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Thread: Offense Or Defense?

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    Question Offense Or Defense?

    I gave my 10 yr old daughter and her friend an impromptu martial arts lesson yesterday.
    I've been teaching my daughter on and off since she was about 3 years old......she absorbs what I teach her like a sponge and miraculously retains it.
    This was the first time she "sparred" with anyone other than me and I noticed something curious.
    When sparring with dear old dad, she can be ferocious, always on the offensive and never worrying about what I might do in response to her attacks. It's not that she's out to hurt me, but there is a comfort level there because I tell her to hit me with everything she has.
    While sparring with her friend though, she used a different approach and tossed out everything I showed her.....she tried to act defensively and thus gave her friend the upper hand.
    As I watched her confidence sink with every shot her friend landed I wondered why she was using this defensive approach.
    I really think she was afraid to act offensively out of fear of hurting her friend and reprisal.
    I could see that her friend really meant to hurt her and my daughter was looking at it like a friendly match up. Her friend even went so far as to sucker punch her a few times as I was trying to give instruction, which my daughter left unanswered.

    These were traits that I had when I first started studying martial arts, fear of injuring my opponent, fear of reprisal.
    It was hard to strip myself of these until I became a doorman at a club that was known for its violent patrons.
    I had to get it out of my head that when being confronted by danger that merely protecting myself defensively was going to stop the threat.
    My best defense was my offensive ability.....something that my teacher was telling me from day one, but one of those lessons you have to learn on your own.
    For someone like my daughter (or any student)who is not naturally aggressive, I think it is important to instill in them the idea that offensive thinking and action right from the start will better defend them and to forget about the defensive mindset.

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    True. I know from my own experience that the way I "spar" is nothing like the way I "fight." It's like two completely different people.

    I was taught that you have to have a "mental switch" in your head and the ability to turn it "on" when necessary. Most civilized people don't really want to injur another person. You have to be able to "dehumanize" an opponent and turn them into a series of targets. You can only hope that 1) the situation will never arise requiring her to turn this switch on and 2) that if it does, her training will be so that she will be able to react spontaneously without thinking. This can only be accomplished through continous, repetitive practice.

    IMHO =-)
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    I couldnt agree more.
    My sensei worked long and hard with me on developing the mental switch.
    These days I don't look at it like a switch....it's hard to describe how I look at it.......Ive been a student of zen for 15 years and it just becomes one of those things.

    It's also why I'm not a big fan of sparring........self defense is not about struggle (IMO), it's a question and an answer, plain and simple.

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Your daughter trusts dear old dad. She has no worries. She knows you would never hurt her and are looking out for her best interests.

    Her friend is not. Her friend might hurt her.

    Maybe, she only thinks she's good against dad. It's like when your mom tells you that you're beautiful. Yeah, sure. It's just mom saying it.

    Yeah, sure, she can spar against dad, but a real person?......


    When I am play sparring, I don't go all out. I think it's like tag and it's just fun.

    When I'm angry or I'm testing or something serious, I can part crowds. I agree about a switch. I think of it as bringing in my 6'5, 300lb. angry, skilled friend to stand in front of me.

    Sounds weird, but people move out of my way.

    And I've been told that my opponents can feel my coming.

    I don't do that much. Too scary for others.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    I explain it to people that it's like tapping into their animal side.
    I'm not talking dragon's or tiger's, just pure human animal.
    like Amy describes, there is a quality that can be sensed by others that says, "get out of my way!"

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong
    It's like when your mom tells you that you're beautiful
    ...My mon tells me I am beautiful all the time... ;-)

    Offensive and defensive behavior is really based on the mentality of the fighter and the situation at hand. Most sensible people will want to extract themselves from any situation that would bring them harm. This is defensive in nature. Some other might argue that by blasting the potential bad guy in the nose with everything you have (thus shooting it out of the back of his skull) might say thay were being "prudent." Was he being offensive...maybe. Or was he being pre-emptive?

