This year we are discussing the Book of Martial Power (BOMP) on Saturdays (usually).
Now this is an idea that I can sink my teeth into! Pearlman's concept of the Triangle Guard is essentially the same as the Cowcatcher idea that I preach all the time, and very similar to John Perkin's Close Combat Universal Entry (CCUE) that I was reading about in his book recently.
The idea is that you need a strategically sound, mechanically strong action that you start every enounter with. This universal response must be reflexive or habitual, it must occupy the centerline of the conflict to force the opponent's attack to come around the outside, and it must do some damage to the opponent in order to take the initiative from him and put him on his heels.
- When I teach this idea, I call it The Cowcatcher (as in the grate on the front of trains). I tend to do it as a straight-armed two-palms straight up the centerline to the opponent's face as I step slightly aside.
- Perkin's version of this is a step-aside combined with what is essentially a neckchop-palm jab combo ... just a more vigorous version of my two-palms to the face.
- I've also seen this done as a step-aside, put your hands on your own head pointing your elbows at the opponent. This creates a sharp, pointy fender that is just like the 2-palms to the face that I do, except closer-ranged.
There are plusses and minusses to each form of this thing.
- My version is very close to the natural reaction to back away and out hands up when surprised. As such, it is very quick and easy to teach and impossible to forget.
- Perkin's version is probably more damaging than mine, which likely will put the attacker on the defensive and take the initiative from him better. It is, however, composed of more specialized skills/strikes, and is likely harder to teach.
- The hands-to-the-head version is good for close-range fighting, but the way i've seen most folks do it has too much of a defensive feel to it - they often fail to use it to take the initiative. It is also very intuitive (it's always easy to touch your own head), but it is possible to smash yourself in the face if the opponent runs into your fender before you get it solidly locked in on top of your head.
Whatever you call it, and however you do it, the strategic principle is the same:
- You must start every encounter the same way or else you multiply your choices and Hicks' Law suggests that you will freeze when you start multiplying your own choices
- Your initial response should be simple to learn, trivial to perform, and impossible to forget - thus either reflexive or habituated
- Your initial response must occupy the centerline - that is, the plane that your spine and the opponent's spine both lie in. This forces the opponent's attack to take a weaker, slower outside path to you. The easiest way to do this is to reach for their face or throat.
- Your initial response should damage or startle the opponent, placing them on the defensive and giving you the initiative.