By Athos Antoniades
Athos talks about the skills which are important for surviving an attack.
Most martial arts are not useful or effective in a realistic self defence or fight situation as they use the logical brain in an attempt to formalise fighting, using logical prearranged techniques instead of the survival instinct of the reptilian brain. This will never work as you cannot apply logic to an illogical situation and fighting is most definitely illogical. Prearranged techniques also deprive us of the ability to react/adapt to the situation attempting instead to impose our own logical prearranged technique to it but the only way to defeat any attacker would be to coordinate our energy with his, thus pre-emptying and intercepting any attack effectively and becoming masters of adaptability.
We must eliminate thinking and fight at a No-Mind subconscious level for if we stop to think chances are we will get hit. This adheres to the Zen concept of No-Mind, where the subconscious takes over and controls the logical brain and therefore physical movement. The only way we can achieve this is by entering the reptile brain, because as well as placing us in survival mode it is also the doorway to the subconscious, allowing it to take control. Our intention is to the subconscious what thought is to the logical mind (sometimes referred to as the Ego) therefore if our intention is to defeat any attack, the subconscious will take over and direct our energy (Chi) which will in turn direct our physical moves to always do the right thing, countering any attack with maximum aggression, power, speed and perfect timing, just like any wild animal doing whatever it takes to survive at a subconscious reflex level.
In reptile brain mode we will not use focus vision, which is directly linked to the logical mind, and therefore, too slow, but an advanced form of peripheral vision known as “Eagle Vision”, as used by eagles, other birds and reptiles to seek out their prey by locking on to their energy. Similarly eagle vision will tune in and lock onto our attacker’s energy pre-emptying and intercepting his every move. As he attacks, we will attack first, using the element of surprise (an important fighting ingredient) by doing what he does not expect us to do, going forward and attacking instead of retreating and defending. This is in line with what the TAO teaches us, not to interfere with the way he is moving but instead use his energy by going with the flow, therefore gaining maximum power with minimum effort.
The reptile brain is a purely reflex brain, which will act in accordance with how the other two brains are programmed. The palleomallian which is our body mind, responsible for subconscious body movement, when programmed with fighting principles, they will become a reflex action in reptile brain mode. Wild animals programme their body mind by play-fighting with family and friends from a very early age. Humans on the other hand, are pampered and protected as babies at the expense of the development of their survival instinct.
We train the body mind by using body movement methods and not language or text which is how the neomalian is programmed. There are two ways in which we do this, either by using ABSTRACT TRAINING METHODS or by using NATURAL BODY MOVEMENTS (which do not need thought) with moves which will become a reflex action when in reptile brain mode.
Abstract training methods are abstract body moves based on internal energy flow, which are not understood by the logical brain, and therefore filter through and programme or re-programme the paleomalian brain with movements that are more useful for fighting, i.e. attack instead of defence. Persistent practice in natural body movement methods will also programme the paleomalian brain with moves which will become a reflex action in reptile brain mode. Unnatural body moves such as those in some traditional Karate will never become reflex as they cannot be used to programme the subconscious.
Fighting principles will be programmed into the subconscious, using, “Techniques/Training Methods” which are based on abstract training moves and natural body moves in order to make it more interesting for the student, but by the time the technique is learnt as a self defence method to be applied in a real situation the fighting principles will be learnt by the subconscious, never to be unlearnt. The more we train in these methods, the greater our ability will be to fight at a subconscious reflex level, becoming masters of adaptability and adhering to the way of the Tao, by going with the flow, not opposing it.
Fighting principles will subconsciously change us from being reflexively defensive to becoming reflexively offensive. We therefore use the physical to train the internal and the internal (or subconscious) will the direct the physical, therefore eliminating thinking, which takes time, something we do not have the luxury of in a fight. I must stress that although the techniques/training methods, which are based on natural body movement and abstract training methods are essential to programme the subconscious with fighting principles, such as body balance, coordination and movement, they cannot be used for fighting as we can never simulate a real fight.
For ultimate street survival skills, as well as using the reptilian brain, eagle vision and no-mind fighting at a subconscious reflex level, we must also learn the following:
DIM MAK or pressure point fighting which is the opposite to acupuncture. Chinese medicine is based on a healthy flow of chi, throughout the bodie’s meridians, however, by using Dim Mak we cause a KO by striking these points in a given direction, destructing his chi and causing the KO or worse.
EXPLOSIVE SPEED if we can hit someone once we can hit them a dozen times, therefore, go for it, always striking from the point of origin, why go East if we want to go West. We attack him at the very moment he initiates his attack, attacking him when he attacks is the best time to do so, each of our strikes being aimed at Dim Mak points. We will gain power not by using distance but body mechanics, combining physical muscle strength with internal energy or chi. This will give us explosive penetrating power ka Fa-jing, which translates to explosive energy. We will learn how to use Fa-jing which is the engine of Dim Mak, in order to transfer adverse energy into the opponent.
