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Secrets in the Martial Arts?

As we travel around the world, the DSI often asks the question "Are there any secrets in your system of Martial Arts?"  Without exception, when we ask "What are they?" or "Name one." we get confused looks.  And these are not strangers we are asking.  These are those who are close to us.  The bewilderment is not an act of surprise that we would ask to see their secret methods; instead, it is a realization that they cannot name a single one of them!  After an awkward silence, we begin to share our "secrets" with them.

So, what are these secrets?  And how do we know them?  The DSI has spent decades travelling all over the world discovering, collecting, and documenting little known methods to improve Martial Arts techniques.  These come from all over the place and from a myriad of systems; others come by sheer luck; still others, are found by broad studies in topics not even related to Martial Arts.

Once we find these, we methodically document the principles and add it to our vast library.  By doing this, we ensure that future generations of Martial Artists don't have to re-invent the wheel so-to-speak.  This is why we are considered the premier research group and the world leader in pressure points and martial science.

Why don't more people know these?  I believe many Martial Artists have blinders on their eyes.  They are so focused on their own system of Martial Arts, they do not see the variety we see.  When we observe a high ranking Martial Artist performing a technique, we critically analyze what they are doing and why it works.  We identify patterns of movement and look for the components that are essential to the technique.  For those only studying their own system, they are limited in what they will see to those within their own group.  As a result, their growth potential is limited.

Moreover, many are not permitted by tradition to make any changes or improvements to their art.  In the DSI, we respect traditional systems and feel they have much to offer.  At the same time, we also believe in making minor adjustments where we have discovered better ways.  In this way, the arts continue to grow and evolve.  Times have changed and much must change with them.

Why refuse to evolve?  Can we honestly say that those who came before us were perfect?  Can we really say that they knew everything?  Of course not!  To do so would be preposterous.  They did the best they could with the knowledge they had.

Now, what we are not suggesting is that someone with limited knowledge go out and make drastic changes.  Tweaks can be made to base techniques to make them more applicable today and to incorporate these secret methods into them.  This is growth without sacrificing past knowledge.

Ready to start learning these secrets?  We do have an entire series of videos which detail some of the most used secrets, which we call "Players to the Game."  Why such a strange term?  Well, calling them "secrets" seems like market-speak.  "Players" terminology denotes the idea that each method or principle is a "player" in the overall "game" of defeating one's opponent.  Our founder, Professor Rick Moneymaker coined the term and it has stuck ever since.

Check out the first video in this series here: https://www.dragonsociety.com/product/players-to-the-game-volume-1/

In coming posts, I plan to examine more of these "Players to the Game."  Be sure to post some comments and let us know what you think!

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Shuri-Te Martial Arts International Conference in Dallas, NC (April 7-9)

Grandmaster Michael Patrick will be teaching at the Shuri-Te Martial Arts International Conference in Dallas, NC from April 7 to 9.  This is a great conference attended by many well known and extremely talented Martial Artists such as Master Troy Price, Master Alex Ormaza, and many more.  Get more information here or visit www.shuritebujutsu.com.

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The Stretch Reflex

The Stretch Relex is where stretching a muscle causes the excitation of muscle spindles which causes contraction of large skeletal muscles.

A simple example of this is when jumping from a height and landing on the feet, the impulse in the leg muscles will likely cause a corresponding reflex of contracting the gluteal muscles in the hip which helps protect the body from injury.

Stimulus of the skeletal muscle, in turn, causes the antagonist muscle to lengthen and relax.  As the muscle relaxes and lengthens, the joint near the strike will not be as well protected as the body attempts to protect the core.

Naturally, our job is to take advantage of this reflex. How do we do that? Well, it is quite easy.

Let's say we are striking to Golgi's Tendon above the elbow (TB-11 for those with knowledge of acupuncture nomenclature). Naturally, the opponent will tense up as he expects the impact to his elbow region. As the muscles are about to be struct, they are contracted to resist the blow. The impact elicits a Stretch Reflex and immediately as the skeletal muscles are triggered, the relex causes the opponent's muscles to relax and lengthen, leaving the elbow joint exposed to injury. Immediately following up with a second strike to the same target will result in damage to the joint!

It really is that easy. But, please be extremely careful when working with a partner as it is unbelievably easy to dislocate elbows with this strike and do serious harm to your training partner. So, please be gentle!

