I was going to include a chapter on martial arts breakfalling techniques and injury science which can be used to understand and study breakfalling techniques, however, I found these chapters did not do justice to the subject. So, another book was born which I am currently working on. It is very tentatively titled: Injury Science and Pain Applied to the Martial Arts.
The introduction to the book asks, 'what is at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts?'
Dolf Zillmann defines human aggressive behaviour in Hostility and Aggression as ‘any and every activity by which a person seeks to inflict bodily damage or physical pain upon a person who is motivated to avoid such infliction’ (1979: 33). He then subdivides human aggression into two basic subclasses:
1. Aggression is offensive when a person seeks to inflict injury upon a person who is not attempting or has not been attempting to inflict injury upon him or her.
2. Aggression is defensive when a person seeks to inflict injury upon a person who is attempting or has been attempting to inflict injury upon him or her. (1979: 39)
Somewhere between the definition of aggression on page 33 and the subdivision of aggression on page 39, Zillmann lost the specific reference to pain when describing offensive and defensive aggression. This could be explained in that the reference to injury in the subclass definitions includes both bodily damage and physical pain, or, it’s simply an oversight. In any event, Zillmann’s conceptualisation of offensive and defensive aggression will be taken to include both injury/bodily damage and physical pain.
At their most basic level, what are the tactics and techniques of the martial arts designed to do? They are designed to deal with a person who is seeking to inflict injury or pain upon a person who is motivated to avoid such infliction. That is, they are designed to deal with an offensive aggressor. How are the tactics and techniques of the martial arts designed to achieve that objective? They are often designed to achieve that objective by inflicting injury or pain upon the offensive aggressor, that is, through defensive aggressive activities. Zillmann provides the following expansion on his definition of defensive aggression which reflects this analysis of the purpose of martial arts tactics and techniques and the means by which they achieve their objective:
In general, defensive activities are aimed at warding off an attack; that is, their goal is to prevent the infliction of injury or harm. In pursuit of this objective, they can, however, develop into full-fledged counterattacks. The possibility that the offensive aggressor may suffer more injury than the defensive aggressor is not in conflict with these definitions. (1979: 39)Aggression is often a judgement laden term. Many martial arts will suggest they are teaching methods to deal with aggressive actions but they will be reluctant to suggest they are teaching aggressive behaviour. Zillmann deals with aggression in a non-judgemental way and conceptualises both offensive and defensive aggression in descriptive terms only. This conceptualisation assists us in studying the whole of the aggression experience.
What is at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts? Based on Zillmann’s conceptualisation of offensive and defensive aggression – injury and pain. The avoidance and infliction thereof. The martial arts teach ways to avoid the infliction of injury and pain on oneself by an offensive aggressor and ways to inflict injury or pain on another in the role of the defensive aggressor. Even those tactics and techniques which are not designed to inflict injury or pain on an offensive aggressor are at the very least attempting to prevent the offensive aggressor from inflicting injury or pain on oneself. Injury and pain are at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts, and to the best of my knowledge they have never been explicitly studied within the martial arts literature. Not until now that is.
Included in this book are chapters looking at a relatively new science which specifically studies injuries - injury science. The concepts and theories are then used to undestand and study nature's and martial arts breakfalling techniques. Nature's breakfalling techniques are evolved strategies we use to reduce the risk of serious injury in a fall. We look at the clinical studies associated with my so-called nature's breakfalling techniques before we look at the martial arts attempts at improving on nature with their breakfalling techniques. A unique study in the Netherlands looked to the martial arts for techniques to reduce the risk or severity of injury from falls. These studies have been referred to in previous blogs and are looked at in these chapters. The breakfalls taught by Jan de Jong jujutsu are included, which includes the relatively unique sideways roll. A model developed from injury science is then used to understand and study ALL percussion techniques, unarmed and armed. I'm then planning to include a chapter which uses the work from injury science to assist us in our duty of care when it comes to training the tactics and techniques of the martial arts. Finally, the subject of pain, including pain tolerance, is covered. An expert in the field of pain suggests we have learnt more about pain in the past 10 years then we have in the past 1,000. For the first time, this knowledge will be used to shine a light on a discipline which has pain at its very core - the martial arts.
All of this knowledge is developed and presented to facilitate the understanding and study of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts as per Attillio Sacripanti's previously referred to dictum.