Archives for March 2011

The Lion’s Roar – Ancient Tibetan Fighting Sound

Hen and Ha are sounds that you sometimes hear mentioned as being the secret sounds of Tai Chi. The sounds are originally from Tibet and have spread all over the Far East and down into Indonesia and Malaysia. In my own research on the matter I have found that the only place where the sounds can be commonly found in the martial arts today are in Indonesia and Malaysia.

I believe that part of the reason that the fighting version of these sounds can still be found in the island chain is that there are a number of animals including monkeys and tropical birds native to the area that naturally produce sounds similar to or even the same as the Hen and Ha so that the sounds are much more easily learned and much more easily remembered due to the natural surroundings.

If you have been near a tropical bird such as an African Grey when it squawks and felt the sound cut through you and strike your nervous system then you are familiar with how the fighting version of this should sound.

The Hen and Ha sounds properly vocalized have some very specific and quite neat characteristics.

If used for fighting or a high energy activity such as running the sounds can be used to regulate breathing. This is very beneficial so that an individual can keep their system oxygenated to the point that they do not get winded, lose control of their breath and uncontrollably gasp and fight for air as most folks tend to do when over exerted in an activity such as running or fighting.

Another benefit of Hen and Ha breathing is that it affords the body a lot of natural protection and additional power and speed that is not normally present with other types of breathing methods.

A basic test to see how much power and protection is to have person A stand in a braced football type pose and have person B use a fair amount of physical force minus the sound to try and push them then do the test again but the second time person B breathes in with the Hen sound and pushes while breathing out and making the Ha sound.

Another test is the same as above except have person A make the sound as they are about to be pushed and look at the extra power they have just because they are making the sound.

The Hen is almost always an in breath and the Ha is an out breath. The sounds should be made by breathing into the lower diaphragm area (belly breathing).

If you need more oxygen for power or sustaining an oxygen consuming activity such as running then make sure to breath in with the Hen breath a bit more. If you have to much oxygen in then you may begin to feel light headed. The simple solution is to breath out more and take in a lot less for a moment. You can also yell repeatedly while purposely not taking in much oxygen in order to make sure that you are not hyper oxygenated.

Properly learning and practicing the Lion’s Roar version of Hen and Ha will eventually impart the ability for the practitioner to strike the opponents nervous system with this sound. The normal effect is that the recipient will freeze for a split second or two and will definitely feel and be affected by the sound.

The first trick to learning how to do this is to make sure that the sound is practiced correctly so that the volume is quite loud and generated from the entire body core. The second required skill in order to have the impressive result is to practice so that you can direct the sound.

Begin by practicing to make the sound of your yell spread out and also to narrow the sound of your yell so that it hits someone standing at 12 -15 feet with a spread that is no larger than the size of your facial area. This will take practice but is very achievable. When you can tighten your focus to a diameter of less than 8 inches across on a target person who is standing at 20 feet then you should be starting to get some impressive results with the sound hit that can be produced with the Hen and ha.

Silat – Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down

Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down are 3 different types of vision methods that are taught in Clear’s Silat that can be used as part of your fighting arsenal.

Sleepy Eye

Sleepy eye is an old Shaolin method used to conserve energy and relax the body.

It has the benefit of making you move faster and also when you relax the eyes you can see more around you including the floor, ceiling (if inside) and more to the left and right.

Your view is a bit unfocused but you actually perceive motion faster and objects that are close such as an incoming fist do not look nearly as large allowing you a much better ability to move without getting overly fixated on the close object.

Sleepy eye is also a great way to survey your surroundings while you appear not to be looking at anyone or thing around you.

To practice sleepy eye let your eyelids droop about half way. If you have astigmatism then you may have to hold your eyes slightly differently and I have taught folks where the vision that they normally have is sleepy eye due to the astigmatism they have. Corrective lens glasses correct this and to do sleepy eye when wearing glasses you will still normally do it the way that I have described here.

Wide Eye

Wide eye is a method of looking whereby you open your eyes as much as you can. For most people this will elevate and ramp up your fighting mood while typically causing you to defocus a bit even though once again you can see much more of what is around you.

Wide eye typically will put you in a fight or flight mindset.

Wide eye will also tend to make you hyper respond to any incoming stimulus. It can be easier to do wide eye if you tilt your head forward and look through your eyebrows.

Looking Down

If you look down at the floor at about a 90 degree angle ( \ ) with your eyes open you will notice that your ability to see what is around you is improved while you look like you are looking at the floor.

This is great to use for multiple attackers or if you think there might be multiple attackers so that you can see where everyone is at relative to you and your position. You will be able to get 180 degree view around you simply be taking one step forward. If you start with your left arm / side in front of you and then you step so that your right arm side is in front of you then you get the complete view.

A simple benefit is knowing when someone is close enough that they can reach you and being able to respond while they still think that you do not realize how close they are.

Sleepy Eye, Wide Eye and Looking Down are 3 of our beginning visual training methods. As you continue through our Clear’s Silat program you will learn other visual methods for use in self defense.

Good training to you.
Until next time.

Catch Full Speed Punches out of the Air

One of the classes in Clear’s Silat Phase 1 is how to Catch Full Speed Punches out of the Air.

This is a timing and perception training class much more than it is an application class. In other words, it is not that we Catch Full Speed Punches out of the Air and hold the attackers punch while making some maniacal B movie laugh as the attacker falls to their knees and melts away at our feet.

