Nate R. writes:
“I’ve been to multiple TFT self-defense seminars. One aspect of training that wasn’t covered in any of the seminars I attended was darkness. Violence: muggings, rape, murder, etc., often happen in darkness. If the aim of TFT is to ready those who spend money and time on it to learn to be better at violence than the untrained and violent, doesn’t it stand to reason that those said patrons should learn to execute violence in darkness? Please understand, that, in a way, I owe TFT my life, and in no way do I mean to diminish it’s superb instructors. I just see an inconsistency and wish to most respectively address it.”
The issue is, of course, limited or no vision—if you can only make out vague outlines or none at all, how can you acquire targets? Of course, the other guy has the same limitations, but if you’ve spent time on the mats manipulating the human machine, you have an advantage he probably lacks.
One of the goals of our training methodology is to teach a self defense technique where you build a generic target map of the human machine, so that regardless of how it’s shaped or oriented, you can always identify at least one target for injury.
A nice side effect of this is that the map is relational—that is, if you know where one target is, you know where others are. As an obvious example, if you can see his knee you know where his groin is. Likewise from any one target to another—shoulder to groin, knee to neck, etc. An extreme example is that, with enough mat time, a hand on you in total darkness means you can approximate well enough where the side of the neck or groin is. The inverse relationship is true—get your hand on any one part and you can wreck any other.
The more mat time spent rolling around with the Object of Interest (the human machine) the better your target map will be, and the better your results in low- or no-light environments.
Practicing this self defense technique means going even slower than you would in a well-lit training environment—the problem for training is less about actually getting targets (easy enough) and more about not injuring your reaction partner. In low- or no-light, it’s much, much harder to not smack the crap out of each other since it’s easy to swing your forearm as hard as you can to intersect the side of the neck of a hazy silhouette and less easy to tell exactly when you’ll make contact. So, slow, slow, and then slower than that.
In ongoing training, we have the luxury of time and control over the training environment such that we do practice this self defense technique in low-light sessions as well as with eyes closed—though for that remember that you’ll need his hand on you or your hand on him to make it work.