January 4, 2010

Interception is Integration

Category: iNeed.to links of the day,Martial Articles — VV @ 11:26 pm

Martial Articles

Martializing Martial Arts – Article #1

The Basic Principle: Interception is Integration

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object head-on?

Here’s a better, or at least a more answerable, question: why should they meet head-on at all? And if an opponent’s fist is substituted for the irresistible force, and your jaw for the immovable object, I bet you would agree they should never meet head on. The question then becomes, what are your options?

Once such a force is on its way, there are four basic options:

  • 1. Do nothing: Let force meet obstacle – Passive response, passive result
  • 2. Dodge the attack: Let force miss obstacle – Passive response, active result
  • 3. Block the attack: Stop force with force – Active response, passive result
  • 4. Intercept the attack: Use all force to your own advantage – Active response, active result

We have already ruled out the first option – there are obviously better, less personally damaging, ways of dealing with an attack than doing nothing…

Such as the second option: dodge the attack. Not a bad idea. If you are about to get hit, move to where you won’t get hit. It is quick, instinctive, and effective in avoiding injury. The fatal flaw: by itself, dodging an attack does not improve your circumstances for more than a few seconds. You are still on the defensive, and if you simply keep dodging, your moves are likely to be anticipated, or you will be backed into a corner. This makes refined variants of this technique, such as the bob-and-weave, useful as secondary reactions – but not primary reactions.

The third option is better. Block your opponent’s strike, neutralizing the attack. Use the “hard method” of the martial arts, throwing your force against your opponent. However, there are two obvious problems with this option: 1. If your force is not of the right type and in the right place, you may as well have done nothing. 2. This response, like dodging, leaves you in reaction. You are still merely responding to the environment and not controlling it. You deal with the force, but expend energy in doing so, and gain only time, not initiative.

That leaves the fourth option: interception. The use of all force, including your opponent’s force, to your own ends. In the domain of grappling, Judo and Jujitsu are known for this. The use of “ju” in each case is an explicit reference to the martial arts principle of the “soft method” – using your opponent’s strength and energy against him.

The idea of interception came into its own in Jeet Kune Do. As Bruce Lee said in Longstreet, “To reach me, you must move to me. Your attack offers me an opportunity to intercept you.” That is it in a nutshell. As an attack approaches, instead of simply moving out of the way or blocking, launch an attack of your own. Interception is the ultimate combination of “soft” and “hard” techniques, and can use both forces to your advantage. This is one of the principles of Jeet Kune Do that make it the best known foundation for unarmed martial arts expression.

By using all forces to your advantage, interception is the most complete, most whole, most Integrated foundation of combat. So it the basic principle of K.W.I.C..

“When an opponent expands, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity, I do not hit; it hits all by itself”.

– Bruce Lee, “Enter the Dragon”