English English 日本語 日本語

An Educated Guess About “Neutralization”

Why does the phenomenon, “neutralization of an attacker ” occur? Here are two scientific experiments about neutralization. One is an experiment conducted by Benjamin Libet (1916 – 2007).

The transmission of nerve impulse does not occur instantly. It takes a fraction of a second for sensory information via the five sense receptors to reach the brain. That is a small time difference between the occurrence of a phenomenon and its recognition in the brain.

A defender could initiate neutralization by taking advantage of this foggy time difference unrecognized by an attacker. Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest Japanese swordsman of the 16th century explained his secret with the same line of thought. ( * Note 1)

The other experiment was carried out by Yasue Kunio (1951 – ). In Mr Yasue’s experiment, he focused on the activation of brain waves in both the defenderer and the attacker, by measuring the respective brain waves of both opponents during an attack. When a defender successfully collapses an attacker, the right brain of the defender is activated strongly for several seconds or longer. During that same time, the attacker’s cerebrum is suddenly degraded for a comparatively short period of time. Consequently, the attacker may have difficulty in controlling his mind and/or body during that moment.

This collapsed condition of the attacker’s mental state, is actually what is being referred to as “neutralization”. Technically, a neutralization must be caused by an attacker’s cerebral dysfunction, according to Mr Yasue’s experimental hypothesis. ( * Note 2)

However, this reasoning does not clearly explain why the causal relationship occurs between the two opponents’ respective brains. Nonetheless, the result of this experiment is consistent with our experience in performing the various Karate forms of Kata. For this reason, the title of my book on martial arts Karate published in 2016 is Right Brain Karate.

Reference Notes

( * Note 1) Roughly speaking, it takes about 0.2 to 0.5 seconds for the brain to process input from the five senses. Or for it to send an order to the limbs to move. This delay of sensory signals occurs in both directions.

Therefore, the following phenomenon takes place: An attacker moves a fist or a foot impulsively when making a thrust or kick. That attacking-brain-mind-set commands its body to move approximately 0.2 – 0.5 seconds AFTER its move has already begun. First the limbs move; THEN the brain commands it.

Since this delay of signals may not be widely understood, a typical attacker focus only on the presumed (but flawed) timing of his movements. He naturally presumes that his brain is initiating his movements, when in fact the reverse of that sequence is what actually happens. This delay is so quick that a typical attacker is unaware of its real-time effect, leaving him momentarily confused and caught off-guard in the instantaneous face of his opponent’s defensive, disarming, synchronous harmony.

( * Note 2) In this experiment, EEG (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) and fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), were both utilized in measuring brain waves of both attacker and defender.

This scenario involves a “defender” lying passively, face-up, on a comfortable floor surface with one arm extended perpendicular to his body. An “attacker” of roughly equal size then positions himself however he must, using both of his arms/hands, to pin the defender’s arm to the floor as firmly and securely as possible, leveraging the entire weight of his body in order to fully restrict the “defender’s” arm movement.

After this scenario is fully set up and the “attacker” is actively engaged in securely pinning the “defender’s” arm, a bystander then randomly signals the “defender” to move. Instantly, a well-trained “defender” is able to move his arm, usually toppling or “neutralizing” the “attacker’s aggression”, despite the “attacker’s” best efforts to restrict that movement.

The “defender’s” brain waves had registered strongly in that instant while the “attacker’s” brain waves had registered weakly.

[Cited from Brain and Sword, Secret of Swordsmanship and Aiki From the Viewpoint of Psychophysics by Kunio Yasue]

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email


真義館 総本部直轄 東京道場は、武術・活人空手専門の道場です。
詳しくは大坪英臣道場長著『心を使う 右脳の空手』(風雲舎)』

クラス 一般男女
火曜日 19:00 〜 21:00 
木曜日 19:00 〜 21:00 
金曜日 13:00 〜 15:00 
土曜日 19:00 〜 20:30 オンライン稽古

場所 港区赤坂1-4-4 冨士野ビル2階