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Intuitive Training


As martial artists we must continually try to grow. As instructors or teachers we must always be vigilant for new teaching ideas and new things to keep our students interested, focused, and active.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with something that probably isn’t new but is a fairly new concept to me. I call it Intuitive Training. The idea of it is to use the natural reaction of a person to defend themselves when attacked and build on that to create very personal and very easy to remember self-defense techniques.

Sensei Barry Drew introduced me to the idea some time ago and I have been letting it evolve and grow in theory. This weekend I took advantage of the opportunity to experiment on just how well it would work.
I was teaching a self-defense course and a lady participating in it confided in me that she had taken a few courses in the past. I wanted to see if the idea would work and thought that she would be perfect to try my ideas.

The main focus, as I said, was to use the natural bodily reactions to a threat and build on them. I told her I was going to attack her and I wanted her to react without thinking. I didn’t tell her what I was going to do. I simply stood in front of her in a “boxer’s” stance. I told her to nod when she was ready. When she did I threw a right haymaker to the side of her head. To my amazement and joy she stepped back with her right foot and threw her left arm up in a very elementary upward block. The technique was nowhere near perfect by standards of anyone who has trained for a long time…but it was there and it was a solid technique.

I worked with her for quite some time. We took that simple, basic, natural block and added to it bit by bit. I watched the footwork and showed her how to turn her body just slightly to make the block a little more effective. Then we worked on her stepping in and I showed her several techniques she could use with her right hand to counter including what she naturally wanted to do: tear off the ear. Before my very eyes the whole thing evolved from a simple weak left hand block to a very solid self-defense move.

It wasn’t long before she was executing her very own technique smoothly and naturally. I decided to change things up a little bit. We had already gotten to the point that I wasn’t telling her when I was going to attack. I simply got in front of her and launched when I was ready. I didn’t say a word to her. I stepped in front of her and when I felt the time was right I launched my attack. This time I moved in and tried to grab her with both arms. She executed her move and guess what…it worked on the grab as well as the punch. I was elated.

Sensei Drew then stepped in. Being a deviant kind of guy, I decided to see what her reaction to a knife would be instead of a punch. Sensei Barry attacked with the knife in a circular almost haymaker type attack. Her perception of it being a knife interfered with the performance of the technique. So, Barry had another Sensei stand behind him and hold the knife. Barry would then execute the haymaker at her. She would block it every single time. On about the sixth repetition, the guy behind him handed the knife off to him. She blocked it perfectly. I then explained to her hat there was really no difference between the knife and the fist. Ignore the blade and block the attack. Soon she was blocking and countering the attack just as successfully as she had the weaponless attack.

We went on and went through some basic techniques as well. When it was over she said it was the greatest training she had ever experienced. I intend to keep experimenting with Intuitive Training. I enjoy it although it is not ideal in large groups because everyone is different and reacts differently to an attack. Of course this is also what makes the training unique and effective.

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  1. March 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    As a high intuitive, I applaud your utilizing this method in your dojo! I think you will be amazed at how successful it is!

  2. March 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

    We had a good time Jim.

    I always enjoy exchanging ideas and seeing how they evolve over time. I’ve always felt that collective knowledge benefits the self-defense areas of our training the most.

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