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The Crossed Extensor Reflex

The crossed extensor reflex is also known as the Cross-body Motor Reflex and is one of the Somatic Reflexes we discussed previously.

Let's look at a practical example of stepping on a nail with your right foot. Naturally, the right leg will contract, via the flexor muscles, to withdraw the foot from the source of the pain. Ouch! At the same time, the right leg's extensor muscles will relax to facilitate the process with minimal resistance.

Meanwhile, the left leg will experience the exact opposite function and the leg will lock via the extensor muscle extension while the flexors relax. This is done to allow the left leg to maintain complete body weight. This is known as a contralateral reflex since opposite things happen on the opposite side of the body.

This is possible since branched of the afferent nerve fibers cross from the stimualted side of the body to the other side via the spinal cord. It is there where they synapse with interneurons and excite or inhibit alpha motor neurons on the opposite limb.

Of course, there are other stimuli occuring which cause the center of gravity to shift, but let's not think we are neurosurgeons here and get too complicated!

Now, let's apply this to CombatiXâ„¢. When we apply a joint lock to the fingrs of the right hand, have you ever noticed that the other arm will often swing away from you? As the flexor muscles of the right arm are stimulated, the cross extensor reflex causes the extensors of the left arm to engage and it typically swings in the opposite direction.

We use this natural reflex all the time to cause the opponent to rotate his body away from us and take the other arm (and fist) out of the fight to keep us from getting hammered with it!

Hopefully by now, you are starting to see just how much science there is involved with CombatiXâ„¢! For many years we have focused on teaching the Eastern side of the art and thus in these training reports I have decided to spend a fair amount of time revealing the Western side of the art as well.

Hmmm, I wonder if I can stimulate this response enough to make the opponent smack himself in the back of the head? Time to go find a training partner...

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Somatic Reflexes

Have you ever had a doctor, or a really twisted friend, tap a spot near your knee and it reflexively kicks? If so, you have experienced a somatic reflex.

There are essentially five somatic reflexes. Three are spinal reflexes:

  • Stretch
  • Crossed Extensor
  • Superficial Cord

And two are cranial reflexes:

  • Corneal
  • Gag

A reflex arc is a neural pathway which controls an action reflex. In humans, most sensory neurons don't pass directly to the brain, but synapse via the spinal cord. This allows reflex actions to occur very quickly by activating spinal motor neurons without experiencing the delay of routing signals through the brain, although the brain will receive sensory input while the reflex action takes place.

There are two types of reflex arc: autonomic reflex arc, which aaffects the inner organs, and somatic reflex arc, which affects muscles.

In the knee jerk reflex, a strike to the patellar tendon initiates a somatic reflex which causes a contraction of the quadricep muscle of the leg and causes it to kick. Since this bypasses the brain, this type of reflex occurs without conscious thought.

As there are a number of these sorts of reflexes in the body, activating these will cause a reaction regardless of whether or not the individual feels it. These can be of great value to those intoxicated, in altered states of consciousness due to drug activity, or those with impaired thinking.

Too many people try to get these types of individuals to comply based on pain. As you learned in the previous report, this is usually Slow Pain techniques such as strikes to the body and such. Instead, activating Fast Pain receptors, especially those tied to somatic reflexes offers the greatest opportunity to bring involuntary compliance.

Time to hit the anatomy books...

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Fast Pain vs. Slow Pain

How fast do you make your techniques hurt? Seems like an odd question, right?!?!? Well, it is actually quite a good one! Not all pain is created equal. It turns out some pain is faster than others! Time to talk some science...

By studying a scientific process known as nociception, we learn that pain comes in at least two basic forms: fast and slow. Nociception is a process of encoding and processing noxious stimuli. So, what is that?

Basically, these are pain stimulations where there is potential for bodily harm. These impulses are initiated by nociceptors, otherwise known as pain receptors. Once range of motion or impact reaches an internal threshold, these pain receptors fire signals along the spinal cord to the brain.

Where do these pain receptors live? They are located along joints and in the skin. Their distribution varies within the body, but are in greater densities along the extremeties. For thsoe who love joint locking, especially fingers, you now have a good idea why fingers make such good targets!

