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Thread: American Chúan-Fa Concepts - Startle Reflex Instinctive Blocking

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    Default American Chúan-Fa Concepts - Startle Reflex Instinctive Blocking

    (Excerpts from the Diary of a Mad Martial Scientist)
    American Chúan-Fa Concepts

    Startle Reflex Instinctive Blocking


    By
    Ron Chapél, Ph.D.



    At the level of Martial Science, all movements are governed or affected by the height width or depth of the action, the method, and manner of execution, the desired target, and the weapon of choice along with the available angle of contact. Substantial attention must also be given to strict posture, the relative position of the feet, weight distribution, as well as the mental focus of energy relative to the intended action. All of these things have a profound effect and can dictate the outcome beyond personal resolve.

    Taken these things into consideration, one of the unique things in the martial arts is the training associated with “blocking.” Never has the diversity of something so vital been greater than how the many different styles disciplines and teachers, approach this singularly important self-defense function. In many instances, it will be your initial response to any external stimuli. Therefore it is paramount the blocking action is extremely functional and immediately executable for the relative layman.

    Unfortunately, many contemporary self-defense based arts in their most common versions have taken on the philosophy of, “If the first move doesn’t work, move on to the next one” to justify its rapid-fire execution. Called over-kill by outsiders and over-skill by the unknowledgeable insiders, this philosophy has some inherent shortcomings when it comes to blocking. Consider the importance of this basic action. If your blocks are not effective, chances are the opportunity to continue to your second move may not present itself. It prompted my teacher to tell beginners, “Distance is your best friend.” It also brings to mind an old yellow belt saying about “horizontal meditation” brought on by hesitation.

    Therefore in addition to other flaws, teaching styles dominated by motion concepts has a philosophical flaw of “Assumption of Failure.” This causes some to eschew significant blocks completely in favor of what they perceive to be faster more efficient parries or soft, “liquid” movements. Other combat based martial disciplines use completely dysfunctional “hard” blocks that disappear in sparring along with their accompanying stances. Still, other sport based significant contact activities resort to what is essentially a western boxing philosophy of “take it or, cover up what you don’t want to be hit.”

    All except western boxing seem to either block for perceived proficiency or abstract aesthetic cultural requirements. They fail to recognize the blocking process is designed to perform many functions on multiple levels. In American Chúan-Fa Blocking movements are designed to; create as well as move internal energy, create structural integrity and body alignment, provide basics for extrication skills, perform anti and counter grappling functions, and of course block assaults directed at the body's head and torso.

    A well-designed self-defense technique is nothing more than the product of the execution of the sum total of its basic components. A movement that is explained, taught, and constantly corrected properly, will breed familiarity of thought and action and vicariously produce a speedy product result. There are no shortcuts to efficient, consistent, and lasting physical movement.

    And you will find that expedient necessity coupled with required efficiency equals sameness of action regardless of and in spite of the performer. Expressed another way, all things being equal if you are a weightlifter in addition to other factors, you must use the same technique as those who are the most anatomically and technically efficient. You cannot “do your own thing” and expect to consistently lift as much as those who rely on proper training.

    Ed Parker used a written language analogy to explain the conceptual process used in his commercial version of Kenpo- Kenpo. We use a similar but less abstract process in the American Chúan-Fa interpretation of Kenpo. First, you should begin with “phonics” or phonetic movement to begin the training process of the body at the sub-skeletal level. Second, you begin “printing” as we start the process of creating proper and effective muscle memory. Third, as we begin to “write” our actions through fluid scripted movements, we elongate circles and round corners and access the now created synaptic pathways or conduits of the brain that connects to the muscles. Finally after significant training of the mind and body, “shorthand” is employed.

    However one must remember shorthand is a skilled option and not always the ideal. In Kenpo-Karate, shorthand is taught without the requisite phonics or basics as a foundation and is often taught as the prevailing response instead of the optional character it should be. Because of this mistaken accelerated approach, internal energy, alignment, etc. relatively speaking is not obtainable.

    I was taught by Ark Wong and Ed Parker all blocks are circular, and the proper execution of all the basic blocks can be found in a circle in one direction or the other. In fact, all of the basic blocks are actually the same basic arm configuration. The only thing that actually changes is their relationship to the shoulder and the method and manner of execution geared for its intended use in conjunction with the Anticipated Point of Impact. Over time the circles in some instances become smaller and smaller in execution. At the professorship level this process can be attained subcutaneously and at mastership, becomes outwardly physically imperceptible in many cases.

    Most in some versions of Kenpo are obsessed with what they perceive to be necessary expediency in blocking. This mindset causes them to view circular execution as “slower” and therefore inferior. For these practitioners, “point of origin” means only linear actions. They fail to recognize the term applies to both linear, and circular movement. Blocking in a straight line is, of course, direct but is NOT always (contrary to popular belief) anatomically efficient, or relatively effective in comparison, and is at best defensively singular in purpose in many instances.

