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To train the student in basic attack avoidance techniques, in simple linear and circular motions using kicks in combination, and in falling and rolling safely. Introduction to self-defensive aerobics A.S.P..

Requirements: Good moral character, sincerity, eagerness to learn, regular training and knowledge of the following:

A. Theory,

B. Falling Safely,

C. The Basic Kicks,

D. First Kicking Sequence Combinations (Comsek I), and

E. Motion Practice (optional for test by instructor choice)


2.1.1 Principles of the Fighting Arts Explained

Distance: The ability of judging accurately the distance from which an attack can be successfully landed, or evaded, is so important as to be an absolute necessity. Obviously, if you are out of the range of an attack, you do not have to worry about it. On the other hand, if you do not judge accurately the proper distance, you will reach your opponent, or will foil his attacks only by chance.

Direction: When an opponent attacks in your direction and, after he is committed to that direction, you change your position dodging his attack, you may be able to unbalance him and find an opening for counter-attacking. For instance, suppose you face an opponent when he attacks and, as the attack is about to reach you, you change to a perpendicular position by stepping back and around with the right foot, which you bring behind the left. The attack will miss, and you may be able to disturb your opponent's balance, in order to throw him, or to deliver a blow. Also, you should be able to judge your opponent's position at the time your attack will reach him, exactly as if you were shooting at a moving target.

Timing: No attack, or defense, can be successful without proper timing. Speed is important for timing. Occasionally, appropriate timing gives the impression of speed. A good sense of distance, direction, and timing is necessary for accuracy in attack and in defense.

Momentum and Leverage: Both serve to develop power, either for delivering a blow or a kick, or for breaking a hold. Gathering momentum in order to swiftly transfer it onto a small area of your opponent's body, develops penetrating power and is the principle behind "focused" blows and kicks.

2.1.2 Meaningful Training

One of the main differences between fighting arts and sports is that, in the latter, one has to abide by rules and conventions necessary for safe practice. It follows then, that while attacks and defenses must be performed safely, they must also be realistic and closely duplicate actual situations, else the self defensive aspects of a sport are of questionable usefulness. It is pertinent to say a few words about safety because its importance can hardly be overemphasized. Here enters also a psychological factor: the more you overdo it the easier to get discouraged Slow down when necessary, but do not give up. No real ability of any kind can be achieved without sustained effort.

Depending on age and physical condition, you should train two or three times a week. Results are hard to achieve with less training, while training more than three times a week is necessary only if you aim to become a champion. Stamina, or cardiovascular efficiency, understood as the ability of the organism to efficiently utilize oxygen, is one of the main attributes of physical fitness. You can increase your stamina in many ways. In our experience, excellent results are obtained as follows: Start jogging for as long as you can without getting exhausted, then walk fast. Slow down and keep walking until you recuperate, then jog again and so on. No matter what you do, keep moving continuously for no less than twenty minutes. Persist until you can jog for the full twenty minutes, without worrying about how much distance you have covered. Then try to increase your speed, without reaching exhaustion.

We shall not describe here any other exercises, jogging alone prior to ASP training sessions, is adequate. Perhaps you ask yourself what other sports specifically help in ASP. Many do indeed, but the most relevant are: ping-pong, and fencing for fast eye and reflexes, skiing, dancing, sprinting, broad jump, high jump, and soccer for strong legs and a good sense of timing, and last, but not least, training appropriate to boxing. Breathing is directly related to stamina and relaxation. Ever noticed how your breath becomes shallow under tension and how much faster you get exhausted? The degree of relaxation in the performance of any skill is directly proportional to the degree of its mastery. Whether you drive a car, or you perform on parallel bars, the more experience you have, the less tense you will be and, up to a point, the less tense you are, the faster your reflexes. If this means that you have to practice, practice and practice again, it also means that it is to your disadvantaged to spread yourself thin over a large number of techniques; rather, it is best to concentrate on a few versatile and efficacious ones. Relaxation also accelerates tremendously recuperative processes.

