Stepping Aside:Training notes . Video
I often have a discussion with my students about stepping aside. This is perhaps one of the least talked about defensive moves but it is probably one of the most important. When met with confrontation, fight or flight kicks in to help determine what to do. If we choose to fight we tend to stand our ground and attempt to best our opponent. Over the years I have witness countless students stand their ground and attempt to block an attack they could have easily avoided. My presumption is that in an aggressive situation we become so focused on the task at hand, defend and defeat, we lose the bigger picture. If you ever watch a true Master spar you should notice how easy it looks, almost effortless. Many times his opponent isn’t as skilled so this makes sense but even a Master can be caught off guard now and then. Yet this doesn’t seem to happen. I have also seen students perform with similar skill though they lack the technical skills.
A term to describe this is “Training Perspective”. This comes with experience. The Master gains it through years of practice to the point that beginners appear to move in slow motion when sparring! Students who lack technical skill but are use to fighting can also gain this perspective. The more you do something the more second nature it becomes. What I’ve been describing is simply that training to operate in an aggressive situation. The nice thing about the Training Perspective is the ability to see the situation clearly. This brings me back to my original point, avoiding as a form of blocking. Blocking an attack by simply moving out of its way is a great move on many levels. First no contact no potential injuries. Second it can be intimidating as hell to your opponent, of course it can also put them on guard too. Stepping aside also leaves your opponent very vulnerable to your attack since typically their side or back is exposed. Think about adding stepping aside to your blocking drills.
In the mean time I thought I’d add this video clip of an old Wendy’s menu since when I was learning we use to repeat, ‘step aside, please step aside’ when training. It was funny then and still is to me but really this part is her for me! If you enjoy it all the better. 😉
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