How to Fight in the Dark

By: Al Case

[I:25:J]You enter your house, and the lights don't click on. You head for the garage and the circuit box, and you find out why the lights don't go on. A mugger flies through the darkness at you, swinging a club and screaming, you are down and out.
You think a fight will happen on a good surface with good lighting, everything all stand up. so you can see everything? You think the mugger is going to announce himself and tell you to take your best karate stance because he intends to stick a knife in you? You've been taking too many trips to Hollywood, my friend.
The fight will happen on slick gravel with no lights in an alley. The fight will happen on the slick grass in your backyard late at night. The fight is going to happen when you're not ready, and that mugger is going to pick terrain that gives him the best advantage.
Fighting in the dark is easy if you just get used to moving in the dark. One of the easiest exercises to prepare you, very simple and fun, is just to move around your house late at night. Turn the lights out and move around, and work on remembering where the furniture is.
Do your forms, shadow box, pretend there is somebody there, and soon you will have an intuitive feel for moving around in the darkness. This matter of developing intuition is what it is all about. You must know where everything is without having to rely on your eyes.
Practice moving around your backyard like a ninja, climbing a tree when it is dark, actually building up to rolls and gymnastics. You can also set up an obstacle course, ladders up to short jumps down, climbing over the house, learning how to navigate no matter how dark it gets. You can eventually have somebody else set up the obstacles, now your awareness is going to have to turn up as the game is going to turn unpredictable.
Finally, you must get friends to play with. Have the fellows you train with doing this with you, and start having wars. Two teams, both dressed in black, playing in the dark, remember to wear mouthpieces and practice relaxing when you fall.
In the end, it will be no big deal if a fight happens in the dark. You can have a lot of fun, and while becoming more aware and training yourself. You will have fun, be the ninja...and that poor mugger will run right into a box of fur and razor blades without knowing what hit him!

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Al Case has practiced martial arts for forty years. You can Sneak Up on him at Blinding Steel.

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