Combat Tactics: (Preliminaries)

TACTICAL APPLICATIONS APPLIED TO WING CHUN
By: Richard Brown

Combat: A purposeful conflict meant to establish dominance over the opposition.
Tactics: Any mode of procedure for gaining advantage or success. The study and description of such patterns. Tactics are specific actions that require judgment and adaptation to the unique circumstances of a specific situation. They are based on observations, experience, training, experimentation, and consistent evidence of successful applications.
Techniques: The general and detailed methods used to perform specific actions, missions and functions.
Procedures: Standard and detailed courses of action that describe how to perform specific tasks.
Concept: An abstract term. “A cognitive unit of meaning.” “An abstract idea or mental symbol, sometimes defined as a “unit of knowledge,” Built from other units which act as a concept’s characteristics, A concept is typically associated with a corresponding representation in a language or symbology such as a single meaning of a term. (Such as the concept of “combat tactics.”)

Two of the most influencial masters of the martial arts, Master William Cheung and Master Bruce Lee both used the same word when describing the tactical approach to the martial arts. Both used the word “concepts” when describing to others how “combat technique” is developed, refined, and effectively applied.

There are prevailing theories in contemporary philosophy which attempt to explain he nature of concepts. The representational theory of mind proposes that concepts are mental representations while the semantic theory of concepts holds that they are abstract objects. “Ideas” are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear to the mind as images as some ideas do. Many philosophers consider concepts to be a fundamental ontological category of being.

“War is, above all things, an art, employing science in all its branches as its servant, but depending first and chiefly upon the skill of the artisan. It has its own rules, but not one of them is rigid and invariable. As new implements are devised new methods result in its mechanical execution; but over and above all its mechanical appliances, it rests upon the complex factors of human nature, which cannot be reduced to formulas and rules. The proper use of these thinking and animate parts of the great machine can be divined only by the genius and instinct of the commanders. No books can teach this, and no rules define it.” (Captain Francis V. Greene, 1883

Realizing that war, or combat, be it urban or international in scale, is still waged by people, it becomes clear that proper training of tactical combat concepts to students is the key to success in training for military operations, law enforcement, or in modern defense of self or others.

With the exception of most “advanced” students, the ability to apply martial arts concepts successfully in real warfare situations, would seem to be the logical outcome of lessons learned while participating in formal studies of any traditional martial art. In reality however, this is typically not the case.

One of the most obvious reasons for this is because the majority of most martial arts students fail to continue their study’s much past a “beginner” to “intermediate” level. In most formal settings, a student will take at least a couple of years just learning how to correctly perform “basic” blocks, punches, and kicks. Combine this with mandatory class stretching, individual and class instruction, seemingly endless repetitions of required drills, practice of Kata required for advancement, and so on, it becomes a little bit easier to understand how most students leave training with little more than the basics.

“A fighter must possess a fair standard of technical ability in the fighting arts before tactics can be applied successfully. Once the mechanics can be made automatically, only then can the mind concentrate on discovering the opponent’s reactions, anticipating his intentions, and devising the “strategy” and “tactics” required to seize and secure specific advantages.”(Bruce Lee)

The tactics and supporting techniques and procedures described in this series are only starting points for the tactician, who must understand the difference between tactics, techniques and procedures. Tactics always require judgment and adaptation to the unique circumstances of a specific situation. They are established patterns that can be applied repeatedly with little or no judgment in a variety of circumstances. They provide the tactician with a set of tools to use in developing the solution to any tactical problem. To show solutions to any specific problem solved by a unique combination of tactics, techiques, or proceedures based on a critical evaluation of the situation. That the tactician determines his solution by a thorough mastery of the these basics, his current teachings, existing applications, and experimentation. All tempered and honed by experience gained through training and operations. He uses his creativity to develop solutions for which the enemy is neither prepared, nor able to cope.

The articles in the remainder of this series will focus on “Wing Chun Basics,” combined with “tactics” and “procedures” used to employ available means to achieve victory in “combat” situations. To analize situations prior to engagement and develop strategies that take advantage of weaknesses in the opponent, thus achieving and maintaining situational control, and victory in combat.

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