Anticipation, Part 3

The model of the circular process still lacks some details. I mentioned a special trigger and it lacks the response execution (Anticipation, Part 2). So, without further ado, an extended model of anticipation.




This model cannot be found in books. It is shortened and simplified for convenience reasons. In summary, it is far from perfect, but that’s not its goal. It helps to understand some of the underlying processes, especially why and when anticipation fails. Usually, you take anticipation for granted. It is part of everyone’s life, but fast movements in martial arts limit the possibility of its usage. I already mentioned in another blog entry (Comprehension instead of sure formula) that exactly these emerging problems make martial arts so interesting. If these processes, which are taken for granted, fail, you have to find other strategies to overcome these obstacles.

The model features an exit strategy from the circular process. Usually, in daily life and with sufficient time, you just go back to the circular process after the response execution. You should be familiar with the response selection and execution. They were part of the original reaction chain (Reaction chain with itemization). The new part is the comparison of the target stimulus and the actual stimulus. Your internal model decides which target stimulus fits to trigger the response execution. It continuously detects and identifies stimuli. If the two stimuli match (target and actual stimulus), the response execution will be started. Yes, I admit, this comparison should be part of the circular process, but this is the trade-off for a better visual depiction.

The “one-way street” description represents a special effect that commonly appears in fights. Inertia and perception limit the possibility of changing a movement already in action for the next few seconds (Girl runs into a wall). This especially applies to fast movements involving a certain momentum. The effect itself is not a real problem. It becomes a problem when the environment changes and your actual movement choice, derived from the internal model, is suddenly inappropriate. The change of the environment can be, for example, your opponent changing his posture or the position of his weapon.


Failure of anticipation

  • Decision to go right must be corrected to left








The foregoing sketch depicts a simplified version of a relatively complex figure from Schmidt and Lee. The initial movement, planned and started by anticipation, runs for some time. Then, a concurrent (!) deviation is detected and an adaption is necessary. The internal model wasn’t able to cope with this change (maybe due to missing causality). A new movement is selected and started. But, even though the deviation was detected, the original movement goes on for a certain time and “blocks” the adaption. The size of the “lag” depends on certain perception limits and mechanical dependencies. Inertia is just one of those components. This is the biggest disadvantage of anticipation. If it fails, it usually adds so much time to the response time that it is no longer worth using.

A side note: I usually try to a have a more general model. From my experience, it works much better. This way, you can apply and practice its´ usage in more familiar environments. The following blog entries provide many examples where and how anticipation is commonly used. Examples from martial arts will not be used directly at the beginning, but in later examples. This model assists you in figuring out appropriate moments for anticipation. It allows for a simple checklist that you can go through to examine whether anticipation can be used or not.

The post was published 4. July 2014 related to the category Miscellaneous and tagged with , .