    In a civilized society (my wife keeps telling me that we live in one), we cannot attack a person because they "might" try to hurt us. Back in the day if you heard that your little peice of the world was going to be attacked, you went out and got them before they got you. Because of the advent of civilized behaviour (dagnabit silly rules) restraint and "defense" is the order of the day. I had the opportunity to train with a gentleman recently who is one of the premier FMA instructors to the Filipino Military and Police. He told us the purpose of his family art was to kill or control the opponent, whoever that may be. There was no defensice or passivity in his philosophy. It really showed the difference in the political climate of the two countries.

    In a civilized society, there are rules and regulations about reasonable defense and what a "reasonable" person should do in that situation. Let these law makers talk to a traumatized rape victim or a woman victimized by an abusive husband. Let these "civilized" law makers talk to a soldier comming home and suffering from traumatic shock syndrome. Show these "esteemed" lawmakers pictures of a two year old so violently beaten that it is hard to pinpoint where the face starts and the bruises end. We constantly hear of civillized behaviour, but i have yet to see a civilized criminal.

    Let everyone else play defensive if they want to and live in this fantasy "society." It doesn't exist. It's like the old addage about severe gun control laws, if you pass laws that limit the ability of regular people to own a weapon, only the criminals will have them. My personal opinion is that the laws in this country are not suitable for the crimes they were designed to curtail. If more people would get involved and also take the time to vote, we could take steps toward a civilized society. Till then, I'll keep walking around armed with the philosophy that it is better to do to much than not enough.

    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by kroh

    In a civilized society (my wife keeps telling me that we live in one), we cannot attack a person because they "might" try to hurt us. Back in the day if you heard that your little peice of the world was going to be attacked, you went out and got them before they got you. Because of the advent of civilized behaviour (dagnabit silly rules) restraint and "defense" is the order of the day.

    Regards,
    Walt
    silly rules... Lets then take a look at the extreem of the other side then, what prevents me from beating the poo out of my neighbor because he potentialy could be looking at my wife, or to keep a wife from killing her husband because he could possibly beat her one day.

    There is a place for defensive and one for offensive. I am a defensive fighter, I do not strike first, I counter and then follow through.. and have no doubt that following through is quite offensive.. but I will confirm that there is a valid threat first.

    Yes, we live in an attempt at a civilized society and no, criminals do not play by our rules but that does not mean that we become criminals ourselfs to level the playing field.

    Why must it be Offense OR Defense... shoulden't we all be striving for ballance of the two?
    "Do you have any bactine? Some of this blood is mine."

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    This is where we start getting into the debate of what is defense or offense.
    I agree with Kroh (we seem to think alike in a lot of respects), so I won't get into the specifics of his post.
    Defensive in my eyes does not simply mean countering an attack....e.g. some guy throws a punch at me and I block it following it up with a counter-attack.
    That is a typical defense scenario.
    Q: How can we work within the same parameters of the scenario and make our movements offensive?
    A: Mindset.

    James Mitose described kempo like this
    "It is the promotion of the offensive power through the rational use of spirit and body. A person never recklessly grabs his opponent's body and thus put himself in a dangerous situation. He does not expend time and strength un-economically as it is done in wrestling. He does not compete in trickery or strength or exposing his vital spots to his opponent.


    If a person launches an attack against me, I don't think about defending myself from that attack.......I immediately go on the offensive. This might start out with me attacking the limb they used as their weapon, or simply bypassing the weapon and controlling their body.
    If I feel like I am in imminent danger or I know that getting attacked is the only outcome of a situation, I can and will use a pre-emptive movement in order to defend myself.

    I ignore my opponents attack insomuch that it is merely them setting themselves up to be attacked by me.

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    My instructor's motto is "Make 'em miss. Then make 'em pay."

    I like it.

    I've been working on my sparring for the last several private lessons. Dang but there is a lot I don't know.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    I have always let the other person attempt to strike me first,Depending on whether there strike landed or not determines how I react usually.
    If I get hit then It is all out but if they miss I will attempt a subdue the person to the ground instead of striking til they stop fighting.
    Just another Lifelong student Walking the Endless journey of Kenpo.(and Loving it)

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    One word: Consequences.

    You wanna talk about a civilized society? You can't where there exists no personal responsibility. People must learn that there are consequences for their actions. That's what helps retain order and civility in a society. If you attack someone without provocation then you deserve whatever happens to you. Period.

