Body and mental perception

Perceive the fighting scenario

When in self-defense we talk about constant attention (read How to develop the constant attention), we refer to the collection, analysis and processing of the information that governs the scenario within which we are.

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

Even in the live moment of combat, we must be able to connect:

  • Present (sensory stimuli) – What instantly hearing, touch, sight (etc.) tell us
  • Past (spatial memory) – The mental map (read The most important skill in combat) describing the positions of the active entities and their eventual movements / interactions inside the scenario (especially those that are already started and that cannot be stopped, like a man that is falling)
  • Future (logic) – The limits that our reason and experience may usefully impose on what may or may not happen; there are events possible, probable and absolutely impossible, the capability to instantly identify them can reduce the complexity of the context

A note by Master Kongling – What are we trying to say? Simply that in a self-defense situation, if on one side a novice can feel to be devoured the randomness of the chaos, the expert should instead be able to recognize and exploit a big part of the harmony guaranteed by: the incontrovertible laws of physics, the probable causality of human psychology (etc.). To be clear: nobody is (quoting Matrix) able to “manage” the opponents like in martial arts films but between that level of skill and not knowing what is going on there is an abyss of reasonable possibilities and it is precisely there that, a good practitioner, must go to position himself.

How to cross the data to limit the errors

We rarely have the opportunity to rely at 100% on one of the tools we have mentioned before so we must learn to make them work always and in any case together.

In a clash, it is not improbable to be a victim of perceptive disturbances 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 eventualities are endless but it’s crucial that we try to look at ourselves, our opponents and all the 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)
  • Times of action (eg. how long does it take the front leg to load a kick)
  • Calculation of probabilities (eg. how much damage can result from an imminent blow)

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

A note by Master Kongling – For example, a good grappler might think “by sacrificing me to suffer this punch, I can get the advantage of closing the distance, bring my opponent to the ground and thus gaining an overwhelming advantage”, read Ground fighting).

Anyway, to do this kind of judgments instinctively, we need to enhance our senses and mind, leading them to levels of excellence; we must improve:

  • 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, flexible weapons (etc.)

How to enhance our perception skills

It is useless to say that there are no tricks to reach a high level of perception of the combat scenario (read How to learn faster). The best way to enhance our skills is:

  • Training (discipline)
  • Theoretical study (preparation)
  • Practical experimentation (concentration)

As we have already said in past articles, we have to exercise:

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.).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • In your opinion, what is the most important sense in managing a fighting scenario?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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