Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Arm Strikes




 I have had (numerous) debates in regards to the use of strikes being made upon an aggressor's arm(s) (and to their effectiveness and/or lack thereof). The typical argument made against them, is that the individual has done “whatever” training that included being repeatedly struck upon their arm's and “they” are no longer vulnerable to those (types of) strikes. They are implying that their training (whatever that may of been) has made them “immune” to any effects from those types of strikes.
Through that claim, they are then implying that they have negated any/all subliminal reactions made by their arm's (a pretty bold claim). “If” they have managed to destroy (all of) the nerve endings in their arms, then (maybe) this could be an accurate claim.
Personally, I've never encountered anyone for which this was an accurate claim (but I've only been practicing the arts for 50 years). I believe that their understanding of what's being attempted (with those types of strikes) is different than what's (actually) being attempted with their use.
Typically, the assumption being made is that the (struck) arm will not be able to continue being utilized. Though accurate for some, there is more often a hesitation for continued use (of the struck arm). It is additionally assumed that there are no additional motions being implemented (by the defender) in conjunction with the utilized strike being made upon the limb.
The “simplest” of these (arm) strikes, is delivered upon the bicep (of the striking arm). Although a common “straight” punch delivered to the bicep will effect most individual's, one made across the bicep has rarely failed to garner an effective result. The majority of doubter's assume that a strike upon the forearm is what is (always) being referred to. Oyata utilized those manner of strikes on a (very) regular basis as well. His strikes were never performed at the angle that the receiver (assumed) them to be done at (thus they were unable to “brace for/absorb” the delivered strike).
Whether the individual (who has had their arm struck) believes it (or not), they will then utilize that arm differently than prior to it's being struck. Those that argue against striking the arm, are inclined to focus on the fact that they are “still” able to use the (struck) arm. Which is (typically) accurate, they just won't be using as effectively as prior to it's being struck (whether for striking or grabbing with it).
Detractor's are (too) focused on the fact that the struck arm isn't “hanging loosely at their side” (as if that's the only way it can be disabled).
By creating that condition, the student has changed how the aggressor can/will implement their assault (regardless of how subtle that change may be). It will effect what (and how) continued motions will be implemented. A singular impact is (rarely) something that “defeats” an aggressor (from continuing), but multiple strikes of this manor will cause an aggressor to “rethink” their (original) strategy for accomplishing their goal.
The defender's strategy should not be “how do I defeat the aggressor”, but “how do I prevent them from being able to continue”. Student's are inclined to focus (only) on how to defeat an aggressor (instead of being able to prevent being injured by one). Unless the student can prevent being injured, being able to defeat them becomes moot. With training, those goals can be combined but must (at least initially) be prioritized.
Implementing strikes upon an aggressor's arm's is a (more easily) achieved goal than focusing on causing sufficient (over-all) injury to an aggressor. It isn't the “one-punch” defeat that most student's (at least initially) are seeking, but it is a more realistic/practical defensive approach that (most) student's can (more easily) achieve.
Using this strategy one need never move (closer) into the range  necessary to impact the aggressor's head/body (which is how most people assume an aggressor can, or has to be defeated). If/when the defender moves close enough to strike the aggressor, that means they are close enough to be hit by them as well.
By focusing on striking the aggressor's arm's, the student can remain beyond the aggressor's range to be struck (or grabbed) by them. Although it is common for people to “deny” that grab's occur (and thus use it as an excuse for “tuite” not being practical) this tactic creates those probabilities. The student will create those situations from remaining beyond the aggressor's (striking) range. 






Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tuite Variations




During the typical practice of Tuite, students will be inclined to go through the most basic manner of performing those motions. The way that the technique is initially shown is intended to allow the student to review the those manners of performing the applications. The most commonly critiqued of those motions (techniques) are the direct wrist grabs. These are commonly practiced with the two student's standing "face to face" with one of the student's grabbing the other's wrist (in one of several manners). These techniques are commonly referred to as "stupid people" techniques (for numerous obvious reason's). They should be viewed as being "learning" if not training motions (just as standing in a "horse" stance and performing middle punches is, basically pointless other than allowing the individual to focus on the performed motion). The motion would rarely (if ever) be utilized or even occur in this manner, but is done for "learning/training" purposes. During a confrontation, It is more common for students to ignore an opponent "grabbing" their wrist (at least until/unless it interferes with their ability to strike). 
This occurs because the student is (either) reaching for, or (additionally) attempting to strike the uke (when the "grab" is made). In these situations, the Uke is (more likely) grabbing the student's hand/arm to prevent that student's ability to strike or grab with it or in order to create the opening to strike the Tori. It can also occur when the Uke is going to strike the Tori (with their "free" hand) and want to control the Tori's arm (to prevent its use in "blocking/parrying" the Uke's striking hand). The student must learn to recognize and utilize those opportunities if/when they occur. The "basic" motion (commonly being practiced) is for the student to understand the basic "mechanic's" of the performed action. There are basically 4 manner's that a wrist can be "grabbed" (by the Uke's Right or Left hand, and either "high" or "Low", "Top" or Bottom"). That (grabbed) arm may be motioned to another position, but the student's ability to respond to it (apply a countering motion) should be easily achieved (obviously, through the student's practice of having done so). Also (often) being ignored, is the student's ability to determine (if not direct) how the Uke will attempt their response (to the Tori's arm motioning towards them). When that motion is performed as a strike, the Uke will most commonly attempt to "Block/Parry" that motion. If the student reaches towards the Uke (with an open hand, as if attempting to grab them), they will most often grab that hand/arm ("monkey see, monkey do"). This premise goes back to one's ability to "guide/direct" the confrontation. For those student's who don't possess great amounts of (physical) strength, trading strikes back and forth is a losing tactic. Guiding a striking aggressor into grabbing the student is typically achieved by providing the opportunity for that aggressor to grab the student. This can (often) be achieved by the aforementioned manner of reaching (with an open-hand) towards the aggressor. If/when the aggressor does grab that hand/arm, those (previously considered "stupid people") techniques, then become practical applications to utilize in one's defensive strategy. I typically attempt to guide the majority of confrontations into a situation where I can (effectively) utilize Tuite (types of) manipulations. My own reasoning (for doing so), is typical because I am not physically strong enough to force the majority of individual's into the positions that I know will be most beneficial to myself (and will additionally allow me to position them into a position of submission). Once that positioning is achieved, if that aggressor refuses to cease their aggressive attempts, I can additionally escalate (typically by a simple joint dislocation). It is very common for individuals to claim that the use of joint manipulations (I.E. Tuite) is impractical for use during a (typical) physical confrontation. That belief is (only) based upon that person's experience/knowledge (or awareness) of/for the utilization of those (types of) techniques. They are under the belief that grabs don't occur during a striking assault. That is only accurate if/when the defender doesn't implement them (and/or cause their occurrence). One need only watch the numerous video examples of "fights" on the Internet, and one will see how often those individual's (that are punching each other) additionally grab their opponent. Although they will typically "let go" (of their opponent), rarely do they ever utilize those grabs against their opponent. This is more the result of training than of practicality. They are more obsessed with delivering a strike, than with (actually) ending the confrontation. People will "Do" as they have Trained. If one doesn't train to utilize those motions, they won't use them (and myopically believe that the way they are doing things, is the only way to do them). This is typical of the "aggressor" mindset. Unlike the manner that many defensive methodologies are taught, ours (initially) focuses on defensive actions being one's primary objective (rather than how one can inflict injury upon an aggressor). The purpose of training is improving one's understanding of what is being practiced. Rather than only achieving the desired response, the objective is to understand what motions, actions/reactions can make achieving the desired response not occur. And once those actions are recognized, how can they be avoided or negated. Too much focus is (only) being made upon the intended response (rather than those that can additionally occur). Only focusing on inflicting damage, is a questionable objective as well, and will result in varying degrees of effectiveness (or even in one's ability to do so). It is more productive to focus on achieving responses that are more likely to occur (by anyone). Although individual reactions will vary, there are reactions that are common among (nearly) all individual's regardless of size, strength or flexibility. If one only focuses on performing an action (and how that action is done), they are only practicing 1/2 of the particular motion/action. This is equivalent to only punching a bag (or a makiwara), you'll get very good at doing so, but this is not the same as punching a person. That (type of) strike will achieve varying results dependent upon how and where you utilize it on an opponent (as well as "if" you are able to do so). It is more important to understand the reactions achieved by striking those vulnerable locations than it is to focus one's ability to deliver a more forceful impact. The development of that increased level of force can/will come with time, but (from a defensive perspective) it is more important to identify those locations that are vulnerable and that don't depend on one's ability to deliver excessive amounts of force in achieving that objective. This is what's necessary to develop a "lifetime" defensive art (rather than one that is only practical or applicable, if/when one is young, strong and healthy). The manner that a student will utilize the instructed motions will be dependent upon that individual's physical abilities and limitations. If a student is expected to perform a demonstrated motion in (only) a certain way, it will likely never be utilized by that student. Although motions are initially shown to be performed in a particular manner, there must be an allowance for individual variation. If that variation includes negative aspects, those aspects should be eliminated (thus, the purpose of practice). The objective of practicing a defensive art is achieving the ability to prevent receiving injury. An ability to deliver injury is secondary (at best). One's goal is to not become injured when having to defend one's self. Whether an aggressor is injured (while protecting one's self) should not be (or become) one's main objective from training. Once you are able to prevent (your own) injury, the ability to inflict injury (serious or not) is a more easily achieved goal. When defending oneself, the ability to flow from one defensive action to another is imperative to that ability. Every defensive action/motion should be practiced with that motion failing (at different stages of its enactment). Every stage (of a techniques enactment) should be practiced with that motion's failure (whether by the tori or by a "countering" action being used by the uke). Doing so will force the student to formulate a manner to correct the situation. Although corrections (some times) are able to correct those situations, one should be able to abandon a particular technique (allowing them to transition to another application).