    By freely chosing an action, you also freely choose the consequences of that action. That's the problem with Western civilization today. No one is forced or taught to think things through. They act on impulse with no regard of the outcome and are rarely held accountable afterwards...... Didn't mean to go off, but this is a pet peeve of mine.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Moore
    I have always let the other person attempt to strike me first,Depending on whether there strike landed or not determines how I react usually.
    If I get hit then It is all out but if they miss I will attempt a subdue the person to the ground instead of striking til they stop fighting.
    I must disagree. If an individual approached me calling me every name in the book and threatening violence upon my person I would not give them the opportunity to demonstrate their intent!! Intent, opportunity, and capability is all that is necessary to warrent self defense. Once a threat comes within striking range that's it for me. They've already made their INTENT clear by verbally threatening me, unless they are restrained or cut off from me somehow they obviously have the CAPABILITY, and once within range they have OPPORTUNITY. If you get hit...you may not know what happens afterward....and ..worse case scenario..you may NEVER know.
    IMHO
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    If someone is calling you every name in the book and giving you the impression that violence may ensue, that's Assault.

    Assault is the threat.

    You can react upon that. You don't have to wait to be hit.

    If they do land one, it may be the only one they need to land. And it might be lights out for you.

    --Amy
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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    I must disagree. If an individual approached me calling me every name in the book and threatening violence upon my person I would not give them the opportunity to demonstrate their intent!! Intent, opportunity, and capability is all that is necessary to warrent self defense. Once a threat comes within striking range that's it for me. They've already made their INTENT clear by verbally threatening me, unless they are restrained or cut off from me somehow they obviously have the CAPABILITY, and once within range they have OPPORTUNITY. If you get hit...you may not know what happens afterward....and ..worse case scenario..you may NEVER know.
    IMHO
    this is exactly the kind of thinking I'm talking about.
    The thing that usually causes lock jaw on a martial arts person though......is the thought of the consequences of defending themselves. This in concert with an adrenal dump can make someone more afraid of defending themselves than they are of the impending attack.
    This is why I am a big advocate of instilling offensive thinking over defensive thinking.

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Exactly. Teach the "switch". If you attack me, you'll suffer the consequences, but I will call you an ambulance afterwards. LOL. I'm not taking any chances with my life or well being.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    i had grown up by allowing the other person to make the first move.But one fight i had i was hurt and couldn't get back into the fight.i lost of course but that was the last time i let anyone every hit me first.now i teach my kids to not let anyone hit them first.i don't want that to happen to them

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by kroh
    In a civilized society, there are rules and regulations about reasonable defense and what a "reasonable" person should do in that situation. Let these law makers talk to a traumatized rape victim or a woman victimized by an abusive husband. Let these "civilized" law makers talk to a soldier comming home and suffering from traumatic shock syndrome. Show these "esteemed" lawmakers pictures of a two year old so violently beaten that it is hard to pinpoint where the face starts and the bruises end. We constantly hear of civillized behaviour, but i have yet to see a civilized criminal.
    A civilized criminal.... what you've said is so true.

    Sometimes understanding the switch does not happen until an experience to self or another makes one realize this. It seems the only way we can do is to keep trying to train and instill that switch, and someday, the light of realization will turn on.

    - Ceicei
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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by danp1970
    i had grown up by allowing the other person to make the first move.But one fight i had i was hurt and couldn't get back into the fight.i lost of course but that was the last time i let anyone every hit me first.now i teach my kids to not let anyone hit them first.i don't want that to happen to them
    allow me to play devils advocate...

    At what point does it go from premptive attack to protect onself and simply attacking any one you like because of a "percieved" threat.


    why did you attack?
    He approched in a threating mannor and I felt the need to defend myself

    opposed to

    Why did you attack
    Well he was in strinking range and I thought he was going to atack me.

    Celtic..

    you are right there is no sence of responsibility for ones action and because of human nature I don't think there ever will be.
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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrBunny
    allow me to play devils advocate...

    At what point does it go from premptive attack to protect onself and simply attacking any one you like because of a "percieved" threat.


    why did you attack?
    He approched in a threating mannor and I felt the need to defend myself

    opposed to

    Why did you attack
    Well he was in strinking range and I thought he was going to atack me.

