By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
When it comes to the very best way possible of exploding off of the X, there are a number of factors that simply must be taken into consideration. It is very clear that inside of almost anything “tactical,” “the situation is the dictating factor.” Without this being at the very forefront of our thinking, we inevitably end up needing to force fit sub-optimal skill sets into situations where they do not belong. What this means is that the very best takeoff comes down to being user dependent and heavily reliant on the individuals very personal situation. Once this reality is laid down it becomes very clear that the takeoff cannot be “technique focus.” It must remain “concept focused” and used inside of a continuum approach.
In the recent past we have looked toward specific techniques in an attempt to be the very best that we can be at getting off of the X, inside of a truly reactionary gunfight. As we progressed from one technique to the next, it becomes clear that the techniques that we have used in the past were nothing more than the framework needed to establish an extremely versatile and fluid takeoff concept. If we look at the continuum approach, it is basically a A-Z concept where no one point/letter is more important than the next. While some may call this approach complicated, in reality it is not. It is as simple as it needs to be….. but no simpler. A fluid concept is simply the only way to be the very best we can be inside of the fluid dynamics of a fight.
“The fight is going to be what the fight is going to be!”
Here are a list of circumstances that simply must be taken into consideration in order to be the very best that we can be inside of our takeoff.
Traction/footing; This is something that simple cannot be ignored. Traction needs to be rated on a scale of 1-10 and accepted for what it is. The skill sets that we use, to be the very best that we can be, on solid/dry/warm/textured surfaces are completely different from the skill sets that we use, to be the very best that we can be, on a loose/slippery/wet/cold/smooth surfaces. To think that we can own only one technique that allows us to be the very best that we can be in varying traction levels is ridiculous.
Movement; A takeoff does not just come out of a stationary position. I do not stand around in dangerous environments……I walk through them. The takeoff concept must work while stationary and while moving.
Getting off of the X; A lot of people believe that this means getting off the spot you are presently occupying. In reality, it means getting your body off of your adversaries targeting area. If somebody is targeting my upper thoracic cavity, I need to get that part of my body off of the X that they are targeting.
Which direction am I going; Our takeoffs need to be efficient and effective to every position on the clock, no mater if you are stationary of moving. Some takeoffs are better than others, in this regard. That is why we need to know them all, so we can apply the most effective technique, inside of the fluid concept, no matter what the situation is.
Allowable Telegraphing; There are plenty of times where “telegraphing” is simply not a factor. But, there are times where you simple cannot telegraph your intent. Distance is a key factor on whether you can afford to telegraph or not. The amount of telegraphing all comes down to the quickness of your “drop.” The flinch/drop will telegraph more than a simple lean/push or fall/lean/push.
Genetics/Experience; Some people are born with natural abilities that allow them to do things so easily, that it is as natural as breathing. The ability to flinch/drop on command is one of these abilities. This ability opens up options that others may not have. The flinch/drop is also something that is very prevalent inside of Western sports such as football and basketball. Some people have trained extensively in relaxation based martial arts training. This allows them to do things that many people will not be able to do. We must be very careful and train in the manner that is appropriate to how we will really fight.
Physical limitations; As an instructor it is my job to teach people to be the very best that they can be. If there is any sort of physical limitation to one of the legs/feet there must be adjustments made to allow the individual to be the very best that they can be. Being technique focused will not get the job done.
When we look at the varying circumstances around the takeoff it is clear that “one size does not fit all”……and it never will!
The Framework of the Explosive Dynamic Takeoff
The Pekiti Takeoff is long time established Fight Focused Concepts doctrine. It is based on the trailing leg being the 100% drive leg. It works great for solid footing and in conjunction with movement. It is both a stationary takeoff and a movement based takeoff. The stationary Pekiti is conceptually the exact same thing as a typical movement base football “cutback.” Due to the movement based characteristics of the Pekiti, it will always be a mainstay and the primary takeoff. Inside of the balance “to hit and to not be hit” the Pekiti takes both equally into consideration. You get off the X very quickly with an outstanding ability to get to the gun very quickly. Inside of the A-Z continuum, the Pekiti is the “A.”
The Enhanced Pekiti was discovered in the most difficult of circumstances. It is based on the lead leg being the 100% drive leg. The dropping over the center of gravity on the lead leg, the shoulder to the opposite toe, the tucking of the chin, and the allowing the head to lead the way are all about making the adversary miss and setting yourself up for an explosion off of the X. It is all about surviving the initial contact in order to be able to get into the fight. The center of gravity being over the top of the lead/drive leg is all about setting yourself up for full explosion, with next to zero chances on slipping. This is not a movement base skill set due to the fact that it breaks the general rules of “never cutback off of the inside leg.” Inside of the A-Z continuum, the Enhanced Pekiti is the “Z.”
The Optimal Two Footed Takeoff gives us the very best body mechanics (hips and toes aligned with the desired direction of movement) to be as explosive as we can possibly be. This is the takeoff used by the fastest humans in the world. This is a 50%-50% takeoff. The trailing leg is used to create momentum, to get the lead/drive leg past the apex and into the fully loaded drive position. This allows for the lead/drive leg to start at the center of gravity which drastically cuts down on the possibility of slipping. Even if the trailing leg slips, you will not go down or lose much explosiveness due to the fact that the lead leg is on the center of gravity. This is a movement based skill set that is conceptually the same as a football cut back out of the “stutter step,” The stutter step is what we do to control the speed of the cutback on wet surfaces, while at the same time puts the inside leg under our center of gravity. If the outside leg slips, the inside leg is right there to take control of the slip. The stutter step is virtually, setting up for as close to a two footed takeoff as movement will allow. It is not a pure two footed take off but it is extremely close to it. Inside of the A-Z continuum the Two Footed Take Off is the “M.”
Non-telegraphing Take Off
I have been teaching the “Lean/Push” for a very long time. It is a trailing leg take off designed for those that do not have the athleticism of the “flinch/drop.” You simply begin the fall the direction that you want to go and push off with your trailing leg.
During the discussion on takeoffs, Sonny Puzikas introduced us to the Russian/Systema take off, which is another no-telegraphing takeoff. It is basically falling/leaning the direction that you want to go, to the point that you have defeated the apex, and then push off with you lead leg……from a position of full power potential.
Rounding out the rest of the continuum comes down to varying percentages of the drive leg (trailing or leading) varying levels of allowable telegraphing, and the amount of rolling of the shoulder……..dictated by the situation. This is a truly fluid continuum, a continuum that you can turn your take off into whatever you need your take off to be.