Recently while teaching in Portola CA a student said to me, ‘I use leverage all the time.’ I said to the student, ‘But do you understand it?’
I had him show what he does on a much larger student and it was unsuccessful. He was repeating what he was taught but did not understand why he was taught it.

‘Using’ mechanical leverage in martial art is not enough…for every strong fighter, there will be a stronger fighter.

‘Understanding’ mechanical leverage, we access the greatest equalizer: physics. It is the understanding of mechanics and mechanically based execution that creates an unfair advantage.

The first time I heard the concept of an unfair advantage explained was from a business writer, Jason Cohen. I had seen it commented on with Magpul and other companies, but Cohen nailed it.
An advantage is an advantage, but this can quickly be copied or duplicated. It is only when you have something that can not be copied or easily duplicated that you have an unfair advantage. One that made a lot of sense to me was the concept that if you have an something that is an almost unreasonable obsession with something, for example in the business world, something you will never compromise on while others will…this will become an unfair advantage.

For years I have apparently given my students an unfair advantage…an obsession with their goals. I often put it this way, ‘If you ever get lost rolling, sparring, in a scenario, things are out of control, touch the other guy’s ear. No matter what, touch it. If you can touch his ear, you can pull it. If you can pull it, you can move his head. If you can move his head, you can put your fingers in his eyes. If you can stop his vision, you can win the fight.’

Using something is not an unfair advantage…anyone can, or anyone can figure out how you did the neat trick. It is the single-minded obsession with something we do best, like making our leverage as sound according to mechanical law and physics, that makes it an unfair advantage. I have gotten very good with leverage over time, through learning and experience, and I fall back on it constantly because I know it’s something most opponents have not seen before…they have seen some stuff, but they have not seen my level of obsession with it.

As many students will tell you – what I do hurts. People don’t drop and slap their leg or the mat because they are playing along – most will tell you when I apply leverage it’s different than other people. It is this obsession in understanding what I do, versus just using it, that sets things apart.

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