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Sudden Violence

This is an excerpt from Erle's book. "Sudden Violence", The Montaigue System of Self-Defence"


Sudden Violence is an apt name for the eclectic martial arts or self-defence system that I now teach. It has come mainly from the Internal Martial Arts of Taijiquan and Baguazhang. The name, "Sudden Violence" was suggest to me by one of my long distance students in the USA, Doug Skall who wanted a video series called "Sudden Violence". A series that only dealt with the very direct and dangerous street-fighting method that I now teach.

Hidden within the Internal Martial Arts are some of the most violent self-defence methods ever invented. And that's what self-defence has to be in order to survive street attacks. If you try to 'yield' to an attack in the traditional manner that most teachers tell us to, then you invite defeat and possible injury and death in street attacks. And it is so obvious to me that teachers who tell their students that all they have to do it to yield to an attack just to show the attacker that they know what they are doing, have never themselves been in a serious, life-threatening situation. It's all there in the Taijiquan and Baguazhang 'classics'. However, most teachers take these classic saying too literally and try to execute what those classics say before they have risen to a high enough level. You cannot understand what the great old masters have said when you are not at their level to begin with. The old masters did not write the classics when they were beginning! They wrote them once they had understood fully the meaning of 'internal' and 'small frame'. They wrote them when they were very advanced. What is the use of writing a guide for beginners? The beginner can learn the basic movements from anyone who knows them well enough. But once learnt, it is very important to have a teacher who is able to impart the inner knowledge and also to take the student on to the more advanced forms. And only then will the student understand the true meaning of what the classics are trying to teach us.

The whole secret to learning about 'sudden violence' in the internal martial arts, is in the movements themselves and how the practitioner executes those movements. How the body moves is singularly the most important area of one's training. I have seen so-called karate masters who should not be any more than a blue belt because of the way they move. Sure they know all of the movements of the kata, but they cannot do them! You can easily see that they do not have any real power, power that comes from fa-jing, because their body is so stiff!

Fa-jing is the motor of sudden violence and how to use the internal martial arts effectively. But not many know what fa-jing is nor how to use it. Again, I have seen so-called Taijiquan masters and people who call themselves Grandmaster, performing fa-jing, or what they call fa-jing, and they would not even harm a fly let alone a raging maniac intent of doing them great harm. Fa-jing has to be explosively physical and explosively internal using Qi. So I will be stressing the use of fa-jing all throughout this book because it is so important to any self-defence, no matter what your style of martial art.

Fa-jing has two levels; the purely physical, whereby we are able to attack with extremely powerful attacks from very short distances and the 'internal way' where we also make use of something else other than pure physical movement. I must add here that it is impossible for anyone to gain the 'internal way' of fa-jing without having learnt the physical way first. The babies who stand up and walk before they crawl are very few. So it is very important to crawl before you can run. The test for fa-jing is this. Have someone hold a hard punching mitt on one hand. You touch the mitt with the tips of your fingers. Now, without drawing your hand back any more than the distance from your fingers to your palm, you must punch the mitt to cause the mitt to be repulsed back violently. This is external fa-jing. Internal fa-jing is when the holder of the mitt, receives a sore palm from that punch!

Actually, the sore palm comes from attacking the mitt from about 9 inches away. The fingers on the mitt are simply a way of testing that you have external fa-jing to begin with. There are three punches that I have people perform in this manner to see if they have fa-jing in order to join and become instructors of 'Sudden Violence, The Erle Montaigue System'. The first punch is the Taiji snap punch. This is a common punch from Taiji only, that nor many regard as being very common! To begin with, the whole body must be totally loose (in a state of 'sung). Right down to the very fingertips, must be like a rag doll. The waist is the area of the body that will give you external fa-jing power. And in reality, it is beyond the scope of this book to teach anything else other than purely external fa-jing as the internal way must be taught by a master. However, if you can even get an inkling of what external fa-jing is all about, then you will be miles ahead of what you already know and will be able to enter into 'sudden violence'.

Sudden violence comes from the sub-conscious mind or what we call the 'Reptile Brain' or Brainstem part of the brain. This is the survival brain, the brain that all animals have in order to survive. The Reptile Brain cannot help you while you are being a 'human'. So when we are told to 'block' that punch, and do a reverse punch to the abdomen in defence of such and such an attack, we can be nothing else other than logical thinking humans. And logical thinking humans lose fights! How many times have you heard something like; "he was an animal when he attacked". He WAS an animal which is why street fighters have so much power and aggression which far outweighs any logical 'martial arts' training you might have received. A martial art is nothing more than a series of movements and as such cannot be used to self-defence until you have received the information that turns a martial art into a self-defence art.

