Fighting Strategies: To Initiate an Attack or To Defend Using Quietness

Steel Tiger

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A little some thing I just re-read to day:

Waijia's central fighting principle is that you are the master of the fight. Your goal is to take control by making the initial attack and to maintain control throughout. The design and execution of all your moves and countermoves are determined and practiced as part of your training. The design of your attack and defense skills is defined by what you imagine your opponent will do. You follow your designed sequence of skills until you have thoroughly mastered it. Then during a fight, you have only to execute the much-practiced sequence in order to gaincontrol and maintain the advantage. This strategy is called "fighting by initiating the attack."

The central Neijia fighting principle holds that you should remain alertly quiet as the fight begins and let your opponent take initial control. Your goal is to followyour opponent, and as soon as you sense an opportunity, you take control. You do not design or repetitively practice a sequence of moves but rather learn about your opponent through actual contact with him. You keep changing your responses in order to follow whatever your opponent does at each moment. This strategy is called "using quietness to defend" or "yielding yourself to follow your opponent."

The Waijia fighting principle is direct and clear-cut: you must control the fight from the outset and never yield control to your opponent. This strategy is thought to offer the best chance to prevail.

The Neijia fighting principle, by contrast, is indirect and lessobvious in practice. It holds that because it is not possible to maintain total control at all times, you should seek to control your opponent by understanding his movements and intentions. You can accomplish this goal by remaining relaxed and following his attack with sensitivity and patience. Do not worry if your opponent is in control. In asserting control, he is also giving you a chance to know and eventually to control him. According to the Neijia fighting principle, this is the safest and most effecient way to win a fight." - p14 Combat Techniques of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua Lu Shengli

It is an interesting an oft professed concept. He is suggesting that under the Waijia principle it does not matter what your opponent intends to do as you take control of the situation and dictate all aspects. Seems perfectly logical.

The Neijia principle does take into account what your opponent intends but only in so much as it allows you to know how best to attack him.

I'm not sure if I agree with the suggestion that your opponent takes control of the situation. It seems that using either principle you are the controller, whether it be by ignoring his actions or by manipulating them to your own ends.

Thoughts anyone?
 

oxy

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I don't agree with both assessments (ie, of Waijia and Neijia).

It's making an artificial divide where there is none. Both jias have at least some styles with some applications which do attack-first and some which listen-first.

Sunzi's Art of War is a much better assessment of when attack should be the initial response and when observation should be the initial response. They are not separated by artificial constructs such as the Wai/Nei divide.

My understanding is that control is first gained through "terrain". ie, where you position yourself relative to your opponent.
 

ggg214

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if neijia is also aimed to take control in a fight, why don't they take it at the very beginning?
i don't think neijia is always staying as a counter-attacker role. if the opponent doesnot make any attack, then the neijia can't fight against it?
i do believe that there must be some differences in how to take control between neijia and waijia. but not as the said as in the quote
 

Formosa Neijia

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"The central Neijia fighting principle holds that you should remain alertly quiet as the fight begins and let your opponent take initial control."

I disagree with this idea. We often forget that the other person WANTS to attack you. They want to hit you, they want to kick you. That gives YOU power over them. YOU have control by letting them move first because you can manipulate their desires. It all depends on your attitude and the way you approach the situation.

This way of taking control naturally runs counter to most people's idea of taking control. And there's the main problem with learning IMA.

But I also disagree that neijiaquan doesn't advocate listening first. Listening energy must always be there or it isn't neijiquan. Even if you do move first, it should be because even when standing there, the opponent has a vulnerable weakness that you have sensed.
 

MA-Caver

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I don't agree with both assessments (ie, of Waijia and Neijia).

It's making an artificial divide where there is none. Both jias have at least some styles with some applications which do attack-first and some which listen-first.

Sunzi's Art of War is a much better assessment of when attack should be the initial response and when observation should be the initial response. They are not separated by artificial constructs such as the Wai/Nei divide.

My understanding is that control is first gained through "terrain". ie, where you position yourself relative to your opponent.
Yet, cannot anyone fight their way out of any position relative to their opponent? Even if it's against a wall or in a corner?
Using skill, determination, and the mind to quickly assess the best and quickest way can not a fighter/defender get themselves to where they need to be in order to achieve either victory or escape from a dangerous situation?

I've often found myself on the bad spot of "ground" but managed to get myself out through a variety of ways aided by the skills I had at the present time, aided by fear, anger or feeling nothing at all.
The Art Of War is a great read, but applications to it's teachings can only be found by long study and training/practice, not by a single or twice reading.

It's been said that the mind is the greatest weapon. The heart strengthens the body and the spirit. If seeing victory and working to achieve it one will prevail. Seeing defeat one will lose.
 

oxy

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The Art Of War is a great read, but applications to it's teachings can only be found by long study and training/practice, not by a single or twice reading.

Thanks for the attempt at an insult.

Maybe if you studied my original post longer than 5 seconds, you would see that the "terrain" part was not the main point. It was used as an example.

