People always are asking, “Which technique is superior and will one technique beat another?” I also have been asked to write an article on what makes a technique “good.” To be honest with the public and myself, technique is something that takes internalization. You first have to know your capabilities. You have to know what technique is appropriate for each situation and environment. You have to ascertain the ability of your opponent within the first seconds of a confrontation.
With this comes an understanding of the functional techniques used in the different ranges of combat and defense. you must have command of your body in the execution of various techniques at long range, middle range and close range. You should have the understanding of technique on the ground and standing up. Reaction time, reflex, timing, and conditioning all are important factors in combat and self-defense. Courage and determination also are prime factors in a successful outcome of any combat or self-defense situation. Performing under pressure in the heat of combat or any self-defense situation greatly affects the outcome of the confrontation.
Sometimes courage plays an even greater role over the “mastery” and execution of a proper technique. A technique which is performed with great determination and will is equally as important as the choice of technique. For example, a person might defend himself with an “unaesthetic” looking kick, with bad form and posture. But the individuals will be successful because of his determination. He made the kick work.
Being in balance while using different techniques is important. A person should be knowledgeable in the use of the trapping and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, and not just in kicking and punching. even the use and education of various weapons, ranging from the stiff and flexible to projectile weapons, is important and can contribute to the successful outcome of an encounter.
There have been many magazine articles comparing different styles and systems, such as how to “counter” or defend against a number of various attacks, including the reverse punch, a swing, a straight kick, a round kick, a side kick, a spin kick, a heel hook kick, a lapel grab or a choke. Theses comparisons only depict an “ideal” situation, too many “outside factors” can influence the outcome of the situation. Many technique pictures only show movements for a single direct attack. Very few comparisons show what to do in a combination attack situation. One should learn how to counter hand combinations, kicking combinations, hand-to-kicking combinations, kicking-to-hand combinations, and hand combination techniques to grappling techniques. This is where the art lies – how to deal with an opponent when he is attacking you in combination. And your opponent almost always will attack you in combination. Seldom will you “take out” or “finish off” your opponent in one single technique, unless you are so superior. As soon as the first move is countered, another attack will follow, followed by another, and yet another.
If you have six styles and you research each style in relation to how it would counter kicks and punches, you would begin to see similarities. It is unimportant to know how a Korean, Japanese or Okinawan stylist would counter a kick or punch. I would want to know what works best for me, whether the technique comes from a Korean, Japanese, Okinawan, or Chinese system.
If you take one song and teach it to 50 people, all will sing the song in a different manner. Some will sound good, some not so good. yet it is still the same song. you can give the playbook of the Dallas Cowboys to 50 different teams. Some teams will lead the league, some will finish in the middle and some will be last. You can teach the same technique to 50 different people. Some will execute the technique well, some not so well. yet it is still the same technique.
Technique is an important part of any confrontation. but remember; The spirit and determination of the individual is as important as the technique itself.
This article, “What’s a Good Technique” appeared as part of Sifu Dan Inosanto’s “In the 20th Century” series of articles in IKF magazine. You can reach Sifu Dan Inosanto through his website at Inosanto.com.
Filed in: Dan Inosanto