The Secret of Timing in the Martial Arts

Newsletter 1018

The Secrets of Martial Arts Grab Arts

A couple of things this issue.
First, I sat down for an interview.
The interview is with Dal Gilliland,
a long time practitioner of the MA,
and a hell of a wisdom.
The link is

The essence of the podcast
is that Dale is researching and presenting
viable paths to mastery of the martial arts
through interviews with accomplished people.
We had a lot of fun,
and hopefully our excitement comes through.
Check it out.

you wanted to talk about the grab arts.

Grab Arts is the term my instructor used for locks,
throws, takedowns, joint manipulations, and so on.
By that definition it covers all martial arts.

When I did the Matrix Aikido course,
I originally called it ‘Instant Aikido,’
I was showing how to teach, and learn,
through defining your concepts.
The video succeeds well,
but…it stops.

Well, everything stops.
But the Matrix Kung Fu course went further.
After all, I had given the concept,
so where did the concepts go?
That is what the Matrix Kung Fu (Monkey Boxing) is all about.
But this led to an extreme realization.
When I looked at what I had done,
i actually slapped my head.
The truth was right in front of me all the time,
and I had had no clue.
Now bear with me through this next part,
it might seem a little confusing,
but stick with me,
there is something very brilliant on the other side…

let me ask you a question…
what is time?

Let me stall for a second
while you actually think about that.
Tick tock.
Tap the foot.
Yeah, yeah.

Okay, did you come up with an answer?
Do you know what time is?
Okay, here goes…
drum roll…


Al, maybe you’d better get back on that horse quick.
You must have landed on your head and—

No, no.
I’m serious.
Time is a measurement of distance.
How fast can you run 50 yards?
10 seconds.
Then 50 yards is ten seconds long.
Do you see it?
That’s what time is for!
To measure the distance,
either of the universe,
or of the distance between one event and another in the universe.

read it again if you have to,
figure it out,
and then let me tell you
what this has to do with the martial arts.

There is the time it takes for a punch to reach the jaw.
We take a stop watch and click click.
Very useful,
this attribute of time.
This is the ‘regular’ time of the universe.
This is the time standard that we all agree upon,
that we set our watches to.

Then there is ‘timing,’
Where one starts messing with
the distance between techniques
in order to confuse somebody.
this is cool.

then there is the time
—God, I’m almost afraid to explain this—
that is agreed upon.

We agree a foot is a foot.
We agree that a second is a second.
That is the ‘regular’ time of the universe.

But have you ever had somebody punch you,
and time actually changes?
I used to see this all the time.
My original instructor,
Bob Babich,
could change his agreement of time
and suddenly he was faster than us…

for those of you who are still around,
let me explain.
Bob would go out of agreement with our sense of time.
We were stuck in ‘regular’ time,
the time of the universe,
but he had his own sense of time.
and he could impinge his sense of time over our sense of time.
But our sense of time was the ‘robot’ time of the universe.
His sense of time was magnetic,
and magic,
and much more alive than the grind of tick tock.

Every individual has his own sense of time,
and that individual time can be changed,
and override the time of the universe.

I know you’re going to be chewing on that for a while,
so let me slip something in
while you’re starting your few years of cogitation.

I realized that the martial arts has six general distances.
Weapons, kick, punch, knee, elbow and takedown

I didn’t bother with weapons because
time is best appreciated by a sense of the body.
Go outside the body and time loses some impact.
You’re in the universe of ‘regular’ time now.

I didn’t bother with grappling
because that is a stuck distance.
Once you’re in grapple distance
distance can no longer collapse effectively,
and therefore time can’t ‘change.’
But if you go from
kick to punch to knee to elbow…
you are collapsing distance,
therefore you are collapsing time.

this broke the universe open for me.
Suddenly I could see the problems with training methods,
how different arts could be stuck in certain times,
and so on.

Really blew my mind.

what do I do when my mind is blown?
the mind is blown for one real reason,
it has been overwhelmed by data.
to put the data to logic,
I drew a matrix.
A matrix of distances,
which was a matrix of time.
And that put an order to the massive data
that was overwhelming me.

And I mention all this because
when I wrote the Matrix Kung Fu course
there was one big problem.
I was putting technique to the Matrix Aikido concept,
and there were no entry techniques.
I would apply the concept to the jointlock,
come up with the technique,
and there was no way into the technique.
Talk about pure data.
It was data so pure that I ended up with a static,
and a static is the quickest way to die in the universe.

So I ended up matrixing distance,
which gave the entry techniques to the Matrix Kung Fu,
and wound up somewhere in the stars,
wondering about time,
and trying to cork my head back together.
Quite fun, really.

You know,
on the interview I did with Dale,
which I mentioned earlier,
I said a smart thing.

I said,
‘Martial Arts are for smart people.’
They are.
They aren’t for dummies.
Dummies get trapped by the human cockfight,
or the desire for violence,
or the lust for trophies,
or domination,
or whatever.

But the real martial artists,
the ones that last for a lifetime,
and longer,
they think.
They figure things out.

it’s a kick to feel the adrenaline
and to live for freestyle,
when you are old,
will you have any wisdom for all that?

It’s a fair question,
and I hope this newsletter puts you down the path.

So take what I said about time here,
wiggle it,
drop it in the acid,
figure it out.
Understanding this universe,
and time is what makes this universe last,
is what life is all about.

obligatory advertisement.
Feel free to examine
Matrix Aikido
and Matrix Kung fu.
Examine my concepts from the inside out,
from the viewpoint of one who does,
not one who just talks.
I think you’ll have a lot of fun.

Here are the links…

1c Matrix Aikido

1b Matrix Kung Fu

let me glance around,
I want to make sure nobody hears this,
If you order one course right now,
I’ll give you the second one free.

don’t fall over.
I know I never do this,
but I just passed my 73rd birthday
and I’m officially senile now.
until July 1,
two for one,
the Matrix Aikido and Matrix Kung Fu only.
Past July 1…and you missed out.

So that’s it, kids,
don’t forget to check out
Dale Gilliland’s great interview with me….

and have the best F-ing work out in the world!

Have you checked out my novel?
It’s on Amazon,
but you’ll probably have to look for it.
Amazon tends to hide the good stuff.

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