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True Tales Of
By Pete Kautz
This week I wanted to share an interesting account of a real street attack that took place last week and where the defender used the Filipino trapping drill Hubud to defend himself. First I'll share an e-mail I got about the incident and then I'll add some comments of my own. This comes from my friend Mark in Australia who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Riddle of Steel in 2007.
A buddy I taught hubud to was attacked on the street the other day - some big guy just came up to him out of the blue and started swinging. Well, Josh found himself just reacting with the 'startle response', and then went straight into hubud. However, because he hadn't trained the finishes/traps much, and the guy was doing alternating attacks with both arms, Josh ended up just keeping on doing hubud - his brain locked in, and he just kept doing the drill, except this time for real. Eventually, the other guy simply gave up - he realized that none of his punches were connecting, got a funny look on his face like he didn't understand what the f was happening, and backed off.
It's a little embarrassing that I hadn't covered the trapping with him properly - but then, he doesn't train regularly, and is a really non-violent guy: so the fact that he just did what he could and it worked is great. He's a moutainclimber, snowboarder, and long-distance cyclist - he has the fitness of an athlete, but is not a big guy at all.
The broader context is: He lives in a small, sleepy town New Zealand, and was riding his bicycle along the footpath (pavement to you guys!) when a pizza crust landed just ahead of him. He looked over at the parked car it came from, and this guy just snarled, 'What are you looking at?', opened the car door, pointedly took off his fancy sunglasses and put them on the car roof (!), and came for him.
Josh had only just enough time to get off his bike and notice that the guy was huge. When he swung the first time, Josh did the 'startle response', and, perhaps because we'd trained the hubud from this reaction, he just went into hubud. When he trapped the guy's first arm, the other guy kept swinging, so Josh just kept doing hubud! And, as you already know, the guy eventually gave up, went back to the car, put his sunglasses back on, and the car sped away.
Other things to note: this happened in broad daylight. There were other people around, but no-one stepped in. The attacker's mates didn't try to stop him. And - this all happened just 50 metres from a police station! Only one of the attacker's punches glanced Josh's cheek, and all he was left with was a slight pink mark. Given the size of the guy, and how enraged he was, if any of those blows had connected, they would have done some real damage.
Anyway, he's really thankful for his hubud training. He had trained for about a year in Aikido some years ago (and has not trained in anything else since then, save for an afternoon of hubud and Drawpoint), but with his bike propped up against him, he was effectively stopped from doing any techniques that would involve footwork (unless he had just let go of the bike and backed off, but it was pretty clear the guy would have just stepped over the bike and kept coming) - so he was limited to just hand-based techniques - and hubud kicked in and saved the day.
One thing that I hope you all pick up on in this story is just how stupid, random, and relatively short the whole encounter was. That's life! Let me add this is not the first story I've heard about someone blocking / covering / trapping / tying up a guy long enough that the attacker finally became frustrated / tired and stopped attacking. Not that I'm saying "go do that" in a fight but the fact is Josh didn't get hurt - and that is your primary goal after all, right? To go home intact!
Let's say that Josh had traded punches with the guy instead because he felt the (ego) need to do so. Sure, he may have popped the dude his share of times, but if he himself went home with a broken nose to show for it would that have been a "win" for him? It's not about right or wrong, win or lose in the moment but about the bigger "win" in your life and staying far from hospitals, courtrooms, or jailhouses my friends.
On a martial arts / technical level Mark basically hit it on the head when he said that he has to be sure to train more on the finishes out of hubud. Like all drills, that's the point of learning them - to be able to flow and innovate in motion with traps, strikes, locks, throws, sweeps and so on and not simply to become an expert to doing a basic drill.
It's like using a bridge to go somewhere as opposed to walking back and forth across the same bridge all day. One man uses the bridge (the drill) to reach a destination while the other becomes an expert in the minutia of the bridge its self. While the first could teach you about the exotic lands he visited after crossing the bridge, the later could only teach you about the bridge its self with it's numerous girders, beams and wires.
Note that the Bridge-man in this story is NOT ignorant! They have inside knowledge of their bridge that can be very illuminating if one is to be a master scholar or indeed *to build bridges of one's own* where they do not currently exist! What is ignorant is trying to skip over using the bridge in the first place.
Think about that - if someone doesn't use the bridge what must they do? Climb down one cliff face, go across a raging river, and then scale the cliff on the other side - a dangerous path. And in the end, though they have crossed over to the other side they have nothing to show others except the road of hard-knocks.
However, if your journey is to visit distant lands then walk around on the bridge long enough to know what it is all about and then walk on. Take the basic bridge and pick two or three specific inserts that you want to add and find where they fit! For example - take hubud and learn how to add knee strikes, elbow strikes, foot sweeps, basic dumog controls on the arms or head, straight blast, shove and run, and so on. Then apply it all to freestyle self-defense scenarios and sparring!
All my very best to you,
(Like this article? Then sign up for the weekly Training Tips! This was published there before it ever appeared here on the website. - PK)
Comtech Trapping Vol. IV: The Art Of Flow