Don't Yield!

This is a training tip.  The problem with a lot of the posts like this one is that it came out of a private lesson where I spent half an hour demonstrating and trying to explain a movement concept. Are my dear readers going to understand what I'm saying from simply reading?  I don't know.  But the process does help me clarify the issues and it might at least inspire readers to try some new experiments.

There is a massive misconception, especial in the internal martial arts, that yielding is a good idea.  It isn't.  This misconception is a huge part of bad push-hands, and bad Aikido; yielding appears to work because of cooperative patterns and the assumed constraints of a particular exercise or game.  I shouldn't pick on push-hands or Aikido because I've seen the problem in nearly every type of art to some extent.  However I am picking on push-hands and Aikido because what I am about to say should really be one of the first lessons in those arts.  But allow me first to clarify what is Not Yielding.

Sticking or adhering or attaching oneself to an opponent or practice partner is not yielding.  It is a necessary skill for, among other things, improving ones position and for infighting.  

Getting out of the way is also not yielding.  If an opponent is charging you or falling on you, it is usually better to get out of the the way or let them fall, rather than trying to holding them up.  

There is also a special skill called a sacrifice throw.  Sacrifice throws manipulate or take control of the opponent's center of mass, they do not involve yielding.  Ronda Rousey is a master of these, check it out:

So what is this yielding thing we are not supposed to do?  Yielding is when we feel an opponent's force and we go against it with any amount of force which fails to over power it.  Yielding is meeting force with less force.

In the martial arts world a common effective strategy is to meet an opponent's force at a superior angle, that is, an agle that diminishes the opponents effective force while increasing the opponent's effort.  That is certainly not yielding because the technique effectively overpowers the opponent.

More skilled practitioners may be able to create the illusion of going directly against an opponent's force, effectively leading them into a trap.  But that is an illusion.  It is not force against force.

So another way of saying this is, if I yield, I yield 100%, never 99%.  But from my own perspective I prefer to think of it as not allowing or giving up even one ounce of force, or even one millimeter of space.  

Martial arts is the study of chaos, sometimes what I don't want to happen just happens!  If I happen to end up in a force against force situation, I want to win it!  By hook or by crook.