is simply not shared until one has proven oneself to be ready.

The multi-faceted Ninjutsu is 1,000% NOT for everyone. It is acrobatic, intense, a little bit cryptic, unabashedly sneaky, and incredibly down-and-dirty at times.  Remember, the Ninja needed to survive…not stand on the battlefield until they – or you – were terminated (a la Samurai.)  

Ninjutsu focuses more on learning to keep distance, disabling, taking up an opponent’s space (including mental and spiritual) and getting away with one’s life.  To me, that’s the ultimate – I never began Martial Arts to “beat someone up.”  It’s an ART first and foremost for me, personally.  But, should I be faced with a true threat, I want the ability (or at least the tools) to disable, disengage, and get to safety.  It isn’t about “the fight,” but minimizing injury and getting away.  No ego.  No heroics.

Ninjutsu specifically will expose the student to everything from joint locks, small joint manipulations, grappling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, striking and weapons, to name a few.  I love that we have the opportunity to have such exposure, as many Arts are much more limited in scope. That said, the journey for each practitioner is unique, and built upon vastly different goals – in my own heart, I believe all Martial Arts are worthy and beneficial, markedly different they may be.

Martial Arts isn’t for the faint of heart – Ninjutsu isn’t “gentle” by any stretch, but it does teach us skills by which we can learn to keep ourselves – and our opponents – safe.  At the end of the day, however, we are taught that if we must overcome that individual, we must be prepared to do so.  Fortunately in modern times we don’t have to take it quite that far (certainly not in practice!)

Sometimes techniques hurt, sometimes they baffle, and other times they’re a little difficult to track down…. But each one of them – both the clandestine and the clear – are there should we be required to use them.  

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How Well The Internet Knows You

On one hand, it’s a little (or a lot) frightening what the Internet knows.  Fortunately I’m not a celeb so I’m not really worried about anyone looking up my “dirt” and coming after me.  (That said, I’m not sure they would once they saw my preferences…)

Pinterest

Pinterest

(Pinterest, for one, is always sending samurai my way for one – they clearly keep track!)

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

amazon.com

And then there’s Amazon and their recommendations…

Even though data is being gathered, it’s nice (on the other hand) that a a monstrous retail site can suggest things you may like.  Double edged sword (no pun intended!) in that I might spend more, true. . .

Swords: An Artist's Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist's Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion, Illustration (C) Ben Boos (Author, Illustrator)

BUT…I’d rather have the option to skip the fluff and go to the “good stuff” (or at least what I consider the good stuff) even if it means seeing The Art Of War, 5000 Spells, or Sherlock Holmes again (which already grace my bookcase.)

amazon.com

amazon.com

So – at least for now – I’m okay with the gods of the ether picking up on my search habits.  At least then I won’t have to look at Justin Bieber cds or a princess coloring book to get to the badassery.

Martial Arts Halloween

Even Martial Art stores are honoring the Best Day Ever! (That’s the 31st of October, not that you needed to ask! 😉 )

Centurymartialarts.com

Centurymartialarts.com

Brilliant.

If you need a full blown Ninja uniform. . .or a glowing saber (listen, you never know!). . .they’ve got you covered with a few fun…and discounted…goodies!

Centurymartialarts.com

Centurymartialarts.com

Centurymartialarts.com

Centurymartialarts.com

Humor – The Non-Girly Girl

When I saw this photo (the little girl below), I essentially went into hysterics (laughing, that is.)  I didn’t watch a ton of television as a child but you can be sure that when I did, the shows were of the ilk of:

  • Thundercats (cat-like aliens, because why would extraterrestrials want human reflexes?!)
  • He-Man (muscles and [magical!] swords?!  HELL YES!)
  • Voltron (your goddamn right I was jealous of their lion robots!)
  • Transformers (ginormous robots who can morph into an incredibly rad getaway vehicle? Anyone want to race?!) 
My favorite two colors AND animal? I was a happy little girl when this came on!)

My favorite two colors AND animal? I was a happy little girl when this came on!)

I couldn’t possibly be bothered with the likes of She-Ra.  Initially, I admit, I kind of liked her.  I liked that a woman was in the badass role, but that’s basically because I wanted to be her.  I kind of dug the nod to Ancient Rome / Greece with that ensemble too – how very Pagan of her!  Plus. . .sorceress, hello!?  My older brother was fonder of the guys so…whatever…I took one for the team and decided I could be Conan or some other ass-kicking character, nevermind they were male.  Goals.

I let the figure-skating-judge-boots and furry speedo slide - he had a magical sword and the man could lift. Aspirations!

I let the figure-skating-judge-boots and furry speedo slide – he had a magical sword and the man could lift. Aspirations!

My lean towards general badassery, gothiness, vampishness, and Martial Arts was there from brith – I wore colors, but that’s because I wasn’t old enough to know better…OR to purchase my own.  I went to girly birthday parties, but that’s because A.) it was important to socialize (I’d rather have been Wednesday Addams but the school moms didn’t seem to acquiesce) and B.) No one I knew was having a Halloween bash regardless of timing.  Sad, if you ask me.  

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My, what big teeth you have…

My inspiration came from the people / creatures / robots who could handle their own, even when the world was being besieged by evil, plotting mummies or mechanical demons from space – who cared that they were fictional, this once five-year old saw a fearlessly laying down of the law!  (Let’s not forget their were witches too – bestill my heart.) 

If I could have worn this suit to class, I’m sure I would have – Middle School rules be damned, I think an exception could have been made.  “Excuse me, Mr. Principle guy..??”

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I wonder if the suit comes with functional weapons…  Sparkles?  Yeah, absolutely.  But had I donned this hefty getup back in the day?  I’d have backed that glitz up!

For more of my shenanigans

A Girl Can Have Goals

So the moment I saw Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, around age 13 or so…that was that.  I thought “holy smokes, I want to be that badass!”  There is something amazing to me about a woman who can truly hold her own – I never really enjoyed the “damsel in distress” idea because I felt like I wanted to rely on MYSELF – even as a little girl I loved the idea of being “strong” all around.

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I was always in the mindframe – definitely more tomboy than not, and in love all things dark and otherworldly…  My favorite haunt at museums (aside from the Ancient Egyptian wing!) was the Armory…and then there’s that thing about Martial Arts…so…I guess this isn’t a stretch!

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As for firearms, I’m not nearly as proficient as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it.  My hunnie was a competitive shooter so I am incredibly thankful for the advice, guidance, and teaching – it is definitely something you have to get used to.  I have a highly acute auditory system so I have to double up on ear protection – even then, I STILL flinch!  But…I’ll get there!  If nothing else, understanding the mechanics of a firearm in a crazy world is very much a skill that can save a Life (maybe even your own.)  I don’t take the responsibility or act lightly. 

I do wonder why there are so many people wearing tactical gear at the range though – I’m not sure it is wholly required for sales and handing out lanes…  But then…I kind of want this outfit so maybe I shouldn’t be talking??
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I feel like we can say so much about ourselves in pictures… Lofty goals, I realize, but it won’t keep me from dreaming! 😉  I’m definitely on the tougher chick spectrum (as opposed to the girlie), but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I think strong women are flat-out phenomenal, and I’m honored if I can even be a fraction as awesome as many I know and respect….even those in art or film!

More Art that I love…

More from Martial Arts.

And me in a vast nutshell!