Hopefully with all the training that we do and the application of sound principles in our self defence we should very rarely get struck during our sessions. Those higher grades should have practiced being attacked when they don’t know what their attacker is going to do and still avoided getting hit. Their reactions and decision making keeping them safely out of harm’s way. That is exactly as it should be. When we are ready we should be safe.
Unfortunately most attackers won’t let us know that they are about to attack us and, whether they know it or not, their best chance of beating us in a fight is to catch us off guard. This is Yudan in Japanese and as part of the ancient Samurai training they would work on this aspect as well as the normal style of training that we do.
We have started to modify our training sessions so as to work on this concept, building our awareness of what is going on around us, by incorporating random attackers into our normal training programme. Hopefully we are finding this interesting as well as challenging, and in time, we should get better at avoiding these surprise attacks.
Looking out for a surprise attack will also allow us to try and make our techniques flow without thinking about them too much. This allows our “muscle memory” to take over which is something else we have started to work on at the club. We often think about what we are trying to do too much and therefore tense up and get things wrong. This is often what happens when doing sequence work or katas.
Hopefully the above goes part way to explain why training sometimes throws up the unexpected, quite literally, at times.