Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kenpo Karate: The Art of Control Part 1

In kenpo karate and any other martial art, there are two things you must have control of while fighting. The first is your opponent and the second is yourself. Or vice versa, depending on which one you have the most difficulty with.

As Miyamoto wrote in the Book of Five Rings, a master of strategy has control over his opponent. This doesn't mean mental control like in those comic books, this means controling the fight.

There is no one answer on controlling the fight. Each fight is different because each opponent is different. This is where the water mindset plays a key role. You must be willing to understand your opponent in order to beat him or to control him. As Miyamoto described in the Book of Five Rings, there are three ways to engage an opponent that each martial artist uses without knowing.
  1. Attacking
  2. Waiting
  3. Or Simultaneous Attacking
The one who attacks first has control of the fight. The fighter who is on the offensive controls where the opponent dodges by which techniques he uses and by surveying the environment. However, just because the attacker initially has control does not mean that he can maintain it.

There is something to be said about the opponent who waits. They can be called strategists as long as they maintain the water mindset. By waiting and dodging and perceiving, the Waiter can fully understand their opponent and utilize the right combinations to incapcitate him. Kenpo karate and most martial arts schools teach the arts to defend, not to attack. However sometimes it may be unavoidable, especially if you need to take control of the fight.

Simultaneously attacking is dangerous. Unless you have a high tolerance for pain, it is suggested you be an Attacker or a Waiter, however as you become more experienced maybe at the fire mindset or the wind mindset, simultaneous attacking works. It can be a way to fake out your opponent or even stop them from continuing his attack. Attacking at the same time can also become a defensive offense. While your opponent chickens out on the attack (if you haven't chickened out), you can continue your attack and take control of the fight. But very often it results in banged up shins and forearms, so get to know your body first before attempting a simultaneous attack.

I believe that I will save the second part of this blog for tomorrow. Thank you for reading!

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