Thursday, May 31, 2012

Energies, Angles, Intention—Part I

Last night during class we got into a longish discussion on energy, intention, and angles and how the three of them are inter-related with offensive and defensive mentality. It was not that clearly defined but that was the essence of it. The conversation seemed like it would be valuable enough for others that it was work posting as a blog. It's been a while anyway so I'm way past due.

To start, it would be good if we lay the framework for the information. To "receive" is to allow, to varying degrees, an attacker to attack you. This does not mean that they will successfully hit you, or that you would not move, and thereby cause them to miss the intended target. Rather, it means that by the perception of the attacker, there was a vulnerability worthy of exploitation by which they decided to attack or they were just indifferent enough to the relationship to do what they wanted to irregardless of the consequences. To receive implies some sort of contact to the attack itself.

Issuing To "issue" is to launch your own attack at an attacker and to varying degrees, for them to "receive" it. The issuance could be direct, indirect, and with varying proximity and methodology but also implies a degree of "receiving" of energy in this context. Likewise, it is possible for you to issue energy without an attacker receiving it by them simply moving out of the way.

To have an intent of offense within your movement—both in receiving and issuing states. It is really more of a mental state that is manifest physically, the primary intent of which is to control the relationship by assuming the timing of the conflict and thereby determining the course of the engagement pro-actively. What I call an active state or being active.

To have an intent of defending oneself from any harm—both in receiving and issuing states. However, it is a mental state that manifests itself physically by responding to the timing of the conflict passively. What I call a reactive or passive state.

If you're fighting with someone, you are primarily receiving or issuing energy in most cases. It must be understood in that general statement, that it is also true that in most cases you do both issuing and receiving.

For example, parrying an attack is a type of receiving energy through the yielding process. Likewise, the parry itself is a minor, defensive issuing of energy. It probably will not hurt the attacker, but will disrupt.

To add to this, there are ways of parrying which are primarily defensive and some which are primarily offensive. Avoiding an attack through retreating while parrying would be primarily defensive, while propelling forward and parrying would be primarily offensive. Again, it is often the mental attitude reflected in the movements that determines which. One method often allows the attacker to continue to issue while the other often sets up counter attacks and places you in a strategically advantageous position to counter.

Another example would be a totokan or destruction. In that case, I can use the attackers offensive issuance as a means for my own offensive issuance by utilizing anatomically weak points as a focal point for my own counter attacks which ultimately also parry the attack but that can also change the ownership of the timing of the engagement. The intent of the strikes must be offensive, while it's possible to still be retreating if an attackers own energy is offensive enough to compensate.

So where does all of this go? Well... if you can sort through all that I've written, then you may already know how it all works together. If not, keep reading it and considering it in your own context of combat. It's not something that is often explained in this fashion but sometimes it's best to understand things intellectually in order for your body to make the transition—and sometimes the opposite is completely true—you must understand with your body in order for your intellect to get it.

As it concerns combat from a very simple perspective, I recommend that you consider issuing and offensive actions to be your primary goal AND doing all of that with clarity of movement and clarity of thought. If you can, you are well on your way to getting good at PSP and, dare I say, any martial art. One simple way to think about it is to consider angles. These can be angles of defense, offense, attack and retreat.

For example, if you attack me by moving forward and I, in return move backward, you are attacking me on an acute angle. However, to be primarily successful in defense I must take a more offensive initiative and counter by moving at acute angles. Those acute angles are not always the angles of footwork, sometimes they are the angles of the parry or destruction as well, but most often, acute angles where you are mentally offensive also include the whole of the body as well as the ability to issue destructive energy.

The more this is employed by the whole of the body, the more destructive, acute, and more offensive you will be. Below are a few quick charts to diagram out the idea. They are not exhaustive but may help you down the path of understanding. It should be understood that whether or not something is deemed as acute or not, has EVERYTHING to do with the relationship of the defense to the offense or attacker to defender.