Like the notorious “Ninja” of feudal Japan, we all possess the ability to have stealth like ACTIONs that can help make our Self Defense virtually undetectable.
What is required is the study and awareness of what we call “Obscure Zones.” Obscure Zones are those areas that are outside of normal peripheral vision. Remember our vision really works sort of like a cone from our eyes. The further away from us the more broad of area we can see. The closer to us things are, the less area.
For example: If looking forward we can’t see any part of our body. Essentially, all areas of our body are in an obscure zone. Always an important consideration. However, we can see anything approaching us (from the front) and with a shift or tilt of our head we can change our vision and eliminate part of the zone our body was in. Note: Technically we must remember that the area of vision really doesn’t change so therefore the obscure area that we eliminated with the tilt to see our body means we exchanged it for another area.- We will circle back to this later in the article.
So when defending ourselves it is important that we are aware of vulnerable areas outside our vision and we must account for them by the positioning of our body so that it “checks” for potential openings. What we refer to as “guard.”
The value of this then becomes that because we are accounting for our vulnerabilities we can take advantage that our opponent may not. In addition, through our training we become aware that when extending from “guard” to “strike” vulnerable areas are exposed. Additionally, with touch: grab, hold, manipulate- there is normally a counter and then a counter to the counter- also exposing a vulnerability.
Knowing this, allows us to take advantage of our opponents obscure zones. Areas in which they can’t see and/or are momentarily less aware of.
The enhanced value is twofold. In addition to having reduced awareness of an area making it easier to hit, it is also normally not “reinforced” against impact. Meaning that the strike making contact does not have to be as hard because the target was more relaxed increasing it’s vulnerability. More clearly stated if we know a punch is going to hit us in the stomach we involuntarily tighten our core preparing for impact but if we don’t know it is coming… well you understand the result.
All of this awareness culminates to helping us apply “obscure zones” to our defensive choices. For example if an opponent were going to grab us from the side. Something that makes them feel superior as they believe they have caught us from a vulnerable angle. However we could use their obscure zones like stomping on the foot or whipping a hammer-fist to the groin. ACTIONs that they would not necessarily detect if we move correctly. The inflicted pain and the confusion it would cause for them would easily give us the upper hand in the encounter and could easily end it.
In addition to using obscure zones that are present at the moment of the encounter. We could also take advantage of the existing zones and create new ones. As we stated earlier the tilting of the head changed the zones. If as stated in the previous example we were close enough to lift our elbow under the chin we would tilt the head upward increasing areas of our opponents body that are obscure to them. Another example of this is taking advantage of deceptive fakes and feints. We get the opponent thinking we are doing one thing misdirecting their awareness which allows us to attack an area that is obscure and more vulnerable.
The final aspect we will look at in this article is known as “Object Obscurity.” In this case we expand the idea of misdirection by actually putting something in the way of being able to see our strike. For example we might slap them in the face which tilts the head just slightly and then to increase the aspect of obscurity we would simple leave the hand in place rather than recover back to guard. Knowing that it is establishing a moment of obscurity allowing us the opportunity to attack a vulnerable area with the confidence that we have addressed a potential counter action.
Ideally you the reader, can appreciate that sometimes words can’t fully express what we are attempting to explain or unfortunately we are incapable of explaining it in such a way as being easily understood. That is sort a beauty of Martial Arts training- “To Hear (or this case read) is to Doubt, To See is to be Deceived, but To Feel is to Believe.”
Additionally the study and application of Obscure Zones is an exciting area of study and takes some training to become adept at it. Both the study and the training help make the use virtually second nature and a part of our continual awareness. Once acquired, you then begin to seem almost “Ninja” like in your skills and abilities.