In the martial arts, we talk alot about two subjects…science and short cuts. Tighten up the circles, a quicker way to execute a throw,
The science and understanding of equilibrium is one of the fastest short-cuts to achieve results that we have at our disposal. First, let’s look at the physiology of equilibrium.
Human equilibrium is a delicate balance of three systems…the visual (eyes), vestibular (inner ear), and skeletal (our bones and joints). The nervous system coordinates these three systems to keep the body standing, in a state of equilibrium. The eyes are view the world around us and help us focus on the environment as our body changes positions within it. The vestibular system is the inner ear, our vestibular organs, and they detect forces acting on our body, like gravity. And the skeletal system holds the body upright and governs our movements.
The easiest way to view this: A person who is blind can stand and walk, but a person with vertigo can not. A person with no legs or an injured leg can not stand, as the skeletal system has no means of creating friction with the ground to remain standing.
Think of how hard-wired you are to remain standing. When was the last time you tripped and fell past your developmental stages as a child. How difficult is it to actually make a training partner, or an attacker actually ‘lose their balance’ or fall down. It’s very difficult, and people usually don’t trip and fall on their own because your body is hardwired to protect equilibrium, to remain standing against gravity at the cost of all over body systems. Before your body will protect the eyes, nose, throat, groin, sternum, or any other area – it will fight to remain standing. The easiest way to determine this in training is simply trip people and have someone attack them as they try to remain standing. Their defenses become virtually impossible because their nervous system is wired to protect equilibrium first.
In Pramek, knowing this, we see our first short cuts in an altercation.
1) Attack the systems by what is available for attack. Target these systems for the attack. In Pramek was often say that if I have one target I am going for, and the attacker doesn’t know or is deciding between targets – I will statistically reach my goal more often than the other person.. We decide a strategy, in this case, affecting equilibrium. We device a tactic for doing so, and then use methods in order to attack the target.
2) Plan your work in training, work your plan in reality. This is not getting our black belt by memorized katas – this is combatives and we develop tactics for our strategy. If you know the body uses three systems to remain in a state or equilibrium, then you should plan your defense and offense accordingly and make it your one overall objective, versus ten possible targets. In training work toward this constantly and incorporate this science as a short cut into your regular reality based training.
3) Attack the visual system, into the eyes. This will disorient the attacker, as well as cause the eyes to begin to close and water. The body will protect the eyes reflexively. The faster you have your hands to the face and eyes, the faster you will gain the upper hand in a combative situation as the person stops defending themselves through learned technique, and their nervous system will flail using their ‘cave man’ fighting methods to stop an attack to the eyes.
4) Attack the vestibular system. If you can grab a collar, you can hit or grab an ear. An example is in the clinch – many people will pummel for greater mechanical advantage. Knowing what the inner ear governs in the body, incorporate an attack to the inner ear in the clinch. Once the vestibular system is impacted through percussion, the vestibular system (the semi-circular canals and cupula) will automatically attempt to recover, but the equilibrium will suffer. Also, rapidly spin the person, jerk their head around, turn their head violently, and force the fluid in the semicircular canals to shift.
5) Attack the center mass. Once the center mass moves outside of the loading bearing area, the body will govern it’s movement using various controlling movements. When we move the center mass, the force the body to use all of it’s systems to get the center mass back over the feet.
In our Combative Striking video, we discuss a lot of these methods, and how to form a strategy based off of them. It’s a 4 hour video series that dives deep into the mechanics, psychology, and physiology of striking! I recommend you pick it up and use your discount coupon, ‘newsletter’ today to learn more at
Until next time!