Self Defence: A brief history

A brief History of Combat:

Combat consist primarily of two actions 1. Attack & 2. Defence. The origins of both stem from a need to feed.

As a strategy they [under the process of evolution] would have originated in that order.

The process of absorption could be the earliest form of attack. The likely defences would have included evasion, disguise & preventative reaction. Preventative reaction would likely often develop into a more destructive counter attack & potentially a kill & occasionally converted into a feeding opportunity, outside of the usual prey choice.

Throughout the range of species we see naturally formed weapons and abilities. The same weapons are used in defence as attack but the difference being, in defence the weapons are used with the objective opportunity of escape.

Between 6-5 million years ago Hominids diverged from apes. The latest of which was the Chimpanzee and dates from the same time. Chimpanzees as we see and know today have aggressive tendencies, alpha male dominant, leadership, complex social behaviour and territorial behaviour. They have strong arms, use fists, jump, run and bite. They act in violent groups, kill other apes & hunt & eat monkeys & other mammals.

During their juvenile period both males & females break branches, strip them & sharpen an end. They then use them as spears to help kill the smaller mammals such as young deer and bushbabies etc. Spear use in the human line started at about the same time. Because it is juvenile Chimps that mostly use spears, it is likely that their lack of full size but their desire to hunt that leads them to aid their task by reaching for and honing an effective tool. This juvenile behaviour indicates a need, to thinking, to solution and is left behind as a behaviour, as their full sized ability relegates the continued time spent, as unnecessary to hunt successfully.

Spear use in early humans [Hominids] developed into group hunting was used for larger prey animals, continued use & the development of spears. As human groups encountered each other and competed over food, area control would have created the need for defensive weapons and tactics, along with the development of weapons to suit the task of counter weapons engagement. Physical combat would have been inferior to weapons combat and avoided. With smaller teeth and arms along with the associated strength, a person was probably seldom without a weapon. Human types did and do have longer legs than Chimpanzees, so the oldest form of defence [RLF] would have been used – Run Like Fuck – without a weapon.    


Modern styles:

Wrestling dates back in time as art and in scripture to over 2,000 years bc. It is obviously older than the use of the spear but the development of skill, balance and technique is clearly visible, displayed and celebrated in art from Egypt in 2100bc and elsewhere from 2000bc. The earliest form of martial art is recorded in China as far back as 4,000bc. The Yellow Emperor [a General] introduced a form of hand to hand combat for soldiers in 2698bc. In 688bc boxing was introduced into the Olympics. Competitors wore hard leather straps around their fists. It was considered so damaging that the straps were abandoned but eye gouging & choking was considered less dangerous and continued to be allowed.

Also in the East,‭ ‬including India,‭ ‬movement‭ & ‬balance,‭ ‬positioning for strike and for defence were continually being developed.‭ ‬The observation of the behaviour of animals in combat was included,‭ ‬adapted‭ & ‬inspired styles and techniques.‭ ‬Strikes were improved in power by repetitive training,‭ ‬honing techniques,‭ ‬adding speed and body conditioning to absorb impact.‭ ‬The body was viewed as the weapon and defences were converted for advantage.‭ ‬Breathing became a source of mental and physical focus‭ & ‬the skill of focus became a tool for concentration in strategy‭ & ‬as an eliminator of fear.‭ ‬In the great book of The Book Of The Five Rings‭ ‬1645‭ ‬Miyamoto Musashi‭ {‬Samurai‭} ‬writes about the Void.‭ ‬In metaphors and poetic descriptiveness he illustrates the peace and purity of the focus on the moment of the potential of the cut.‭

'‘‬I can see nothing but the moment.‭ ‬Everything else is void.‭’'


Technology dependant combat:

In a world of assault rifles available new for a few weeks wages and second hand AK-47’s for $100 and the reckless abundance of ammunition, there is very little need to make a fist or see the colour of your targets eyes. A child can act as an effective soldier & fat, flat footed, lazy, wheezy sugar addict thieves can heist who they want and enjoy the fizz of immense glory of the power they can posses and the fear they can deliver. But if the gun jams, if they run out of ammo the range of the combat shortens. Much like the modern reliance of stealth fighters with long-range radars & fire and forget missiles. When they are spent and they arrive in the sky, seen & without a missile left, close Combat is the pilots weapon. As long as the designer of the long strike plane, left them a gun/close energy weapon, they still have a fist they can use. Physical ability is an advantage. Training and prowess further still. The Israeli Defence Forces ‘Krav Maga’ [The principal training {& Ability} of Jason Bourne] is a culmination of all the best history & all the best thinking. The body is a weapon. Anything is a weapon. There are no rules, no chivalry, the only honour being a successful elimination of threat.

'‘The most important thing about a strike, Is to Strike.’' Gichin Funakoshi.


Warrior me:

As an athlete, a middle distance runner, I run well, fast and quite far before I tire. At a cruise I could cover 10 miles before my body started reminding me why I liked middle distance – it was in my nature. I need no training to run.

In high school I did some Judo. It was interesting toppling people over / being toppled over, grappling & locking. It struck me as a last resort & brought me far too close to unpleasant body odour.

I joined a karate class and spent 4 months doing Shotokan. The long stances felt unnatural to me, as did the lunging punches and leaning blocks. I was introduced to Goju Ryu – Close tight with short strikes included with the standard but shorter stances and kicks. An emphasis was on conditioning, breathing & power through core strength. It also did not quite suit my athletic agility.

After school I joined a modern off shoot of Kyokushinkai. It struck a balance between the previous two and had a slight emphasis on kicks which suited my long legs. I trained for 12 years and consider myself a Student of the kyokushin style. Beyond class my learning allowed me to train alone, maintain a standard and learn other forms of combat. For interest and fun I spent some time trying & understanding the art of Sumo. I spent as much time laughing at myself as I did in the salt. Completely unsuited it taught me that when you are hopelessly outmatched there are always windows of advantage opened by imbalances. I also learned a fond respect for the skill & the style of agile manoeuvring bulk. I briefly tried Kendo. [The way of the sword] Briefly, only because my life was changing and I was travelling for various reasons..