Speed, with which you can take advantage of any open target, is related to fast reflexes and proper timing. It is not, however, sufficient in itself without accuracy. You must see, react, and be able to properly judge the distance and direction of your target. To accomplish this, your field of vision must encompass the body of your opponent, so as to enable you to see all his movements. You must look through his upper chest. Focus your eyes beyond him, as if he were made out of glass. Safety is a prime consideration, not only from a liability standpoint, but also as a determining factor for the growth of any sport. Since the existing myths about the various forms of self-defense tend to scare many people away, it behooves us to prove that ASP is truly accessible and safe for anyone to practice and still offers a true challenge to the fighter and a meaningful method of self-defense to the average practitioner.

2.1.3 Preparation

ASP is a very complete form of physical training. Only few auxiliary exercises, if any, are necessary. In this textbook we shall confine ourselves to some general comments on physical conditioning. Exercises will be given in our other books. The ability and tolerance to physical exertion vary from person to person. It is, therefore, important to approach training in a way which gradually increases them without undue strain, exhaustion, or persistent muscle soreness. You are not overdoing it if, at the end of each session, you are feeling pleasantly tired, but not fatigued and, should you get any sore muscles, their soreness will not persist beyond the second day after training.



Kicks are the most powerful blows you can deliver. They also help to keep your opponent at a safe distance. The kicks described here* can be mastered with moderate practice and will give you much confidence. You need not become an acrobat to be efficient. But as in anything else, your mental attitude is of the utmost importance. Practice consistently, in a relaxed way, mentally letting your weight settle down, so that at any moment you will have maximum balance. Kicks practiced in slow motion are excellent for developing balance control. For this reason we start by studying some simple kicks.

2.2.1 Stances and Footwork

In ASP as in all fighting arts, it is essential to use body positions and ways to move about most appropriate for attack and defense. These must he consistent with the requirements of balance, coordination, accuracy, speed, timing, and power. *For illustrations refer to Comsek I, Pg. 14. Mobility is perhaps the most important attribute for attack and for defense. Power is of great value only together with mobility, while static power is of much less value in fighting. The point has been well recognized throughout the ages and needs no belaboring. A good stance, therefore, should accomplish mainly two things: allow for mobility and allow for good balance (stability) in attack and in defense. As long as any stance complies with these two requirements, it is a "good" stance; there are literally scores of "good" stances. For this reason, in ASP and ASP kickboxing, we practice only two basic training stances (the Full Distance and the Half-Distance Basic Training Stances) with the understanding that each fighter will develop his own. This is what actually happens in boxing and to a greater degree in karate where people study a great number of formalized stances, but in competition each one departs from these "classical" stances and uses his own. A determining factor for the choice of a stance is the distance from the opponent, and our two stances differ from each other precisely in this respect. Basic Training Stances:

Right or left? The answer to this question is: both. In ASP we strive to develop ambidextrousness. We must be able to fight almost equally well on both sides. Here we shall describe only the: Full Distance Basic Training Stance (BTS)

This is the most commonly used stance in ASP and ASP kickboxing because it lends itself well to the use of the feet. As previously, we will describe all techniques on one side only. Reverse the instructions for the other side, with the understanding that practice on both sides is necessary for proficiency. Stand at ease and step back with the right foot, so that the feet are almost perpendicular to each other at shoulder width. The left foot points directly ahead at an imaginary opponent while the right foot points to the right. Shoulders should be parallel to a line joining the right and left toes. The left leg is extended, but not tense, while the right knee is slightly bent. Weight is distributed on both feet, but slightly more on the right (rear) foot. Keep body straight and look straight ahead. Now bring the right fist to heart level, about two inches away from the chest, nails facing it. Make sure the right elbow is in light contact with the right side. Lift left fist, nails facing down, left knuckles at shoulder level and left elbow slightly bent. Left arm is almost but not fully extended. Practice with a partner at full distance, so that you can reach him only with your extended leg.

