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Thread: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

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    Default Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Surviving the Initial Assault; BEAR HUGS

    There are several elements in a “bear-hug” assault you must contend with to be successful. You have a natural reflex response to move your hands forward and up to those arms that are crushing you. Whatever the intent of the attacker, to prevent or delay any attempt to lift you as your first response is imperative before you may then proceed to a counter action.

    In our curriculum, we have several components that examine the assault side of every technique before it begins. One of these is the “Psychology of Confrontation.” This specifically looks at the attackers actions, how they are triggered, and what is his/her immediate goal and ultimate intent. This is a tremendous aid to the understanding of the situational model and gives specific insight into the mind of the attacker.

    As a part of that process, we are obliged to examine the physical mechanisms that must come into play to launch the assault vehicle. This will yield the answer to establishing functional counter mechanisms. In a bear hug scenario, your attacker moves swiftly to secure his actions. This causes him to bring substantial body momentum to the initial assault even though expediency is his immediate goal, and not necessarily body momentum.

    In this particular attack scenario, the ultimate intent is statistically not just a simple bear hug. In a singular assault, the bear hug is initiated to immobilize the victim for further action. Most likely, this will facilitate the victim being “lifted from their feet,” moved to another close location, or controlled for additional assaults from secondary sources. In most instances, there is usually a size and possible gender disparity between the victim and the attacker. (I am not suggesting people of the same gender do not bear hug each other, but when they do the psychology of the attacker is different.)

    That makes this attacker more dangerous because they are of a type we call a “planned predator.” This is different and far more dangerous than a spontaneous attack in many ways. This person moves surreptitiously, “lays in wait,” has thought the attack through to a point, and “has some semblance of a plan.” This also falls into the subcategory of a “Mugger Hugger.” Much different from throwing a punch or a tackle, because a “tackler” has a different intent as well, and brings body momentum in a much different, but still very purposeful way.

    Our solutions come under the most important component in the assault categories. It is called “Surviving The initial Assault™ or S.I.A.™ This is a “SubLevel Four Kenpo Concept” that focuses on the performance of the first part of self-defense techniques to insure immediate stability and the absorption of the first offensive action. This leads to the ability to execute and complete the technique sequence, and ultimate survival and effective retaliation.”

    This component is taught differently for each type and variation of an assault theme. It is one of the many subtle things that make SubLevel Four Kenpo “different.”

    In this assault, there should be physical mechanisms that first absorb the body momentum. Then re-configures the attacker to a “Negative Body Posture,” and immobilizes his body as well as pins or controls the attackers limbs. This prevents him from being able to move, lift, release or offend. Once this is done and the situation is stabilized, then we move to retaliation mechanisms.

    Although this seems complex, (and in a sense it is) someone who has never done it can be “walked through” it rather simply. Unfortunately, it really is too difficult to understand the subtleties when written. For that reason we do not include it in our coursebooks. It is only taught by certificated staff in a classroom environment.
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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Having experienced this information first-hand during a class by Mr Perez (one of Doc's guys) I can attest to the importance of trying to appreciate what has been written here.

    100% of the "kenpo bearhug" videos I have seen on the 'net start in the same way: Defender standing with his back turned, implicitly aware of the forthcoming bearhug because that's what he/she's agreed to perform with the training partner. Next, the 'attacker' walks up behind the 'victim' - stops - and places his arms around their body. The technique usually starts with the 'victim' stepping out with either their left or right foot and unleashing a volley of strikes. Not very realistic is it?

    I'd ask everyone reading this thread to ask themselves: have you ever been taught a bearhug defence, and privately questioned whether you'd really be able to pull of that technique if you were attacked hard? I'd wager that the majority of answers would be: "yes, but I've been taught to step out and drop my weight before the bear-hug is fully applied." (in other words, many are taught to anticipate the attack. With their back turned. lol. ).

    Consider firstly that you will not know that you are about to be attacked. Secondly, that it is now impossible to 'step out' before the bearhug is fully applied: the bearhug will be on before you know what's hit you. Thirdly, the strength of the attacker's grip will prevent you from stepping sideways. You won't be able to 'step out' and do CapturedTwigs. Lastly, the attacker's body momentum will have bumped you forward, and if you don't have a method for dealing with this assault then you'll never get a chance to perform your technique.

    It wasn't until I was taught to consider these points that I really appreciated just how bad the 'standard' kenpo bearhug techniques are. And note, Doc is not trying to hide information from people, or be obscure in any way - some of the mechanisms that are taught are so sublime that I couldn't begin to describe in detail what they were, apart from how important it is to 'keep your chin up'. However once this information correctly taught you'll wonder why you were never doing it before.

