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Good tactics can save even the worst strategy.
Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.
                                        Gen. George S Patton

Theory of Effective Movement

As previously stated: Removing your opponent's Ability to attack you has significant influence on his Will to do so. Undermining his Will can manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from his decision to withdraw from the conflict, cease hostilities, choose to find another strategy for dealing with you, creating confusion and chaos within him to out-right surrender. This is why it is important to understand what effective movement is, as its application is so vital to your overall strategy.

A down and dirty definition of an effective move is one that checks his ability to attack you while setting you up for your next move.

This definition takes it out of the realm of how hard you have to do something to make it work and puts it into making sure that your moves achieve what you want it to. An effective move is an effective move, no matter what its level of force. With this in mind we also come to another point. What determines a move's effectiveness is if it achieves its desired goal.

This simple statement requires a bit of explanation, because it says a whole lot more than what many people think it does. To start with, the statement addresses fundamental tactical application, not larger strategic goals. The problem is that people often confuse the two. In doing so they fail to reach either.

The desired goal of a move is its tactical success. Tactical success that is only a small part of a larger strategy. It is not achieving a larger strategy with one small tactic. In other words, it's not the whole journey, but it's an important step in it.

Let's use hitting as an example. Why do you hit?

Before you read further, come up with an answer to this question

Most people when asked this question come up with a vague and/or magical thinking(1) answer, such as "to hurt him."  When asked why? What purpose does hurting him serve?," they often respond "to make him stop attacking me."  

While it is possible to achieve a larger strategic goal through a smaller tactical move it is not probable. Very seldom will someone stop attacking you with just one punch. What's more amazing however, is how often people attempt to achieve a larger strategic goal through repeated application of a particular tactic. So instead of getting him to stop attacking you by hitting him once, you hit him several times.

Is not true that "Folly is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result?" This kind of thinking is literally: He didn't stop attacking the ninth time I hit him, so maybe he will stop when I hit him the tenth time!  That's doing the same thing over and over.

Maybe it's time to reassess that idea. Basically the whole multiple hit idea is relying on cumulative damage to erode a person's Will to attack you. The main problem with this idea is that until that cumulative total is reached, he will not lose the Will to keep on attacking, much less the ability to do so.

Another problem is that his actions may not allow you to achieve hitting him that tenth time, much less even the fifth time. Remember, by definition your opponent is NOT on your side. He is, in fact, doing everything in his power to keep you from succeeding at your goals.

This is where the idea of "multiple lethal strikes" has taken root. Both in the power of the blows and the frequency. Instead of learning what effective movement is, proponents figure that you continue to rain these moves down on him until he loses his ability to continue attacking by conveniently dying.

Unfortunately, this is still based on the assumption of cumulative damage stopping the attack. And again, with this idea comes the problem that while you're waiting for your lethal move to stop him, he can still effectively attack you. That way, you both go to the morgue.

Therefore, we must reduce our definition of an effective move in height, and expand it in breadth. That is to say, not think of a strike in terms of accomplishing greater strategic objective (e.g. I hurt him so he stops attacking and goes away), but focus on smaller, more manageable tactical goals.

While an effective move is not likely to bequeath on us overall strategic success all by itself, it is a critical tactical component in the over-all success of our strategy (i.e. I hit him for a tactical reason that allows me to further develop my larger strategic goals).

So now instead of a program of ineffective, ineffective, ineffective, cumulatively effective, you end up with "effective, effective, effective, effective." With the former, anything can go wrong at any time. When that happens you will not reach the cumulatively effective end. Compare that with the latter model, which you can keep adding to until either he gets the message or is out of commission.

But you cannot achieve this without understanding the tactical goals of hitting. Which brings us back to the question of "Why do you hit?" Tactically speaking you hit for four reasons

    1) To deliver force into your opponent
    2) To create shock/stun/hesitation within your opponent and/or to disrupt his structure
    3) To use the above as cover for setting up your next move 
    4) To forestall his movement (e.g. stalling his attack or keeping him from stopping you moving onto your next attack)

You will notice that these simple tactical goals have very strong strategic implications. The point of this though, is that while these smaller tactical successes are part of a larger plan, they still stand on their own individual successes.  They are not magical thinking, but are instead small, but critical, components in the development of a larger strategy.

Again let's leave the theoretical and put this into the practical. Here are a few reasons why you hit. You hit him to stall him long enough for you to safely move into position to unload your big guns on him. 2) You hit him to slow him down to buy you time to get off the line of his attacks. 3) You hit him to stun him and distract him while you are moving into position for your big nasty. 4) You hit him to stun/distract him from the fact that you're moving him into a control position that he will not be able to recover from. Those are just a few of the applications of those tactical goals. What I want you to notice on all of them however, is their combining of both offensive and defensive aspects.

If your blows are not achieving these tactical goals, then you are either
A) Engaged in a sport with rules,
B) Fighting as though you are engaged in A or
C) Doing something seriously wrong.

Under those circumstances do not be surprised if the situation goes seriously sideways on you.

In short don't just stand there hitting him hoping that he will go away; you create an effect in your opponent that he cannot,  without pausing to readjust, attack you. You in the mean time, have without pausing or preparing, the ability to attack with your next move.

That puts you a step ahead of the game and your opponent one step behind, attempting to catch up.

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1) Magical Thinking is a term used in counseling/therapy to describe when a person believes that if they engage in a particular course of action, it will have specific results. Results that are far beyond the control/influence of the person, or even realistic to the situation. (e.g. an insecure person thinking "if I lose twenty pounds, so-and-so will love me"). Magical thinking assumes a locus of control over another persons actions, decisions and will (i.e. if I do this, he will do this) without solid evidence or connection. While it is possible to influence someone's decisions, it is impossible to completely control them. This is why the term magical thinking, it assumes, like magic/superstition, that certain actions will control another person's decisions. This concept is explained more fully on the consequences page. Return to Text


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