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Book Videos





We have been inundated with requests for a "Video" release of our 6 Principles of Tuite book since it's release. Fulfilling that request is more involved (?) than would initially be thought. The release of the 6 Principles book was a compromise (on our part). That book consisted of (less than) a third of the material that we had on the subject. Most people assume that was done in regards to the number of included techniques. The included techniques were only included to provide a reference for the principles that were discussed in the (provided) "Principles" descriptions. What was provided in that book, was the bare minimum of description for those (6) principles. What was originally written (for each of those principles) consisted of several chapters in regards to each of those principles. The "Feed-Back" that we received (from reader's of the book) was most typically in regards to when the "next" book was going to be released (?). To Us, this demonstrated the fact that readers did not recognize the importance of understanding those principles (rather than only learning the provided "techniques"). In our opinion, the techniques (themselves) are irrelevant. If/when one understands the principles, the performance of (any) technique becomes secondary (if not a comparatively simplistic matter). As we stated (in the released book), the purpose of that book is to provide a standard of practice and a research guide to spur (further) individual research (in regards to the provided, as well as any desired technique/application).
"If" reader's had used the book (in that manner), the questions asked of us would have been very different (than those that we have received). Because of that response (and how the "market" is presently orientated), we have (for the time being) chosen to release individual "videos" that will include those principles being (further) explained and demonstrated (in regards to the numerous techniques exampled within the book).
Each video will include demonstrations and explanations for a number of the techniques that are included in the 6 Principles book. Although the videos will not (each) have all of the information that is provided in the book, they will include supplemental information that is individually applicable/demonstrated within those techniques. As was (originally) intended with the book, the purpose of this material is the student's understanding of the provided principles. These video releases will expand upon aspects of those principles that are only referenced to in the original book's release. Although many of those explanations have been provided ("On-line"), a more thorough explanation for those principles will be provided within these videos. There is additionally a (growing) demand for example videos for Oyata's "Weapon" kata and applications. We are compiling a collection of those as well, and their release will be provided as we are able to compile them. The provide bunkai will NOT consist of the "typically seen" (clickity-clack) use of those weapons. These will include the practice of, and the uses and manipulations (for those weapons) that are not typically seen (or practiced). They are intended to spur further research by those persons who acquire them. All of our video releases will be provided/released on "wallet" usb cards that can be plugged into and viewed/played on a computer/notebook (as well as some phones and video units/TV's). We believe these to be more practical than "DVD" releases.