    I wonder how many people will bother replying to this thread? Probably only those who accept and 'buy into' Doc's methodology, and who are also the very people who have already recognised the deficiencies in the standard bearhug responses and have modified them appropriately. Maybe this thread would receive more attention if it was in 'kenpo general' or one of the technical forums?

    Good topic Doc.

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    pete is offline
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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Doc, very interesting article. i appreciate your insight into the motives of the attacker, and the notion that the nature of the attack will provide information to that motive and the likelyhood of a gang.

    I do have a comment or two that might benefit from further clarification on your part, which i would appreciate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Our solutions come under the most important component in the assault categories. It is called “Surviving The initial Assault™ or S.I.A.™ This is a “SubLevel Four Kenpo Concept” that focuses on the performance of the first part of self-defense techniques to insure immediate stability and the absorption of the first offensive action. This leads to the ability to execute and complete the technique sequence, and ultimate survival and effective retaliation.”

    This component is taught differently for each type and variation of an assault theme. It is one of the many subtle things that make SubLevel Four Kenpo “different.”

    In this assault, there should be physical mechanisms that first absorb the body momentum. Then re-configures the attacker to a “Negative Body Posture,” and immobilizes his body as well as pins or controls the attackers limbs. This prevents him from being able to move, lift, release or offend. Once this is done and the situation is stabilized, then we move to retaliation mechanisms.
    this is pretty much standard as I've seen in good martial arts programs, including good kenpo. developing 'feel' for the directions, angles, and force used in engagement to not only survive the initial, but to prevent to subsequent.

    my assumption then is that this is not what makes SL4 'different', but what makes it 'good'... and there is more to the 'how' that makes it different than the other good systems. maybe you can elaborate a little using the bear hug variations of being (a) grabbed from behind and forced to the left, (b) grabbed from behind and forced forward or dragged backwards, (c) grabbed from behind and held for a second attacker that would be facing you... and how that response might be different from what you've seen in other systems?

    thanks.
    pete
    "Rust Never Sleeps" - N.Young.

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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear JB:
    We were always taught that the horse stance makes an effective defense for the bear hug from behind. Which way you step out depends on the physical layout of the scene. Striking back with your hips to loosen the hand grip and/or stomping the insteps also works well and effectively as you double punch forward at an angle to further loosen the grip drop your carriage and then drive your elbows back into the solar plexus of your attacker.
    I agree, the horse-stance definitely is a good strategy, and I was originally taught the same as you. However the difficulty is getting to that stance to begin with. The surprise nature of the attack (from behind) will make it impossible to step out - you will find the momentum of the attacker making contact will force you to stagger forwards. Then the strength of the grip will prevent you stepping out. It is possible to defend these attacks, but much more is required than simply 'stepping out'. Much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I've found that low bear hug grips to be the most troublesome. Recently I had the opportunity to check out a strong low grip from behind by a 375# "big boy" attacker. I found that going straight for the groin with the hands was an effective counter and dropped my opponent to his knees very quickly.
    can't argue with tried+tested results, but is it safe to assume that the groin will always offer a "way out" of these attacks?


    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    The important thing to remember is to react quickly. If you are swept off your feet and piled driven into the ground the game is over for all intents and purposes.
    Nelson
    I think what Doc is basically saying is that these attacks when properly understood can be successfully defended against. Even the attempt to sweep you off your feet. But stepping out into a horse is not the answer. A different response is needed to absorb the attack, misalign the attacker, prevent the 'pick up' etc. Only when this stage has been reached can the 'default technique' of stepping into horse and hammering the groin be realised (for example in Captured Twigs). The problem as I see it, is that this 'precursor' response is not commonly taught or understood, and it is the key to successfully defending violent assaults.

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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Doc, excellant article, as allways, sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
    100% of the "kenpo bearhug" videos I have seen on the 'net start in the same way: Defender standing with his back turned, implicitly aware of the forthcoming bearhug because that's what he/she's agreed to perform with the training partner. Next, the 'attacker' walks up behind the 'victim' - stops - and places his arms around their body. The technique usually starts with the 'victim' stepping out with either their left or right foot and unleashing a volley of strikes. Not very realistic is it?
    No. And I've seen some who never get past this initial stage of learning a technique. But, it is only that. We learn the moves without force first, then increase the force and then the expectancy of the attack incrementally as we learn.

