On our Tang Wei related YouTube channel organized by Wu Jin Dao Training Group, we have compiled several Engagement Scenarios on a playlist titled “Engagement Scenario Examples”. These are collected from various sources having CCTV footage or news footage of actual assaults taking place (viewer discretion advised as there is adult content of violence).
As an instructor, these videos are infuriating and are a powerful reminder of the necessity of maintaining your combat mindset as well as strategic and tactical skill sets to back up the mindset. In the martial arts world, you have sport forms and combat forms. The combat forms are often referred to as Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD) systems. I suppose you would say that this is where Tang Wei would fall into the mix as well.
When dealing with mentally disturbed individuals who attack with deadly weapons (especially blades like machetes and knives) or gangs/groups of individuals filled with mob mentality bent on harming others.
What you have to recognize is that you are NOT dealing with people in the usual sense, you are dealing with a person that has given themselves over into an animalistic state. The primary philosophies of instruction as to how to counter these types of attacks vacillate between whether to focus on defending and trapping the knife arm or counter striking. The mindset is often that of someone who has already capitulated defeat and just wants to “make it out of there alive” by using some form of prescriptive defense. But when you watch these real-life videos you must realize that you are not dealing with a person throwing a prescribed attack, you are dealing with an animal dressed in human clothing bent on destruction. You will not survive an animal through defense.
Self Defense is really a poor description of what works in real life. You need to live a life committed to peace, following basic rules of avoiding all combat whenever avoidable, including diffusing situations and walking away whenever that is a viable option. However, if you find yourself in a situation where avoidance is not an option and you have to engage, you need to give yourself permission to switch into an alternative mode.
It takes an animal to bring down another animal or even to fight through an ambush and escape once thrust into a combative engagement. The tactics and strategies that you learn in your combat system must also focus on ending the fight quickly and training you to be adaptable so you can go wherever the fight goes.
Martial arts, strategies and tactics however must not be thought of as a replacement for your primitive instincts, for your own animalistic instructive mode. Living a peaceful life does not have to mean that when you are threatened or a loved one is in danger that you can’t switch to your survival mode and bring the fight to the enemy like an animal protecting all that it holds dear.
One of the best compliments that myself and several other practitioners of Tang Wei have received about Tang Wei after demonstrations is that it doesn’t move like other martial arts. I remember a visitor at a past demonstration saying that our techniques look like some sort of “an animal pouncing upon and going to work on its prey”.
At final count that is the idea. We certainly will not start a fight, but if it comes and you don’t give us a way out, you will find that we will bring the fight back to you. In Tang Wei we don’t care about looking like a martial artist. Whether the fight will be empty handed, with a knife, stick, firearm, etc., we are concerned only about ending the fight quickly (and appropriately) then getting back to our lives.
Tang Wei training serves this philosophy, focusing upon gathering the best information from all available sources but then using various sets, techniques and power concepts not for mere memorization but for extracting and ingraining adaptable core skills which can upgrade how we operate when we have to switch into a fighting mode. Upgrading in the sense of having higher levels of power output, better ability to access debilitating targets, faster transitions to suppress the enemy’s actions and take control of the fight, better strategies for setting ourselves up for advantage before any blows are exchanged, etc.
In summary, develop a personal code of when it is appropriate and necessary to switch into your own animalistic combat mode, employing more refined forms of the same type of “real” intent and as the attackers you plan to combat. You will never “defend” yourself out of a fight. You won’t survive an assault by an animalistic person through any form of a defensive mindset. You turn the tables and bring the fight back to the enemy to make them feel that choosing you as a target was the worst decision they have ever made. This is the basis of mindset; it can get you a long way towards success. You need counter strategies and tactics which either take pre-emptive offensive action or immediately counter attack and turn to the press. Other than that, you will end up on defense and you will be toast.
Do not see yourself as a victim or a “self-defender” trying to “survive” an assault. This is the wrong mindset. Make the rule that you never fight for anything that is not worth fighting for. You fight only for your life and the life of those you love enough to risk your life protecting. When this is necessary, become an animal and take the fight with full intent and commitment into the enemy. Take the press and turn the tables, placing them so firmly on defense that they are overwhelmed physically, mentally and emotionally so they have no time or ability to think about harming you. If avoidance is not available, then this is your best and only approach to making it through a real assault.
Tang Wei Senior Instructor