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'Take your time in a hurry' -- Wyatt Earp

Whilst crawling around the internet looking for trouble I came across this.

I draw your attention to this paragraph.  It could almost be Musashi, if he had a ten-gallon hat.

When I say that I learned to take my time in a gunfight, I do not wish to be misunderstood, for the time to be taken was only that split fraction of a second that means the difference between deadly accuracy with a sixgun and a miss. It is hard to make this clear to a man who has never been in a gunfight. Perhaps I can best describe such time taking as going into action with the greatest speed of which a man's muscles are capable, but mentally unflustered by an urge to hurry or the need for complicated nervous and muscular actions which trick-shooting involves. Mentally deliberate, but muscularly faster than thought, is what I mean.

I identify with Earp on this one, strongly.  Taking your time means being in control of the timeframe in which the action occurs.  You’re mentally independent of the action.  I’ve written about this before.  Also note what Earp says about simple movement being more effective than complex.  The time frame doesn’t allow for complicated movement. 

But remember, Wyatt was carrying a gun.  So no matter how quickly and smoothly he may have gotten into position to shoot, at that point all he had to do was pull the trigger.

Technology changes everything.

I haven’t got a gun.  I’ve got to produce the explosion within myself if I’m going to do damage.  And I’ve got to be able to do that as a single shot, repeated shot, in synchrony or syncopation and with opportunistic timing, all while my opponent is doing his best to give me a beating, take me down, and finish me off.   

I’ve got to be able to do it from multiple positions, angles and ranges.  Earp is right about the timing, but his advice only goes so far if you are fighting with your hands and your feet.  It only takes one well-targeted gunshot to drop a man.  Believe me, you can't rely on that happening in a fist fight.

Here’s one more link about explosiveness.  This really is about how you transfer the mass velocity, or momentum, of the body to the limb.  Because the limb is relatively light, under the conservation of momentum law the velocity of the limb is increased.  You’ll see this is the way I fire some of my shots if you look hereThe whip-like delivery I show in the clip is the same principle that the article discusses when talking about baseball pitchers--what I do is simply concentrated into a tighter frame of time and space, particular to fighting.  (The other way of firing I show on the clip is what I call the nail-gun effect.)

The important thing about this article is that references slow training vs. fast training and why the former is less effective.

One thing that keeps coming up recently is the question of the role of a ‘teacher’ or in my words, the role of a trainer.  I’ll be getting to that one soon.


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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Like the pitching article, it's almost like you could have written it!

"To throw fast one must move fast. It has to be obvious that when an action is slowed it feels different and disrupts control."

In regards to fighting there are other elements that are obviously disrupted if the movement is slowed, such as balance. It's almost impossible to do a throw slowly, rather almost impossible to perform it in a manner that allows you to do so in a 'live' situation.

All of this "slo mo no go" stuff reminds me of a concept in training for sport that has enourmous importance, specificity. It is important in many more ways than people imagine.

Jun. 11th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
With regards to dynamic balance, it couldn't be more true. Most traditionalists practice in what I call static equilibrium. I always remember the phrase 'movement is a series of catastrophes narrowly averted'

I thought the article on pitching was spot on, but the interview with Wyatt Earp is an important one in the sense that you have that fraction of a second to act decisively. With the fists and feet, to act decisively means being able to produce an explosive force within that time frame. That's why I created those drills by which to prep the CNS and imprint movement patterns that would help to facilitate the delivery of an explosive force.

Sports guys understand this--the book by Vern Gambetta has a lot in it that I've been talking about for years. I don't think a lot of guys in the martial arts get it, but that's nothing new to me.
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Not sure where this comment should go .. perhaps it would be better after the original post about fast vs slow training?

Anyway, I was thinking of an Eskrima exercise I did with Sonny, working with one of his pendulum trainers. It was working with a short blade and throwing multiple strikes at the target, within the timing of the pendulum.
The practice was to see how many strikes you could pull off per swing, without stopping the pendulum from it's natural motion.
Start with 1,2,3 etc until it sounded (hopefully) like hail hitting a window.
The more tense you were, the harder it was to achieve. You kinda had to get out of your own way, and have both sides of the body work in co-operation with each other in a relaxed manner to get the explosivity required to add up strikes.
Thinking back, this left/right body connection and insight into relaxation, only came about because it HAD to happen to generate the fast tempo, but was not so necessary, or at least was not so obvious at slower speeds ....
A useful bit of learning that happened, for me, directly because of fast training.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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