Gross motor skills versus targeted strikes

Discussion in 'Filipino Combat Arts Forum' started by stabman, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Just want to start a discussion.:)
    We see lots of controversy regarding stabs versus slashes versus gross motor skill center of mass stuff versus fine motor skills targeted strikes and cuts.
    In MY opinion, IET and military combative stuff is GREAT for getting someone relatively combat-effective quickly, but should be followed by the years of study which lead to the greater calmness of mind and accuracy necessary for the accurate targeting stuff. PLUS, the gross motor skills basics are then hard-wired into you for the SHTF moments when adrenaline floods the system to the point of NOT being able to pull off the advanced stuff.
    So, what does everyone else here think? Should the basics be gross motor stuff followed by increasing emphasis on targeting, or do you have a different idea of progression or emphasis, and why?
  2. AF1


    Apr 4, 2005
    I agree 100%. The gross motor skill stuff is great for someone wanting to learn effective material quickly.

    But there are certain things that will only come with paying your dues and putting in time in an art. And these things are equally as effective as the gross motor stuff, if not more so.
  3. Tom Sotis

    Tom Sotis

    Oct 16, 2004
    Hi Gents,
    I don't think it is a simple matter of one over the other - or a progression dependant upon skill - I think it has a lot to do with the demands of the moment, what you are distinguishing in that moment, and how much momentary dominion you control.

    Distinction is an important word - different from visually seeing - and what you distinguish in any given moment depends a LOT on where you are at mentally.
    Are you acting "on demand" (reactionary mode) or are you "on command" (observe, orient, decision-action mode)?

    When things are fast and chaotic your perceptions may be limited to dealing with the overall picture of the engagement (not minutia) - and as such your perceptions (in regards to targeting) are born of momentary opportunity - and the way you DISTINGUISH them is somewhat generally:

    Observe this when you are in chaos - you can distinguish "I/O/A/B" = the inside or outside of the arm or body (trunk: torso, head, legs)".

    When the dynamics have subsided to the degree that you have control - that you are in dominion of the moment - then you may CHOOSE specific targets that are "smaller" or "less general".

    Remember: very specific targeting is a product of task fixation and this can be a very dangerous thing. You may find that when you attempt "narrow, smaller targeting" in chaos you will miss so much of the overall picture that you usually also end up getting struck (and sometimes don't even know it because you were so task-fixated). This occurs when your mind loses its attentive state and narrows to intention, which means you have forgone auto-pilot in favor of decisional action too soon.

    You may also notice when you are sparring a shift from general to specific - when you have control - you can notice that you are picking your shots - and if you are forced to re-enter chaos you may notice you shift back in general I/O/A/B. This is normal - it is just difficult to manage so best to learn to adapt and not be uncomfortable in either place.

    So to sum it up: Your mind will fluctuate between moments of dominion and moments of stress and your ability to target, generally or specifically, is related to them, and to a large degree, dictated by them.

    My 2 cents,
  4. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Sounds about right.:)
  5. Anrkst6973


    May 15, 2008
    I took a lesson from the old Soviet Spetz manual, If swings and blows are coming at you at the rate of 80-120 times a minute you cant do anything but try to defend!! they dont have to be super powerful or even deadly accurate..1st Dans must do 1000 continual blows.thats several minutes of nonstop swinging!!! Its the ability or endurance to keep it up that is encouraged.
  6. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    That's ONE approach, but you still need some targeting and technique. If not, you'll get shut down with a stop-hit/stab by someone really skilled very soon into the fight.
    I'll admit there aren't THAT many skilled people who'll stop that frenzied attack, and your chances of running up against one are slim, but I like the advice of whoever it was that said you must assume at the get go that your opponent is at LEAST as good as you are; if not, you can leave openings you wouldn't otherwise.
  7. Airyu


    Apr 26, 2000
    Hello Everyone,

    I think too many practitioners have fallen into the trap of "only gross motor functions will allow you to survive under stress of combat". How does a tactical team enter a building and pop the badguys shooting at them all with pinpoint accuracy? How about Olympic gymnasts, shooters, etc all whom have to have fine motor control while under a huge amount of stress?

    So what is the key - Train under stress and targeted actions will come out under stress.
    Add some training modifiers to the mix:
    Verbal assault

    The try and focus on your fine targeting action. Each successful training event will bring you more and more control and accuracy(of course you need to train for accuracy as well)

    Guro Steve L.
  8. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    I have a question:
    Can you attack using gross-motor skill movement and target it? Can you work with your "instinctive" movements making them a part of your game plan?
  9. Airyu


    Apr 26, 2000
    Hi Pahtoocara,

    Yes, you can certainly work your gross motor function, and head towards accuracy. In order to do so though, you will need to specifically target the response you are trying to gain. This can be accomplished with a well thought and planned training regime. Some things to consider:

    General physical preparedness
    Targeted general preparedness drills/exercises
    Training modifiers
    Specific attribute development drills ( over several progressive levels)
    Tracking all work, repeating what needs to be enhanced further and constant work to improve and chip away at your deficiencies.

