Te the Parent
Te takes a rather parental approach to assailants, such that someone attacking out of anger (an adult having a tantrum), should ideally be controlled and calmed without serious damage (this obviously depends on both skill and threat levels). Te has ‘weapon-gathering’ methods, and treats weapons as ‘needing to be confiscated for safe-keeping’ (this is not to say that we have a lackadaisical approach to weapons – they must always be treated with the utmost respect). If a disarmed attacker refuses to take the hint, and attempts to re-attack somehow then more decisive action may be needed, or if the situation is initially more perilous because a group is involved, then acquired weapons may be turned against further aggressors.
In this photo the defender is restraining an assailant who attacked him with a knife (a rubber one for safety), with a wrist control, whilst ‘massaging’ the butt of the confiscated knife into a pressure-point under the jaw as further compulsion to stop fighting.
However, one of the over-arching principles of Te is the preservation of life. One cannot talk to someone, and potentially turn a foe into an friend, if you’ve just killed or maimed them – and karma might come calling in the form of their relatives, not to mention the law,… Hence, although Te has a ‘kassen-te‘ (battle-hand) mode, complete with potentially maiming or lethally upgraded responses, restraint techniques are far more appropriate in most situations.
This ethos fits in very well with our modern sensibilities, ethics, and the ‘duty of care’ laws. Whereas the fear-based machismo and brutality of many martial arts is ultimately too callous and destructive, and in the long-term self-destructive as well.
Here the defender is pulling the attacker backwards and down using the same points in the side of the neck whilst, at the same time, restraining the arm (or potentially the knife hand). At this point all he has to do is drop down onto one knee and the attacker will be safely taken to the floor where he can be turned over and restrained.
As martial artists, we should aspire to higher ideals and seek to nurture people whenever possible and heal our society. One meaning of the word ‘martial’ is ‘to bring peace’, which is the intention behind the idea of ‘martial law’.