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The Rules and Art of Fighting

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Rules For Fighting

The Art of Fighting This is an excerpt from Erle Montaigue's book, "Internal Gung-fu, Volume Two, Practical Fighting Healing and Training Methods".

The games (training methods) teach us certain rules for self-defence and the art of fighting. I will document many of them here, however, it is important that you do not just read about these rules and try to intellectualise them, but rather do the training methods in order to gain the necessary body mechanics.

NB: Photos are to your right.You can see which photo is which by the numbers.


Art of Fighting 1/. Never step backwards.

When you are attacked, do not do what most hard style martial arts teach you to do, to step backwards as you block! In the art of fighting This will invite certain defeat. Any fighters or brawlers all work on 'switches'. We are born with switches that tell us to do certain things sub-consciously, like a male puppy that, at a certain age begins to lift his leg, why? He may not have seen any other dogs doing this but he does it anyway as if some programmer has programmed a computer program into his brain. This is not far from the truth. We are all born with switches, those that tell us to cry, to begin crawling etc. Then there are those switches that we learn from experience. It is the same with the Qi that we are born with (pre-natal Qi) and that which we gain as we grow, (post-natal Qi).

A fighter learns certain switches as he becomes more and more experienced at fighting and aggression. However, it is also these learned switches that can bring him unstuck in a fighting situation against someone who knows about switches and the art of fighting. The fighter learns these switches but also learns sub-consciously that his switches will also cause other switches in those who he is attacking, which will in turn switch on more switches in himself. This is the way that a fighter works. He may not know this and indeed it would be rare that any street fighter would know about such things. So, when the expected switch does not happen when he attacks someone, it throws his own switches out of wack, thus putting his timing and co-ordination off. This is where internal gung-fu and the art of fighting gains the upper hand. We know that the fighter expects us to react in a certain learned manner when attacked or when faced with aggression. He expects us to move away from him trying to lessen his attack. So he is ready for this and knows exactly what to do when we do this expected movement. But if we do not, then he is taken by surprise and before he has time to change his method, we have already finished it.

Someone who is attacking you expects you to be where you are when he attacks otherwise he would not have attacked you where you were. Someone throws a punch for instance, they do not throw the punch to where they think you might be, but to where you are at the time of the attack. Remember though, the attacker is expecting you to either be there or to move backwards. So even if you do move back, he is ready for this and will launch another attack to compensate for this movement. So, if you are not where he expects you to be, and more importantly, if you are in his face attacking him, then he is just not ready for this. He has to re-group and think about what he has to do next, giving you time to attack with devastating attacks from the internal gung-fu system.

Often when we train in techniques or training methods, we will be taught to stand still and not move. But this is only in the beginning to get the movement correct. Once you have it, then you begin training in a more realistic manner by moving into the attacker as he attacks.

There is another important reason in self-defence for not taking a step backward apart from the obvious physical advantages as I have indicated above. And it is an 'internal' reason. The 'primordial' instinct for survival is inside all animals including human beings. Although ours has been slowly lost over the years of depending upon others for our defence! It's still in there, but we just have to get at it in some way. Dogs for instance have all kinds of primordial instincts like, at a certain age when a male dog begins to lift its leg to pee. Why does it do this. Well, we know why I guess, some chemical changes happen inside causing the dog to have a need to mark its territory. But how it happens is a complete source of mystery and wonderment to me. Never having seen another male dog, the puppy will always begin to lift his leg at a certain age. He will also at this age, begin to attack, i.e., move forward into his 'opponent'. In order to understand this, we must also know a little about the 'triune brain', or the 'reptile brain'.

The theory goes, that when God, (or whoever) was making we animals, he began with his first creation, the 'reptile brain' which is that brain that all reptiles have. It is a survival brain, totally relying upon instinct and programming, no thought, only reflex reactions caused by its particular 'computer' programming. A snake does not 'think', it does not love, hate or feel resentment etc., it just lives and survives. This is the kind of brain that the snake has. We too have this brain! But it is only 5% of our total brain size.

