Saturday, 13 November 2010

Level 3 Defence - Block

Last time we discussed level 4 defence, avoidance with its various pros and cons. Today I want to look at level 3 defence which is to block or stop the attack. Once again I want to examine how blocking attacks work in life as well as the martial arts.

Blocking is a step up from avoidance and it means that you have made a decision or the decision has been made for you, that you have either decided to defend or have no alternative but to do so. Blocking means that you are putting yourself at risk of being hit by the attack and in fact when you do block you know you are going to get hit. What I mean by this is that you put a part of you in the path of the attack, for instance a palm, an elbow or perhaps a shin, based on the fact that the part that you put in the path of the attack is either less susceptible to pain or is less important that the part of you that your opponent is aiming for. Make sense so far?

Blocking can be both proactive and reactive. Reactive in that you react to the attack and block it with whatever is closest or easiest to get in front of you; proactive in that if you take a strong guard position you can advance as you defend. The proactive method assumes a greater level of confidence in either your own ability or your opponents lack thereof and leads neatly into level 2 defence that we will discuss tomorrow.

In life we can block physically or verbally to protect ourselves from bullying or intimidation. As Blocking is mainly reactive it might go like this; your verbal opponent may make some disparaging remark and so you block their intent by saying something like 'Now, just stop that! I am not here to be bullied or abused by you.' or 'I don't want to fall out with you but I have to say I am not prepared to be spoken to in that tone of voice'. once this verbal assault is blocked you have two key options. one, you can turn your defence into an attack and follow through with your own verbal barrage or you can (and generally this is preferable) you can change your tack and resort to a friendlier manner as you continue, for instance: 'now, what did you want to ask me?' This way you put the aggressor in their place but do not make them lose face. Loss of face is painful for anyone and and is difficult emotionally to accept. If your aggressor loses face you may push them into a corner where they fight back harder than ever. We call this 'leaving the door open' and in physical martial arts it works the same way. once you have blocked the attack and countered leave off the pressure to allow your aggressor to remove themselves from the situation without loss of face. A wounded animal is often the most dangerous because if it is injured and has nothing to lose any more it will fight back with even greater ferocity. In the wild animals rarely fight to the death only till one of the has had enough. The winner only does enough to win, then let's the loser go as to fight on will only cause more injury to both.

Understanding which level of defence you're using is useful in combat as well as life as knowing the strategy you are using gives you more alternatives, than just say, reacting with a punch in the face or running away. Knowing that you have other alternatives as well allows one to feel a greater deal of control or choice. Without choice we often feel pressured and fearful by having only one alternative and if that alternative doesn't work we could feel in greater danger.

Now you have two methods of defending available to you and tomorrow we'll discuss the higher level of defence which is level 2 or re-direction. Thanks for reading today and I look forward to talking to you all again tomorrow.

Best wishes

Tony Higo
Chief Instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 092 0948

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