KEY POINTS ON SENSITIVITY AND DEFEATING THOSE WITH SUPERIOR TIMING
From a recent lesson with Al:
Use your sensitivity to create things--create the chaos for the other guy, manipulating it for yourself.
Move your body in behind momentary equal pressure.
Moving your body in puts him in checkmate no matter how he reacts to the pulse . . . unless he moves his whole body himself.
You can pulse and apply equal pressure with any part of the body, and while tool replacing.
From a recent class with John:
You must feel the state of your own body, you must feel the state of the other guy's body, AND you must feel what vulnerabilities you are exposing to the other guy at any given moment and move to eliminate them.
John can feel subconsciously what's open and move to close as many of the openings as possible, both by moving his own body and disrupting the other guy's balance and position and the relationship between the two bodies.
For example, John felt all the places I could possibly hit him and eliminated all of them by moving his body into mine in such a way that my balance was slightly thrown while he moved to a place where because of the state of my balance, I could not come close to damaging him.
His minimal movement prevented me from doing anything to him without significant readjustment. He used that readjustment time to destroy me while keeping me off-balance and continuously moving himself into a better position as the situation changes.
New saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain!
John pointed out the contrast between me, a 2nd Degree Guided Chaos Black Belt, and Andre, a 3rd Degree Guided Chaos Black Belt: Even though I'm relatively loose and can move pretty well in an evasive, reactive manner, occasionally even better than Andre who has more mass to control and move out of the way of things, Andre is far better at PREVENTING me from being able to damage him by cutting off his vulnerabilities. This is the "next level" of sensitivity that I have to work on. Unfortunately, as usual, it can't really be worked on consciously. Now that I have the general idea, consistent, proper contact flow practice will eventually bring the subconscious into line with this idea.
Also from John, from another class:
John told Andre to work on timing my motion to shoot in combat boxing punches to my body from outside of physical contact range. My task was simply to time HIS motion to get offline with a close combat entry as he shot in with his punch. This very quickly turned into a very frustrating drill! After a couple of unsuccessful tries at timing Andre's motion and getting around him, I started a slow "lawnmower" (as shown by Lt. Col. Al on the Attackproof Companion DVD Part 3), advancing with alternate low straight kicks and loose dog-dig-style close combat strikes. I felt that this made it much more difficult for Andre to get in, even though I wasn't actually kicking with any power, but just tapping his legs. John soon told me to go back to trying to get offline from a dead-still start. It again became a very frustrating drill, especially when Andre started to shoot in with his punches at angles that cut off where he knew I wanted to go, so that even if I DID get offline from where his straight punch would have been, he had already moved to hit me where I was going! I don't think I got around Andre cleanly even once. John then took my place in the drill, and showed how with his superior timing and subconscious reading of Andre's body, develped through decades of experience, he was able to get cleanly offline nearly 100% of the time (and the couple times it was less clean, it didn't matter, as John simply adapted and did other stuff).
After the training had ended, John explained that for me, that drill had been primarily a lesson in what NOT to do. Like raw speed and strength, timing is an attribute you can never be sure of being the best at. He said that as good as Andre's timing is, John knew many people, some even untrained, who had far better natural timing (like his brothers and Michael Watson). We shouldn't try to beat them at their own game. John told me that my switching to the lawnmower tactic early in the drill was actually the right idea. Done full-power and with full offensive commitment, that tactic would give me my best chance of disrupting a guy's superior timing to take him out or at least get to a place where tactile sensitivity could best be utilized. He likened it to what Bruce Lee used to say about sparring beginners vs. experienced fighters: A scrappy beginner was often more difficult to deal with in a sparring context because his timing and rhythm was completely unpredictable because of his awkwardness and lack of knowledge. It was easier for Bruce to time a more polished fighter who moved with more smoothness and a "learned" rhythm. John said his father often looked "awkward" going into action because he would intentionally move in a "strange" way that would similarly baffle the timing of experienced fighters, allowing him to get in and pounce.