Over the years it’s been my pleasure to hit quite a few opponents without being hit myself in response. On seminars there are always guys who want to test you so it’s always good to get their attention straight off and get them with you, on your side and have them interested in what you’re teaching. Often I hear them say ‘oh your fast’ or ‘ how are you hitting me when I’m much taller than you?’ Often these students are a good number of years younger than I am. Does this mean that I’ve got mysterious powers? No. It just means that I’ve got the first of Bruce Lee’s five ways of attack down. In any combative sense single direct attack is the place to start. It works at slightly longer distance than the next method of attack; attack by combination. Why would you ever want to trade blows with a person if you can hit them at distance? Then if they do get close you’ve damaged them somewhat on their journey.
Added to good footwork you can often destroy the confidence in many a determined fighter. Obviously just throwing a single technique doesn’t get you anywhere unless it hits and is effective. Therefore it depends how you throw it. Lee’s big thing was ‘non telegraphic striking’ . Before Bruce Lee brought this to our attention their were others doing it too. Harold Roth a Florida Karate/ kickboxing guy used the term independent motion. One of his seniors came to our Kenbukai Karate club in the late 70’s and just blew us away. We couldn’t see his punch until it hit us in the face. We learnt fast. I’m amazed that many students, even seniors don’t work on getting an unstoppable single direct attack down as part of their style. Though the jab works best it doesn’t have be that. Reverse punch/ straight right, backfist. Front kick, round kick they all work. Good singles are the bedrock of combat effectiveness.
Having a single attack that’s unstoppable is a huge strength. I remember sparring in a demonstration competition with Tadayuki Maeda the then all Japan champion. I went to move and he front kicked me under the armpit. I blocked the next one and almost broke my arm but the first I didn’t see. Why not make your kicks or punches like that. The consternation on your opponents face is worth the small time and effort it takes to get it down. In truth I see lots of students get it down to a certain level then they let that accuracy of movement slip, almost like they want their opponent to be able to block and respond.
The key as always is in the preparation. Depending on which type of strike you’re going to do, get your body so it has the right structure. Then make sure all the limbs are cocked with no play in them. For the jab or backfist the rear heel must be raised and the body aligned so everything moves in a straight line from rear foot to hand with no telegraphing on the top of the body. Let the arm go first and then the legs follow pushing off the rear leg. Practice slowly in a mirror until you get it down. Think of it like a fencing lunge the arm goes first then the body and leg. For the front kick have the hips raised and the rear heel. You can do a successful SDA with almost any body tool the most important ingredient is singularity of purpose. This works like this ‘ I’m going to do x technique whatever happens”. Then adjust with the feet until the opportunity presents itself again.
A good way to get this started is just to get across the gap and tag the person. It doesn’t have to be knockout hard just touch. Think of it as throwing a thin line across a gorge and then pulling over a heavier one after it. Get your touch first, even that will get them thinking then work out how you get your body structure and weight right so that you’re hitting with your skeleton and powering from your legs.
One last thing, If you can feel the power in your arms or legs then that’s where it is and where it will stay; in your arms and legs. Rather think of transferring power (and pain) to your opponent through your arms and legs like they were a power cable or water hose. The power comes out the other end. The arms and the legs should always be relaxed.
Once you’ve got SDA down you should mix it with the other ways of attack so you don’t become predictable. Mixed with a judicious number of fakes and general body movement and some strong attacks by combination you’ll have them reeling.
Keep it simple, Keep it single. There’s a good % of your game sorted.