A Miss is a Miss

Avoiding strikes doesn’t require over compensation. The mistake most beginners make is fleeing from the attack. This flight instinct places them at a considerable distance from the attacker. In human-survival logic, being very far from danger is better than being very close. However, martial logic purposes the opposite reaction to danger.

Sideblade kick

Sideblade kick

Miss by an inch or miss by a mile, they are both the same. A “miss by an inch” keeps you in range for a counter attack and control over your opponent. You spend a lot of energy trying to move far away. Conserve your energy and just move what is required to avoid the attack (such as slips, redirects and absorbing). Don’t read this the wrong way, do proper defensive maneuvers. There is no shame in setting up redundant defenses and responses.

For example, the White Belt technique Combo (DM) 7 illustrates this concept. Pat the attack and redirect it. Move out of the way and get off the line. The final moves are sidekick and retreat defensively. The first “fade” creates a miss by bringing your body off the line of attack. The double pat is a redundant defensive shield to redirect the attack and check its countering potential.

When working with your partner, explore the ranges of movement. Try to step farther away from the opponent. Can you reach them with the pats or the kick? Now try to step closer, or don’t move off the line. Can you avoid the attack? Are you bulled over by the assault? Kempo is a nuance art. It’s full of subtle adjustments and biomechanical manipulations.

The best way to become a great Kempo player is to explore your movements. Use the partner drills as a time to fine-tune your movements. Also, change partners so you can do all of your techniques on different body types. Exploration and adaptation are the hallmarks of Kempo. Any technique, when combined with checking or shielding, can become a great neutralizer of an opponent’s ability to counter.