Here's another little "mind game" I've been using lately that seems to help some students.
Note that as in the "Art of Perception" section of the Attack Proof 2nd edition, a lot of the training tips I give in this blog are more mental tricks to get your body moving better than they are instructions to be taken literally. Don't get too caught up with them. Better movement and reactivity in line with the GC principles is a singular goal. However, different people will perceive, understand and feel this differently, and in many different ways along the journey. Hence, certain mental tricks and instructions may work well for certain people, while other people will require different ones. This is one reason why John teaches different individuals differently. And in the end, mental tricks or not, there's no getting around the requirement of hours upon hours of good contact flow practice, backed up by consistent practice of the supplemental exercises.
Just play along with me on this: Imagine that your arms and your body are extremely weak. They are so weak that they cannot offer any resistance against the ultra-powerful arms and body of your training partner.
When I consider my arms to be strong, it is easy for you to hit me or unbalance me as my arms strain to keep you away.
When I consider my arms weak but my body strong, it becomes less easy for you to unbalance me via my arms, because they offer no resistance for you to push against. They stick lightly but move before any pressure can build. The problem for me arises, however, when you pin my arms to my "strong" body (torso) or bypass my arms to get to my body. My strong body "thinks" it can resist or "take" whatever you have to offer, hence it offers resistance, and can be easily unbalanced and penetrated.
When I consider both my arms and my body too weak to offer any resistance, the only thing that can "resist" you is the ground, which my feet rest on. I cannot resist or absorb any of your motion with my arms or body. Any movement I feel from you must immediately be absorbed down into the feet, which are supported by the "strong" ground. Nothing in between my feet and you can resist or stop in the face of your motion. The feet must absorb any movement by shifting weight, sinking or otherwise adjusting immediately, NOT waiting for any slack to be taken out of the arms or body. This movement can be EXTREMELY small. As the motion is absorbed by the feet into the ground, it can naturally bounce back up through my weak body and arms into you.
A corollary to this is that because my arms and body are weak, I cannot use them to hit you. My arm is too weak to hurt you; it's even too weak to move in a "striking" fashion! Only the ground is strong, so my feet must push against it in order to make the bones of my weak body and arms hit you.
Big credit to Steve in San Fran for first pulling this idea out of me (by his having "strong" arms!). They have a good group beginning out there.
The idea was greatly inspired by the new Grandmaster Tim Carron Contact Flow Workshop DVD. Get it, and turn the sound way up so that you don't miss anything that Tim says. A lot of gold there, some of it quite funny.
A Tim-ism to close on (not from the DVD):
"Movement is just movement, it's not personal." Repeat this to yourself when you flow--it's very powerful.