CHI-KUNG and other training methods will be used in order to achieve internal stillness, which is the crux to the whole system. It is the very essence of who we are, consciousness itself before it manifests into any form, whether it be physical, thought, emotion or perception.
Never use the much taught 'cross block' against a knife as he could easily pull back the weapon cutting your hands, and quite honestly, in his frame of mind he is likely to go past the block and cut you. Infact, none of the traditional "karate type" blocks should be used against a knife attack, as the result is likely to be the same as that of the cross block. Do not grab the knife with your hand sacrificing your forgers to save your life as a prominent Martial Artist one advocated! Are you really going to be in a frame of mind to fight off the attacker whilst your fingers are lying in front of you!
Running is also not an option in most cases, unless you are a fast runner, and, at least, 10 metres away from the attacker. At close range, you will have to run backwards or turn and run, and both these options are likely to take longer than the attacker rushing towards you.
Having seen what not to do, in a knife attack situation, let us now discuss what we can do. Chances are that you will get cut to some degree, but by doing the right thing you may save your life. The method I teach incorporates American Kempo's basic principles with those taught by Master Montaigue's WTBA.
The attacker will have to be in a vicious, aggressive frame of mind to contemplate using a knife, we therefore have to get into survival mode if we are to stand any chance of escaping with our lives. Enacting our Reptilian brain will place us in an even more aggressive state of mind than our attacker.
The shock from the attack will release Chi energy which is stored in our kidneys, and by sprearding and extending our fingers and concaving our palms will force a rush of this energy up the back and up to the gall bladder 20 (Gb20) points situated at the back of our head, at the base of the skull. This will have the required effect of enacting our Reptile brain enabling us to fight like a wild a wild animal. You should also round your shoulders, concave your chest sink your weight and place your tongue in your lower (soft) palate, whilst breathing out slowly. The look in your eyes alone will make the attacker have doubts about his intended action, making our task of defending against a knife slightly more manageable.
Athos demonstrates the techniques needed to combat knife attacks: From the attacker's first lunge, side step to evade the knife.
We must then do three things almost simultaneously. Firstly we step in sideways, evading his attack (never step back), slamming the knife hand away with a Fa-jing (explosive energy) strike, where we use our whole body to thrust out his arm explosively away from us, and then use our other hand to attack a Dim Mak point causing a K.O. at the very least. Depending on the type of attack we will evade accordingly slamming his knife hand away. For example if it is a straight thrusting attack we will step to his outside as we evade, slamming his knife hand and attacking a Dim-Mak point, preferably to the throat, face or head with the other hand.
For an inward/slashing type of attack, we would evade to the inside, slamming the knife hand away, possibly striking one of the primary set up points on the inner wrist pericedium 6, 2 inches up from the wrist line, draining him of energy and the nerves situated in the elbow crease possibly paralysing his arm before striking a major Dim-Mak point, again, preferably on the neck, face or head causing a knockout or even death.
Follow through by striking Gall Bladder 1 point in an outward direction (away from the face) and a possible eye poke.
The fact of the matter is that once in Reptilian brain mode, we will become masters of adaptability, countering the knife attack effectively, and efficiently, and by combining this with a Fa-jing strike to the knife hand and following through with a Dim Mak strike will go a long way towards saving our life in a knife attack situation.
Relying on pre-determined techniques, will probably get us killed. Although techniques certainly have their place in training and teach us movements, co-ordination and balance, relying on them in any form of altercation cause us to lose the ability to react to what the attacker is doing to us and cause us to lose the fight.
Fighting is totally illogical and you cannot rely on logical pre-arranged techniques to get you out of trouble. Fighting must become a subconscious reaction, which is the whole point of the Kenpo Taiji system; to take fighting to an internal level.
You can then finish it off by striking Stomach 9 on the throat and with a leg sweep.
The techniques and training methods are there along with the forms to help us with Timing, Co-ordination and balance. They are also an excellent means of practicing all our basic strikes such as punches, kicks, elbow strikes, etc. In Kenpo Taiji however we have added the extra element of Dim-Mak or pressure point striking. Almost all strikes in most of the techniques are actually aimed at Dim -Mak Points on the human body. You cannot learn Dim-Mak by learning points from a book or chart, the only way to do so is to practice striking them in the correct direction on the human body .
Dim-Mak - Death point striking is primarily involved with energy disruption as opposed to only brute muscle power. A well balanced, unimpeded flow of Chi(Ki) is essential for life and well being. It stands to reason therefore that disrupting this energy (chi) flow would result in either unconsciousness or paralysis. This energy can be thought of as an electric current which runs through our body enabling our whole body to work, just like any ectrical appliance will not work without electricity, without the flow of Chi we die.