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The 4 Empty Hand Self Defense Techniques (四空手護身術)

At every level through the CMATOS system, you will have 4 empty hand self-defense techniques along with 4 techniques against/with a weapon. At the white belt level, these 4 techniques are designed to be some of the most common situations you might encounter in a self defense situation. The focus is really attackers who are coming at you from either the front or the rear, in (for the time being) a stable grab type of situation. As you progress, it is expected that you will evolve from just performing the movements over and over again, but to become much more dynamic with your movements, and your partner attacker will start modifying the attacks to be both more realistic as well as more complicated. The movements will all be the same, the difference will be in the application of the technique in various situations.

Your goal at this level is purely mechanical. Start building your muscle memory, start learning how and when to react, and start learning the movements and reactions that your attacking partner go through when you perform the self-defense technique. In the (hopefully near-term) future, you will move off from a purely mechanical approach, and start thinking about the techniques at a more technical level, advancing to the “what if” level and start understanding how and when to apply deviations from the base technique. Eventually you will evolve into the theoretical level, where your mastery of the material has made it to such a point that you feel confident in any self-defense situation, and have started working on your own techniques and forms. You will find that your techniques become much more focused, and efficient.

But for now focus only on the following for each of the techniques of this level:

  • Memorize the technique
  • Perform the technique in front of a mirror on your own
  • Be able to perform the technique from both sides. The mirror image technique (e.g. if you step back with your right leg and left outward block, you’ll instead do the move stepping back with your left leg and right outward block, etc…)
  • Perform the technique in super slow tension
  • Practice with your partner through all phases (regular speed, both sides, and slow tension)

Take some time with each of the techniques in the following lessons to make sure you get through at least 2 training sessions and practices with each individual technique before moving onto the next one. At this juncture, I would not really recommend doing more than one self-defense technique lesson per week. (If you are already an experienced martial artist then this rule really doesn’t apply to you). If you want to continue lessons, but want to continue focusing on the self-defense techniques, I would recommend looking at the lessons on the 8 fundamental techniques and concepts in the interim as these lessons can be done in parallel with the self defense lessons.

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