Friday, January 25, 2019

Subliminal Distraction







 The practice of performing a "Fake" is a common practice, it is basically a visual or physical distraction (from something else that is occurring at the same time). This is on-par with a similar tactic, the Subliminal Distraction. The majority of distractions that people do (or attempt) are pretty obvious (if not blatant). Those attempts can include a "fake-out" punch, a pulled-up knee, or even the Right/Left combination. These are the "blatant/obvious" attempts to distract. Less obvious, are those movements that are only "sensed" (as they occur). By themselves they accomplish nothing (or very little). Their greatest use is for generating peripheral attention. The person recognizes that the motion is not a threat, but it has distracted them (even if only slightly). The natural response made in regards to them, is if it posses no direct threat, then it warrants no attention?
Oyata would do similar actions when we were reviewing Tuite application techniques. It was often shown when he had someone who was being resistive (to the application of the motion). He would show (several times) that the person was able to "resist" the application of the technique. He would then do it again, and the person would fall to the ground. The only "difference" (in application) was that he (Taika) would press his foot against the student's foot (slightly before performing the technique). It wasn't "magic", or any type of "ki" application, he simply distracted the person's attention while performing the action. The (overwhelming) majority of the time, onlooker's (or even the individual themselves) couldn't figure out how he was doing it.
One of the (numerous) things that irritated Oyata the most (at least in regards to the practice of a defensive art's study), was that student's would (continually) attempt to "muscle" the shown applications in order to make them "work". Although he would (repeatedly) show various movements, and explain the principles of how and why they worked, (inevitably) student's would resort (or at least attempt) to using force to make (at least their versions of the) techniques "work".
Oyata always stated that regardless of the physical size (or strength) of either the aggressor or the student, the techniques that he taught to us would work ("if" they were being performed correctly). Strength was never the "primary" factor for the success of any of his techniques. It was always the minor factor's that accounted for the technique's applicability.
To assist in achieving their (the techniques) success, while applying a given technique Oyata would regularly include supplementary motions and actions. The more subtle those motions, the better (in his opinion). Being "obvious" was never one of his virtues. The use of subliminal distractions was done throughout his application of the Tuite technique's. These motions would include varied finger pressures and the directional application of pressure that would distract the uke from more relevant motions.
This instruction included refining the student's knowledge of body mechanic's that defined how (and why) a person would be inclined to move (in response to performed actions). Though often being aware of those motions (as well as their causes), they (the motions) are typically ignored by most individual's. These concepts included reactionary retreat, spatial awareness, proprioception as well as subliminal distraction.
These factor's are more commonly being ignored by the more "modern" student. Those student's are (now) obsessed with performing technique's that emphasize that what "they" (rather than their adversary) feel, should be strong/powerful (I.E. "power-based").
It's only when there is a complete transfer of force/momentum that the generated energy/power is being transfered into the targeted subject. More commonly, many (modern) practitioner's concern themselves with extraneous motions that add nothing to their attempted technique's. Many of the demonstrated motions waste time with extraineous motions that add nothing to the defensive goal.
The inclusion of those subliminal distractions don't make a technique "look" any different, but they can improve the chances for it's success.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

