Space Martial Arts

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Cryopyre
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Space Martial Arts

Postby Cryopyre » Tue May 05, 2009 5:34 am UTC

Okay, so free-fall environment in space. I pose a simple cool question. How would martial arts evolve to fit this environment?

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby MiB24601 » Tue May 05, 2009 7:01 am UTC

Oh, there'd be tons of styles, with many different strengths and weaknesses for each style.

There would be styles based upon quick, high-energy impacts that propel you away from your opponent, pushing towards a solid surface that you can use to gain momentum for your next strike.

There would be styles based upon holds, simultaneously striking your opponent and keeping him close enough for you to quickly perform your next strike while you prevent him from striking you.

Nothing else comes to mind but there are tons more. However, it would also be important to make sure that each participant does a lot of working out to keep their bones in top shape as anyone who spent enough time in microgravity to master a space-martial art would probably have spent sufficient time for their bones to have substantially weakened.

Planetes has a really good episode involving the use of martial arts in 1/6th gravity rather than microgravity.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Tue May 05, 2009 7:04 am UTC

RNC and armbars work just as well with no gravity

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby idobox » Tue May 05, 2009 7:41 pm UTC

The relative distance between the two fighter will be very hard to control, and without friction with the ground, hits will be much weaker.
My guess is that holds will prevail. Even in earth based modern fighting techniques (krav maga, sambo, etc) armbars and equivalent techinques are very important.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby eternauta3k » Tue May 05, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:Oh, there'd be tons of styles, with many different strengths and weaknesses for each style.
And cross-training, with elements from many different martial arts. Thing is, what kind of series/story has ingravity in space in addition to martial arts? It feels like mixing different branches of fiction (boringly realistic sci-fi and the kind of story where people don't simply have gunfights).
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue May 05, 2009 10:25 pm UTC

Clearly, this is a sci-fi universe where a really huge ship was sent off for space colonization, before something Went Wrong. This city-ship's command structure fell apart and the navigation was damaged, so it continues its journey through the stars without a destination. The people aboard the ship were not equipped with weapons, and the ship has no artificial gravity. Control of the ship is Hobbesian--the man who can keep enough of the others under his will, runs things and doles out food from the automated systems, etc, as he wishes. To furnish the combat that determines these privileges, various martial arts have had to spring up. In space.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby jmorgan3 » Tue May 05, 2009 11:13 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Clearly, this is a sci-fi universe where a really huge ship was sent off for space colonization, before something Went Wrong. This city-ship's command structure fell apart and the navigation was damaged, so it continues its journey through the stars without a destination. The people aboard the ship were not equipped with weapons, and the ship has no artificial gravity. Control of the ship is Hobbesian--the man who can keep enough of the others under his will, runs things and doles out food from the automated systems, etc, as he wishes. To furnish the combat that determines these privileges, various martial arts have had to spring up. In space.

Incidentally, this is almost the exact plot of a Robert Heinlein novel.

I think a very important part of "unarmed combat" in a zero-g environment would be improvising weapons. A good slingshot could have a very long effective range. Sharp objects or makeshift tasers would be preferable in close combat, because heavy weapons would be awkward without gravity to anchor the fighter.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue May 05, 2009 11:46 pm UTC

Crap, Heinlein. Did he have space-fu?

And my story would be far more anarchic and less religious themes, because you don't need a theological discussion. It gets in the way of people beating each other up.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Interactive Civilian » Wed May 06, 2009 12:36 am UTC

Arthur C. Clarke touches on the idea of free-fall hand-to-hand combat in "Islands in the Sky", one of his early stories (which also possibly contains the first mention ever of geosynchronous communications satellites in a science fiction story).

In the story, the students on the space station would often fight/wrestle, in which the objective was to pin one's opponent any wall for so many seconds. The majority of the fighting involved grappling, and, if I recall correctly, actual striking and fist-fighting was rather ineffective, at least until one could get braced against a surface.

