Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Best Weapon Has the Sharpest Edge - The Law of the Lead

In martial arts the law of the lead states that ‘every good weapon has a sharp edge’. This is a more specific law relating to martial arts mastery but as with all martial arts laws it does have its uses in daily life. The law of the lead is related to many other laws which support it and which it supports such as the law of priority, proximity, leverage, speed and power and is a sub-law of speed and surprise.

The law of the lead means creating a leading edge to each attack or defence. By doing this we create several inbuilt advantages:

1.     By creating  lead side we create a closer side to our opponent which aids proximity, speed and leverage
·        By having one side closer to our opponent we reduce his chances of grabbing both hands to control us or both sides of our body
·        We create a fast side which can be utilised more quickly in attack and defence
·        We create a side that can easily perform set ups, feints, fakes, draws and parries
2.     A lead side creates a rear side which carries power and the ability to turn easily
·        The lead side creates a rear side  which carries great leverage to deliver the most powerful of strikes and kicks which though slower because of their greater distance to travel are nonetheless more powerful.
·        The ability to turn and escape is easier if one foot is forward and one behind
·        Turning throws and the ability to re-direct attacks is greater if one foot is forward and one behind
·        By placing one foot forward and one behind we maximise our lifting ability of an opponent for lifting throws and takedowns
3.     A lead side presents a smaller target to ones opponent and therefore makes one more difficult to attack
·        A lead side presents an edged side making attacks to vulnerable areas more difficult
·        The centre line is protected by taking it out of the angle of first attack
·        A left lead creates an initial of lead target that consists of muscle and bone rather than soft tissue and nerve endings which accumulate around the centre line
4.     The law of the lead allows half step footwork which promotes caution in movement
·        A created leading edge side allows to put the least vulnerable side toward ones opponent
·        Half step footwork allows the leading edge side to be maintained and thereby all its advantages also
·        Half step footwork allows cautious movement forward which reduces the chances of walking onto ones opponents attack which full steps would increase the likelihood of
5.     The law of the left lead utilises the fact that most people are right handed therefore the majority of frontal assaults can be predicted
·        Most people are right handed therefore 85% of frontal assaults will be with the right hand and statistically even left handed people are prone to favour right handed attacks
·        By knowing this we can predict with high probability what a first attack will be and to where (head)
6.     By creating a lead side we can step into this position in the event of danger and thereby be prepared for it.
·        This knowing of the probability means we can create space between ourselves and our potential aggressor without appearing aggressive or submissive
·        This position puts one into a position which affords a strategic advantage over ones opponent before any trouble starts
7.     By creating a lead side, particularly a left lead we afford greater protection to the vulnerable centre line from first attacks
·        Centre line contains more than 10 highly vulnerable areas any of which, if struck can render one unconscious or at least stunned
·        By creating a leading edge we position ourselves well to attack our aggressors vulnerable centre line

In life we can create a leading edge advantage by understanding how others will react in certain situations: fear, embarrassment, loss of face, blame etc. we can learn from the half steps of the leading edge by taking ‘baby steps’ into new areas of potential risk, exercising due caution but taking action nonetheless. Leading edge also means not jumping in with both feet or revealing ones whole strategy to an opponent by placing only a small part at risk. Think for instance of a risk investment. A foolhardy investor will take risk at face value and either not move at all or move too quickly or invest too much money and leave nothing to spare. A wise investor moves cautiously until the full risk is known and never puts everything he has on the line. Instead he risks less and banks the gains for future investments.

Consider areas of your life where you jump in too deep too quick or where you put yourself in the way of risk or not at all. Remember that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ and remember that angels are immortal and fools are often dead. Move forward certainly but never too fast or too blindly.

I have spent more time today than usual discussing the martial arts in this law as it applies more strongly to martial arts. Being a sub law of several others it is therefore more specific and less general. However you can plainly see the metaphor as it applies to your daily life and how you might be living it without a thorough understanding of the law of the lead.

Thanks for reading today and I look forward to speaking to you again tomorrow

Best wishes

Tony Higo
Chief Instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 092 0948

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