Thursday, April 12, 2007

Slow Boy

Sean Stark, with whom I've corresponded for some time, has a blog in which he talks about "explosiveness" in silat. You should check it out -- just go over to the list of sites, there on the right side of the page, and click on it.

It's very interesting material, presented well.

By explosiveness, I think he means going from zero to sixty in a hurry, and it sounds like a wonderful skill to have.

Unfortunately, being old, large, and slow, I'm not going to achieve that one.

Fortunately, the silat style I study relies more on position than anything, which gives me a certain hope.

Being in the right place, able to move smoothly, and with some practiced tools will, we believe, accomplish much the same effect as being fast and powerful. You might not be fast, but to somebody else, you will seem fast, and that might be enough.

We believe that it is.

I played with this idea in The Musashi Flex. One of the characters augments his normal speed with chemical assistance, so that he is much faster than usual. This is sufficient for him to kick serious ass -- but it works primarily because he is using it against others who also rely on speed and power. When he comes up against someone who can't compete with him speed-wise, but who relies on something else, it proves to be -- in my mind, anyhow -- an interesting match.

For me, a martial art that relies primarily on speed and/or power is, by its nature, limited to those who are strong and fast to be of optimum practicality. Coming up on my sixth decade next birthday, and having been a heavyweight for most of that time, I've never had the moves of a lightweight, nor is that gonna happen at this late date. I've managed to stay in pretty good shape for a man my age, but a fit twenty-year-old is going to have better reflexes, and the potential, at least, to be faster and stronger at the same size. Since I can't match that, any art I study and might actually use needs to offer something that will balance things. Mine does, which is one of the big reasons I train in it.

The hare is faster, but sometimes the tortoise wins the race ...


Dan said...

And the tortoise gets 40 generations of last laughs

steve vh said...

Don't forget slicing time thinner than them also makes you faster. There are ways to slice (sic)besides chemical augmentation. If he is explosive but you are able to be responsive and slice time thinner....

Steve Perry said...

I'm not sure that I'm slicing time any thinner, though I understand the concept. Mushtaq and I have discussed this at some length, and I have been working on trying to trip that tachypsychia-effect at will, when the fight-or-flight syndrome kicks the hormones into overdrive and you get slomo incoming.

The problem there is, that the more you train and get used to seeing attacks come at you, the more relaxed you get, and the less you fear getting tagged, so that kinda takes away the trigger for the fight-or-flight stuff.

It tends to balance out, in that you don't freeze up, either.

Although the metaphor isn't precise, I kind of visualize myself like a highly mobile brick wall. All I need to do is get in your path and get set by the time you arrive, and if you are a step-and-a-half away (or farther) then it won't take me as long to do that as it will for you to get within striking range. And if I am set when you get there, you won't be, and I win.

Kind of like drawing a gun against a guy who already has the drop on you. Unless you are the fastest guy who ever lived, clearing leather and firing will take you longer than it will for the guy already on target to pull the trigger. And even if you are that fast, best you'll get is probably a tie i.e., mutual slaying.

Not the best tactic, in my mind.

Dan Gambiera said...

Also, think about the timing Guru is trying to teach us. If the legs and arms are all moving on slightly different offset timings you end up getting a lot more accomplished in a shorter time without actually moving anything faster. Change his perception and you put him further behind.

Remember what an old Kendo teacher of yours likes to say:

"Sooner or later you lose your speed, you lose your strength, and everyone learns your tricks. Then you get to find out if you're any damned good or not."

Michael B. said...

The old addage applies here..Old age and treachery will defeat youth and strength...cheat, cheat, cheat..Go ugly early and win.