Then 'God' tried out a new brain for the more complex animals such as mammals and we call this brain the 'old mammalian' brain. This is that brain that dogs have for instance. A little more thinking for itself and some small amount of emotion even, but still much programming and relying upon instinct and reflexive actions to stimuli. The dog however is able to revert back to its 'reptile brain' any time there is an emergency of survival. And it makes certain body changes to enhance this effect to give it the greatest chance at surviving. Like arching its back as all animals do including sharks just before they attack. We in internal gung-fu also make use of this when we are attacked. The animal also makes use of another area of helping it to reflexively go into the reptile brain. That of always rushing forward. You will only notice this phenomenon in those animals that are closer to the source of 'wild' than many domesticated animals who have also (as we humans) had this sense bred out! Like the Australian Blue Heeler dog that is part Dingo. He is one of the most courageous small dogs on earth. Not because he is courageous however, but because he is closer to the source than most dogs. There is in fact an old saying with regard to this breed of dog here in Australia; "the Blue Cattle Dog (the breed has several names and also comes in the red variety), will eat anything it meets unless it is eaten first".

The last and most sophisticated brain is of course the mammalian (human) brain. But this brain did not replace the old mammalian or the reptile brain, it simply was placed over the other two. So we as humans still have the 'survival brain' and are able to access this animal brain through training. This training is part of the internal gung-fu training.

One way that we have to access this reflexive survival brain is to simply move forward as we are attacked. It triggers a switch that causes us to attack and attack again! Just as an animal never stops its attack, so too should we do the same. In my classes when I am teaching the training methods, I have to begin by teaching them incorrectly! This is because if I were to teach the correct way, i.e., moving in as we are attacked in training, we would have many more injuries! Moving in seems to build up an attack energy that is often uncontrollable in the beginner. Even the blocking type movements have far greater impact when the reptile brain kicks in. And it is only those who are trained as advanced instructors that I allow to train in this manner.


Art of Fighting 2/. Never fight the peripheral attacking weapon, fight the whole body.

This is a big mistake made by many highly ranked martial artists, they block the attacking arm or leg standing still! They do not move into the attack as they block, they just stand there and block the attack. If you can touch his arm, then you can touch his body and if you can touch his body then you can strike him. Never wait for the attacking portion such as a fist to reach you before you do something about it. See his whole body using 'eagle vision'; react to what his body is doing rather than to what his arm is doing. In order to attack you, the attacker MUST firstly move his body. Try it now, try punching without moving any other part of your body other than your arm. If you are able to do this, you will have no power at all anyway! So we react to his total body movement not only his arm or leg etc. The very instant he moves any part of his body, attack. Do not worry about what he is going to attack with as his attack will be totally minimised by the fact that you have moved in on him and have closed him up before his attack has had time to even gain any power.


Art of Fighting 3/. Never meet force on force, always move at a slight angle to the attacker as you move in.

You must move in a 'V' shape to either side of the attacker. This will give you deflecting power as well as increased attack power using his power against him. Like a ricochet. If the projectile has nothing to bounce off of, it will not have much power, but if it has something solid to bounce off, then its power will be great. The tenser the attacker is, the more power you will gain with which to revert back on him. This movement will also put you in complete control because you have your 'distancing' correct by using this method. It will place you at exactly the correct place to be in control of the attacker. He will never expect you to do this.


Art of Fighting 4/. Never use two steps in fighting.

You must always make your defence your attack. Never block, then attack, make your block your attack. His sub-conscious switches tell him that you will attack next after you have blocked. But if your block becomes your attack, he has not had time to think about it. You have attacked him during the time that he is supposed to attack you! If you block first, then it is his turn to attack because you have asked him to attack now. This is the logical way of the fight, he does something, then you do something, and then he does something. You must change the logical fight into a totally illogical fight, so that his switches are all broken down. Make it a fight of; he attacks, then you attack, then you attack, then you attack! Never give him that slight break when his brain tells him that it is his turn to do something, take his time away from him and use it for yourself. In(Photo No. 1), who is in control of this situation? This is where I have used a so-called hard style type of method of two steps. I have blocked his attack and in (Photo No. 2), I have re-attacked. The attacker is still in control of this situation. However, in (Photo No. 3), I have simultaneously blocked and attacked. Now who is in control? I am. See how the distancing has placed me right in the attacker's face in total control of his body. I am now able to attack at will.