In Regards to Weapon's Training





 The instruction and use of a "weapon" (that is being taught in a defensive art's class) is commonly assumed to be in regards to some manner of "striking " (with that particular weapon). The belief (held by most students) is that this instruction is (only) in regards to the use of that weapon during a defensive confrontation. The reality is, that the student will rarely (if ever) have that weapon when they are involved in a defensive confrontation. The inclusion of a "weapon" being used (even within a defensive situation) will often "legally" make that individual the "aggressor" in a lawsuit (either by the individual or by the authorities). Although this is (normally) recognized by the student, the assumption is made that they can use "other" objects in lieu of the actual weapon (type) itself. The biggest "problem" that I have with this (in regards to a student's "training"), is that students will limit their defensive motions to those that only utilize the (make-shift) weapon (itself). The practice of a "weapon" is (or should be), for the utilization of/for the instructed motions being used without the weapon. Every weapon emulates particular unarmed (limb) motions, being performed by the student (during a defensive situation). Weapon's kata should be examined (just as "open-hand" kata are) in regards to the limb motions being performed. The biggest "difference" (in regards to the use of those motions) is in regards to the distance of performing that motion/application. Each weapon stressed different manners of (limb) motion and manipulation. The practice of the Sai stressed wrist and finger motions, the Bo emphasized single and combined arm motion, etc. The purpose for learning those weapons kata was not (necessarily) for the "use" of those weapon's for defensive purposes (though that could be considered an additional "tool" for the student to have). Everything taught always goes back to "open/empty hand" defensive application(s). Weapon's kata was often (if not commonly) one of the first things taught to a student (by the "old" Okinawan instructor's). This was the case for Oyata with his own instruction (he was initially taught the use of the "Bo"). This wasn't (necessarily) done to provide the student with a means of defense (prior to being shown the "open-hand" applications). The instruction of a "weapon", provided the student with a reference for how they should perform the (instructed) "open-hand" motions. Oyata would like-wise (often) use the hand/arm motion's performed with a particular weapon, to example how (or why) an (equally particular) open-hand motion should be performed. His (Oyata's) instruction of weapon's, rarely included (extensive) "application's" of/for that weapon (during a defensive situation). That being said, his own "favorite" weapon was the "Bo". He utilized it in the same manner that his "open-hand" motions/techniques were performed. During our own student's "kyu-rank" instruction, we require that the student learn 5 (different) weapon's kata (their choice). The "use" of those (instructed) weapon's is not emphasized, but the motions performed during their practice is (intended) to emphasize particular (Open-hand) movements. Student's recognize that their practice of the Bokken (a heavy wooden sword) is used to develop the student's grip, and to strengthen the forearm muscles. The practice done with those instructed weapons is intended to develop additional motion reinforcement for each of the unarmed application movements as well. It is my own belief that a student learning a weapon (initially) will provide that student with a reference base for their unarmed defensive motion instruction (I.E. "Open/Empty Hand"). That instruction provides the "basis" for motions that can be (more easily) referenced upon. The simplest of those weapons to learn would be the "Bo" or "Jo" (in my opinion). The chances of having one of these items available (for defensive use) in the event of an assault are minimal (at best). But the weapon's "use" is not the reason for learning the manipulation of/for that weapon. The weapon (itself) is only a tool. Just as (many) people stress that their use of the makiwara is (only) as a tool, the practice of a weapon's use (manipulation & application) illustrates numerous "basic" (unarmed) limb motions and applications. One of those basic concepts is in regards to the practitioner's use of their hand/wrist. The manipulation of a "weapon" will have the student (consistently) modifying their hold on that weapon (from being an Open to a Closed wrap around that weapon). The hand is (technically) never (tightly) "closed" (as seen with a commonly practiced "punch"). It will always have that "weapon" within it (thus, keeping the hand "open"). This is (basic) kinesthetics, an open hand makes motions done by the arm stronger and faster. Closing the finger's tightly, only increases the relative "density" of the hand. By doing so, the arm will move slower (as the muscles utilized to propel that arm, are then being used to "tighten" the hand, instead of motioning the arm/hand forward). This is why (most) defensive system's teach the student to only "flex/tighten" the hand (slightly) prior to its impact. The "point of contact/impact" (that is commonly taught) is usually the fore-knuckles of the striking hand. So, why should the student be concerned with the finger's (of that striking hand) being (additionally) tight as well? Frankly, there is no reason for that to be done. The "logic" behind this practice (of one's tightening of the hand for the performance of a striking "punch") is only based upon the obsession with ("felt") power (by the student). Doing so add's nothing to the strikes performance. Tightly wrapping the finger's (of a hand that is striking with the knuckles of that hand) adds nothing to that strikes performance. It is the alignment of the back of the hand (with that arm's forearm, I.E. the wrist of that hand) that is of (much) greater importance (to the ability of striking more effectively). Bracing the back of the hand and forearm will (naturally) brace the wrist (compare open-hand "knuckle push-up's" with those done with a "fist"). Those push-up's done using a "fist" require all of the forearm muscles to be tight throughout the motion (and the wrist remaining straight is of less importance). A "tight" fist provides no benefit to the performance of a strike, or in regards to the student's training. Within the practice of using a weapon, the student will recognize (hopefully) that their arm is constantly "flexing" and "relaxing" (just as occurs during a defensive situation). The use of a weapon will (albeit, subconsciously) demonstrate that they will be using that same premise (flexing and relaxing) while performing the instructed (unarmed) motions as well. It should be recognized that every "open-hand" motion is replicated within the practice of the various "Weapons" kata. Part of the student's study is to identify those motions. If this is not done (by the student), they are dismissing a MAJOR function/purpose for that weapon's (entire reasoning and purpose for) instruction.

