In Tensoku Ryu we have a core concept that we refer to as Escape, Thwart, and Destroy, often abbreviated as ETD. These can be thought of as levels of escalation, engagement, or conditions of necessity. Like the octagon, there are many different perspectives from which this concept can be viewed and it will take a long time to become intimately acquainted with them all.
The ETD model can be thought of as an escalation model. If possible, we prefer to Escape from a conflict. We consider this to always be the best option. While we understand it is not always possible or practical to seek an escape, it remains our preferred method of conflict management.
Our next escalation alternative is to Thwart our opponent’s actions. We seek to disrupt what they are attempting. This prevents the initial strike from occurring and is also used to keep the opponent from striking at us again. There are many ways to perform a thwarting action which may range from a soft pressing action to a hard and directed percussive strike. Generally speaking our goal is not to harm the opponent but to ensure their attempted offensive actions prove ineffectual.
If escape is not possible and thwarting efforts are not practical or proving to be ineffective then our next level of escalation will be to Destroy some ability of our opponent. This could be simply throwing the person into a rose bush or swimming pool. But it could involve joint locks, powerful strikes, or deliberate injury. The latter might be appropriate if the attacker is wielding a knife or otherwise seems intent on harming us or others. We do not like to harm others unless it is clear we have no other choices.
At times you might seek to escape first, and if that fails you might move on to thwarting and ultimately destructive methods. This would be a matter of escalation. You attempted one action but found you needed to escalate to potentially more injurious methods due to evolving circumstances.
At other times you may have no choice. One method from the ETD model is the only logical choice. If someone has cornered you with a knife you only have two options. Comply or seek to do great bodily harm. Only you will be able to decide the most appropriate action.
If someone approaches you swinging a baseball bat (with or without barbed wire) and you have a chance to run away – well, by all means, run away. There is little need to consider the other options if you can run.
Thwarting might be your best option if you are caught unaware for some reason. Maybe someone attempts to sucker punch you or jumps out from behind a wall. A sudden confrontation like that may not afford you an initial opportunity to escape, but you might also decide there is no need to be particularly destructive. After thwarting the initial attack you might elect to run away.
The ETD model need not be employed only at the start of a conflict. You can and should employ it throughout the entire sequence of events. You use the model to decide what type and level of activity you want to employ next. Every movement and shift in postures and positions allows you to consider which of the three elements of this model is most appropriate. You then employ your best option and start considering which of the three options is best suited for your next eventuality.
In this way the ETD model is continuous and dynamic. You always have the possibility of using any of these three elements at any moment in time. Which you elect to use is determined largely by circumstance and your intent.