It seems that there is some misunderstanding of what I mean by "Unavailable Yet Unavoidable".
Some folks think it is the same as the Tai Chi Chuan principle of simply absorbing or letting energy pass and then returning.
This means when a person either pushes, pulls or strikes the Tai Chi Chuan practitioner allows the other person to pass and then return. This is done while not losing connection with the opponent.
In Guided Chaos the idea of being unavailable yet unavoidable is somewhat different: In GC we feel the movement or intention of the attacker and move in such a way as to immediately absorb and return simultaneously. This is accomplished by absorbing and moving slightly off line as you either strike, push or pulse the attacker either causing him/her to be injured or loose balance or both simultaneously. There is no feeling of waiting for the completion of any movement from the attacker. Return and absorption are simultaneous.
The advantage to this is when dealing with multiple attackers there is no time to simply absorb and return because the attack may come from many angles at once. You can only keep your balance on one angle at a time for a hundredth of a second at a time, so you must learn to strike or pulse from various angles all at the same time while moving from one point of balance to another at the speed of lightning so to speak.
There is often no time for rooted adjustment but more of a "falling" into each split second position as you use the energy of falling and the simultaneous plyometric energy transfer with each return or avoidance. In other words you learn to create your stance and multiple strikes as you go in response to any movement from any angle at the same time or you move from a "causal" point. This means you move before the attacker moves using intuition or set up the circumstances for the attacker to "mismove", then you return with whatever response is necessary for your goal whether to strike, unbalance or both at the same time in various directions if needed. This is where I work with more than one opponent and move them in various directions both away from me or into each other while simultaneously striking them as the dynamic attack/defense occurs. Remember your return can and often may be an unrooted strike because you may not have time to find a root all the time so a strike to vulnerable targets like eyes, groin, throat etc may be necessary as well as "rooted" strikes, pushes etc.--John Perkins
I found this a really useful distinction to make. I recognize it from my time in NY, but seeing it in black and white like this drives home the completely different mindset of GC. In comparison, my own mindset has prioritized the block/counter mentality which as I discovered is way too slow.... It's become an automatism that's difficult to change, but perhaps worse than that it seems to breed a passivity that allows people to attack - because I think I can block and stay safe .... uggh, sad!? So, your comments were a great wake-up call to re-calibrate and adjust this mindset 'before it's too late....' (just watched Deliverance with Burt Reynolds & co....there's a lesson; where passivity leads to victimization....). I'm still digesting the second half of [your post] - may take a while!
When I was at the workshop I saw first hand how important it is to get the Unavailable yet Unavoidable concept right, even against one person. I am working on this and answering the questions below will be extremely helpful.
1. In what you wrote, is there a difference between being balanced and rooting? It seems to me that rooting is stopping, at least for an instant, where as one can be moving and balanced but not rooted. Is that correct? If not please explain what is wrong with my understanding and/or elaborate in any other way you think will help me to get this.
--When you are rooted you are balanced and vice versa. The important point here is that Guided Chaos develops "Dynamic Balance"--meaning you can be balanced while stationary or moving under chaotic conditions and have a functional root in either or both feet as necessary. Similarly, you can drop and hit off either or both feet. Separating the Yin from the Yang includes plyometrically loading and releasing from foot to foot, using one-legged balance to step wherever you need to to maximize power, exploit entry angles and elude incoming strikes and pressure. The distinction is important because tai chi tends to develop a stubborn, though powerful double footed, slowly changeable and thus a sometimes non-adaptive root that under super fast multi-angled conditions is not as adaptive as GC for combat. This is not to say that Tai Chi does not move from one root to the other but it is not practiced with the idea of rootedness coming from instant step to step root change in any direction almost at once...Can they do it? I am sure they can given the practice and stimulus of an attacker moving from various positions and striking or pushing from many angles within split seconds such as is the training method of GC.
--J Perkins, M. Kovsky
2. I find that when I am not striking, pulsing, pushing or taking some other action from my root, that it is best to operate, most of the time, like a mid engine sports car. That is I generally try to keep my center in my lower abdomen and not let it rise or sink to the floor. I only let the energy go to the floor if I am bouncing it off the floor to use it. Is this correct? Please let me know and also tell me anything else I need to know in order to understand the difference between being balanced and rooting.
--Rather than think about my tantien or some other esoteric concept, I prefer a more mundane but visceral image: I like to "feel my feet in my hands". In other words, my entire balanced body unity giving me a direct line of power through every joint from foot to fist (knee, hip, spine, shoulder, elbow, etc.). This is no different from any other full body sport (football, tennis, etc.) and is similar to the boxing adage to "punch from the legs". Then again, I just gave the definition of "Threading the Nine Pearl Gates" as explained in the Tai Chi Boxing Chronicles so you could call this esoteric as well. And Dropping supercharges all of this. So line up your joints for power and balance and practice your Ninja Walk and wobble board...separately and together, as well as your Anywhere Strikes on the BOB.
3. I am not sure what you mean by 'causal' point. Would you please explain that further.
--The Causal point is where even the opponent is not actually aware of what he is going to do next but you feel it and deal with him before he knows what happened...It is not clairvoyance but extreme sensitivity born of lots of experience working with many people in the most subtle way possible...Deep internal listening etc....JPerkins
--My take on what John is saying is that any connection you have with the opponent becomes like a thumb drive plugged into his Operating System where you download everything about his balance, intent, looseness, etc. (Actually I've heard John use the "download analogy" many times). Well, coincidentally, this again sounds like a modern paraphrase of the definition of "chi"--also found in the Tai Chi Boxing Chronicles: "The circulating point of finesse in the body." So everything old is new again.
4. Patrick demonstrated the concept of "spring steel." I am not sure what he did to create that feeling. What it seems like he did was to pass/absorb and return simultaneously, without completely following through on return, and doing it slowly, so I could feel it. He also allowed me to begin to absorb/pass and return simultaneously, but he then started his pass/absorb return, after me, arriving before me, so that he always seemed to be attacking. Am I correct in my understanding of this? Please correct my misconceptions here and/or add anything you can that might help me understand this better, so I can train it properly. Thanks again for the information and offering to answer my questions, Michael
--Instead of thinking of "pass and return" as two separate actions, try the analogy of the "collapsing sphere": you're always moving in, often obliquely, into areas of lower structure. Imagine you're a bucket of water thrown at the attacker: the water mindlessly penetrates any openings in his defense while simultaneously molding to any incoming attack. This requires an adaptive, dynamic root, supreme looseness and sensitivity. Examples: folding an elbow into his face against hand pressure or pivoting a hammer fist to his liver against elbow pressure; skimming in a strike to the eyes while simultaneously deflecting/absorbing/eluding a punch to your throat, all with the same arm; turning in to hit on one side while being pressured on the other; tool replacing; "weaseling" your way through a thicket of defensive moves with no force; destroying a limb with combat boxing while ricocheting into a 2nd and 3rd strike...etc., etc.
There is much more that can be written on these subjects but for now this should suffice until more experience is gained....JPerkins