Archives for April 2010

6 Keys to using Zero Pressure

There are several keys to effectively using Zero Pressure in a real fighting situation.

As I stated in my previous post Zero Pressure is about controlling the opponent and can be used to escort out an unruly patron or the drunk relative who always wants to fight at the family get together. You don’t really want to hurt them but you can not let them hurt anyone else either. When using Zero Pressure if you need to hurt the person then you walk / run them into the wall and let the sudden impact with a much larger object stop them. In a multiple attacker situation when and as appropriate you run them into their friends who are trying to attack you. The idea is to get them to hit and beat up each other while you remain mostly untouched.

The keys to effectively use Zero Pressure are:

  1. Keep your body close to theirs so that if they try to quickly speed up and run away to get out of Zero Pressure then you have time to compensate and stay with them in the Zero Pressure position.
  2. Keep your arms in a position so that when they turn to the sides to spin around on you that you are able to use your forearms to cut off their turn and position while you adjust to the new Zero Pressure position. You want to feel what they are doing or trying to do with as much of your forearms as possible so that you can respond to their actions before they have time to actually get half way to completing them.
  3. Keep your head down a bit so that they can not intentionally or accidentally head butt you in the face.
  4. Run your knee into the back and side of their leg continuously so that it keeps them off balance and less able to run away or turn around on you.
  5. If they try to lean on you so that you can not gain a horizontal Zero Pressure position then Zero is from the top down and you need to push them straight down into the floor in the direction they are leaning. At first if they are leaning like this you will feel their body weight is overwhelming you with resistance in all of the 270 degrees that you have been working with and Zero Pressure is gone on the horizontal plane you are working with because they are putting everything into moving towards you. They are actually moving towards the floor but it may take some practice to fully understand this and use it to your advantage.
  6. Practice getting into Zero Pressure immediately after entering so that once you have navigated their strike you are automatically in Zero Pressure and using it fully and correctly.

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Silat Zero Pressure

The Zero Pressure Zone is the area between the shoulder and the back, known in pa kua as the dead zone, where you are able to control the opponents movement with very little physical effort.

To learn how to control the Zero Pressure Zone place one hand on the side of your partners shoulder and one hand on their back. Have them push against you. You will find that they can generally push in one direction and that in other directions they will have no power or Zero Pressure. You control and push them in the direction where they have no power / Zero Pressure.

Have your partner push into the direction where they feel you are controlling them from. Then when you check you will feel that there is still an area of Zero Pressure but that now it is in a different direction or position than before. This is because when they place emphasis in a different direction then the Zero Pressure Zone simply changes to somewhere where they are not putting force or emphasis.

You can play this game continuously. The hardest part of the game is to push into Zero Pressure. Most people want to push where they feel force and pressure. This is because then you feel like you are fighting something. To push into Zero Pressure feels strange at first because you feel like you are fighting against “nothing”.

People appropriately tend to think that when you push into nothing that nothing will happen. When you push on Zero Pressure you are simply pushing where the opponent does not place any emphasis and so you move their body even though you do not feel much force or emphasis fighting against you. This is part of the reason that Zero Pressure is so effective.

Generally, Zero Pressure is used so that you do not have to unduly harm the person you are using Zero Pressure on. This is an excellent bouncer technique and also a good technique to use in a multiple attacker situation so that you can control one attacker who is between you and the other attackers.

I will write more about the keys to effectively using Zero Pressure in a fighting situation in my next post.

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Silat Smothering

From a fighting perspective smothering is the idea of furiously attacking the opponent so that they are unable to fight back because they are completely overwhelmed.

One of the basic things necessary in order to smother effectively is to attack the opponent with your entire body against their entire body using your body weight to overwhelm their limbs and positioning.  You overwhelm their entire position starting with their limbs but continuing into and through their body so that they feel like they can not do anything due to the lack of space and that they have to make space and get their arms free from being pushed into their body in order to do anything to you.  Of course you continue forward and into them so that they feel like they never have enough space to work.

As they continue to try to get space you continually force your way into all available space between you and them. So, to do anything they feel like they have to continually withdraw.  You continually advance so that they feel like they can never get enough space to work.

The biggest skills to study to master smothering are:

  1. How to be right next to the person while continually working your way into and through their position even as they withdraw and retreat.
  2. Learning how to enter against various positions and stances so that smothering of the opponents position begins as soon as you make contact with them.
  3. Learning how to move in and shut down whatever response the opponent may have to your initial entering and continual advance into their position.

You will really want to learn how to do all three of these skills as one continuous motion that happens so fast that the opponent simply can not respond before they are completely overwhelmed.