In fact if you can successfully catch an attackers punch you had better be moving on to your next attacking technique in process without delay or you are likely to be holding their first punch while they land the second punch on your head and then continue to hit you. They will marvel later that you actually caught their punch but then they beat you badly as you stood there attempting the maniacal movie laugh.

So, what is the benefit in a fight of Catching a Full Speed Punch out of the Air?

First of all if you can perceive well enough to do that then your response to any movement the opponent makes should be timed well enough that you can outpace and out position them fairly easily.

For most people speed and power diminish after they reach a certain age somewhere between 40 and 60 years of age. However, timing and perception continues to improve as long as you are physically well and continue to train.

I have had quite a number of teachers in their 70s and 80s who are physically quite capable and who move quite fast and well. When you talk to them about speed they will quickly tell you that they are much slower than the average 20 year old in good shape but that their perception and timing are what is making them appear to move so fast.

To catch a full speed punch out of the air you will want to train the basic Clear’s Silat vision method of sleepy eye as well as action beats reaction and positioning skills such as Welcoming Posture # 1 and constant motion. When you put all of these elements together you really get a good look at what the art is supposed to look like and it makes sense how this is an art that is used to defend yourself against multiple attackers armed with bladed weapons.

The better you can get at naturally moving with all of these elements happening at the same time the more correct your practice and performance of the art will be. This includes your evasion, flanking attacks and your counter attacks.

New Silat DVD Phase 1 Vol 11

On this dvd you will learn:

  • Class 31: Touch Reference – Become faster and more accurate as you learn to fight by feel.
  • Class 32: Long Range Limb Destructions – Prevent an attacker from getting close to you and still do damage to them.
  • Class 33: Stop Hits – Stop an attacker in the tracks with these power full strikes.
  • Class 34: Spot Hits – Learn to analyze an attackers fighting method and attack their weaknesses while destroying their strengths.

Action Beats Reaction Problem & Self Defense solution

The Action Beats Reaction Problem is actually on your side most of the time in a physical altercation if you are the attacker / offending party. But, as stated in my last post in America we are desirous of a self defense method where we have the legal, moral and ethical high ground as well as being able to competently defend ourselves.

This puts the average person at quite a disadvantage because it forces most of us to react to an action that has already been taken by an aggressor.

The reality of the Action Beats Reaction Problem is that it is only a problem for those who are stuck in a fist fighting mindset for self defense. If you are going to stand toe to toe with an attacker and they attack and you react then you are probably going to get hit first, second and most likely last because against a serious threat the fight is now over!

Ponder the next question for a moment before you read on. When does your self defense method kick in? If it is near the point of physical contact then you are almost always going to be late to the party and so will almost always lose in a serious confrontation. The reason for this is because a real criminal attacker will begin attacking as soon as they think they can reach you with as much suddenness and as viciously as they can with everything they have.

If you are not already attacking before the criminal can open fire on you then you are almost certainly going to lose the battle/war for your safety and maybe your life!

For a Clear’s Silat student self defense begins by applying Action beats Reaction and solving the physical Action Beats Reaction Problem. The first step is to keep as much distance between you and a potential attacker as humanly possible. Awareness is the first tool and the first Action. The second Action is avoidance. Keep distance between you and a possible attacker so that they can never physically reach you without it being obvious to you well in advance that they are trying to get close to you and may well be planning to attack. Awareness and avoidance are key.

Of course a serious attacker will continue to approach you and even if they are hiding their actions it will become more and more obvious what their intentions are.

This is where the Action Beats Reaction Problem becomes a little more crucial to understand. It is really important that you work to keep the potential attacker at a distance so that they are forced to reveal themselves before physically being able to reach you.

At this point you want to utilize deterrence skills. One type of deterrence is to throw your fists up. But, this simply communicates that you are willing or worse yet desiring to fight which, although possibly a good physical self defense tactic, fails to work within the desired legal and moral self defense constraints that our society tends to require opening you up to criminal and civil liability. (By the way, I am not a lawyer/attorney and I am not giving you legal advice here. Please seek out appropriate legal counsel from a certified attorney for such things.)

Instead of throwing our fists up Clear’s Silat stylists will tend to hold up our arms and Open Hands in a back off / stay away / what do you want / keep your distance sort of posture that we refer to as Clear’s Silat Welcoming Posture #1. This gives us a certain positional advantage and helps keep the distance including expanding the area that we can refer to as our personal space. We hold our hands up high enough that an attacker cannot reach our body without stepping underneath our hands and that our hands can not be easily reached either. This helps to make it very difficult for an attacker to attack and reach us with any force without telegraphing their intent from over several feet away.

Another part of solving the Action Beats Reaction Problem is that we are moving our arms a bit and we are also moving our body a bit in the same way that someone yelling get back would emphasize and punctuate their words with their body or in a slight swaying waving motion if you have had the benefit of physically training it.

Constant motionĀ  is a key to solving the Action Beats Reaction Problem. So that we are in Action first even though we are not aggressively attacking we are ready in the same way that animals in nature are ready to strike before striking. Because our hands are up in the air with the hands open the communication of our bodies to the would be attacker is much more of a “Back Off / Get Away!” message than a “Come on let’s do it!” message. Come on and fight may not be easily defended in a court of law but “I do not want this get away from me” is typically considered an appropriate social response to unwanted aggression.

The good news is the same movement that communicates this message is also the same movement that really effectively puts you in constant motion and in a completely ready position for effective physical self defense.

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