Monday, 17 January 2011

The Law of Predictable Response

The Law of Predicable Response

States that ‘some actions are natural and therefore predictable and if an outcome is predictable it can be used to ones advantage’.

In combat we use this deliberately when we fake, feint, draw or create surprise. Our intention is to manipulate our opponent into taking the action that we want whilst believing that his action is the best response. In fact the response we create can be a trained response that we are activating or a natural reaction.

Surprise creates a natural reaction of shock and the result is a moment of inaction or freeze. In combat this moment of freeze provides us with a window of opportunity in which to attack and in combat it only takes a moments advantage to win the battle.

Deception also often creates a surprise for us to take advantage of in combat however surprise is not always the desired outcome of deception. Deception is also used to create openings that is, to uncover targets. For instance if you want to hit an opponent in the head you can deceive him with a fake attack to his body and when he responds to your fake attack to his head you switch the attack to his body which he has uncovered by trying to protect his head. This deceptive tactic has been used for thousands of years in single combat and in warfare. It’s also used in sports such as football, rugby and tennis, directing an opponent’s attention away from the real goal.

The draw is another deception where ones opponent is offered a target a target to draw his attack to that point. Obviously it’s not as easy a target as he is lead to believe because you have prepared a counter attack to use when he commits to the false target you have offered. The drawn attack is drawn with the knowledge that his attacker will present an opportunity or target for your attack that is worth the risk of being hit by the attack that you have drawn.

Fakes, feints and draws are deceptions or strategies that create an advantage in your own favour, they require a knowledge of strategy that presumes one has time to mentally gather ones senses together in order to plan the outcome. In street defence one rarely has time to prepare mentally except at that outset and before the combat has begun. If one has the opportunity before an attack to make a strategy then that is probably more than you’ll have when the combat begins. Once it begins things will go very fast and you’ll have to rely more on instinct, reactions and muscle memory, those actions that are either pre programmed into you or conform to the natural biological fight or flight reaction. So the best time to use deceptive or surprise stratagems is either before the fray begins or during a hiatus which might occur during it.

The trained martial artist will have modified his reactions from ones of basic instinct, stimulus response and added through repetitive drills a trained and conditioned set of responses which will act in addition to the biological ones. The training relevance behind the martial arts skills developed will also affect the outcome and it is a factor that the type of martial art studied would bring a practical response. Some styles are far from practical in this respect; often even the ones which declare their street focus are based on highly improbable attack types combined with equally unlikely responses.

In life we often predict the response of others actions based on our own experience or our experience of theirs. It’s often easy to predict the actions of others particularly the further away we are as if we have a bird’s eye view on the life of another. It’s more difficult to predict our own actions except where we have taken the time to objectively study our own actions and responses. We are as animals very predictable; birds act like birds, dogs act like cats and humans act like humans but because the behaviour of other humans is so like our own its is more difficult to recognise. When the behaviour is our own it is almost impossible for us to recognise the patterns that we keep falling into.

You often hear people say things like ‘well, that’s just how I am’ or ‘I’ll never change’ assuming that the way they are is beyond change when the opposite is the probably the truth. We can predict the behaviour of others but not 100% and the same applies to our own behaviour however we are creatures of habit and habit dictates much of our responses. We often think that we are constantly making decisions and taking actions in our lives but in reality most of our actions that we take today are the same as we took yesterday, we are as easily trainable in our responses as the average dog.

A successful life is based on recognising the habits we have and separating the ones that don’t serve us from the ones that do. The new habits we build rely on us having a model of new habits to choose from either learned from improving books or programs or by modelling the habits of those we consider more successful than ourselves. Developing these wanted habits is not easy particularly as it involves breaking old ones and that is definitely not easy.

So in combat we use the behaviours and habits of ones opponent, those that we can predict either through nature or testing his response before we put a strategy into action. In life we can predict the actions of workmates, colleagues and competitors in the same way, either: through nature or experience in fact salesmen and salesmanship is entirely based on predicting and influencing the behaviour of others creating a desired response from the potential customer.

Just as in combat, sales or goal setting the outcome doesn’t always come out the way we predict but by using the odds in our favour we can generally gets the odds in our favour more than 50% of the time which means over time we’ll come out well ahead of the curve. If we can predict our own behaviour and modify that through practice and perseverance we can use the law of predictable response to reshape our lives into one that we really want rather than believing that we cannot change. Sometimes we are too close to the problem to see it clearly but now that you know how the law of predictable response works and how it can be used in our favour we are presented with a range of new possibilities. The fighter who believes that he must be able to out punch his opponent has only one strategy and is therefore highly predictable, when pitted against a more complete fighter trained in combative deceptions and the like he will be easily controlled and bested. 

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