Friday, November 22, 2019

Killing fields

Killing field is a military science term describing an area through which an enemy is forced to move where they will be exposed to your power. Examples might include a fortified beach like Normandy or the mountain pass at Thermopylae.
Basically a cattle chute.
But the term applies in interpersonal conflict too, so where is the killing field in aikido, judo, and karate, for instance?
I refer to the space in front of uke and within his reach (inside the boundary of ma-ai) as the killing field.  So, if you are in front of the opponent and you are close enough for him to touch you then you are standing in the killing field.
Occasionally I will refer to this as being "between his arms" or "toe-to-toe."  Traditionally we called this, "within ma-ai" but that is sort of esoteric-sounding and does not have any of evocative connotations for western students.
If you stand inside the killing field then it is likely that the opponent can do something to you before you can respond. But life happens, so you cannot avoid the killing field, so what is the best way to handle it?
  • You have to have your strategy defined and your tactics drilled before you get into a killing field because you cannot think and plan while under fire.
  • Do not stand still inside a killing field.
  • Attack the attacker in order to reduce his capacity (kuzushi upon contact)
  • Move as quickly and efficiently as possible (tai-sabaki) while in the killing field.
  • Move through the killing field to the opponent's flank (shikaku ) if possible, or retreat and regroup outside the killing field (push back past ma-ai)

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Patrick Parker
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