In one way the phrase ''Action will always beat reaction' is basically true, but only if you aim the comment at untrained people. Those of you who regularly read my blog or have bought my book will know that a reaction is a natural instinct, the flinch or freeze is a natural reaction.
A response is a cognitive action and so for the trained individual the comment is untrue and could be changed along the lines of 'Action will not always beat a response'
Lets take a car crash or any other vehicle accident as our first example.
What is the first 'Reaction' of a driver on seeing an accident happen directly in front of their vehicle or for that matter hitting a patch of oil or black ice?
Yep they violently hit the brakes, a natural reaction. Hitting the brakes is an instinctive reaction to what is occurring and is what makes matters worse, its what causes pile ups, loss of control of the vehicle or sends a vehicle into a skid.
What is the response from a driver trained to respond to these types of incidents?
A choice of actions that can keep you out of harms way. Applying the breaks firmly and smoothly, not an instant motion, similar to gently pressing your foot down onto a grape without squashing it. Gently turning the wheel while smoothly breaking helps avoid collisions, if skidding turning into the skid, looking where you want to go and not where your car is pointing will turn your hands in the same direction and make the car come out of the skid. These techniques though need to be practiced and response time also plays its part here, from seeing to acting obviously means that the earlier you see an action the better chance you will have of choosing the correct response.
For the second example lets look at a boxer and an untrained street fighter.
'Action will always beat reaction' JAB = DUCK, HOOK = ROLL, CROSS = LEAN
Hmmm not going to well for 'Action' at the moment.and again our response and not getting hit is governed by our response time.
If the phrase 'Action will always beat reaction' were really true then every punch would connect. you would not be able to avoid a collision and your cognitive choices would be of no use, we would be able to rely on our instinctive process to keep us safe. How wrong that all is.
For those new to the blog and also as a reminder to regular readers, QUESTION everything you are being taught. As students we rely on our instructors to point us towards the correct path and furnish us with the skills to walk that path as safely as possible and as instructors we must know the truth about what we are passing on in relation to combat to those wanting to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Are you questioning what you are being told or do you accept that what you are being told is the truth?