And that is what this book is all about, taking your martial arts system and turning it into a devastating form of self-defence. Turning the mild mannered reporter into a raging bull. The Taijiquan snap punch begins with the palm hold as in (Photo No. 1). Notice however, the positioning of the whole body. The back is slightly rounded, the shoulders are totally relaxed or in a state of 'sung'. The energy is sunk to a point called the 'Tantien'. You are using what we call "Eagle Vision". This is the type of vision that you can only use when you go into the "Reptile Brain" mode. It causes you to see everything. No so focused as in normal human mode, but every tiny movement near you causes you to react when it is within your sphere of attack. Even a toe twitching causes you to be ready etc. You never focus upon your attacker, your eyes are slightly glazed so that you can use a kind of peripheral vision. Your arms hang out in front of you like tree branches ever ready for action directed by your waist. Your whole body is 'connected' so that if one part of your body moves, the whole body will also move. The power comes from the waist which is of course connected to your arms. In most so-called 'external' martial systems, the arms move by themselves using only the power from the arm muscles, but in the Internal Martial systems, the arms are only extensions of your whole body. It's like this: If you have a piece of pipe and attached to the top of the pipe is a cross-member, another pipe making a 'T', when the vertical pipe is turned for instance only slightly, the end of the 'T' piece moves much further and harder. You do not have to turn the vertical pipe very quickly in order to have the 'arms' moving at great speed and power. And it's the same with the human body in fighting. If the arms and indeed the whole body is 'attached' and only moving as a result of what the main part of the body does, then the waist has only to move slightly and violently to cause an explosion of power in your arms. This is natural. So your arms are moving in total harmony with what your body is doing.

When the waist turns violently to your left (if you have your right palm ready to punch as in the above photo, There is slight pause when the fist is catching up to what the waist is doing, like a rubber band. So when the fist finally catches up with what the waist is doing, it explodes outward. Now, if you snap your waist back the other way at just the precise moment that your fist is making contact, there will be a second centrifugal movement causing what we call 'Twisting Power'. Then we have 'Spiral Power' (Spiral Qi) by the fist also turning over upon impact so that it makes contact as in (Photo No. 2). This is the first punch in the learning of fa-jing. It uses the last three knuckles. The second punch is called the 'Penetration Punch' and is called so because of its ability to penetrate even the best on-guard stances. This punch begins with the palm facing slightly upward as in (Photo No. 3). It makes contact with the smallest finger part of the hand on the top and makes contact with the first two knuckles. This punch also uses the fa-jing waist shake in the opposite direction to generate the extreme power necessary to cause this punch to work. (Photo No. 4). The reason this is called a 'penetration punch' is that because of its movement to end up as it does and from its beginning position, the action of the forearm on the person holding the good on guard stance is to force his arm violently outward simply by its action. You do not have to think about slamming his arm out of the way, the punch just does it for you. All you have to think about is using the punch and the blocking will happen automatically. (Photo No. 5) shows how it works in a fighting situation by attacking to the temple as it breaks through the guard.

The last of the three punching methods for fa-jing is the Back Fist. Many people get this punch wrong in that they think that it has to have much forward motion or swing. Again, this punch, in just the same way that the other two have great power over small distances, also gain s power from what the body is doing. Think of your palm and wrist as the end of a whip and your body as the rest of the whip. You begin the movement by turning your body in the correct direction. In this case to my left as I am using my left hand.. Just before impact, you violently turn your waist back to your right which will pull your left arm backwards violently. Now, this is where the looseness of the whole body comes in. If you were to have a stiff forearm and wrist, your fist would be pulled back with your arm thus negating the forward motion. However, because the wrist is very loose like a whip, when you withdraw your arm by turning your waist, your wrist and palm continue in that same direction with great speed. So all you have to do is to close your fist as the wrist is at its fullest point to gain the maximum power for this strike. (Photo No. 6).

The three punches can be used against many targets so I will show a couple of main targets for each punch. The Internal Snap Punch can be used to almost anywhere around the head and neck. One of the main targets is to the knock out point called ST 5 a little back on the jaw. This is an excellent knock out punch and has the same effect that the ST 9 point has in activating the carotid sinus. Because it is a Stomach point and that we have nerve ending in the base of the stomach that come directly from the 'Vagus' nerve, (that nerve that runs from the base of the skull down the back of the neck and into the heart and is responsible among other things for the control of the heart rate), this point works to also slow the heart rate down quite dramatically, thus causing a knock out. The point is situated on a hard bony area of the face so ti is also quite close to the surface of the skin, hence its being so effective. (Photo No. 7). This punch can also be used to the ST 9 point. This is the classic knock out or death point that all so-called knock out specialists use in demonstration only! I say 'only' because the way most of them move, they would not be able to use any knock outs in a realistic situation! This is why I make the statement that "knock outs don't work". When someone says that they do, and that they could knock me out, I invite them to! When they even get anywhere near me, expecting me to be a sitting duck like their other 'prey', I usually end up knocking them out! Or in the least, pull my attack just short showing them how difficult it is to do it for real not knowing how to fight first of all! It is no good at all pretending to be a fighter if all you have ever done is some ring fighting in tournament! You have to have been in a few real ones before you understand what fighting is all about. (Photo No. 8) shows the snap punch used against the ST 9 point. It can also be used to great effect against another of the Dim mak points called GV 26. (Governor Vessel Point No. 26), just under the nose about one third of the way down between your nose and your upper lip. This is a death point when struck from his left to his right and we have just the tool for this, the Internal Snap Punch. GV 26 is also very good to use when someone is in shock. You place your thumb onto the point and push upward. (Photo No. 9).

