By Doshu Nils Volden OTC SA 6.7
Acudo ryu is a martial arts system founded in 1993; teaches the use of vital points in martial arts. Seeing the need of an effective self-protection system, The World Acudo Association developed a sub-system in 2010 called “Street Acudo”. The sub-system was mainly developed by Nils Volden in Mexico City over a two year period with the intention to protect yourself in one of the most dangerous countries in the World. It teaches scenario based Self-protection; real life survival tactics. Street acudo integrate combat psychology, physiological mechanisms like protective reflexes and vital points. It is simple, direct and raw; simply because it needs to be like this. This is not an art, it is simply survival tactics. The focus is on stress management through training under stress and fear in realistic scenarios; to learn to fight in an adrenaline dump situation. The use of mental blue print processes, like the protective reflex movement, eliminate complex movements and through provoking stress responses while training. This might be called “the Caveman skill set”. The most effective places to attack a body is its weak points; the vital points. All attacks in Street acudo is directed straight at the vital points like the acupuncture points, nerve centres, blood vessels, eyes and testicles. This is real life survival tactics; some of the techniques might function as 点脉 DimMak.
Street acudo create a fighting strategy using the primitive human mechanisms as a framework; no tactics without strategy. Perhaps most important (for the core understanding) are the primal motor skills or protective reflexes. This is a type of reflex movements that are quickly activated. Street acudo accept that an instinctual, subconscious movement is faster than the classical cognitive muscle-memory, learned muscle-movement and memorized skill set; wax on – wax off. Through using reflex movements we decrease our reaction time and increase your chance for a positive outcome. To make this work you need to be in a type of bodyguard mode; your radar switched on, ready to act with flinch and attack vital points. In one regard, Street acudo share some similarities with the SPEAR system and Krav Maga, but is completely different in other regards.
Street acudo focuses on motor skills and mental abilities in relation to hormones trigged in a fight-flight situation. We know that fine motor skills/ complex motor skills (the super fine elegant movements) fail when the blood fills with adrenaline and cortisol. Street acudo have eliminated this set of motor skills to improve the self-protection techniques; because when fighting hormones will flow. The focus is on using primal gross motor skills (the bigger muscular movements: “Cave man moves”) that you never lose.
Everything is packed into a mental conditioning, scenario training and the correct environment. Train where it happens and how it might happen; priming the conscious mind not to shut down in a stressed situation. Maintain your internal focus vision on until the fight is over. Sparring, hard training, stamina and a realistic environment is not the most important in self-protection training. The most important is to train so stressed that you lose your left-brain consciousness; meaning getting high on cortisol and adrenaline influence. Remember the first that is afflicted in a fight are your emotional system; keep your emotions under control. It is also a fact that the first one to get a hit normally loses.
The Two first seconds
Everything comes down to your timing the two first seconds before it starts; before most other systems start teaching. If you get hit or get caught by fear you will become useless probable and lose your fight or – life. The focus is in-action and less on re-action. Action is what comes first, and it is faster than a re-action. No martial art training should train people to wait for others to move first. To start with a block is totally re-action. You became programmed to lose the first important two seconds; train in-action. Since Street acudo focus on the opponent’s pre-contact clues before an attack, we find the word self-protection more covering than self-defence.
The laws and theories of Street acudo
Street acudo follow three basic laws: The first is the Hick-Hyman law or Hicks law. This law describe the time from stimuli to decision. The more possible choices and many stimuli increase your decision time. If a stimulus is a part of a larger set of stimuli we increase the response time. Stimulus and response need to be compatible and similar. The second law is The Power law of practice. The law states that the reaction time decreases with the number of practice trails – the learning curve effect on performance. Learning is not a constant rate; you need to train. A skill becomes automatic when it is only one step from stimulus to reaction. The longer time without using some information, the more informational decay: train frequently. A third law is automaticity. This is a law that describes the ability to do things without occupying the mind. You might achieve this through learning, repetition and practice; often muscle memory. The level of automaticity might be seen in the ability to multitask while preforming.
Street acudo is based on three laws and several theories. For example The Centipede effect (Centipede´s dilemma) is that automaticity in a person might be disrupted if the mind suddenly is guided in another direction. In the middle of a fight you ask the opponent about something COMPLETELY unrelated, and then the unconscious locomotion will be interrupted by a conscious reflection. Automatic response patterns (ARP) are a response from the brain that produces the same action all the time. It is a mental response created through repeating something over time. An ARP will normally be a self-expected reaction to something. The trigger to an ARP is based on physical – and mental cues. Since Street acudo is based on Acudo ryu we find many theories from Chinese medicine as Yin/ yang and Qi present.
Yin/ Yang in Street acudo
Street acudo divide a person into Yin and Yang when explaining the main aspect in self-protection. The Yin aspect is the hormonal response to the Fight-Flight mechanism. Street acudo will train you to fight in an adrenaline dump situation. The adrenal glands will pump adrenaline and cortisol into your blood stream, and transform your body to a caveman. Gone are the fine motoric skills, and in is tunnel vision, shivering and situational memory loss; you go blank and paralyzed. Street acudo training is done with adrenaline dump; meaning under adrenaline and cortisol influence. The Yin mechanism is the first mechanism you need to master in Street acudo.
