Tag Archives: self defense

More on Affordances

A major focus of mine in both Movement Science and fighting/self-protection skills training is the concept of affordances. Below is an excerpt from the book that first introduced me to the concept, which contains a great introduction to the concept as it applies to fighting skills:

“The theory was put forth in the 1960s by an unorthodox psychologist names James Jerome Gibson at Cornell University. Gibson, who died in 1979, said animals and people view their environments not in terms of objectively defined shapes and volumes but in terms of their own behavioral potential. In other words, you immediately apprehend what you see in terms of how you think you can interact with that you see. You see affordances. Affordances make possible and facilitate certain actions. So, handles afford grasping. Stairs afford stepping. Knobs afford turning. Doors afford passage. Hammers afford smashing…

Martial artists see a different set of affordances than people untrained in hand-to-hand combat. Lapels and shoulder fabric are gripping points that afford all sorts of leverage. Elbows and wrists afford a variety of locks and twists. Highly trained martial artists see these affordances directly, as inherent parts of the concept of the body, just as an accomplished pianist sees not just individual keys but whole interrelated harmonic complexes brimming with possible melodies that can be extracted from it’s wholes, not as individual finger and hand movements (Blakeslee & Blakeslee, 2007).”

Blakeslee, S., & Blakeslee, M. (2007). The Body Has a Mind of it’s Own. New York: Random House, p. 106-108.

Video Link: 1947 “Judo Jymnastics”

One from the vaults:

Just another good reminder of two things:

-there really isn’t much new under the sun when it comes to fighting techniques and “mixed martial arts”

-although there is some camp involved in the demonstrations,  proper leverage against a joint’s weak angles can go a long way- and it’s good to have some contingencies in store if a go-to technique fails.

Coincidentally, the guy looks a lot like one of the assistants from Jack Dempsey’s 1942 combatives manual, “Fight Tough,” and I love her liberal use of the heels…

FSRI Video: Throws, Pins & Escapes

The Virginia FSRI group has been learning this throw (basic hip spiral/o-goshi) and reviewing falling skills for the last few weeks. The clip shows some different semi-open randori exchanges designed to integrate it with related pin/escape skills.  Continual role switching makes it a bit more challenging and dynamic, but within an environment that’s still conducive to some experimentation (from the 4/7 VA class).

Linked Article: Anthony Miranda Tried Robbing Ultimate Fighting Champion

At some point, Miranda’s attention was diverted and the victim was able to grab control of the gun and the two wrestled.

During the fight, Miranda accidentally discharged his gun, shooting himself in the ankle, Mirabelli said.

Read the rest here.

Help at the Push of a Button

This semester I agreed to teach a series of weekly self protection seminars for a women’s resource group on Ferrum College campus. Without going into too much detail here (more will follow in later posts), part of my planning for these included researching the contexts and scenarios in which violence against women tends to happen, as borne out by DOJ victimization and outcome stats and reviewing case reports. The incidence data, and conversations with friends of mine who have been victimized made it woefully clear that the “carry your keys in your hand” strategies, and “on the street/in a dark alley” conceptualizations of violence against women are pretty inadequate by themselves, because they only apply to a limited range of the situations in which a woman may find herself at risk . Since this seminar series is for college-aged women, I structured the program to explore the scenarios and types of assault that are created by social, interpersonal and predatory contexts. Continue reading

News link: Mugger Stomped by Pregnant Kickboxer

Mugger steals purse from a pregnant woman. Woman pursues. Mugger attacks woman and strikes her in the belly. Woman turns out to be a kickboxing student with a mean ankle stomp:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81783380/?lt=ep

Note: as Ms. O’Brien mentions, the best idea would have been to let the guy have her bag. Bags can be replaced, health and life can’t.

Random Training Notes 15: Timing is Everything, Except for When it Ain’t

When martial artists refer to “timing”, they are usually discussing anticipatory skills. Anticipation is the ability to predict outcomes of an action (largely external, for our purposes), plan an appropriate response, and initiate it with the correct timing relative to the external action. Numerous studies have shown that superior anticipation timing is indeed what sets expert practitioners apart from novice practitioners in a given activity. The person who can successfully anticipate the outcome of an opponent’s actions before they are completed, and then formulate and initiate a plan of their own response with the appropriate timing will be able to effectively counter an attack. But the important distinction in quoting this information is the context in which it is applicable. Two people facing each other for a match or duel-type fight have the following advantages:

Continue reading