I don't have the book in front of me right now to read the descriptions he gave, but they seemed quite believable, and that a lot of the science fiction in that story has turned into science fact, I tend to trust his descriptions. ;)

Anyway, it's a good story. Check it out.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Wed May 06, 2009 12:59 am UTC

I think knees from the clinch could still work, with adjustment. Instead of getting force from the floor, you would have to get it from your opponent.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed May 06, 2009 3:10 am UTC

Interactive Civilian wrote:Arthur C. Clarke touches on the idea of free-fall hand-to-hand combat in "Islands in the Sky", one of his early stories (which also possibly contains the first mention ever of geosynchronous communications satellites in a science fiction story).

FYI, Clarke invented the concept of geosynchronous satellites in an article called "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" in 1945. He thought they'd need crews to change the vacuum tubes, though.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Tass » Wed May 06, 2009 9:01 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Interactive Civilian wrote:Arthur C. Clarke touches on the idea of free-fall hand-to-hand combat in "Islands in the Sky", one of his early stories (which also possibly contains the first mention ever of geosynchronous communications satellites in a science fiction story).

FYI, Clarke invented the concept of geosynchronous satellites in an article called "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" in 1945. He thought they'd need crews to change the vacuum tubes, though.


What? Vacuum tubes? In space?

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby thecommabandit » Wed May 06, 2009 10:33 am UTC

Well, it's sort of been said before but only in bits, but punching or kicking without holding something will do no good. It will just push you and the opponent apart and do very little damage. Holds will still work, especially ones designed to break arms (if you're trying to be lethal) or other bones. Grabbing the opponent's neck and then punching or kicking the shit out of them would work, or if you have a good handhold you might be able to get a good kick in. It would be very different to martial arts in a gravity field, that's to be sure.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed May 06, 2009 12:33 pm UTC

Tass wrote:What? Vacuum tubes? In space?

Well, there's no shortage of vacuum to "fill" them with. :)

Some stories from the Golden Age of sci-fi had circuits using vacuum "tubes" that weren't actually sealed. And I recall one short story where a giant CRT was used as a makeshift weapon.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Nath » Thu May 07, 2009 12:34 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:I think knees from the clinch could still work, with adjustment. Instead of getting force from the floor, you would have to get it from your opponent.

Maybe to some extent, but I don't think knees would work very well. I'm having a hard time visualizing a way to generate the right posture from which to knee someone while bracing against them.

Yeah, I think it would be mostly grappling. The dynamics would change somewhat; rather than pinning and then submitting, there would probably be a scramble to take the opponent's back or get them in your guard. Getting out of someone's guard would be quite tricky without something to brace against. Once you have someone in the right position, many existing submissions seem like they would work with minimal modification.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Cryopyre » Thu May 07, 2009 12:41 am UTC

If you had surfaces available, do you think you could throw someone (by any means, basically propelling them by pushing off of them) into them with enough force to injure?
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Charlie! » Thu May 07, 2009 12:52 am UTC

Cryopyre wrote:If you had surfaces available, do you think you could throw someone (by any means, basically propelling them by pushing off of them) into them with enough force to injure?

From zero starting velocity it would be tricky. You'd have to spin them counter to you and push them, trying to hit a critical area against the surface (head, or arms leading to a fractured wrist or collarbone). This would be hard if they were conscious, because they would probably be able to pull you as well. And then you'd be spinning and moving too, which is bad.

I'd definitely go for a martial art based on getting behind the enemy and then attacking from there. So akido mixed with ninjutsu, kinda.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Nath » Thu May 07, 2009 1:50 am UTC

Charlie! wrote:
Cryopyre wrote:If you had surfaces available, do you think you could throw someone (by any means, basically propelling them by pushing off of them) into them with enough force to injure?

From zero starting velocity it would be tricky. You'd have to spin them counter to you and push them, trying to hit a critical area against the surface (head, or arms leading to a fractured wrist or collarbone). This would be hard if they were conscious, because they would probably be able to pull you as well. And then you'd be spinning and moving too, which is bad.

I'd definitely go for a martial art based on getting behind the enemy and then attacking from there. So akido mixed with ninjutsu, kinda.

