In Target Focus Training, we make you train slow, or, at least not as fast as you could go if you went full-bore.
In order to understand why we do this, we need to look at what’s required to achieve our goal of injuring an attacker.
Debilitating injury is the result of an interrelated chain of factors:
You have to drive your entire mass through a target and follow all the way through with your full force and effort.
A shorthand way of stating this is:
Penetrate & rotate through a target at speed.
So that’s what it takes to crush a throat, gouge an eye, rupture a kidney or break a knee. All well and good until you try to figure out how to train for that.
If you keep it all as is, your ‘training’ is actually maiming. Every training regimen has to remove one or more of those elements in order to train without putting the practitioners in the hospital. (At least on a daily basis.)
So if you’re going to go fast when you train, you have to lose something else. But what?
- Take away the follow-through.
Almost no one goes here. You still have bodyweight on a target at speed–train like this & even without the follow-through someone’s going to lose an eye.
- Take away the target.
This is a typical padded-up sparring session. If we make the target indistinct, we can run around and hit each other pretty hard–but the minute it all lines up right, someone’s screwed. You’re also training to cause generic, non-specific trauma: bumps, bruises, lacerations, etc., and not the kind that results in a reliable state-change in the man.
- Take away the bodyweight.
This is a slap-fight. You’re swatting at targets… but without your mass, there’s nothing to compress the tissue, and effect the kind of volume change that breaks, tears, and ruptures anatomy. Some targets, like the eyes, throat and groin can still be injured practicing like this, which is why they’ll almost always end up ‘off limits’ for safety.
The problem is that the result you’re really gunning for is only ever going to occur through accident–when all the elements are present at speed. In other words, if you remove anything else other than speed, you’re not training to get the results you need in violence.
And the funny part is that speed is the one thing everyone walks in the door with. It’s the only thing on the list that you don’t have to train.
The other elements… yes. No one walks in with good targeting, or the ability to control their mass such that they can drive it like a battering ram while maintaining balance, or the proper mechanics to really sink it with complete follow through. These things have to be learned.
And once you learn them, you just add the speed–which you already had to begin with–and you end up with injury, any time, every time.
TFT Master Instructor