Conversation about any topic begins from clarified meaning. When people come together to discuss phenomena, its efficacy is based upon the shared understanding of the terms used.
Nomenclature and naming conventions exist for the purpose of meaning transferrence – to replicate a token of meaning from one mind into another, via the medium of words. Words are constructed to encapsulate meaning, and to represent it. They are useful to identify an item of phenomena, to make it tangible. Yet the purpose of the name is merely to identify the thing itself. Therefore the name is only important as the medium of meaning.
An accurate and constructive conversation, or transmission of fight-data from one person to another thus hinges on the use of language.
To compare multiple systems with one another, they must first be ‘normalised’ and ‘reconciled’, so that such a comparison may be made on an even basis.
The “Eskirmological Method” means to study fighting in its entirety and never to leave anything out of the study. It also means to not come to the science with any pre-conceived ideas and attempt to match the facts to prove the ideas. This is pseudo-science. We must therefore be objective, detached and indifferent to our own agenda of what fighting is (or should be) and to use logic to deduce & reason. Those which to do not follow the scientific method, or cannot be proven with evidence/proof, reason or logic are considered to be Theory.
The scientific method lays the foundation for future progression in Eskirmological research as well as outlining my own personal method of exploring the subject I call Eskirmology. This could be used as a guide by anyone attempting to study fighting in a scientific way. It should be remembered that it is not a recipe, but requires intelligence, imagination & creativity. According to traditional descriptions of the scientific method as having developed in the early renaissance up to the present day, it is described as comprising of “Observation, Description, Logical Progression (Deductive reasoning), Conclusion and Falsifiability“.
Observation and description
Observation and description are a two parts of the basis of the scientific method. Observing the world around us and outlining what we see is the first stage of verification of such. If others recognise the same to be true, then this is the truth as it can be experienced by humans. In this way, we must observe the Causes & identify key starting points for study. Establish clear observations & measurements of naturally occurring reality. This is the stage known as Induction. Observations must be made as objectively as possible. For example, say that we are witnesses to a fight – a subjective view might record the observation as;
“the attacker threw a boxing cross, so the defender made the Judo throw tomoe nage.”
Such a statement makes several subjective inductions rather than objective ones. The observer mentioned that the “attacker” made an action – which in itself seems clear. But the statement does not tell us who initiated the fight, nor who is the aggressor in this confrontation. We could easily also deduce that the “attacker” is rather someone acting in self-defence against a gratuitous aggressor. This is the first element of subjectivist observation. The second in this statement is the use of the observer’s knowledge of martial arts – “a boxing cross” and a “Judo throw” tells us very little about the mechanics of the combat, nor the particular techniques. Now let us consider a more “scientific” and objective observation;
“there were two constituents in the act of fighting. The first (whom we may call Constituent A) instigated the fight be throwing his rear fist in a rectilinear trajectory, hitting the other person (Constituent B) in the jaw. As the receiver of this strike, Constituent B instantly reacted to grasp A’s lapels and rolled himself backwards, pulling his opponent to the floor, placing his foot on his chest and pushing with his lef to throw his opponent over his head.”
The advantage of the second description, although being much longer makes no such subjective description of attacker or defender and neither does it require any listener any knowledge of martial arts techniques. Thus, the latter is an objective description, whereas the former is a Subjective one. As a scientific pursuit, we are essentially attempting to avoid any kind of subjectivity. Objective observation means that a description formed will be understood by all people. If I were to describe a fight as “Uke performs Gyaku Zuki toward Tori, who counters with a Mae Geri” is a highly subjective statement, and certainly not one which is scientific. The statement requires that a listener understand what is meant by the terms “Uke”, “Gyaku zuki”, “Tori” and “Mae Geri”; in effect it only means something to someone who understands the terminology of the Japanese martial arts. Moreover, if I were to say that the Korean man defended himself with a Momtong Jireugi and then applied a son mok sul, then the listener also requires to know something about the Korean terminology used in Korean arts. However, an Eskirmologist would not use such subjective terms; he is not looking to remain obscure, but to make his meaning as explicit to anyone as is possible. A description is useless to an eskirmologist if it cannot be understood by anyone.
From Observation and objective description, we may begin to construct theories and principles based upon direct experience. However, the validity of any theory is in its ability to predict and interpret outcomes of other situations. In accordance with intellectual questioning, various hypotheses must be considered. This must follow a logical line of thinking from the observations right up to the solutions. If the method works against instinctive fighting as well as can be seen in other martial arts, this is verification of its truth.
At every stage of the reasoning, right up to the conclusion, sober judgement must be maintained in order to ensure the conclusion is true. For that reason the Eskirmologist must constantly question the conclusions and be his own critic. The theories do not define you as a person & therefore should not be viewed as “my theory”. Pre-empt any critical opinions in order to verify the truth. Accept the constructive critique of others – this will lead to the truth.
From Specific Statements to Universal Statements and back again
When we watch a fighter perform techniques, we are watching a particular case of techniques based upon that person’s physiology. The length of his arms, his stamina, his speed etc all come into play in that particular technique. However, we are not looking to analyse his technique, since we know that it is not his specific qualities which define the technique; i.e. a hook punch, or an uppercut will be the same technique performed by any human being. Therefore, what we are interested in is to combine all specific occasions into a theory which might explain all occurrences of the hook punch. What is the principle behind the hook punch? Is it a principle at work behind all types of punching? The questions may only be answered by raising the observation to a deduction.
A theory (or any conceptual/theoretical system of thought in any martial art) is based upon taking Specific Statements about the world and using them to create Universal Statements which might go beyond the particular incidence of a technique and describe the principles at work behind all Specific statements.
Let us consider some specific statements here, in the hope that they might lead us to Universal statements which describe the basis of all those Technical specific occurrences. For example;
A Lead Straight Punch (Singular Statement)
The leading fist moves in a rectilinear trajectory to exert force at high impulse upon the opponent’s jaw.
A Rear Hook Punch (Singular Statement)
The rear fist moves in a circumlinear trajectory causing the body to torque at the waist, to exert high impulse towards the opponent’s Solar Plexus.
An “Eagle Claw” (Ying Jow) Grasp (Singular Statement)
The lead hand moves in a rectilinear trajectory towards the opponent’s lead Affector. When it gains contact with the Affector, it exerts low impulse force by means of grasping hard.
From each of these mentioned examples of actual singular statements, we may deduce the core set of rules at the basis of all of them and therefore create a Universal statement we may use to predict any singular statement which may occur.
These kinds of universals appear in science quite regularly. Most of the common scientific equations are designed upon the guidelines of a universal statement designed to be replaced with the specific incidences which are known. For example, the scientific equation Force = Mass x Acceleration (F = MA) is a universal statement which, should the specific quantities be known they will replace these universals. In other words, these universal qualities may be replaced with specific quantities so that the equation F = MA looks more like 0.5kg x 5 m/s/s = 2.5 N.
This means that the Eskirmologist may describe the use of an Affector as an attacking tool of an organism and replace it with its specific incidence, albeit a dog’s mouth, crab’s claws or human arms etc. Later, I shall demonstrate how Eskirmology is largely composed and developed with this concept in mind. This allows us, as scientists of fighting, to apply what we know about the event to any fighters albeit animals or humans. This is essentially what separates Eskirmology from other approaches.