    Celtic..

    you are right there is no sence of responsibility for ones action and because of human nature I don't think there ever will be.
    firstly, you have to use that gray thing between your ears.
    secondly, if you're attacking anyone you like because of a perceived threat, you have a problem with restraint and perception.

    I think most rational individuals understand what it feels like to be threatened.
    this isnt walking down the street, looking across the road, seeing someone that looks a little suspicious and then walking across the street and attacking them.......this is the kind of person you're trying to defend yourself against.

    I have a hard time understanding where you are coming from because it really sounds like a victims outlook.

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    Default Re: Offense Or Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by kroh
    Offensive and defensive behavior is really based on the mentality of the fighter and the situation at hand. Most sensible people will want to extract themselves from any situation that would bring them harm. This is defensive in nature. Some other might argue that by blasting the potential bad guy in the nose with everything you have (thus shooting it out of the back of his skull) might say thay were being "prudent." Was he being offensive...maybe. Or was he being pre-emptive?
    People are not so stupid that they are totally unable to judge the rough proportional force necessary and should be held legally accountable for decisions that ignore proportion. The precision with which people are supposed to exercise their judgment must, in turn, be judged reasonably.

    In a civilized society, there are rules and regulations about reasonable defense and what a "reasonable" person should do in that situation. Let these law makers talk to a traumatized rape victim or a woman victimized by an abusive husband. Let these "civilized" law makers talk to a soldier comming home and suffering from traumatic shock syndrome. Show these "esteemed" lawmakers pictures of a two year old so violently beaten that it is hard to pinpoint where the face starts and the bruises end. We constantly hear of civillized behaviour, but i have yet to see a civilized criminal.
    Actually, I wish lawmakers would talk to people more, because it would keep them from acting on pseudo-populist, emotive statements like the one above instead of known statistical information and precedents.

    But let's look at each of your examples for a moment. Is there any commonly accepted jurisprudence in the western world that would authorize anything less than maximum force in response to the threat of rape? Of course not. As an argument against the principle of obligatory proportionality, this fails. This principle does not even apply in military conflicts, so it is silly to apply it, unless this is some backhanded justification for breaking human rights codes, rules of engagement and binding international agreements. I've met lots of military people who consider that kind of support essentially insulting to their profession, because it implies that they are knee-jerk barbarians instead of honourable professionals able to apply nuanced judgement.

    And of course, a 2-year old is not capable of protecting themselves at all, and any adults would be well able to act within the law.

    So as a paen against liberal lawmakers or whatever, this sort of thing fails on all counts.

    Let everyone else play defensive if they want to and live in this fantasy "society." It doesn't exist. It's like the old addage about severe gun control laws, if you pass laws that limit the ability of regular people to own a weapon, only the criminals will have them.
    Please provide reliable evidence of any country in Western Europe where more crooks than legally authorized citizens have firearms. Hell, in Canada we have about as many guns as people do in the US, but there's something to be said about safety being function of reduced cultural paranoia.

    The fact is that gun control laws and crime have a very complex relationship. One oft-cited study is the comparative USDOJ study of the UK "crime wave" that correlated with its new gun control laws. What many people fail to note, however is that compared to the US, violent crime rates actually increased from fewer to slightly more, with the exceptions of rape and murder. The US still has higher rates of both and abnormally high rates in general by developed world standards. Given that the US has laxer standards of proportional force, one would expect rates to be lower if lax proportionality was superior, but this is not true. Recent comparative statistics can be found at:

    http://www.csdp.org/research/hosb1203.pdf

    Note also that, among other things, the US murder rate is actually trending downward, though it is still more than triple the UK and it's gun-control using, strict proprtionality regime. In fact, the UK is an excellent argument against lax proprtionality, since the UK is moving away from strict adherence to that doctrine in its own jurisprudence.

    So one must ask why it's wise to place faith in an armed populace with lax proportionality when these things don't seem to mame a whit of difference in making people's lives safer. They don't neccesarily make life more dangerous as gun control advocates say, but they seem to have no rationally defensible effect. It's just another variable that can be good or bad. Individually, it means that you can fall on your own metaphorical sword as well as use it.

    What actually creates a meaningful amount of safety is personal discretion combined with socially implemented measures.

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