Saturday 3 September 2022

Godai in Combat


Although I have used the Godai analogy to describe the 4 AFA that makes up STMA, it is also true that each Art can manifest the 4 elements.

Each element is a manifestation of your inner feeling:

Earth - confidence
Water - fear
Fire - Anger
Wind - compassion

The physical postures, called kamae, and movements are manifestations of these feelings in combat.

It is a MISTAKE to believe you can select to be one element and fight that way as you need to adapt and respond as the need arises. The only element you should try to be is Ku - The Void.

Let's look at an example of a specific AFA using the 4 elements.

Eskrima - though we classed Kobudo as the wind element of STMA, fighting with a weapon can use any of the 4 elements.

In a weapon attack the opponent comes in with a #1 strike, the caveman strike, the natural strike of the Human animal.
Let's see how you respond:

Water - you defend. You roll back into largo, removing yourself from the path of attack and strike at his hand to make him drop his weapon. You can then respond with a counter to his head once he has been "defanged".

Fire - you attack. You crash the line with a roof block, burning through his attack and taking his head off with a powerful strike of your own.

Earth - you intercept. As he steps in with his stick in caveman chamber you step forward to meet his intention and deliver your strike on the half beat. You neither attack or defend, you just use the appropriate move with proper distance and timing. This is based on the confidence that you were never in any real danger.

Wind - you evade. Moving with triangle footwork you sidestep and attack his hand. Unlike Water, you are not retreating and being defensive, you simply move sideways and he strikes empty air. Then your own strike hits like lightning.

Here is a real world analogy - a doorman on duty at a nightclub.

The technique we use here is the right hand KO punch, but in four different examples, each a manifestation of an element of the Godai.

Each scenario presented here is a real situation I have faced in my career.
There is NO THEORY here - each example is 100% REAL!

Standing on the door you are Earth, the mountain, the oak tree, immovable. You tell a customer he can't come in. You are strong and confident. Nobody is getting past you. You ARE the Door!

The customer gets angry and steps up to attack. From The Fence you land your KO punch to his jaw and knock him out. You have no need to be afraid or angry, you have no need to attack or defend. You simply apply the correct response for the situation at hand.

The alarm goes and you rush inside to see a full blown fight has erupted on the dance floor.

You move straight in and knock out each man who is fighting. If they are not trying to get away they are trying to get stuck in, so you neutralise them. One, two, three, you crack your KO punch to their jaw and they drop to the floor. You are Fire, an unstoppable force of nature.

One of the other doormen goes to deal with a customer, to ask him to leave. Suddenly CRACK! The doorman goes down. This is no ordinary customer but a dangerous, trained, experienced fighter. As you move in he squares up to you. You are now in a fight with a skilled opponent.

You react, you defend and you counter. You nullify his attacking blows and set up your opportunity to land your KO, taking him out of the game.

A drunk customer is being rowdy and it is time to ask him to leave. You can't allow him to hurt another customer, yourself, or a member of your team, but you can't allow him to hurt himself either. Nor is it appropriate to go in with maximum force, maybe breaking his jaw or arm.

You do your best to avoid a violent solution. The drunk swings at you. You parry his first swing, and maybe his second. But when he swings a third time you use the Captain's Log to parry down his attack and then land your KO. You gave him every chance.

To take this analogy further, rather than the punch, from the Log use ikkyo to take him to the floor and restrain him. Then call another doorman to take his other arm and walk him out together so nobody needs to get hurt.

So you see the KO punch, which theoretically is a Fire technique, can be used as a technique by any of the four elements you are manifesting, as the situation demands.

DO NOT restrict yourself to any element, art, or technique or you are destined to fail.

Had I decided to be a "Fire" doorman I would not have prevailed in the other 3 situations presented. I certainly would not have done the job for 10 years and would probably be in prison for GBH or Manslaughter right now.

Sometimes it is appropraite to be Fire.

Sometimes you need to be Wind or Water.

Most times you just need to be Earth.