Aikido doesn't seem like it would translate well. It relies heavily on footwork and subtle weight shifts, neither of which would apply. You might be able to take certain insights from aikido and apply them to other martial arts, but the actual techniques would have to come mostly from the other art.

What's taught as "ninjutsu" is basically a hodgepodge of techniques that look cool. It's mostly irrelevant even with gravity.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Thu May 07, 2009 1:53 am UTC

Aikido and ninjitsu dont work with gravity, there is no reason to suppose they would work without it. Flawed training methodologies lead to flawed techniques.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Cryopyre » Thu May 07, 2009 2:28 am UTC

As I understood it, ninjitsu was boyscouts plus karate.

Heh.

Well... They way I see it martial arts in space will involve dextrous movements to catch your opponent off balance. Since every action will have an equal and opposite reaction, every movement you make will move you and your opponent in some way.

I'm curious how you can use this basic physical law to your advantage.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby cowsinthongs » Thu May 07, 2009 6:01 am UTC

\
Cryopyre wrote:If you had surfaces available, do you think you could throw someone (by any means, basically propelling them by pushing off of them) into them with enough force to injure?
\

I can't be the only one who immediately thought of Ender's Game right? They even had a part with human projectiles only they "froze" them, if I recall correctly.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby idobox » Thu May 07, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

About the reason people would need a martial art in space: I don't think using firearms (or whatever SF projectile weapon) in a spaceship is wise.
If your weapon is strong enough to punch through the walls, you risk depressurizing the ship, or provoking a leak of high pressure/caustic/hot/cold fluids.
If your weapon is NOT strong enough, the projectile might bounce, which seems dangerous in a confined environment.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby MiB24601 » Thu May 07, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

idobox wrote:About the reason people would need a martial art in space: I don't think using firearms (or whatever SF projectile weapon) in a spaceship is wise.
If your weapon is strong enough to punch through the walls, you risk depressurizing the ship, or provoking a leak of high pressure/caustic/hot/cold fluids.
If your weapon is NOT strong enough, the projectile might bounce, which seems dangerous in a confined environment.


There is ammunition specially designed for use in places where punching through a wall is even more life-threatening than a bullet should be (around nuclear reactors, on submarines, etc.). I've seen bullets that incorporate nylon in them so when the bullet hits something with a high enough density, the bullet disintegrates on impact. Granted, this can make the bullet less effective because if it hits enough bone, it'll disintegrate but it can pass through the squama temporalis (the thin bone of your temple) without a problem.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Technical Ben » Thu May 07, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

Could you just throw them into the middle of the room and watch them get stuck? Can you "swim" in air in micro gravity? Air resistance will slow them down, and once they cannot reach a wall to bounce off, they cannot return to you. :D
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby MiB24601 » Thu May 07, 2009 9:39 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Could you just throw them into the middle of the room and watch them get stuck? Can you "swim" in air in micro gravity?


You can swim in air in microgravity so the person won't really get stuck, although the person won't be able to build up a lot of momentum without pushing against something besides the air.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu May 07, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Interactive Civilian wrote:Arthur C. Clarke touches on the idea of free-fall hand-to-hand combat in "Islands in the Sky", one of his early stories (which also possibly contains the first mention ever of geosynchronous communications satellites in a science fiction story).

FYI, Clarke invented the concept of geosynchronous satellites in an article called "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" in 1945. He thought they'd need crews to change the vacuum tubes, though.


you probably wouldn't need to change them, just have a few redundant tubes that could be switched in, vacuum tubes only really get temperamental when they are powered up or down, and in a satellite they should be on constantly else you are wasting processing. the real problem would be feeding them the shit-ton of power they need then dissipating all that waste heat.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri May 08, 2009 12:01 am UTC

Or, you know, invent transistors. That makes it far easier.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Charlie! » Fri May 08, 2009 3:44 am UTC

Nath wrote:
Charlie! wrote:I'd definitely go for a martial art based on getting behind the enemy and then attacking from there. So akido mixed with ninjutsu, kinda.