Take the BTS simultaneously and train to look through each other's upper chest, as if you were made out of transparent glass. Notice that the field of vision encompasses all the body. In general, you should be well supported on your standing foot: this means the heel and sole must be in firm contact with the ground. The hips must be the starting point of all kicks, and must move smoothly: push them out in the direction of the kick. Always aim slightly beyond the target and let it come in the way. We shall describe the following kicks: Low direct, high direct, side-of-foot, instep, circular, jumping, rolling, and heel spear. The instep, side-of-foot, circular, and jumping kicks are studied using the isometric principle. For example, if you kick with the right foot, you punch hard in the opposite direction with the left fist. It is easier for beginners to learn that way, since the thrust of the leg is partly offset by the punch. The harder you punch, the easier it is to keep your balance. Keep in mind that this is only a training method. If one wishes to develop power, one must first learn to punch and kick in full balance. Power is then developed by withdrawing the hand or foot delivering the blow, after full extension is reached, at higher speed than during its travel toward the target. Kicks and punches are described in more detail, in our book on ASP Kickboxing. All kicks are described here from the Left Full Distance BTS.

2.3.2 Low and High Direct Kicks

The preferred striking foot is in the rear position. In this textbook we look at the practical aspects of kicking, therefore, we do not consider kicking above the groin. A good practical target is the shinbone: it is easy to reach and offers a large vulnerable area. Either side of the front part of the foot may be used to kick the shinbone. Arms, with closed fists, are folded in front of the chest. The sweeping movement of the kicking leg starts from the hips with a slight twisting action so as to face the target squarely. The kick is delivered with a quick action of the knee, which is kept relatively relaxed. The ankle is in a locked position, toes curled upwards, heel lower than ball of foot. Supporting leg is slightly bent, foot firmly anchored to the ground; the body is straight from head to ankle as the kick is delivered. Push hips out in the direction of the kick. The line of the shoulders should be perpendicular to this direction. For a low direct kick, the corresponding knee bends only enough for efficient snapping action. For a high direct kick, the leg is bent first, knee relaxed, so that the thigh is close to the chest; after the kick is delivered the leg returns to its starting position by reversing the cycle.

2.3.3 Side-of-Foot Kick

The right (kicking) leg is to the rear. Pivot on the ball of the left foot, so that its toes point squarely to the left. Leave the right foot in the initial position, toes on the ground, as you twist the hips to the left. The right hip is lined up with the target and the right forearm is now near the chest; the left arm is bent, in line with the shoulders, while the palm of the left fist is facing the body. Look through the opponent's middle chest, over your right shoulder ("gunsight" position). Now lift the right leg, foot slightly cupped inward, so that its right side is parallel to the ground. Bend the knee high, thigh close to chest, and with a swift pumping action, strike the target with the side of the foot near the heel. Throw a left punch as you kick, for balance, and think of actually punching someone behind you, for better application of the isometric principle. Remember to pull back your foot faster than you kick and to return to initial position by reversing cycle. Supporting leg is slightly bent, foot firmly anchored to the ground. The right fist may either remain in front of the chest, or come in front of the groin.

2.3.4 Instep Kick

Specifically used for an attack to the groin and the inside of the thigh, this kick is delivered in a whip-like manner, either with the rear or with the forward foot, from any position, with equal efficacy. Leading with the hips, pivot on the ball of left foot, toes facing left and shift weight on the same foot twisting body so as to bring the right side in line with the target ("gunsight"). Bend right knee, shin forming approximately a 45 angle with the ground and bring your right heel in front and slightly above the left knee. The foot is bent at the ankle and points to the left as far as possible. Strike with the instep, in an upward whipping motion, while fully thrusting the left arm in the opposite direction. Return to starting position by reversing the cycle. Supporting leg is slightly bent, foot well anchored to the ground. As you strike, lean backwards, in order to be able to reach farther and to add more impetus to the whipping action. In the instep kick, the bent knee points to the target, while in the side-of-foot kick, it points to a direction perpendicular to the target.

2.3.5 Circular Kick

Same start as for the side-of-foot kick, except that you lift 12 your shin parallel to the ground. Strike the target with a circular motion of the foot while using an isometric punch. Supporting leg must be fully extended, pushing hips out as you kick. Reverse cycle to return to start position. Should one continue the pivoting action and deliver the kick with a thrust of the heel, toes pointing down, then the circular kick becomes a "Heel Spear".

