Tacit assumptions in MS-1 tactical scheme and Capoeira Carioca; TIMS

 MS-1 is a system of self-defense built upon scientific principles (those of sindefendology - science of self-defence) by Špička and Novák in the 1960's. As such, it is an unique creation; I believe anybody studying or teaching self-defense should be familiar with it; and it should be discussed widely. However, that is probably not going to happen.

In this short note, I want to list tacit assumptions of the MS-1 tactical scheme; non-explicit properties of the situation that nonetheless influence the probability of solving the situation sucessfully.
These are:
1)Assumption that it will always be possible to maintain or recover safety.
2)Assumption that an attack will either finish the opponent altogether, or at least shake his so much he cannot retaliate until safety is recovered.

ad 1)
This pressumes, in its most simple form, that it will always be possible to get beyond the range of opponent's longest weapon. While this is trivial in open space, it is difficult or impossible in some environments; for example, crowded area, train, tram-car, tight space. Historically, it is said that Southern kungfu styles prefer short-range fighting because it evolved for fighting on the boats/tight alleys.

How can (1) be kept generally? There is no other option than carefull production of situation. The fighter cannot allow himself to be maneuvered to fight in such a situation.
There is definitive parallel in the tactics of Capoeiragem: As capoeiragem lacks the resources for close(clinch) fighting, and I believe also because it also operarates on the principle made explicit in MS-1, capoeiras are said to always use their malandragem (situation production skills) to move the fight into a favourable area.

For example, in the book of Bola Sete, he describes how his master, instead of fighting in the tight spaces of a pub:
a)first feigned being cowardly, by crying at the feet of the aggressors.
b)ran out
c)ran back in, kicked the opponent in the groin, and ran out again
d)he finished the opponents in the street, when they came running to get him

For layman, a romantic story; but the important point it that it documents how capoeiras used to produce the situation so he could always maintain safety.

ad 2)
This pressumes that the strike (MS-1 uses strikes) will immediately render the opponent unable to re-attack. This, again, is principial problem in Capoeiragem. If you hit or kick the opponent, and he will not be neutralized and grabs you instead, you cannot use resources of capoeiragem.

How do capoeiras of old solve this? Simply:
Most principial attacks of capoeiragem always throw the opponent down. This is not some accidental quality; actually, it is very important, as we see. Even if the opponent is not finished by the attack, he is nevertheless thrown to the ground and unable to re-attacks without getting up.

Again, this might seem simplistic, but it is very clever: Our cabecadas, our rasteiras, our kicks, our tumblekicks, are designed to throw the opponent down if they connect.

Excursus 1

There are other ways to address the above two problems.

Southern chinese kungfu styles actually fight close-in, meaning, they to some extent circumvent both (1) and (2). The problem is the assumption that in close range, you will be able to neutralize all opponent's attacks. But this is improbable: As seen empirically in the MMA fights, and as shown by sindefendology. You cannot block all attacks in such a close range.

Again, southern styles are said to solve the problem of being grabbed by the opponent (always a possibility when being close) by wrestling and locks(Chinna).

Taiji, and to some extent, southern styles, solve the problem of close fighting and grabbing by 'feeling', meaning, using wrestling technique of contact to feel opponent's attack and manipulate his ballance.

Thaiboxing and greco-roman wrestling use holds (clinches) and wrestle to control the opponent in close range.

All of the above have a similar principle beyond them: And that is 'wrestling hands'; in the sense of keeping in contact with the opponent, trying to react to his movements and control them by your own movements.
Here, the tactical scheme of using mostly eyes to identify the situation, and move around according to the signa identified, is replaced by another tactical scheme:
Using tactile sense to identify the situation, and control the opponent according to identified.

This has its own problems.
a)it takes time
b)it keeps the fighter connected to one opponent. If there are more than one opponent, it can be deadly
c)there are attacks that are hard to identify in this range. For example, if the opponent suddenly pulls a blade or a gun, he can injure the fighter without him being aware of it. Same applies for short, quickly strikes.
d)special system of multisignal identification of tactile signals must be developed; besides needing a lot of practice, it has all the problems of multisignal systems.


Excursus 2 - TIMS

Let us define a new term, following from the above. Tactile identification and manipulation system (TIMS) is a system of FIMs that allow the subject to:

1) Identify opponent's action by using mostly touch (and to lesser extent, sight).
2) React to these identifications by manipulating opponent's center of gravity and body position.

TIMS is the base of all (loosely defined) 'grappling arts'. In judo and wrestling, it is TIMS that allow you to throw the opponent and lock his joints by breaking his ballance first.

(There can be throws that do not used TIMS; for example, the throws of Batuque; or throws where the opponents center of gravity and body position is manipulated by striking him.)

In thaiboxing, clinch-fighting is TIMS; that manipulates opponent to avoid being struct and to open a way to strike.

'Sticking and feeling' of southern chinese styles and Taijiquan are pure art of TIMS. The result of TIMS is used to strike, lock or throw.


The use of TIMS can be explicit - as in two judo fighters stand-up grappling while grabbing their uniforms, or two Taiji players pushing hands - or very subtle.

For example, MS-1 does not use TIMS at all. There is no identification of the direction of opponent's attack etc.
The simple 'block' as in boxing generally does not use TIMS. Even striking opponent's attacking limb is not TIMS, as it lacks the identification part.

However, it is possible to combine blocking with TIMS; this is the 'sticking and adhering' said to be done at higher levels in southern kungfu styles.
How is this done? Instead of using your arm to just push opponents arm away (when blocking), you momentarily 'connect' with the opponent throught that arm; and start 'reading him' - using the first part of TIMS to identify his dynamics, his center of gravity etc. This is the famous 'skin listening'. Then you use the information to affect his position and his center of gravity.

This action can be very quick and subtle; for outside observer, it looks like a 'normal block'. When old masters like to demonstrate somebody attacking them and being repelled when touching them, it is TIMS at work.

(Note for clarification: As said above, you can influence opponent's body positions and center of gravity even without TIMS; for example, by grabbing him and pulling hard. This differs from TIMS in the signum that the 'touch identification' is not used. In certain sense, it is 'blind (asignal) pulling'; you pull or strike the opponent, without any regard as to what happens in his body. When using TIMS, you react to these changes.

Let us give an example of applying armlock.

Without using TIMS, you only have one information: your opponent's rough body position. You apply the lock by superimposing your learned movement pattern of the armlock over that position. You force the armlock on the position,regardless of the state of your opponent's body.

Using TIMS, you connect to the arm and feel; you feel the direction of opponent's movement, his ballance etc. Using this information, you modify the armlock to conform to the situation, perhaps even changing technique into a different armlock. In the first case, you locked blindly, here, you keep reacting to your tactile identification.)