    It must be understood the attached articulated armatures of the human torso are designed like a “ball and socket” and must be rotated to maximize all aspects of its use. This “sets” the ball into the socket, aligns the sub-skeletal structure, allows internal energy to flow through Kinetic Linking, and creates anatomical efficiency necessary to function with maximum effect and integrity of the desired action.

    Speed is in no way sacrificed. The body and mind are being trained and in a relatively short period of time, speed is attained in addition to many other vicarious benefits of the process. Anatomical speed is often mistakenly thought of as a “swiftness of mechanical movement.” In reality, speed is a byproduct of mental and physical familiarity.

    Like the assembly line worker who does the same movements over and over, not only does his action become more efficient over time, but they also become faster without a conscious effort to facilitate the movement. His mind and body become “conditioned” to function together and significant synaptic pathways are created between the brain and the body.

    This mental and physical conditioning is what we call “muscle memory.” We all have experienced this in some way or another. Sometimes your “body” knows what to do even when your conscious mind is distracted. Have you ever had trouble recalling a phone number, but when a phone is in front of you your hand seems to “remember” the number? When we use conventional phone keypads to access a particular number on a consistent basis, we always make the same movements in the same pattern and usually with the same hand digit.

    Therefore, Like the assembly line worker who is slow and clumsy in the beginning, when we begin American Chúan-Fa and Tactical Kenpo training at the Martial Science level, all movement should be “phonetic” so we may “learn” the action and create proper muscle memory.

    This is why Ed Parker always said, “Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.” When this is done consistently, then “Perfect practice will make permanent.” Only through consistently performing your basics correctly will this occur. Being exposed to basic movements without significant and diligent corrections of their execution is not enough to produce efficient synaptic pathways for self-defense technique applications.

    The human body has a built-in mechanism designed to help protect itself from injury or discomfort. The “blink of Startle Reflex” as an example is a part of that mechanism. A piece of paper suddenly thrust into the face, or even a loud noise can activate your blink and autonomic reflex.

    In sudden anticipation of contact, the body reflexively adjusts to absorb and protect itself from the anticipated intrusion. Depending upon the level of perceived threat, the body may blink the eyes, tense and position the torso, or raise the arms or duck. Although some speak of training to respond instantly to external stimuli, the autonomic nervous system and its “startle reflex” will always prevail prior to any other movement, regardless of training.

    Simply put, the body instinctively moves to protect itself with this reflex when surprised or startled. It is only prudent in any training designed to be used to defend ourselves from known as well as unknown surprise encounters, that this “startle reflex” be examined and incorporated so reflex actions may be incorporated into any physical response. In American Chúan-Fa, this is known as “Startle Reflex or Instinctive Blocking.” In this way, all blocking essentially conforms to anatomically correct movements initiated by the startle reflex instinct, and therefore the body utilizes synaptic pathways already in existence.

    This not only makes the initial movement of blocks anatomically correct with proper alignment of the skeletal sub-structure but under stress the body will initiate a natural reaction and flow to the block more readily through “muscle memory” already established.

    Human anatomy Startle Reflex is not unique in nature. The body knows what to do. It is only prudent to take advantage of pre-existing bodily instincts whenever possible, whether teaching or training.
    Last edited by Doc; 04-14-2018 at 12:48 AM.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

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    Default Re: American Chúan-Fa Concepts - Startle Reflex Instinctive Blocking

    "Being exposed to basic movements without significant and diligent corrections of their execution is not enough to produce efficient synaptic pathways for self-defense technique applications."

    ^^^
    This is what I desire in my instruction. Training on a heavy bag has taught me that I have more to learn around a simple reverse punch, among other things. Looks solid in the air, the heavy bag laughs.

    I was able to spend some time with you at an Ohana seminar a few years back. It was a highlight of my trip. I hope to visit you again sometime soon and get some critique on basics.


    Basics, the rest is bullshytery.

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    Default Re: American Chúan-Fa Concepts - Startle Reflex Instinctive Blocking

    Quote Originally Posted by DRANKIN View Post
    "Being exposed to basic movements without significant and diligent corrections of their execution is not enough to produce efficient synaptic pathways for self-defense technique applications."

    ^^^
    This is what I desire in my instruction. Training on a heavy bag has taught me that I have more to learn around a simple reverse punch, among other things. Looks solid in the air, the heavy bag laughs.

    I was able to spend some time with you at an Ohana seminar a few years back. It was a highlight of my trip. I hope to visit you again sometime soon and get some critique on basics.


    Anything I can do Brother. Basics are the foundation that everyone agrees on their importance, but few actually know. Whenever you're ready sir ......
    DRANKIN likes this.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Doc For This Useful Post:

    nelson (03-13-2018)

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