2.3.6 Jumping Kicks

To perform a jumping kick with the right foot, from the left BTS, jump forward, landing on your right foot, toes pointed inward, to the left, and line up the right hip with the target. Then jump again switching supporting (left) foot with other foot. At the same time, cock the right leg, as for the side or circular kicking positions described above, then strike your selected target using the momentum gathered during the jump.

2.3.7 Rolling Kick

From the left BTS take a forward step with the right foot, toes facing slightly to the left (inward). With a wide circular motion of the right arm, let your body be carried into a right forward roll. As you roll from the back of the right shoulder to the left hip, kick with a thrusting action of the right leg. The kick is directed to the opponent's lower abdomen, or groin. Stand up using forward momentum and pivot to face him. In order to perform this kick properly, line up with the target and take care not to land on the tip of the right shoulder. Thrust attacking leg shortly after it has passed the vertical direction. Appropriate timing is crucial.

2.3.8 Kneeing

Kneeing is a special case of kicking. Direct Kneeing:

Strike lifting sharply bent knee, and let target come in the way. Take the same position as for the delivery of a high direct kick. Circular Kneeing:

Prepare as for a circular kick, and swing the knee toward the target in a wide circular motion, leading with the hips.

NOTE: All kicks were described for the right foot, assuming left foot is forward. However, they can also be delivered with the forward (left) foot by shifting the weight on the right foot and proceeding in a similar manner. In the case of the instep, side and circular kicks, this weight shift must be preceded by a quarter turn to the right so as to line up the left (kicking) hip with the target. Feet are parallel, both pointing to the right. Since standing on one foot makes for precarious balance, kicks must be delivered as fast as possible and the kicking leg must be withdrawn likewise. Except for the low direct and instep kicks, where one tries to reach as far as possible, try to stay as close to the vertical as you can. Start all kicks with a relaxed leg, tense muscles upon impact and relax again as you withdraw. Do not drop knee of attacking leg too soon. Withdraw foot first, then lower knee. This affords better balance and extra protection.

An important point to remember is that, except for the low and high direct kicks, the hip corresponding to the kicking foot must be well lined up with the target; failure to do this will impair the accuracy of your kicks. For instance, when you kick with the right foot, you should line up the right hip with the target. As you must push out the hips in the direction of a kick, make sure to retract them when the leg is pulled back. The importance of hip action, of their suppleness and of strong abdominal muscles for smooth and powerful kicks, cannot be overemphasized. Move relaxed. Drain tension from shoulders and let your weight "settle" in the lower abdomen.

Feel it as if it were concentrated in one point. Imagine it as your center of gravity. This technique will help you to remain relaxed. Glide feet lightly and swiftly on the floor, but do not sacrifice accuracy of motion to speed. Increase speed only as your ability to perform correctly improves.. Look straight ahead as if through the upper chest of an imaginary opponent. Use minimal tension at the ready position and full tension at the moment of impact. Then release tension at once and withdraw attacking leg fast without lowering it too soon. Calmly concentrate on the technique you are performing. You can achieve this by a negative process of elimination of anything that does not pertain to the technique at hand. Concentration is an attribute of champions.

2.3.9 Exercises in Kicking Combinations (Comseks) and Their Purpose

It is necessary to move in full balance switching from one technique to the next smoothly, fast, and in full power, shifting weight and position as required. It is also necessary to develop appropriate muscular control in order to efficiently achieve the alternations of tension and relative relaxation while delivering punches and kicks. In order to reach these goals, we have three exercises we call Comseks, word coined from COMbinations SEQUences. It must be clearly understood that the purpose of the Comseks is to help the student develop the above attributes while studiously avoiding to freeze his reflex responses to predetermined sequences of attacks and defenses. He should develop his reflexes mainly by sparring against the widest possible variety of partners. This is in our opinion the most meaningful way. We shall describe here only the first of the Comseks:

2.4 Comsek I: The Pivoting Kicking Sequences



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