    Consider firstly that you will not know that you are about to be attacked. Secondly, that it is now impossible to 'step out' before the bearhug is fully applied: the bearhug will be on before you know what's hit you. Thirdly, the strength of the attacker's grip will prevent you from stepping sideways. You won't be able to 'step out' and do CapturedTwigs. Lastly, the attacker's body momentum will have bumped you forward, and if you don't have a method for dealing with this assault then you'll never get a chance to perform your technique.
    Agree on the expectancy of the attack.

    As to steping out before the bearhug is applied, that is true in the vast majority of cases. But I don't get that the techniques teach that. I look at the steping out as teaching the concept of establishing your base. That could mean getting your legs wide before he sets you down, or it could mean getting a foot on the wall he's trying to drive you into.

    The techniques teach us to defend when we can move, or more likely are moved, in any of the three dimensions. Captured Twigs, your initial move is primarily in height. Crashing wings works in width. Crushing Hammer is movement in depth. In reality, you'll probably use a combination of more than one of these techs, with a lot of modification and additional moves.

    You make some excellant points. But I wouldn't say the EPAK techniques are bad, or don't teach useful and effective defenses. I've used them effectively under full force surprise attacks, one from a trained grappler whose intent was to test the effectiveness of AK techniques. It's all in how you train it and how well drilled you are. Bcause you are correct, when it happens you won't have time to think- you just react to what he gives you.

    All that being said, I am sure Doc has some methods that are more in depth and effective. There is allways a deeper understanging. But, that is a good thing, I think.

    Dan C
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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Surviving the Initial Assault; BEAR HUGS

    There are several elements in a “bear-hug” assault you must contend with to be successful. You have a natural reflex response to move your hands forward and up to those arms that are crushing you. Whatever the intent of the attacker, to prevent or delay any attempt to lift you as your first response is imperative before you may then proceed to a counter action....
    I noticed that in a most of the techniques we start with hands up in the air as if we were just startled, then go into the technique. How do we learn to avoid the initial natural reflex, and rather go against what the body just does without thinking, in the rear bear hug technique? Because, yes, it's pretty much impossible to get your feet back on the ground when you have already been picked up. (If it's not, then I just haven't been introduced to the method.) I have already learned in so many situations that structure is always stronger than muscel.

    I am kind of guessing that repitition is how this is set into our minds. But, how much repitition does that generally take? And, is there any other way?
    There is nothing so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Angel View Post
    I noticed that in a most of the techniques we start with hands up in the air as if we were just startled, then go into the technique.
    In general, that is a SL-4 Index mechanism that is perfectly appropriate.
    How do we learn to avoid the initial natural reflex, and rather go against what the body just does without thinking, in the rear bear hug technique?
    Actually in this assault is to extend what you would naturally do and turn into a defensive mechanism.
    Because, yes, it's pretty much impossible to get your feet back on the ground when you have already been picked up.
    Not entirely, but that is why you do not allow him to pick you up through your defensive mechanisms.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    In general, that is a SL-4 Index mechanism that is perfectly appropriate.
    trippy, thats my ideal "defensive" hand positioning in a self defense situation. lets bystanders know, hey he had his hands up.. he wasnt the agressor"


    question.. has anyone examined the bearhug defense of bringing your arms/shoulders together infront of you? a. iv found it gives the attacker less area to constrict, and he can not constrict further on your chest.. thus you save your energy, he spends his... now with your shoulders forward, and head tucked down.. it lessens the chance of the hold slipping upwards and choaking you. might catch your nose however.

    but thats only in a classroom setting.. anyone care to help examine the practicality?

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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by madeku View Post
    question.. has anyone examined the bearhug defense of bringing your arms/shoulders together infront of you?
    Bad idea sir. This would be misaligning your own body, and under the right circumstances, incapacitating. The chin tucked is momentarily acceptable, except when seeking to stabalize your base.
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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Bad idea sir. This would be misaligning your own body, and under the right circumstances, incapacitating. The chin tucked is momentarily acceptable, except when seeking to stabalize your base.
    interesting.. its something another martial arts friend of mine shared with me.. seemed useful at the time.. they can squeeze all they like and it doesnt do any good..

    then again i dont think someone's just gonna come up and bear hug me for giggles, unless someone else is getting ready to attack.

    maybe this would be better suited for wrestling? haha

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    Default Re: Thoughts; Short Article 11.10.2006

    Quote Originally Posted by madeku View Post
    interesting.. its something another martial arts friend of mine shared with me.. seemed useful at the time.. they can squeeze all they like and it doesnt do any good..
    You're correct sir. Significant assaults of this type involve more than just 'squeezing.'
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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