Deer In The Headlights

by Mark Hanley on 2019/01/14


In Kelvin Ho’s article “Opponents stop moving when I move” written Dec 24 2018; I was one of the opponent’s who was not moving when he came in. I agree with his statement ‘there was no feedback/trigger’. I felt like a deer in the headlights when he came in. The definition says:

“Someone caught in a state of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. Likened to the tendency of deer to freeze in place in front of an oncoming vehicle”.

I saw Kelvin come in but my reactions were non-existent to the attack. I simply froze. Reaction time or response time refers to the amount of time that takes place between when we perceive something to when we respond to it. It is the ability to detect, process, and respond to a stimulus. Reaction time depends on various factors:

1) Perception: Seeing, hearing, or feeling a stimulus with certainty is essential. The more complex the stimulus, the more information is processed, the longer this process will take.

2) Processing: In order to have good reaction time, it’s necessary to be focused and understand the information well. (process the stimulus through experience). If you have to respond to a known stimulus that you’ve responded to before, the reaction time will be lower.

3 ) Response: Motor agility is necessary in order to be able to act and have good response time. Some factors that may negatively affect the detection of the stimulus are fatigue, attention (being sleepy).

Based on the above I can only say that my all experiences have been, you sense someone move you detect it and move/defend accordingly. When Kelvin deliberately moved without matching, I detected it and blocked it accordingly. When he executed without moving, I was caught like a Deer in the headlights. No matter how many times we did it there was no feedback/trigger for me to respond to. I never perceived him.


About Mark Hanley

I have done Aikido, Karate and Wig Chun. I have practised tai chi for 7 years and have now started the practical method with Kelvin Ho as my instructor

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vincent den Hengst January 16, 2019 at 3:02 am

Nice feedback Mark Hanley on Kelvin Ho’s article. I had the experience with Brennan Toh two years ago in Prague, that I knew there was no way to catch him. It was as if he could make attacks and mine were blocked. Even though I tried with all might to not move, did not stare in the headlights like a deer and apply PM principles to outmanouvre him. He was/is just more advanced. It felt he was longer, not catchable, could walk his posture through me.


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