Reaction triggers

Reaction and action triggers which starts a flow or movement sequence for combative sports and self-defense training.

The following is a quick article that I wrote for an Escrima newsletter. It’s old but good to read. It’s about reaction or action triggers, which starts a flow and /or movement sequence for combative sports and self-defense training. The name I coined, trigger, is meant to be descriptive of something that starts a chain reaction of event.


An instructor in Helsingborg Sweden, Jørgen Thunman, sent an email to me with some links about training. In responding to his mail, I realized that the subject would be good for the newsletter.

There was a video about using the head as a trigger to activate the body. This relationship between the trigger and the body can also be exploited and used as a target of attack.

To start with there are many ways to trigger a movement, if we learn to be aware of our movements and bodies. There are triggers that start a chain reaction in our bodies and there are triggers that start a mental reaction in us. We can also train our selves to be triggered by a movement or thought for that matter.  For those of you who have trained knives with me, we have touched on the blade angle being used as a trigger to start the movement of the feet, body, etc. For those of you who  have trained with me on Mondays and other days at the WTC, you will know about the mental triggers that I talk about from time to time.

This brings me to one reason why I use 1 hand = 1 foot as a warm up quite a lot. The foot work triggers a body movement and the correct “buffer zone” and angle according to the attacker. By working on moving our feet faster, we work on moving our bodies to the correct position faster as well. This is an unconscious reaction, if we are not that aware of our bodies.

Once we are aware of how to train our bodies and minds to react to triggers we can use this in slow motion training to cut down on wasted time. If a person hits, stab, cut, etc with one weapon stretched out in front of his body and one stretched out behind his body then he is wasting time. There is long period of time between the first strike and the second strike.

Note! The small sword stance with one hand behind the body is based on balance and the fact that the small sword is often used alone. We are not talking about swords here. Again, you should thank the instructor from Helsingborg, Jørgen Thunman, for this. He also sent a link which had to do with training alone. The information was a description of what I also do when training alone. Tai Chi looks a little strange if you think about training to move quickly in a fight situation. But if we use slow movement to analyze and train triggers and avoid wasted time then it becomes a tool and a form of training we can use to better our speed and reactions as well as proactive movements.

The trick with training triggers and slow motion movements is to look at them as a tool and another way to train as well as full contact training, the traditional training we do, etc.

Be proactive in Life and Training