Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Level 1 Defence - Interception

The four levels of defence are: Avoid, Block, Re-direct and Intercept. So far we have looked at levels 4 to 2 and today we look at the most efficient level, level one - Intercept. Interception is the most direct and proactive and is based on the law of defence which states that the best defence is a good offence or in English, the best defence is attack. 

In life we call this being proactive which means seeing an opportunity/challenge/risk and taking action to take best advantage of it. Stephen Covey in his brilliant book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' coins the term 'Be Proactive' and it is the 1st of his seven habits.

Proactivity means looking into future potential and predicting what might happen if no action is taken or what could happen if the right action is taken. In combat we do this using the RADAR system (more of this in future blogs) once we recognise that the threat has to be dealt with we take decisive action, generally in the form of the pre-emptive strike. 

Attack is the best defence is an old adage from Boxing and is based on sound principles; it focuses us purely on proactive action. Proactivity in this form uses the 'law of surprise' which states that 'even when you expect something unpleasant to happen, when it does it is still a shock. Even knowing that you are going to be punched in the face, when it happens it still takes you by surprise. By utilising this law we take control of the situation, gain momentum for our actions and increase our chances of success in exploiting the opportunity. 

In fencing this proactivity is called the 'stop hit' meaning one stops the attack with a hit. Remember, attack is the best defence? Why defend and counter when you can just attack and achieve both outcomes simultaneously?

In the Aegis system we categorise the time lapse of attack and defence as 'beats'. For instance, attack is one beat, defence is one beat and counter attack is one beat. In all we have 3 beats. If two opponents are exactly matched weight, size etc the winner will be the one who technique is most efficient. That is the one using less beats per movement.

In level one defence - intercept we endeavour to reduce the number of beats per attack to one by hitting the opponent as he tries to hit you. Remember a few days ago I spoke about the hardest opponent being the one who did not respond to your attack? Well, there is one harder and that is the opponent who hits you every time you attack. This is the essence of the level one intercept. Our definition in the Aegis system of the essence of self defence is ‘not being there when the attack arrives’ and level one defence is the epitome of that statement. Using level one defence utilises many of the laws of combat to put one into the required position to be able to take advantage of the situation such as the law of movement, law of distance, law of position, law of surprise etc to maximise ones results.

In every day life we can use this concept to attend to challenges and opportunities by structuring our lives to expect them and utilise them to our best advantage. At a very simple level let us take the example of our gas bill.  Most of us get one but how we deal with it differs. Lets have a look at the gas bill in terms of the four levels of defence.

Level four defence would avoid paying it, but it won't go away and they'll keep sending more until you pay up. Level 3 we can stop using the gas which will block their bills but your risk is to go cold and hungry. Level 2 defence receives the bill, accepts the bill and makes payment thereby re-directing the energy back to the gas company in the form of payment. Level one defence, being totally proactive knows the bill is coming, knows that it has to be dealt with and sets up a standing order to pay it as this is the easiest way and the amount of the bills are controlled by making payments promptly, thereby staying ahead of any risk of non payment. 

Do you see now how martial arts principles can apply to the most basic areas of our lives if you take a more global view of your study? 

Thanks for reading today and I hope you found it useful. Tomorrow we'll have a look at the RADAR system which I think you will find useful in all areas of your life. 

Best wishes

Tony Higo
Chief instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 0920948

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