Art of Fighting 5/. Never look at the attacking portion.

Eagle vision is a marvellous way of using the eyes. Human beings are so used to focusing on things that we see, that when we do this in fighting we always lose! Why, because you can see much more by not looking than you can by focusing. Eagle vision is that vision that birds have. Humans have a completely different system of vision than birds and it has to do with the way that we get blood to the eye. But we can make use of the way that birds see. An eagle for instance when catching a moving mouse, simply flies down and catches it. It does not focus on the mouse, it uses a kind of peripheral vision to lock onto the mouse's space. Sort of like locking its Qi onto that of the mouse. So if the mouse moves, so too does the eagle, the mouse cannot escape unless it goes into a hole. You must see the whole body of the attacker, and not just look at the peripheral that is attacking you. In this way it does not matter what portion he is attacking with, your body will reflexively adjust to the attack and always come back with the correct answer. This is particularly important when we are using dim-mak (death point striking) in a fighting situation. If we were to look for the points, we would always miss them, as we just do not have time enough to look. But if we use eagle vision, we see the 'shadows' of the body, the little hollows where all dim-mak points reside. We see shadows reflexively and are then able to hone in on these shadows to pinpoint the dim-mak point automatically without thinking.


Art of Fighting 6/. Never use a lock or hold as your main fighting method.

Locks and holds do not work in a realistic fighting situation. I have discovered this aspect of fighting through my own experiences and from that of others who have survived street attacks. It is all right to use a lock to control an attacker once he has been disabled by using a point strike or some other striking disabling method. However, if you try to use a lock or hold against someone who is trying to harm you, then you will lose the confrontation. This is especially important in the street when it is not usual for only one attacker to be attacking you! In these cases, you would never even attempt to use a lock or hold as his friends would have a chance to attack you at this time. Stun the attacker with a strike to the temple (GB 3) or another vital point, then you are able to take a lock or hold. This is greatly important when fighting against an armed attacker. Most schools will teach that you should grab the hand that is holding the knife or other edged weapon for instance. These methods work fine in the dojo but in reality, you are inviting defeat and or even death to use such methods. You must remember that an attacker, especially one who is holding a knife, must be pumped up in order to have the aggression necessary for such a deadly attack. So grabbing his arm is not going to stop him. In the dojo, you might be able to use a technique such as in (Photo No. 4). But if the attacker is serious about doing you harm, and he knows what he is doing, he will probably make use of his yang energy to rip your hands and arms to shreds before bringing the knife back to kill you. (Photo No. 5). & (Photo No. 6).

In the case of an edged weapon in the art of fighting remember the three words; evade, bump and attack. Without writing a whole book on knife defence it goes something like this.

Evade: He perhaps attacks using a lunge. (The same methods work for any type of weapon attack from anywhere). Using a 'hinge' type of weapon, you move your body out of the way by slightly turning to the side as you slam his arm so hard that it damages his arm bumping his weapon arm out of the way for that split second. (Photo No. 7). Notice that my right palm is already up ready to strike to deadly vital points. In doing this you have done the first two of the words, 'evade' and 'bump'. You have also stuck to the above rules of never backing of and never using a one/two type of method. Your defence has become your attack. Now I am able to strike using deadly methods to points that will either kill or drop him. (Photo No. 8). Then, and only then, when he is down and out should you take the knife. The 'hinge' type of attack is also one of those that will bring up the reptile brain causing your energy to build up to a high level for the final attacks.

Using the reptile brain in the art of fighting works like this, every time you touch the attacker, your own energy will grow causing you to want to continue. Your own energy system will be enhanced by the fact that you are borrowing his energy and sending it back to him. You are using only one bit of energy and recycling it. In this way you do not feel tired having to block, then build up more energy for the next attack etc. Your first lot of energy (Qi) is re-used through the attacker's body draining him of energy and building yours up.


Art of Fighting 7/. Never use pushes or pulls in self-defence.

