I made the mistake of watching a video clip today that I kinda knew was going to make me crazy even before I pressed play.
I lasted through to the second time the student actually managed to unbalance the teacher by mistake and got yelled at for 'moving when I didn't tell you to move'. (The first time the teacher covered up by saying he had been afraid to throw the student in case he damaged some furniture, and then grabbed the students arms and reset him into the appropriate attacking stance again.)
But moving past the fact that the teacher is an ass ....
"Throw a strike at me. Anything you like"
Student throws a strike which the teacher intercepts and applies a technique.
Again, effortlessly intercepts or evades and applies another technique.
Over and over.
Audience is mesmerized by the skill and ease with which the attacker is dispatched, again and again.
Of course, the teacher knows when the strike will come, that part is arranged by the command. They also know what strike will be thrown, because they have gesticulated to a target or 2 as they say the words - subliminally influencing the student.
Then, they take a stance that usually negates some of the potential options, say by standing right lead at a certain angle and range from the student.
The student does not want to screw up in front of their teacher so the attack comes at a predictable and steady speed (even if it is faster, or done with power) when and where the teacher knows it will come.
Pretty much the perfect set up, no?
I honestly can't bear to watch these displays. They have little to do with learning or teaching someone how to fight in my opinion, and are mainly just photo opportunities for those that want to keep their status above that of their students.
Please don't misunderstand me, it's often not that their techniques are 'wrong' or bad, or that their understanding of geometry and physiology is poor. These folks are mostly well practiced and smooth, it's just that the whole thing is wrong.
"IF they do this, I can do that"
OF COURSE you can!!
IF they do this .... And IF they do it when you see it coming, and IF you are ready for it. Sure!
It's incredibly easy to avoid being hit by a ball someone is throwing at your head if you know when they are going to throw it, but playing Dodgeball is another thing altogether. Play with skilled people, and suddenly you know how hard it can be to avoid taking hits.
What's the difference? One is knowing what is going to happen next and when. The other is not knowing what is going to happen next, or when ... or if.
Technical body manipulation, control, and target acquisition are of course part and parcel of the whole, but they are truly meaningless if you never have an opportunity to use them.