Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Non telegraphic actions.

One of Senshido's five principles is Non Telegraphic Motion.  In essence, it means one should not indicate to your attacker your next 'move'.  A prime example of telegraphic motion is chambering ( cocking ) your limb before striking.  You can blast an eye jab, palm strike, elbow or knee into your opponent from it's current location ( within range ) with impressive results.  Pulling back ( chambering ) so the strike travels a few extra inches betrays your intent, thus telegraphing it.  This also violates another principle know as Economic Motion, but I digress......

I'd like to expand on this concept for a moment and illustrate other actions you may take that will unknowingly telegraph your intent.  There are ( especially 'women's self defense ) instructors who teach women to counter a wrist grab by pulling against the weak part of the attacker's grip, while stepping back and shouting 'No'.  Ummm..... Don't do this.  Ever.  Why?  A couple of reasons:  You've challenged his ego, which is never a good move. It is highly unlikely the 'technique' will break his grip.  Even if it does, you'll earn a punch in the face for your efforts. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, you've just announced to him your intent to fight, or at least resist.

Another example of telegraphing your intent is your facial expression during a confrontation.  Your face can be a dead give away that you're going to fight.  I've had students assume a beautiful passive stance, but curl their upper lip, exposing teeth and stare like they were ready, and looked forward too feeding me portions of my own anatomy.  Their bodies said 'passive' and 'afraid'.  Their faces told an entirely different story.  It's far better to look scared, even terrified when using the passive stance.  There is no use in letting the attacker see, before he feels, the warrior inside you!

Throughout history, be it a war between nations or one on one combat, surprise has won more battles than overwhelming force.  The great Chinese general Sun Tzu once said " All warfare is based on deception ". Be the tiger, pounce from ambush. Employ non telegraphic action and keep surprise on your side.
Not this.
Not this either.
Much better.


  1. Excellent article in explaining the "real" concept of self preservation in protecting one's virtue, physical self, mental state ect. So many programs out there have a very poor understanding of what the fight is really about. Programs that I will openly piss all over (R.A.D. to very particular) teach unrealistic and extremely dangerous techniques that could put one in serious jeopardy.

    1. oh don't get me started on R.A.D..... the garbage they peddle to unsuspecting college girls is just horrible.