Timing during a confrontation





 There is a (minor) debate regarding the application of multiple strikes being applied simultaneously (by an individual). This action is commonly observed being done in several Kata. When queried in regards to this action's interpretation/meaning, Oyata would state that the motions should not be done simultaneously. This is done so as to achieve a greater response/effect being achieved from the performance of those actions. Though seemingly a rather simplistic response, it has numerous implications in equally numerous technique applications (beyond the practiced kata examples). The dominant effect from this "variation" in timing, is to increase the effects that will be achieved from those (and other similar) applied actions. Essentially, Oyata was stating that we should be considering the differences in achieved effects that resulted from the variances in timing, for multiple action/strikes being applied simultaneously. This was not limited to two "hand/arm" motions being applied together, but (should) factor the inclusion (and timing) of a leg strike as well (in conjunction with any arm applications being utilized). It's commonly "new" student's who attempt to make any combined (simultaneous) actions, all occur at the same time. Aside from being nearly impossible to achieve, it is (usually) a pointless endeavor to attempt (much less use). This action was exampled in numerous technique applications that involved striking as well as manipulation techniques. The first (practiced) example of this concept was commonly encountered during the application of a Tuite technique being applied. Being aware of the "2-hand's and 1 leg" (concept) being used in conjunction, "new" student's would attempt to perform those 3 actions simultaneously. In practice, it's (quickly) discovered that varying the timing of those (3) actions archives a greater reaction (from the Uke). Varying the inclusion of a "kick" (whether prior to, during, or slightly following) in conjunction with the application of the technique will achieve varying reactions from the Uke (in regards to the technique being utilized). That timing will additionally effect which (if not what) additional motions can be performed. That timing was often based on the Uke's reaction tendencies. These motions are done in anticipation of, or in response to a technique's application. The simplest example is that of a subject "bracing" in anticipation of an impending impact. This occurs subconsciously (beyond the conscious control of the individual). By spacing the timing of an impact (in regards to the expectation of that impact), the defensive benefits (of that bracing action) are diminished, if not negated. This is often exampled within the application of a Tuite technique. When one attempts a "push-catch" technique's application incorrectly (I.E. the "catch" is achieved, but the Uke is able to "brace-up" and resist its use), the student is shown to (rapidly) increase their grip, then open/relax their fingers (thus relaxing their grip), the Uke will (likewise) relax their "counter-grip" (thereby allowing the Tori then successfully re-apply the technique). This is an example of timing variation that is done outside of the expected norm. The majority of performed reactions can be expected (to varying degrees), and can then be utilized within one's technique application. These types of applications are often done with the full awareness of the recipient. An obvious example of this is a strike delivered to an aggressor's striking arm (upon their bicep muscle). It is virtually impossible to (successfully) "flex" the bicep (while delivering a strike with that arm) in anticipation of being impacted. A (direct) bicep strike, is one that achieves greater results when that muscle is relaxed (as it proportionately is while delivering a strike with that arm). any directional application of that strike (that may be included) can be debated in regards to the arm's position (in relation to the timing of that impact). Suffice to say those factors are (more often than not) less relevant than is commonly argued. The point of this entire rant is that there are numerous factors that can (and should) be considered while the student is reviewing the application of (whichever) technique during their study. Though each of those factors should be explored, student's can easily become distracted with (only) 1 or 2 of those factors. When only attempted individually, the majority of those actions will only achieve a minimal effect.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"Move"