This may seem contradictory as most people view Taijiquan for instance as having many such techniques. Baguazhang and Xingyiquan (H'sing-I) do not have this idea though. I think that the idea that Taijiquan has many pushes and pulls comes from the incorrect idea that the training method of 'push hands' is in itself a martial art or self-defence art. Or in some way a fighting technique. However, push hands should never be thought of as a fighting art by itself. It is only a training method that teaches us timing, balance and how to move the body when attacked. The attacking methods in basic push hands are only there to take the place of the more realistic types of attack and defence so that the practitioners do not harm each other. So if pushes and pulls do not harm people, why use them for self-defence? The only time you could use a push or a pull is to put the attacker into the line of an oncoming car. The pushes are only there in order to teach the very dangerous dim-mak point strikes inherent in all Taijiquan forms. However, you will still see articles in prominent magazines on so-called Taijiquan self-defence methods and the art of fighting where the practitioner will use a pull or a push to defend against attack! It is my advice to leave a class immediately the teacher begins to teach you to do this is a realistic fighting situation. He is being fraudulent in teaching self-defence that isn't. And it is dangerous for students to have a false sense of security instilled in them by using these inane fighting methods in the class. Sure, they might even work to some small degree in the class, but it's a completely different matter in the street when the attacker is really trying to get you! I have seen teachers teaching small framed women or men to use techniques such as 'Lu' (roll back) in defence against an attacker.

He attacks with a punch so the attackee defends using P'eng. Then she takes the attacker's arm and uses 'roll back' to put him face down in the dirt! Anyone who would use this type of defence for real is inviting disaster. But this all comes about from teachers not knowing the advanced methods of Taijiquan like the 'small frame'. Moves such as 'Lu' (roll back) take on a completely different meaning when used in the small frame mode. If we again take the above scenario when we are attacked by someone with a right straight punch, we might again use P'eng. However, this time we do not move backwards, but rather move our weight forward as we do this thus putting his timing off. Now, in small frame mode we use 'Lu' but very quickly to deflect his power and again as we are still moving forward. We do not use it to pull him forward, only do deflect his energy for a split second, thus causing him to have to try to move back to regain his balance. In this window of opportunity, we should attack with devastating point strikes to vital points on his head and neck, like ST 9 (stomach point No. 9) using the right palm, and next to GB 3 (gallbladder point No. 3, temple) using the right elbow. We could finish this if he is alone by now, and only now, taking him down using our left leg while thrusting the left arm across his neck. Following this with fingers to the eyes while on the ground to completely control him. This last method would of course only be used if you were only being attacked by the one person.


Art of Fighting 8/. Never go to the ground.

I have always said to my students that if someone is able to take you to the ground then either get a new teacher or learn better and train harder! Many people nowadays have the wrong idea that fights usually end up on the ground. Well, yes, but only if you do not know how to fight! Grappling is great, but not if the attacker has friends! And this is usually the case in most street attacks that I have been involved in. You have everything there in your internal gung-fu style to defend against grappling type attacks, learn to use the art of fighting correctly.


Art of Fighting 9/. The legs are for standing, the hands are for fighting.

It is a big temptation for the beginning martial arts student to learn fancy kicks in order to show his friends that he is doing a martial art. But in reality, kicks of any kind will put you at a disadvantage. Leave the fancy kicks for the films and use your hands for self-defence. Once you even lift your leg to kick at a low target, you are at a disadvantage and most students just have not done the time training to be able to allow the legs to take care of themselves while the hands do their work. And if you must kick, only kick from the knee downward. Use short chopping type kicks, those that do not require great balance. And if you must kick, always kick from the front leg! This is contrary to most hard style martial arts as they always kick from the rear leg in order to get the power. However, internal gung-fu has ways to gain power using correct body structure even kicking from the front leg. The attacker, if he is used to fighting will expect you to kick from the rear leg and will see it coming. But he is not used to being kicked from the front leg and cannot see it coming. Bagwa has a wonderful training method called the '8 kicking method', which I will introduce, later in this training section.

I will be giving more 'rules for fighting' as the book progresses but these will be specific to certain training methods.