Reaction time is the principle that to react and solve a problem timely in Hand to Hand fighting confrontation, you need to have sufficient amount of time before you have lost your train of thought due to physical injury or mental distraction. If you focus your vision at the center of your vision field, you can observe what is happening in a 360 degrees field of vision with horizontal and vertical axis in front of you.
Your field of vision should be centered in the direction of your opponent’s center of body as he is getting close to you. Before that it should be centered to look at the whole picture of possible threats approaching you in case of multiple opponents.
The amount of time you have to react is dependent on the perception you receive from your brain that is triggered by a fast threatening movement noticed in your field of vision, or any other sense you have got from your environment.
If you train yourself to be aware of any possible danger in existing and foreign environment, you would not have a problem resulting from lack of awareness contributing to lesser reaction time. Preemptive strike is always desirable but must be based on a certain logical process to ensure you are in a mode of self defense and not attacking nice people.
The problem is that if you got caught by surprise, meaning you have a very little reaction time left before you would be in a state of Knocked out or severe injury or just too distracted from pain fear or other sensations from another human that is executing speedy slaps kicks or knife slashes on your body or close to your body.
Your instinctive motion would be to block or get out of a choke hold or get out of an attempt to take you out of balance and throw you to the ground before you would attempt to strike or kick, no matter how many years of punching and kicking you have under your belt.
This means that if you are in a position for a preemptive strike whether before you got caught in a choke hold, or an attempt to be taken off balance and be thrown on the ground, or after you escaped of a choke hold or restored your balance, you might get caught in the middle of your opponent’s attack that will trigger instinctive defense reaction from your body.
Simple math is that the one who initiates the most efficient attack will be leading while the other would be a step behind.
If the opponent is even further away from you when you noticed his attack, , you might even be able to use your leg for a preemptive kick or a defensive block kick. This also means that if you let the attacker get within a fist reach to your face without having to lunge forward and close a gap between you and him, then if you did not execute a preemptive strike with a lunge before he moved close to you, you are at his mercy.
He now can execute a preemptive strike whenever he feels like it, and you will get caught by surprise with lack of reaction time to block his punch, since even though you have noticed a quick motion , by the time your brain processes it, his hand is landing with full speed and force into your face.
So generally in fighting you have few options: You can lunge quickly and strike your opponent trying not to project your attack leaving very little reaction time for your opponent, or use an instinctive defense and preemptive strikes whenever the opponent started his motion from afar into your direction.
Of course you use timing to move your hand leg or body when the opponent is in the optimal distance from you so that he already started to attack and would not have enough reaction time to change his move and block your counter attack.
General advice for the aforementioned is that The rear foot's heel in a frontal stance must be pointed backward and the toes forward pointing straight forward towards the opponent o facilitate maximum lunge preemptive strike whether with a hand or with the front leg kick.
While you might practice series of efficient attack combinations with your legs and hands in reality you are learning how to be the aggressor to become an effective training partner to your class mates.
Unless you are being discovered in an enemy field without a weapon, and need to execute a series of continuous attacks to kill opponents on the battlefield with your bare hands and booted feet, in self defense scenarios you will probably react to a threat.
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