The laundry list of things that seem important in hands-on, violent conflict is enormous, and dauntingly so: assessment of the situation, distance, stance, how to engage, blocking, countering, etc., etc. And we haven’t even gotten to do anything to him yet. When we do get around to actually doing something—anything—it’s another list fraught with pitfalls and anxiety: dealing with the chaos of limbs and furious motion, shifting gears between striking-grappling-disarms as the situation develops (or deteriorates), trying to match technique with opportunity, etc., etc.
What the above paragraph has in spades is noise. What it lacks is the clarity of results.
With so many aspects vying for our attention it becomes incredibly difficult to discern what’s important, like trying to pick out a single spoken word in the audience during the crescendo of a madman’s symphony. And that word is “results”.
Chaos in violence is a given. It comes on as a bewildering mess… and doesn’t change until someone does something specific to change it. The sword that cleaves that Gordian Knot is debilitating injury, where you take away his ability to think and move, or both. The first one to get it done—and knows what to do with it—wins. Not the first to move, or the first to strike… but the first to injure.
Instead of trying to unsnarl the knot of chaos by paying attention to the tangle of strands, it’s best to look at it already cut in half and then work backwards from there. The answer lies in three questions:
Where is my target?
We’re talking about a specific piece of important anatomy, ideally a single square inch that he would really rather a bullet never went through, let alone your entire mass in motion. It must be something with an important job to do, like seeing, breathing, or walking. Or thinking. It’s not “the button” or “the breadbasket” or “the side of the head”. That’s not nearly specific enough. It should light up whenever you see it in public—not the cheek, or the forehead, but exactly the eye. Learn the anatomy, then learn the signposts to find it on anyone, anywhere, anytime, e.g., the clavicle lies along a line between the tip of the shoulder and the suprasternal notch at the base of the neck. Stomp that line as hard as you can when he’s on the ground and you’ll break his collarbone.
How do I wreck it?
Finding the target is one thing; breaking it is a completely different story. You need to replicate an accident on purpose. People fall down all the time with no ill effects; only occasionally do they brain themselves and die. If you need to make that happen you need to know what went exactly wrong when it resulted in death and the differences between tragedy and comedy. In general, you need to do sufficient work on the human machine to disrupt tissue. And with the body being surprisingly resilient—as well as mobile and squishy—we can’t go at it like we would to break a board. If we slap at it, short and sharp, it bends and moves to dissipate the force and we’re less likely to break things. We need body-weighted, penetrating strikes that flex ribs beyond their rated elasticity, that distort organs to the point of rupture, that knock the brain convincingly against the skull… all the while overrunning the man to unbalance him and put him down.
What is the result?
If you answered the first two questions correctly, this last one becomes obvious. When that critical piece of anatomy stops doing its job he loses an ability, moves in response to the injury and begins behaving like an injured person. This is what you’re gunning for all along—the previous idea-action combination exists purely to get you here. This is all the criminal sociopath cares about because it’s the only thing that matters. Learn from his experience and make results your goal as well. Know what you’ll get: what he loses, how he’ll respond (so you can recognize success), and what new opportunities arise from the results.
Minimize the anatomy, maximize the physics, know the result. This is all that matters; everything else is useless, distracting noise.
You want a useful result above all; breaking something important gets you there. The symphony will always play on, crashing out its discordant cacophony… your job is to find the sociopath in the audience and read his lips. Because he knows.
TFT Master Instructor
PS. The best place to learn how to filter out this noise is at a live training event. Sydney, Australia is about to close. But we’ve just moved the July 21-22 class in Las Vegas to a new location (not far from the old) with considerably more floor space. So the good news is we’ve got room for 8 additional folks to join in. This one’s been marked ‘sold out’ for nearly 2 months. So if you haven’t registered for a class yet because you missed this one the first time around, here’s your opportunity. Don’t expect it to last long.