Conflicting Force 爭力 (zhēng lì)

For any attack to be effective, the attack has to land where the opponent is not defending, i.e. the open part of his body. This is easier said than done, as any person will naturally put up their arms in defence in face of an attack, unless they are surprised or slow to react. Therefore, the question is posted to the attacker to find a solution to overcome the defence, which in martial arts, is called “opening up” an opponent.

There are couple common methods, and surprise is one of them. In the Mantis School, we have a method of attacking high and turning low to create and take advantage of an opening, and this opening is both physical and mental; we will discuss this further elsewhere as this is not just a simple feint. Other methods include the usage of speed, or feints, or by putting pressures on the opponent to fix him at one point. All these methods can be effective depending on contexts, but they tend to rely on speed, strength, or taking advantage of an existing opening. What if the opponent can match your speed, strength, and see through you intent? That’s where skills come in.

Taking the question to the defensive side, effective defence means that the person would not stand there statically, as he has the same goal as you do to end the fight on his terms and to do that he would have to open you up too, and that would usually involve some kind of parries. In order to parry, he would have to come into contact with your hands or arms, suppose the attack is coming from the upper body, and that would result in a bind-a contact of body parts against body parts, force against force.

In order to “win the bind”, one can either overcome the pressure or resistance by force, or slip away from the opponent’s force and exploit an opening, or perform a combination of the two: a redirection. To do that, one has to exert pressure on the opponent, feel which way his counter-pressure is going, and decide how to make use his force on the spot. The opponent, if he is advance enough, will do the same thing, and the force that is exerted by each side in this battle for the bind is thus called the Conflicting Force.

Now, imagine the two sides are in contact on both left and right, and they both exert this Conflicting Force, then this force would form an imaginary sphere between the combatants, and the direction of the force would dictate the manner of the attack or defence within that sphere. For example, if the opponent is pulling back amidst the Conflict, then you can just follow his force and attack forward. Adding in the concept of Six Harmonies, when your left and right are also “in contradiction of each other”, that would mean when you are following your opponent’s pull to attack forward, your other arm should also exert force backward, as this will allow you to hit harder by: 1) using the opponent’s own force; 2) misdirecting his focus to your other arm. As such, the Conflicting Force describes a complex phenomenon where not only you are in conflict with the opponent, but also with your own.

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