Body and mental perception

When in self defense we talk about constant attention (read the article “How to develop the constant attention”), we refer to the collection, analysis and processing of the information that governs the system within which we are located; even during combat we must be able to connect:

  • Present, sensory stimuli (what instantly tells us hearing, touch, sight, etc.)
  • Past, spatial memory (the mental map describing positions of entities and their movements already in progress)
  • Future, logic (the limits that our reason and experience may impose on what may or may not happen)

We rarely have the ability to rely on one of these tools so we must learn to make them work always and in any case in harmony. In a clash, it is not improbable to be a victim of perceptive disorders such as:

  • Sweating, swelling or bleeding that blur our visual
  • A whistling ear due to an open hand attack
  • A limb that has lost part of its sensitivity due to a fall

The possibilities are endless but it’s crucial that we try to perceive ourselves, our opponents and all other elements of the scenario in terms of:

  • Spatial dislocation (eg where is the left hand of the opponent)
  • Determination of barycentres (eg. the weight distribution of a stick)
  • Potential alterations (eg. a favorable position for a punch)
  • Time of action (eg. how long it takes the resting leg to load a kick)
  • Calculation of probabilities (eg. how much damage can result from an imminent cutting stroke)

When the inputs we collect are accurate, we will hardly be caught up by surprise and our tactical processing will become similar to that of chess.

To do this kind of judgment instinctively, however, we need to enhance our senses and mind, leading to levels of excellence:

  • Our sensory perception (precision, speed, sensitivity, etc.)
  • The knowledge of human anatomy (bones, muscles, limbs, their mobility, etc.)
  • The ability to identify equilibrium points (body, arms, etc.)

The best way to enhance these skills is training (discipline), theoretical study (preparation), and practical experimentation (concentration). As we’ve already said in past articles, we have to exercise:

  • Individually each useful sense (excluding others and each possible interference)
  • Individually our spatial intelligence (spatial memory, etc.)
  • Individually the logic (potential mobility, balance points, etc.)
  • The partial combination of the previous tools (eg. touch and hearing)
  • The full set of skills (in the most realistic possible contexts)

In the next articles of this series, we will see some exercises that enhance the consciousness of ourselves, of opponents, space, movements, balance points, potential alterations (etc.).

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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