Aikido doesn't seem like it would translate well. It relies heavily on footwork and subtle weight shifts, neither of which would apply. You might be able to take certain insights from aikido and apply them to other martial arts, but the actual techniques would have to come mostly from the other art.

What's taught as "ninjutsu" is basically a hodgepodge of techniques that look cool. It's mostly irrelevant even with gravity.

My fake martial art will need to steal from akido (and, y'know, other stuff, but you get the basic idea) to counter the holding-dependent techniques that I suspect will evolve. The countering will still work even if pins and locks mostly need gravity, because all you need to gain a huge advantage over someone in zero-g is control them long enough to get behind them (this means applying your focus to physically weaker areas - fingers rather than elbows - and applying the force as you accelerate relative to them, or touching their body in 3 places).

Ninjutsu would be there for fighting dirty (it may not be a unified martial art but it does love its fighting dirty), attacking sensitive points once you have a temporary advantage. Since no martial art exclusively does that, ninjutsu is what I decided to represent that component with. Wikipedia thinks maybe I should have said koshijutsu, but that would just be silly.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Interactive Civilian » Fri May 08, 2009 4:06 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Could you just throw them into the middle of the room and watch them get stuck?

How? The only way to do this would be to collide with them in the middle of a room in such a way that you stop them and propel yourself away. Not really a throw, unless you are both already moving, in which case your throw translates to increasing your velocity while stopping them. Either way, it would take an extreme amount of skill and luck, it seems to me.

Regardless, in the story I mentioned above ("Islands in the Sky"), they also would have races swimming across a room. It's slow, but seems possible. Of course, if you are stuck in the middle of a room, probably the quickest way to get unstuck would be to start throwing things away: shoes, articles of clothing, etc.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 08, 2009 4:06 am UTC

Charlie! wrote:
Nath wrote:
Charlie! wrote:I'd definitely go for a martial art based on getting behind the enemy and then attacking from there. So akido mixed with ninjutsu, kinda.

Aikido doesn't seem like it would translate well. It relies heavily on footwork and subtle weight shifts, neither of which would apply. You might be able to take certain insights from aikido and apply them to other martial arts, but the actual techniques would have to come mostly from the other art.

What's taught as "ninjutsu" is basically a hodgepodge of techniques that look cool. It's mostly irrelevant even with gravity.

My fake martial art will need to steal from akido (and, y'know, other stuff, but you get the basic idea) to counter the holding-dependent techniques that I suspect will evolve. The countering will still work even if pins and locks mostly need gravity, because all you need to gain a huge advantage over someone in zero-g is control them long enough to get behind them (this means applying your focus to physically weaker areas - fingers rather than elbows - and applying the force as you accelerate relative to them, or touching their body in 3 places).

Ninjutsu would be there for fighting dirty (it may not be a unified martial art but it does love its fighting dirty), attacking sensitive points once you have a temporary advantage. Since no martial art exclusively does that, ninjutsu is what I decided to represent that component with. Wikipedia thinks maybe I should have said koshijutsu, but that would just be silly.


Garbage in, garbage out.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby SpazzyMcGee » Fri May 08, 2009 4:31 am UTC

I'm a little surprised this hasn't been mentioned before, but breaking bones should be an important part of incapacitating another person in zero-g. If there is enough going on in space to warrant people fighting each other then they are likely a lot of people that are living in space long term which significantly effects bone density.

Every blow would would be dampened by the opposite reaction each persons body would undergo, being pushed apart loosing as much as half of the energy of every hit so powerful blows won't be easy. To actually take advantage of your enemies weakened bones one would need to have at least two points of contact. This would involve either holding the other person with both legs and an arm and hitting with the remaining arm's elbow or holding with both arms and hitting with the knee. I single successful blow would effectively end the fight.

Of course one would also have to keep in mind that one's own body would likely shave similarly weakened bones. A simple successful direct punch or kick could break your own arm or leg. The real skill would be in thinking before every attack, making sure one is in the proper position and orientation to hit their weaker bones with one's strongest, and hope they aren't a new arrival with freshly hardened bones.