The second aspect is the Yang aspect. The yang aspect is related to your re-action time or more exact in-action. Hicks law clearly states; the more options and the more stimuli, the longer re-action time. This teaches us that we need just a few self-protection techniques and they must be connected to a distinct stimulus. One observed stimulus and only one response option is the fastest. To bring down the options Street Acudo only have elected 5 self-protection techniques. It is all about transmitting an effective survival tactic!
Pre-contact clues and flinch in Street acudo
In general terms Street acudo builds on reading pre-contact clues; to read the situation just BEFORE it happen. Street acudo call this 线索 Xiànsuǒ; Clue search. In-action beats both the action – and re-action time. We observe when the opponent starts accumulating kinetic energy and start to move it. When the pre-contact clues start to add up, we react with a flinch. A flinch, that lifts our hands up to protect us. Then we push away the opponent. Depending on the situation we might counter attack with vital points. One important fact is that whatever the opponent does, the street acudo practitioner will do one fixed move, the flinch! Then we will find variations of techniques depending of favourite pre-selected technique and pre-selected vital point.
The flinch is the fastest movement in your body. It is a reflex, a primal genetic response where you simply take up your hands super quickly, and a type of natural non-violent survival posture created by a motional reaction. Like cats always land on their feet, humans lift their hands. Street acudo call the flinch 畏缩 Wèisuō; Fear contract. The most important protective reflexes used in Street acudo are the three “parachute” protective extension reflexes: forward (extending arms and fingers outwards, weight in arms), sideway (extension of elbow and fingers, weight in palm) and backward (extend arms backwards, weight in extended arms). Besides being the fastest move, it is also a very strong frame. Your hands will be placed in a pyramid or triangular shape that protects your body. Street Acudo call this position 三角 Sānjiǎo; triangle. This hand position will make things run off to the sides. Then you slowly step backwards or push away the danger. 杀 Shā – Attack! The bridge between flinch and the next move depends on your martial arts preferences. This flinch has to be sharpened and the cue to start the flinch has to be trained repeatedly. Never stop repeating!
A normal martial arts self-defence technique waits for a pre-announced technique, and then does a pre-announced self-defence technique. Most likely the technique is executed using complex motor skills. Nice to look at, but not effective. If you always start with a push, a hit, a kick, strangulation, a knife or a drawn gun, then this become the activator for you. You will remain passive until you are under attack; then you are almost out of time. This makes you actually train on GETTING INTO situations before getting out of them. We should never train on getting into situations! We should train on avoiding situations and read situations BEFORE they occur. The direct consequence of this conditioning is that we get into situations too late. No martial artist should experience a subconscious neural learning of how to be beaten. Training under friendly conditions might make you a great fighter under friendly conditions, but a fight is all but friendly!
Self-protection in Street acudo
Street acudo teaches pure self-protection. This is a way to defend yourself and yours, and little more. All the extras and distractions are taken away and we are left with simple facts and real science. Reflex training, stress management, realistic scenarios, verbal skills, fear management, direct techniques, Gross muscular moves and vital points. All fights are potential dangerous, and the worst opponent is the one that simply ambush you. Perhaps in 70% of your fights you have an “untold” set of rules; like no kicking, no biting, and no kicking in the testicles, no low blows, no pressing of eyes, no head butts, and no throwing of broken bottles. The resting 30% is perhaps without rules, no consent and no preparation. You are simply ambushed and soccer punched. We often say that the first mistake of the opponent was that he didn’t kill you; meaning that you might still fight back. The second mistake is that an opponent often likes to speak, give instructions and insults. When he talks his brain connect and he get slower; he become an easier target for you. It is very common that we speak while fighting. Often we insult and scream charged words. Here we need to remember that these words function as a type of motivation for our self, but it also motivates the opponent. If you press the wrong buttons you might bring out his inner warrior; Trojan horse theory. Don’t upset an opponent with private insults! Keep the insults on a general level. It is ONLY your warrior that needs to be active.
An example of Street acudo: A person start charging his kinetic energy, you read the clues this process creates. Automatically you create a flinch and block his attack. Immediately after your flinch in a continuous movement you attack directly your opponent’s vital points with your elbow or knee. What happens after depends on the situation. Street acudo focuses on flinch drills in isolation; meaning exactly what we are going to do in given situations starting from the pre-action clues. We repeat and repeat… There is no room for thinking, doubt or hesitation. Learned muscle-memory blocks are completely out of this system. It is also a focus on the verbal to manipulate the opponent to slow down. Street acudo is not a sport; it is real life survival tactics. Street acudo works hard to convert perception to action; pre-action. The goal is to make our mirror neurons activate an action towards an opponent. Clues from the opponent will guide our reflexes. Our behaviour is flexible, and reflexes might be adjusted in their execution. Street acudo trains to reduce the inhibitory process of protective reflexes; automatic motor self-inhibition mechanism.
Having said all this, Street acudo is much more. We also run tactical seminars in anti-bulling, weapon training, Basic paramedical skills (including gun shot and knife stabs), how to act in kidnappings and – terror attacks, and much more. Street acudo are normally thought in intense seminars where we teach proper attitude, give a tactical skill set, and a survival plan. A student of Street acudo is trained in real live survival tactics; trained to be the last man standing.