Thursday, 4 November 2010

Hierarchy of Technique

I mentioned recently about principle over technique and that I have developed a series of laws of combat to understand and utilise in our martial arts. Here is one law based on a principle that can improve almost any applied technique. In fact it tells you exactly what technique to start with. This is the Law of Hierarchy which is a sub law of the Laws of Priority and Proximity. Stephen Covey calls this 'putting first things first' and it applies to martial arts like this:

1. Speed is more important than power therefore faster techniques take priority over slower more powerful techniques.
2. The hand is faster than the foot, therefore the hand takes priority over the foot.
3. The open hand moves faster than the closed hand therefore the open hand takes priority over the fist.
4. The lead hand is faster than the rear hand therefore the lead hand takes priority over the rear hand and goes first
5. It is faster to attack than defend therefore attack before defending.

This technique hierarchy gives us the basis of an effective strategy and can be used for street defence or sport. It is simple and if ones practice utilises the hierarchy you will find that your techniques are more effective.

Rule 5 brings us to another important strategy of our system which is the 1st rule of Aegis. The 1st rule of Aegis states that: If there is going to be a fight and you can't avoid it then you have to start it. This can be called proactivity (see Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) in combat it can also be called the pre-emptive strike.

Aegis is a peaceful system, we don't look for trouble, we avoid trouble, we are not in the hurting business we are in the helping business however, sometimes we are faced with a situation that we cannot avoid and then we must take control to ensure we get the right outcome. This is based upon the philosophy that you know how far you will go if there is a need to defend yourself, that is; if you knock your opponent down you will not then smash him into an unrecognisable pulp.

This conforms with the legal definition of 'reasonable force' which is our lawfully permitted response to physical threats. However, whilst you know how far you will go you don't know how far your opponent will go. If he beats you he may get carried away and really hurt you badly, possibly even kill you because he may not know when to stop. So our principle is based on: you are faced with an assault that you have not chosen and cannot avoid, so in order to minimise the danger all around you must take control of the situation, deal with the threat and then either escape if can or, disable the attacker and if he can be effectively subdued and made safe, call the Police or emergency services to deal with him.

The hierarchy of technique is the strategy we use in the Aegis system to give ourselves the edge using sound principles of combat; priority, proximity, proactivity, positioning etc to maximise our chances of success. If you build your strategy on principles that utilise techniques your success will be more assured.

Our non-combative, life martial arts mirrors our combative side and parallels can be drawn directly with our daily lives. In future posts I'll be examining these but to be frank they are here in this post if you look for them.
Thanks for reading and I hope we'll speak again soon.

Tony Higo
Chief Instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 0920948

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