Additional Opponent Considerations

Effects Drugs and Alcohol Can Have on an Opponent

If you are in a social setting in which people are consuming inebriating substances, or if you encounter someone in passing who is inebriated, then you could find yourself confronted by a somewhat irrational and possibly belligerent individual. Certainly not everyone who becomes a bit tipsy is hostile, but a few people do get quite angry and antagonistic when they are chemically impaired. You should have some idea how you might deal with such a situation.

A person who has consumed a significant quantity of alcohol will suffer a lack of fine motor skills and general muscular control. A person’s reflexes are often decreased which can make him or her unable to react quickly or accurately to unexpected conditions. An individual’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure may also decrease significantly. But be careful. These are all generalizations and will not apply to every inebriated individual.

Alcohol can also affect a person’s mood significantly. As noted earlier, some people can become angry. Other people may become maudlin, happy, or withdrawn. But an intoxicated individual may have rapid changes of mood. Sometimes what seems like a trivial provocation may cause an inebriated person to suffer rapid mood changes – sometimes going from happy to irate in mere seconds. It is important to realize these mood swings can occur almost without warning. It pays to be somewhat wary of even the happiest drunk in the room.

It should also not escape your attention that some drunks, while not belligerent, are simply very annoying. You may be able to deal with this annoyance without issue, but someone else in the room may not. They could be incited to violence just because someone else has annoyed them repeatedly. It could benefit you (and perhaps the annoying individual) if you can move the annoying person away from someone who clearly is becoming upset. Naturally this effort should be taken with a good deal of caution, especially if both persons are intoxicated.

Some drugs can have effects similar to alcohol. Some hallucinogens have outward affects similar to alcohol consumption. Other drugs may have effects that make a person less likely to be belligerent, but the person may still suffer motor skill and cognitive impairments. As with alcohol, there can be a broad range of impairments that are not experienced by every individual. But if you know someone is impaired by a drug it would be wise to remain cognizant of his or her location and actions. You never know when they will do something rash or annoy someone else to the point of rash behavior.

People who have used PCP or Methamphetamine are often rumored to have exceptional strength. If they become violent they can be difficult to control. Both of these conditions stem from the same cause. A person on these drugs does not perceive pain in the same way as an unaffected person. As a result the body’s normal feedback that tells them they are experiencing overexertion can be ignored. These individuals are willing to exert themselves with less inhibition than others. As a result they seem to be unusually strong and able to move in what might normally be considered a constraining situation. So while these individuals are no stronger than anyone else with a similar body type, they are willing to put more strength into movements than most people. This requires that a belligerent individual who has recently used one of these drugs must be either left alone (not abandoned, which could have negative effects for the individual) or dealt with in a very forceful and confining manner.

Knowing Your Opponent’s Future Position

If you have learned one thing while studying Tensoku Ryu it should be that an opponent’s past and current positions are absolutely irrelevant. We generally refer to these as past history. They have already occurred and there is nothing you can do about it.

So the question becomes not what is my opponent’s position currently, but what will be the position in the next few moments. We don’t’ care where the opponent has been, we want to know where he or she is going. There are methods by which we can know this vital information.

The first is to observe, over time, how people move and react when they initiate a movement. This hearkens back, in part, to the ‘Dem Bones analogy. If the person steps forward with one leg and strikes with the same-side arm you will appreciate what will happen to the torso, opposite arm, head, hip, and legs of that person. Because you know what other body movements will result, you can predict where the opponent, and various parts of the opponent’s body will be positioned next.

To gain experience with this level of positional awareness have your Uke strike you in the same manner some twenty times or so. Don’t bother trying to block or deal with the strike. Instead ignore the strike altogether. Instead, observe how other parts of the body must move to accommodate the strike. Pay attention to everything, even something as apparently inconsequential as how the ears move. It’s all important information. After twenty such strikes you should have a fairly good idea what will move and how it will be positioned in related strikes. Now you can know where those portions of the body will be located in similar attacks.

But you will also know what portions of the body will next need to be retracted or how the opponent will need to step to maintain structure. Now you know where these body parts will be next. Now practice with your Uke until you can both reliably predict both how to intercept and control portions of the body during a strike, and how you can control and manipulation portions of the body after a strike has reached its apex and the person striking has begun a subsequent movement. This is all critical information.

The second thing to observe, over time, is how people move and react to different stimuli. If you push a person’s arm back, how will the opposite arm, head, knees, hips, torso, and shoulders of the person move? Through thought, experimentation, and abundant experience you can generally know how a person will react to any manipulation that you have initiated. You will come to appreciate that pressing slightly on the front of the hip joint will often cause the opponent’s head to come down and forward somewhat. You may also notice that the same movement causes the knees to straighten or twist (depending on how the push on the hips is performed and the angels involved). So by pushing on the hips you may well know that the person’s nearest knee will bend outward in your direction. You might then use your knee to intercept and press into the person’s knee from behind.

Again this requires significant study, practice, and observation. Try to achieve the mindset that you initiate a manipulation, not to cause instability via the manipulation, but to position another part of the opponent’s body so it is susceptible to future manipulation. You are in essence planning and dictating the future position of your opponent so that you can use that future position to your advantage. And of course, that second manipulation should be done with the foresight that you are simply making another part of the person’s body available for future manipulation. This chain eventually breaks down, but it might be sustained for four, five, or maybe six stages of manipulation. By that time you have a very disoriented and confused opponent. Those are the best kind.

Using this methodology you are, in essence, dictating the future position of your opponent. But there are other ways by which you can dictate an opponent’s future position. These are essential deceptive practices that cause an opponent to move in predictable ways. Since you can reasonably predict these movements you can reasonably predict the opponent’s future position. Of course, nothing can be assured, but you can generally get someone to do what you want by allowing them to think of it themselves.

Let’s take a very simple example. Assume you are sure someone intends to attack you and that you have no viable means of imminent escape. The person is simply jockeying for position until they find the right method and time to attack. The opponent intends to dictate the time and method so the attack is to his or her advantage. We don’t want them to have that advantage.

So, we might elect to throw our hands up in the air in disgust and turn our back to walk away. Of course, we’ll maintain our view of the opponent as we do that. From the opponent’s perspective this is the opportune time to strike. They’ve come up with that idea all on their own, or so they think. Our intention, should the opponent attack, might be to step back to our local angle eight and strike directly into the approaching opponent’s face or torso, or perhaps initiate some form of manipulation involving his or her head. Our options are virtually unlimited because we know exactly where our opponent will be positioned. We planned it.

Another example might be to position ourselves to the ear side of the opponent as the opponent strikes. We might rotate the opponent’s center away slightly as we do this as a way of prepositioning the opponent. Now we slide our face inward and just forward of the opponent’s face to give him or her a good target. Perhaps giggle or produce a mocking facial expression to make him or her angry. You know they will now strike with the opposite hand directly toward your face. Plan what you intend to do with the opposite-side hand position they have so graciously provided for you.

There are an innumerable number of ways by which you can knowingly predict the future position of an opponent. Some of this is obvious, but some is much more subtle and sophisticated, requiring a good deal of experimentation and observation. Whenever someone moves try to predict where various parts of the person’s anatomy will end up. Now contemplate how you might interrupt, exaggerate, or otherwise manipulate that portion of the movement. Next, contemplate how that will indirectly cause some other portion of the body to move, often in ways the opponent does not consider. Now you can begin to contemplate how one movement might lead to an advantage two movements later. If you get good at doing that, try to appreciate the eventual outcome of a chain of three movements. It’s not that hard, but it takes a good deal of empirical study to appreciate it fully. Have fun. There is much to learn here.

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