The Importance of Adaptive Response
No single tactic ever proves to be an end-all in self-defense. Each situation is unique and will call for its own adaptive response depending upon an infinite number of variables. Even within a single melee, one’s approach must constantly adapt on a moment-to-moment basis to the ever-changing circumstances. Thus, being a well-rounded tactician will always provide a true and superior advantage in self-defense for it affords the fighter more scope in his technical ability and a broader horizon to his mental strategies.
Destroy, Trap, Lock – a Combative Formula
A technical reflection of this philosophy is the NSI concept of Bridging Hands also known as Destroy, Trap, Lock or DTL. DTL is essentially a combative formula that spells out a total approach to unarmed self-defense in which striking and grappling mutually interplay. Balanced in simplicity, the Modern Arnis concept of de-fanging the snake (or attack the attacking weapon) is integrated with Jeet Kune Do’s five strategies of attack: 1) SDA- single direct attack. 2) ABC-attack by combination. 3) ABD-attack by draw. 4) PIA-progressive indirect attack. 5) IA-immobilization attack. Like Yin and Yang, these approaches weave in and out, blending, binding, and flowing one from the other. Let us examine some of the vital components inherent to the DTL approach.
Stage One - Destroy
In entering upon the opponent, whether offensively (SDA) or defensively (ABD), the first component of the formula – destroy – comes into play. Destroy simply denotes that aggressive, rapidly delivered strikes (ABC or PIA) should first capitalize upon whatever openings are presented. Generally speaking, we look to use the bodily tools that most directly reach the foe’s closest available targets, thus “seeking emptiness.” Based on our range from the foe, such tools could be the feet, knees, elbows, arms, hands, or even the head.
As we land a strike or strikes, or as the foe reacts defensively to our moves, we must adapt and seize the succeeding targets that arise as a result of our interactions. Through such flow, we strive to overwhelm the opponent with an unrelenting barrage of continuous punishment. The ultimate aim of such a pummeling is to inflict damage, confusion, and disruption of balance upon the foe so that further finishing measures can be inflicted (IA).
In the interchange of striking, however, things are never crisp and clean. Murphy’s Law can often rear its unpredictable head. We throw and miss, he misses, we land bad or off-balanced, he lands solid, we launch again, and around and around it goes! Thus, to enhance the efficacy of our striking, especially once one has closed from a largo (long) to sumbrada (medium) or even corto (close) range, the second stage of DTL can be applied; namely, the trap (IA).
Stage Two - Trap
As one of my former teachers, the eminent Jesse Glover, taught, “Trapping is a by-product of properly placed pressure during striking or seeking emptiness.” Thus, the purpose of trapping (IA) must not be misunderstood. Often trapping is wrongly equated to the elaborate compound-trapping drills seen in demos. I sometimes refer to this as “ribbon-tying-jutsu.”
While such complex drills have their place in the course of training, we must avoid being dazzled by such intricate sequences lest we lose sight of the fact that the sole purpose of trapping is to create further openings to hit or grapple. If we tie the foe’s limbs up into a neat little package (IA) in the process, all the better. But in reality, once the foe’s limb is engaged in any type of trapping or manipulative manner, the purpose becomes to open him up for further pummeling, to use that limb against him via standing grappling, or to achieve a “ground and pound” position. This brings us to the third and most involved stage of DTL – the lock.
Stage Three - Lock
Once a foe has been thoroughly softened and opened up from the initial destroy-trap stages, he is then positioned for the execution of joint-locks. Such joint-locking measures are referred to by many names in many cultures. In Okinawa it is Tori-Te, in China Qinna, and in the Philippines, Dumog. By whatever name, joint manipulation is an essential key to the effectiveness of the Bridging Hands/DTL format.