If you are the calcium handicapped one then you are better off avoiding direct blows altogether and going for the joints.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby MiB24601 » Fri May 08, 2009 4:52 am UTC

SpazzyMcGee wrote:I'm a little surprised this hasn't been mentioned before, but breaking bones should be an important part of incapacitating another person in zero-g. If there is enough going on in space to warrant people fighting each other then they are likely a lot of people that are living in space long term which significantly effects bone density.


Weakened bones were mentioned earlier but with sufficient exercise, spaceflight osteopenia can be curtailed.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Cryopyre » Fri May 08, 2009 4:59 am UTC

Yeah, accounting for the rigors of training for a martial art those effects would probably be countered.

I talked with an engineer/black belt over Omegle, he suggested a move involving grabbing them laterally and inducing a powerful spin that could possibly dislocate joints or even break bones.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BoomFrog » Fri May 08, 2009 10:22 am UTC

Grappling would be important but a successful punch or kick also move you apart so if you have a longer reach it seems like a good technique. I imagine a punch would be delivered by making your body relatively ball like and then punch out forward and extending the rest of your body backwards at the same time. The force of both extensions would be delivered to your blow and then halved as you are each pushed apart equally. I'm sure you could deliver enough force to do some damage.
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Charlie! » Fri May 08, 2009 12:53 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Garbage in, garbage out.

Garbage in, garbage out.


Now you know how much you communicated.


Cryopyre wrote:I talked with an engineer/black belt over Omegle, he suggested a move involving grabbing them laterally and inducing a powerful spin that could possibly dislocate joints or even break bones.

The problem is then stopping yourself from experiencing an equal and opposite reaction. Maybe you could use leg weights creatively, although if you get to bring weights you probably just should have brought a knife. I guess you have contact with a surface and the enemy doesn't, then?
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 08, 2009 1:47 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Garbage in, garbage out.

Garbage in, garbage out.


Now you know how much you communicated.


Yes, it was very concise.

Making a martial art by combining ninjitsu and aikido is like trying to do physics by combining free-energy suppression with the belief that math is always wrong.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Cryopyre » Fri May 08, 2009 7:37 pm UTC

Cryopyre wrote:I talked with an engineer/black belt over Omegle, he suggested a move involving grabbing them laterally and inducing a powerful spin that could possibly dislocate joints or even break bones.

The problem is then stopping yourself from experiencing an equal and opposite reaction. Maybe you could use leg weights creatively, although if you get to bring weights you probably just should have brought a knife. I guess you have contact with a surface and the enemy doesn't, then?[/quote]

Couldn't you change your CM so the centripetal force affects you less
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Charlie! » Fri May 08, 2009 11:46 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Charlie! wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Garbage in, garbage out.

Garbage in, garbage out.


Now you know how much you communicated.


Yes, it was very concise.

Making a martial art by combining ninjitsu and aikido is like trying to do physics by combining free-energy suppression with the belief that math is always wrong.

Erm, so you think that both are useless and wrong? Okay then. *shrug*
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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 08, 2009 11:59 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:Erm, so you think that both are useless and wrong? Okay then. *shrug*


Yes. Their fundamental ideals are hopelessly flawed, and their training techniques involve no pressure testing, no combat, nothing that would ever reveal a flaw in their approach.

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Re: Space Martial Arts

Postby Link » Sat May 09, 2009 6:06 pm UTC

I don't know very much about martial arts (I have a yellow belt in judo, but I got that when I was like 9 - I don't remember a lot of it), but one thing I imagine as being somewhat effective is pushing off a wall with your legs so you fly towards your target, and then punch him in the face. You could use this as a secondary move, perhaps; grab someone, toss him away at low speed so he can't get to you until he hits something solid to propel himself again, and while he drifts away, kick off the wall and punch the sucker in the teeth! Of course, this will send them flying fast while you stop in mid-air, so it may be a good idea to grab hold of him right after the punch; otherwise, you get the "stuck in the middle" problem that was mentioned earlier.

In any case, I'd expect the one nearest to a wall to have the advantage, as that's pretty much the only way to get a decent amount of momentum and get the direction component pointing towards the target.


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