Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How do I sense what my oppponent is going to do?/ What do I get from Yielding?

Stefan von Leesen,
Hamburg, Germany
Hello Peter!
Another few question are arising out of some training sessions:
1. If we are in a fighting context we seem to be always too late when we only deal with the
movement of our partner, ergo we have to deal with something else. Obviously there are a lot of things happening inside of our partner before he moves -- things like having the intention to move, changes of energy, etc. but the problem seems how to be in contact with these things. Is it a good start to first get more and more in contact with what happens when I move (energy changes, intention, etc.) and after this gets clearer to me, go over trying to detect such things in a partner? Are there more exercises that might help me to get more in contact with these things? Am I overlooking something obvious?
2. In your workshops we spent a lot of time concentrating on yielding practices. Games like
mosquito yielding, pressure-no pressure, etc.. What comes out of this -- seems to be obvious -- we might get better in yielding. If I am in a fighting context one point seems to be able to yield to the pressure of a force. The other possibility is that I bring the pressure directly into my foot and from there compress. Do you think that this happens automatically when I'm yielding? I was wondering because my impression is that these are two different matters. If this is true, why do I have to spent so much time with the yielding games - still not being able to bring the pressure into my foot and compress?
I hope that my English is good enough to explain what I mean. Looking forward to your answer.
Thanks in advance
Stefan von Leesen

About your first question: there are different ways to approach it. Sensing what the other is going to do could start with noticing what subtle adjustments have to happen in his body before his gross movement can occur. As you suggested, become very sensitive to what happens for you before you can do something. Try not moving anything at all, be very still, and then try to do a punch or whatever. Just at the moment when you have to do anything -- shift your weight slightly, have a feeling of intent, tense a muscle, take a step, move your eyes -- STOP. This should begin to show that you always do something subtle before you do something gross. In order not to "telegraph" so much yourself, try reducing those processes (relaxing helps, as does a clear and calm mind, so does shifting your thinking from trying to be "fast" to simply being "immediate"). This should also help you become sensitive to what processes others are going through before they can do their gross movements.
There are other considerations such as potential, intent and whatnot, but I think you have enough to work with already. One more thing, though. You will need to pick up changes of intent throughout the motion, not just before. An example of such sensitivity can be seen in the video when I pull the chair from under Epi as he sits.

The motion to move down is not the intention to sit down. Even though he is looking between his legs and expecting the chair to go, when his brain makes that shift to sit, he will fall if no chair is there. How do we pick up such a subtle shift and in such a small fraction of second? I dont really know, just do (for me it comes as a very subtle feeling of a change in the other person's body-mind).
About your second question: No, yielding and compression aren't the same thing. Yielding is found
inherent in many things, like following, leading, compression, absorbing, joining, sticking, and more. But being compressed by a force into your feet requires a certain alignment so that that happens. Yielding requires no such alignment, just getting out the way. If you are receiving a force, and use intrinsic strength to neutralize the force by having it compress you into your feet, this is called absorption. But I recommendlots more yielding work before worrying about this. Otherwise, you are likely to just tense up.
Good luck,

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