The Penetration punch can also be used to a number of targets, however, it is a little more limited than the previous punch. However, it is great for the job that it is intended for. It can be used as previously shown against the temple or the death point called GB 3 (Gallbladder Point No. 3). The Penetration punch does not come in from the side like an arc, but rather moves in straight and slightly angles inward as if you are doing a straight punch. However, because of the action of rotating it just before impact, you get a sort of spiral action that does great damage to the temple area in just the right direction to do that damage. (Photo No. 10) shows this punch against the ST 9 point also. In this case it is ideal as the correct direction is caused again by the action of this unique punch. It can also be used in just the same manner against the "Mind Point". This point is a classic knock out point as it stops the electrical signals from reaching the brain from the central nervous system and the body just falls down! It is located not on any particular meridian as it is an 'Extra Point' just before the ear above the jaw line a little up and back from ST 5 point. (Photo No. 11). The Back Fist strike can be used in a number of different ways, ti can be used against the body but has to be modified for this purpose putting more body movement into the punch to cause it to penetrate more due to the body being thicker and softer and well padded. So it is generally used to the face and neck. It can also be used against the mind point. It is ideal as all you have to do is to aim the back of your wrist at the point of the chin. Then just as your wrist is about to touch the chin, the body pulls back in that whipping motion causing the fist to be whipped out thus reaching around to the side of the face to attack perfectly the 'Mind Point' (Photo No. 12). It can also be used as a vertical back fist as in Taijiquan. This time the body uses a vertical type of whipping action like throwing a fishing rod. This movement will again withdraw the wrist so that the fist is whipped out into the point called CV 24, a death point or Qi drainage point just in the crease below the bottom lip and above the chin. (Photo No. 13). This has the added advantage of also breaking the jaw or dislocating it as well as the electrical effect of the Dim-Mak strike.

I must add here that if you try the above and you just cannot get any power, then you are probably doing a stiff external martial art that does not allow for any looseness. It is always 'user error' if you cannot get the power. One of the main areas of "Sudden Violence" is that you must be extremely 'soft' or in a state of 'sung' to begin with. This is very difficult for so-called hard stylists to understand as they are always told to 'be strong' and unfortunately, 'being strong' means being tense and stiff. There is an equal and opposite reaction to everything you do so if you begin slightly tense, then as you attack, you can only go that bit further into violence. But if you being extremely soft, then the equal and opposite of that is extreme violence. 'Sung' is a Chinese word that means not being able to feel your joints moving, ... because you are so relaxed. However, to relax is not the correct word as there is not single English word to translate 'Sung'. Your body must be like a rag doll where every slight movement of the body causes the peripheral weapons like the hands, to whip out with great power. If you are at all stiff, even slightly, you will not gain this immense power from being soft. The whole of the internal martial arts are based upon this principle.

You must also sink your weight (Qi) into the ground when you use any of these punches as this will give you more power and stability. Once you have it though, you will be able to launch any attack from anywhere and from any short distance. And this is where fighting happens, in your face! Fighting does not happen from a distance. A good fighter can be in your face before you can blink, and the short range methods using fa-jing are the only way to protect yourself in these situations. And if a fighter is not in your face in a matter of seconds, then he is not worth fighting anyway, you should just walk away and allow him to claim victory! If the fight is for real however, and your life is threatened then the methods that I will give in this book will give you all you will need, given the fact that you will of course have had some basic training in fa-jing and looseness. My main thrust in teaching is to always teach people how to fight first. So it is not in my nature simply to give you loads of very deadly techniques without some idea of The Montaigue System. The best way is to include here my "Rules for Fighting" which I give to all of my senior students. We go over each of these rules in turn, one every month. We do not go on to the next 'rule' before I am sure that the previous rule has been mastered in as realistic a situation as possible given that I never damage my students in any way! When people ask me what is the difference between myself and others who also teach point striking, I tell them that Erle Montaigue is afraid to hurt his students. Sure the occasional whack here or there just to give the student some idea of what it is like to be struck, but I never use knock outs or real point strikes as they can do permanent damage later on in life.

See my "Rules For Fighting" Article which will also be included in the new book.