    Guro Steve L.
  10. Airyu


    Apr 26, 2000
    Hello again,

    So what specific drills are you implementing to enhance your fine motor control?

    Come on now lets get this forum hopping again.

    Guro Steve L
  11. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    That would be great!

    Well, for starters, I say sparring sessions that intensify progressively. Start out trying your particular skill set with a method that provides feedback and consequences without injury. This might mean using padded weapons or substantial protective gear that keeps you from getting injured while you practice against a real opponent at full speed.

    After a certain proficiency is reached with this method, move on to real contact with less protective gear. Use gear that will give you realistic feedback but also reduce the likelihood of permanent injury.
  12. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Basically trying to get some targeted strikes(such as tendons) during sparring with a trainer blade.
    And some stabs and slashes at small target areas for test cutting. Try stabbing small hanging rubber balls, or poke at a small spot on the wall you see out the corner of your eye, just for fun.:)
    Just seems the more you play around with knives, the better the targeting becomes.
    Trying to develop the ability to remain calm is great too, as adrenaline messes up the fine motor skills a bit.
    Hope I never have to see how good the skills are in a real life encounter though---knife fights are messy. Training is fun, but combat can be really gross.
  13. Airyu


    Apr 26, 2000
    Now were on the right track guys! Keep the ideas rolling share what you know!

    Guro STeve L.
  14. Benjamin Liu

    Benjamin Liu

    Jan 26, 2000
    IMO a lot depends on what someone considers "gross" or "fine," and that can also depend on the skill of the individual. Some people might consider trapping/tapon/supuko to be too "fine" to work, but I've used them when attacked with weapons in my old mental health job. In a real-life street attack, of course I'd do it differently, but this was a context where we were not supposed to hurt them. I know people who've used wrist locks in real fights, even to disarm knives, yet many consider them too "fine" to work and even say wrist locks are impossible in real life. These people were not always the best in their class, in fact one was the least skilled, but he could still pull it off.
  15. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    Sort of on the same line of thinking as my first post...
    Gear up with some Lameco hand and forearm guards. Isolate the Defang-the-Snake using stick, knife, and empty hands.

    To start out, isolate specific angles or methods. This way your partner can know what to look for and try to avoid it. Also, it is a good way for both of you to keep moving and avoid resting your weapon hand at centerline.
  16. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    In the beginning, you have to isolate the tecnique, and work it without active resistance. THEN, start adding progressive levels of resistance, till you can do it against pretty much full resistance. THEN, get to the point where you can do it against a number of different counters, after which, get to the point where you can use it in sparring. Or some other way, as long as there's a series of progressive steps.
    It was that way in Hapkido with defenses; you don't start out using the defense moves(joint locks/throws) in sparring right off the bat(fine motor skills mostly). Instead, you follow a progression something like what I outlined, and in the end, you can pull off some neat moves when the opening arises, AND not bust your partners wrist!:cool:
  17. 2edgesword


    Sep 11, 2005
    When adrenaline is dumped into your system I'm not sure if you have the option of performing fine motor skills. I think with practice you can get pretty good at applying gross motor skills to attacking targeted areas of the body.

    I'm not talking about hitting an inch square area on the forearm, bicep, tricep, quadricep, torso, etc. but targeting a general location (somewhere on the inside forearm, somewhere on the bicep, somewhere on the tricep, etc.) where a slash or stab in that a general location is going to do some damage.

    Beyond hitting general areas a focus on practicing follow-up cuts is important, where you automatically chain together multiple cut/stabs.
  18. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    THAT'S why mind control/meditation is a good thing if one can manage it, because the goal is to reduce the adrenaline dump, allowing for better strategy and fine motor control.
    VERY difficult to attain(I haven't yet, not all the way), but a worthy goal.:)
  19. KaliGman


    May 9, 2007
    How you will react in an adrenaline rich combat environment has to do with your genetics, your training, your previous combat experience, and a host of other factors. I have a lot of students who get into the "all the books and magazines say X, Y, and Z will happen in combat." I try to disabuse them of this notion. No two people are going to react the exact same way. For example, under real combat stress (i.e. people trying to kill me) I do not lose fine motor skills and I do not experience tunnel vision, two things that I am "supposed" to do. I do get an almost "panoramic" view of what is going on and experience time dilation/slow down. In real life, combat is a chimera--ever changing, never the same. The only constant in combat is that there is no constant. Nothing always works. If someone tells you that his system of moves does, either he is inexperienced or is trying to sell you something. The ability to flow from move to move, to have good footwork, to be able to disengage, etc. is important simply because there is no "magic move series" that always works.

    Now, all that said, the idea of training to target bigger areas and going for the high percentage techniques is very good and I completely agree. Many people do lose fine motor skills in combat. I see many students lose fine motor skills under stressful sparring sessions. The goal for my students is to go for targeted strikes. Due to the fluid nature of hard sparring (even more so in real combat), sometimes they hit areas other than those intended. With a lot of hard work, though, it is surprising how quickly and frequently you can hit a very small moving target with a blade.
  20. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    Do you think your training has a big part in your ability to overcome combat stress?

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