Destroy or destruction is the final escalation level in the Tensoku Ryu ETD Model. We utilize this level of the model when escaping and thwarting options are not available to us for some reason.
Let me start off by saying emphatically that Destroy does NOT imply that you should kill your opponent. This is absolutely the least acceptable outcome.
Destroy means to preclude your opponent from continuing with their assault. Throwing your opponent into a swimming pool provides you with the time and opportunity to escape. You have destroyed your opponent’s ability to attack (at least for the time being). Physically harming an opponent (for example, breaking an arm) can have the same effect. While we do not encourage inflicting such harm, there may be times when this is the only way to ensure your safety or the safety of others. If you enter into direct striking conflict with an opponent then the odds of inflicting harm have risen to astronomical levels; someone, including possibly yourself, will be injured.
The Destroy Concept then involves utilizing the customary striking and kicking skills that are an integral part of most martial arts systems. These are skills everyone needs to perfect. When developing these skills you learn how to use them for both maximum and minimal effect to provide you with a full range of options should you find yourself in a conflict.
Unfortunately those of you who are still developing these skills are more likely to use a full force strike when it is not essential. This means you are more likely to inflict permanent damage or cause a death than someone with a more developed skill set. You are also less adept at self-defense and therefore run a greater risk of injury to yourself. As a result you must consider using the Destroy Concept only as a last resort.
Destroy then is the final leg of the three escalating levels of conflict. You should first try everything possible to escape a conflict. If you have been unable to escape then you should attempt to thwart any ongoing or future attacks. You should utilize the Destroy Concept only when thwarting has dramatically failed or when you feel that thwarting will not prove sufficient to offer viable protection from the attack (for example, if you are being attacked with a weapon). The more skilled you become the less you will need to depend on the destroy option.
This logic does not afford you the excuse that “Hey, my skills weren’t good enough, so I had to hit him in the throat.” A prosecutor may not view that as a viable defense. Escape and thwart whenever possible, and destroy only as a last resort.
Destroy has another significant context that more advanced students should begin to appreciate. It is possible to destroy an opponent’s ability to continue fighting without harming them in any significant way. We do this by destroying their structure to such a degree that they are unable to move in any meaningful or beneficial manner. This is a much more advanced concept and something only more senior students can successfully appreciate and execute, but you will notice and be introduced to various aspects of these skills over time. By destroying structure and rendering a combative individual incapacitated we are then afforded with another decision point. If we conclude our opponent has begun to reason and is responsive to rational discussion, then we may decide to let them go (warily, of course). If we conclude the person is only going to attack again, then we may need to gain the assistance of others or resort to more drastic measures. In this context we destroy an opponent’s ability, and hopefully their willingness to fight. This is considered to be a more advanced and advantageous form of the Destroy Concept. We do not need to create harm to destroy an opponent’s ability or willingness to continue a conflict.