Fast pain travels along type Aä fibers and terminates on the dorsal horn of the spinal cord where these synapse with the dendrites of the neospinothalamic tract. Fast pain can be felt in as fast as one tenth of a second! This pain is usually felt as a sharp acute pain. These are often stimulated along with tactile receptors which keeps the pain being felt as localized but intense pain.

In contrast, slow pain is transmitted by type C fibers, which are slower, to laminae II and III of the dorsal horns, which are known as the substantia gelatinosa. One tenth of these signals eventually terminate in the thallus and the other nine tenths terminate in the medulla. Pain is typically felt as more of an aching, burning, or throbbing pain.

How does this apply to CombatiXâ„¢? Well, it is simple. We try to stimulate Fast Pain Receptors as often as possible. This fast signals travel at lightening speeds through the brain stem and cause immediate reaction. When dealing with someone who is pain resistant, this is one of the most effective ways to get them off their feet. Often, the legs have buckled before they feel any pain; in some cases they never do feel it! Either way, these type of techniques are not really pain compliance techniques, since feeling it is not necessary to get them to work. Instead, they cause neurological reflexes to take place that are operating at a subsconscious level.

Now go grab a partner and make it hurt fast and good...

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The OODA Loop

OODA Loop is a concept created by USAF Colonel John Boyd. It is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Action.

He created this primarily for helping fighter pilots get through the mental process for taking action more quickly. In the business world, "time is money" but in life-and-death situations, "time is death."

If one can minimize the time it takes to take a correct action greatly increases one's survival rate. Taking too much time or getting hung up in the Orientation Phase can kill you.

First, let's remember that we have dealt with the Observation Phase of OODA by discussing the Levels of Awareness. Being more aware of your surrounding, gets you through that phase much faster.

As I said, most people get caught up in the Orientation Phase. This is where one must filter the information collected in the Observation Phase and process it. One's ethics, morality, religious inclinations, and such have a tremendous impact on how long this phase takes. For example, if someone believes killing is always wrong, it will be extremely difficult to overcome this in a real-life situation.

Unfortunately, many people never consider how they feel about this until it is too late. Instructors should regularly help their students confront the question of whether they are prepared to injure or even kill another individual if the situation arises.

Mental imagery can be used to help one answer these questions and pre-program their minds to take action when necessary.

We have also looked at the Decision Phase with the study of Hick's Law. As you may remember, fewer decisions leads to a faster response time.

The final step is the Action Phase. If one reaches this point, strikes and/or defensive actions are taken and then the process begins again. After fighting back, more Observation is needed to determine how the opponent reacted. This information must then lead to Orientation, more Decision, and likely more Action.

The possibility exists, however, for an individual to get "stuck" at some point in the loop. If fear is not controlled, it will escalate into a "Fear Loop" which can get stuck in a repeating cycle if one does not break out of it, but more on that later...

It is also possible, for someone to get to one phase such as Orientation and decide they do not have enough information and thus go back to more Observation. This can happen at any point. It may even happen just before taking Action, thus delaying Action until more Observation, Orientation, and Decision.

It should be real obvious by this point that we must learn to get through this process as quick and efficiently as possible to survive an attack. It is also interesting to note that an opponent goes through the same process. Wanna bet who typically gets through it faster?

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Fairbairn’s Timetable of Death

About W. E. Fairbairn
Let's begin our Discussion of the Fairbairn's Timetable of Death by first looking at who he was.  The following was taken from WikiPedia:

William Ewart Fairbairn (28 February, 1885–20 June, 1960) was a British soldier, police officer and exponent of hand-to-hand combat method, the close combat, for the Shanghai Police between the world wars, and allied special forces in World War II. He developed his own fighting system known as Defendu, as well as other weapons tactics. Notably, this included innovative pistol shooting techniques and the development of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

The television series Secrets of War suggested him as a possible inspiration for Q branch in James Bond.

Military Career

Fairbairn served with the Royal Marine Light Infantry starting in 1901, and joined the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) in 1907. During his service with the International Police in Shanghai, Fairbairn reportedly engaged in hundreds of street fights in the course of his duties over a twenty-year career, where he organised and headed a special anti-riot squad. Much of his body, arms, legs, torso, even the palms of his hands, was covered with scars from knife wounds from those fights.  Fairbairn later created, organised and trained a special anti-riot squad for the Shanghai police force, as well as developing numerous firearms training courses and items of police equipment, including a special metal-lined bulletproof vest designed to stop high-velocity bullets from the 7.63x25mm Mauser pistol.

