Visualize the Application by Shihan Scotie Philips
So now that you have practiced that technique for hundreds if not thousands of times you believe you have mastered the technique. Have you or have you only just begun to scratch the surface?
If you have only practiced the actual movement, the ways to turn left or right, to apply this much pressure in this direction for this amount of time, and so on you have in no way master the move. While the mechanics of the technique are important, they are only a small piece of the pie.
Let’s look at the complete picture are you able to visualize the application of the technique. In short are you prepared to use the technique in real life? What will you do if it does not have the effectiveness needed for the situation? To visualize the application, you must incorporate preparedness, situational awareness, evaluation of the threat level that you face, the amount of force you may legally use, your skill level, your opponent’s skill level, and numerous other factors.
The below picture illustrates the following point: “So you believe you are a good driving and have master the skill of driving”. Look at the below picture and answer the question Am I a good driver?
Let’s look further into each some of the elements involved in developing the visualization of the application. It is important to have the complete picture of truly being ready, willing, and able to actual use a technique. Remember having a fully stock first aid kit is completely useless if you do not have the knowledge and skill to use the items in that kit.
Developing the ability to visualize an application of a technique is much the same as developing your driving skills. The mechanics of driving are quite simple start the engine, put the vehicle in gear, and drive. However, the bigger picture of driving a vehicle requires the awareness of all other vehicles on the rode and what the drivers of those vehicles will do as well as pedestrians and other obstacles on the roadway. This is known as situational awareness.
Taking what I call the “Thirty-Thousand-foot View” is the most important step to visualizing the application of a technique. In addition to knowing the movements of a technique one must develop and hone their observation skills. You must be able to not only see the possible threat directly in front of you but also all possible other threats in the area as well as other safety concerns.
As an example, if you are using a technique to disarm an attacker that is pointing a handgun to your face, the simple mechanics of the technique would be gain control of the weapon while being certain you move your face (and body) away from the danger of the being shot. The “Thirty-Thousand-foot View”; however, requires you must be aware of the possibility of a second, third or more attackers with or without a weapon, innocent bystanders that could be shot because of your reaction to the threat, what type of weapon is being used, the number of rounds it holds on so on and so on.
Situational Awareness is a key factor in all aspects of not only the martial arts but life in general and the above example only scratches the surface. Seek out further information and articles for more knowledge about the development of situational awareness.
Another key factor in visualization of a technique is reading the situation, by this I mean the following. What has led up to the threat that requires the use of the technique. This is key in developing not only what technique to use but how to use the technique. As well as what level of force you may legally use. In short you must be able to identify what has led up to this threat or potential threat and do you have not only a legal right but moral right to react and use the technique. In most states in the USA the use of force up to deadly force in defense of great bodily harm or death to yourself or another requires that the attacker must have the ability, the motive or purpose, and willingness to cause such harm. In addition, there is also the legal requirement that you as the individual being attacked are not involved in a criminal act. Once again, another area to research further seek articles and additional information for use of force paying close attention to your local and area laws.
As we move forward another aspect for visualization of technique is being ready with another technique or follow-up technique should you find the application of the technique used has not ended the threat or worked as you thought it would. Overall, always be ready to adjust your technique as well as be ready with another technique. Keep this moto in mind “What do I have open or available to use”? and “Failure is never an option”. Once you start do not stop until the threat as been neutralized or you yourself have been neutralized.
While I could go on and on with the importance of developing yourself well beyond just memorizing a technique I will close with this final thought.
A common theory in law enforcement training is: “that in every confrontation you face there is always a minimum of one firearm involved, the one that rest upon your hip”. In today’s climate of concealed carry this holds true of everyone not just law enforcement. To paraphrase Forrest E. Morgan in his book “Living the Martial Way” Morgan talks about what I paraphrase as the “2/3rd Rule of Death”.
Morgan writes about the importance of training as a warrior he discusses that in every confrontation there is a 2 out of 3 chance you die. Again, to paraphrase, Morgan writes: if you are not as skilled as your opponent then you die an un-honorable death. The un-honorable death means your opponent was more skilled and you lost the battle. Next Morgan writes that if you are equally skilled with your opponent you are both killed in the battle and thus die an honorable death. Last if you are more skilled than your opponent than you win the battle thus killing your opponent thus not being killed. I infer from Morgan’s writing that death includes any level of the confrontation ending with no harm to include great harm up to and including death for one or all participants. While victory or winning the battle to be the death of your opponent &/or opponents without any harm or minimal harm to oneself. Thus, in any & all confrontations you have 2 out 3 chances of death.
Read that over a few times, a two out of three chance, that every confrontation may result in death. Ask yourself again “Have you truly master that technique”?
About the Author
Shihan Scotie Philips holds the current rank of 8th Dan Black Belt and is Nidai Soke (2nd Generation Head of Family Adio-Ryu – Jiu-Jitsu). For additional topics see podcast on YouTube “A Council of Black Belts”. Hosted by the World Martial Arts Congress. www.worldmartialartscongress.cn