You can get yourself out of a bad spot of ground. Great. Still doesn't negate the importance of terrain in general. And it still doesn't invalidate my understanding that control is first gained through terrain. Nowhere have I said that you cannot have control whatsoever without good terrain. That's an assumption you've made about my statement.

The Art of War calls for self-knowledge and good preparation. Which means, even though you can get yourself out of bad "terrain", you should be improving yourself so that you don't get into bad "terrain" in the first place. Why? Because the chances for getting out does not increase each time you do get out. Obviously you've studied the Art of War long and hard.
 

MA-Caver

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Thanks for the attempt at an insult.

Maybe if you studied my original post longer than 5 seconds, you would see that the "terrain" part was not the main point. It was used as an example.

You can get yourself out of a bad spot of ground. Great. Still doesn't negate the importance of terrain in general. And it still doesn't invalidate my understanding that control is first gained through terrain. Nowhere have I said that you cannot have control whatsoever without good terrain. That's an assumption you've made about my statement.

The Art of War calls for self-knowledge and good preparation. Which means, even though you can get yourself out of bad "terrain", you should be improving yourself so that you don't get into bad "terrain" in the first place. Why? Because the chances for getting out does not increase each time you do get out. Obviously you've studied the Art of War long and hard.

At no point was my post intended to be insulting, degrading or assuming to know more than do you. You're getting your panties in a bunch over nothing.
I've read the Art of War but didn't STUDY it long and hard. I read and understood it but don't see practical applications to my own day to day life as it is largely non-confrontational. I've had enough of that to last me for a while.
 

oxy

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At no point was my post intended to be insulting, degrading or assuming to know more than do you. You're getting your panties in a bunch over nothing.

Where are my panties in a bunch? Is clarifying my original post not allowed? Is the act of trying to clarify oneself somehow "getting one's panties in a bunch"?

If your implication that my understanding is only a "single or twice reading" is "nothing", then the following is also nothing:

I read and understood it but don't see practical applications to my own day to day life as it is largely non-confrontational.

Then I don't think you've understood it.
 

MA-Caver

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Where are my panties in a bunch? Is clarifying my original post not allowed? Is the act of trying to clarify oneself somehow "getting one's panties in a bunch"?

If your implication that my understanding is only a "single or twice reading" is "nothing", then the following is also nothing:



Then I don't think you've understood it.

You're probably right.
My apologies.
:asian:
 

pete

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consider one difference implied in the OP is that (a) there is internal methods and training methods in external arts, as there are external methods and training methods in internal arts, and (b) there IS a difference in strategies and training methods between arts classically categorized as internal vs those arts that are categorized as external arts.

for example, consider fight strategy as a monologue vs dialogue. an external fighter is trained to react to a stimulus with a series of pre-programmed moves designed to set up, control and defeat his opponent. these series are practiced and commited to memory so that no thought is needed to get from point-a to point-z in the fight. this develops speed, power and accuracy in the delivery for when and if that particular scenario arises.

the internal fighter is trained to maintain a calm awareness during altercation, allowing the opponent to over-commit, make mistakes, and get trapped within their cycle of pre-programmed sequences. The internal fighter maintains themselves in a relaxed, ready position through understanding of posture, breath control, angles and positioning. Speed and power are by-products of releasing any muscular tension and utilizing whole body unity.

initially the external fighter would be faster than the internal counterpart, and would likely 'win' the fight through his monologue, but through dedicated training the internal fighter will learn to read and respond to changes more quickly, and while the external fighter is stuck within his pre-programmed sequence, the internal fighter will take advantage of the external fighters gaps in consciousness. This way the dialogue style of the internal fighter will, in the long term, yield more favorable results.

this goes back to the Tai Chi classic, 'In order to win, first you must lose'.

pete.
 

newtothe dark

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There is the case of "sensed intention" at that moment we choose to react to the intention or wait for the commeited intention. Meaning we can attack "knowing the attack is coming" or wait for the attack. When we become part of any conflict we are letting the other control us to some degree as we are at that point "playing into his game" but the out come can be decided by us.
 

Bigshadow

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Yet, cannot anyone fight their way out of any position relative to their opponent? Even if it's against a wall or in a corner?
Using skill, determination, and the mind to quickly assess the best and quickest way can not a fighter/defender get themselves to where they need to be in order to achieve either victory or escape from a dangerous situation?

I've often found myself on the bad spot of "ground" but managed to get myself out through a variety of ways aided by the skills I had at the present time, aided by fear, anger or feeling nothing at all.

I see the "terrain" as ever changing. From moment to moment during a fight the "terrain" can change. But I am not speaking of the actual ground, but metaphorically speaking, there is "terrain" that a battle takes place on that can change from moment to moment, that can put one at an advantage or disadvantage at any moment, depending on their strategies and actions.

I am not sure I got my thoughts out in words like I wanted but that is the best I could come up with.

My understanding is that control is first gained through "terrain". ie, where you position yourself relative to your opponent.

I agree with that, but not just on the physical level.
 

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