During World War II, he was recruited by the British Secret Service as an Army officer, where he was given the nickname "Dangerous Dan". Together with fellow close-combat instructor Eric Sykes, Fairbairn was commissioned on the General List in 1941. He trained British, American and Canadian Commando forces, along with Ranger candidates in close-combat, pistol-shooting and knife-fighting techniques. Fairbairn emphasised the necessity of forgetting any idea of gentlemanly conduct or fighting fair: "Get tough, get down in the gutter, win at all costs... I teach what is called ‘Gutter Fighting.’ There’s no fair play, no rules except one: kill or be killed,” he declared.

For his achievements in training OSS personnel, Fairbairn eventually rose to the rank ofLieutenant-Colonel by the end of the war, and received the U.S. Legion of Merit (Officer grade) at the specific request of "Wild Bill" Donovan, founder of the U.S. O.S.S.

In an effort to define how long it takes for a person wounded by a knife wound to either lose consciousness or die from hypovolemic shock, Fairbairn created his well-known Timetable of Death.

No one knows quite for sure where he got his numbers but they have come under some scrutiny in the past few years.  While no one doubts his fighting prowess or his intent to train troops, but his numbers seem to be off the mark in areas.  For instance, the depth of some arteries and organs appear to be different from known anatomical sciences.

It also appears that his estimates of bleedout times do not match with tactical experience.  Due to these inaccuracies, a few researches have attempted to re-calculate the times.  I too have taken up this challenge!

From looking at the attempts of others, it appeared to me that blood pressure, the effects of Body Alarm Response, heart rate and other factors such as gender, were not being factored into the calculations.
After great research, it became obvious to me that new methods had to be created that took all of this information into consideration.  My calculations are based on Cardio Physics of the human body.

The basic conclusion of this research is that several knife fighting tactics are flawed.  When one considers that some knife instructors advocate attacking vascular targets due to bleedout time, it becomes apparent that they may not have complete information.  Or else, their numbers may be based on Fairbairn's original research.  While attacking vascular targets do in fact kill, the times are often longer than what most people expect.

To make it far easier to calculate time for shock, time to loss of consciousness, and finally time to death, I created an application to make running scenarios much easier.  With this tool, it is possible to estimate these times for various genders, body sizes (height and weight), different heart rates, and blood pressures.  This allows you to simulate at rest as well as under stress.  Moreover, you can see the effects of stress on the body.

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Forced Teaming

Forced Teaming is a common tactic to gain compliance over an Interviewee. What is it? It is simply making an implied connection between two parties when there, in reality, is none! Let's look at an example.

In Gavin de Becker's book, The Gift of Fear, he describes an example of Foirced Teaming where a predator is interviewing a potential victim and she is walking to her apartment. He picks up a can of cat food which she has dropped and walks toward her. Smiling, he makes a statement such as "we have a hungry cat in there." This is an attempt to make her feel a sort of connection with him whereby he wants to show his compassion for the cat, but more imporatantly, he wants he to see they working together toward a common goal.

If this is a new concept to you, you may think there is nothing wrong with such a statement. And you may or may not be right. It depends on the situation. The reality is that everyone uses tactics like this all the time to manipulate one another. Sales associates, managers, friends, etc., all use this principle.

So how do you know when it is a problem? When it manifests with other alarming principles. One by itself may not mean much, but three or four may signal things are going wrong for you. Recognizing that this is happening is the first step.

For this young lady, the first thought in her mind when he said this should have been "wedo not have a cat, I do!" She may even vocalize this. Would that be rude? Perhaps. But, it may also save her life! So what if she seems rude. Unless she plans to be friends with him, she should err on the side of caution. If he is really an ok guy, he will understand and they can joke about it later. If not, then it is in her best interest.

Statements that use words like "we" and "us" when "you" is more appropriate, should set off alarm bells in your mind! If this continues, and especially, if other alarms are present, it may be best to get out of there quick!

Remember that a team works together and is made up of two or more people who know one another and have trust. A stranger is not part of any team you want to be on!