 I believe the biggest reason for the practice of "kata" (in general), is to train the student to move. What I typically see, is student's Obsessing over the (their) accumulation of (hand/arm) "technique's". When observing student's (whether my own or other's) what I will typically see, is the student "standing in place" and attempting to perform those actions. The practice of/for kata motion requires that the student move into various positions (while performing the motions replicated in those kata). Motion is performed to either deliver or receive "momentum" (whether being delivered by the student, or by their opponent). It must be understood that momentum, should not be (or become) an attribute that is (solely) generated and delivered by an individual "Limb" (I.E. the "arm") alone. Every performed action should include the (entire) "body's" motion. When a "Rotation" is seen in the performance of a kata, the student should research the reason's behind that rotation's inclusion (in the kata). Those "reason's" are (often) explained as being done in regards to multiple assailant's (sigh,..). Believing so is "fine" (I suppose), but I am inclined to believe that there are more practical reasons for those motions inclusion (in regards to "1 on 1" confrontations). The Rotation (of one's body) is done in order to redirect or emphasize one's ability to apply momentum to a particular action/application. Beginning student's (regularly) attempt to only utilize their "arm" (muscles) to perform a particular application. For those student's who possess greater levels of (physical) "strength", that may be believed to be a viable choice. For the rest of us, it's an impractical choice (or belief). Though an individual may be able to generate 80+ lbs. of delivered momentum/energy (using their arm), I can deliver 185+ lbs. of momentum/energy using my entire body (and with far less effort on my part). This can only be achieved through the inclusion of "footwork", and thereby including one's body motion with those actions. Beginning students are inclined to view "footwork", as being (only) a means by which one is able to reposition their "arm's" (to perform whatever motion is required). Numerous systems (attempt) to emphasize that a "rotation" creates (only) the manner of/for a required motion. Rotation generates "2" directions of momentum (both with and against a particular direction). During that movement (a rotation) moves 1/2 of one's body weight one direction, and the other 1/2 in the opposite direction. There is no "circular" energy/momentum being created by this action. "Baseball" pitcher's do not "spin" around in a circle prior to throwing the ball. Their pitching arm only travels in a forward direction. The commonly performed "practice" of causing one's "hip's" to motion "forward and back" (the infamous "Shimmy") while performing a strike, adds NOTHING to a delivered (arm) strike/motion. The motions performed during kata should demonstrate any/all required motion (during the delivery/execution of a defensive motion). Student's are often inclined to include (their own) separate/additional motions. These should not be required, (or even necessary) if the intended action is being performed correctly. Oyata's training (in regards to techniques) from his (two) instructor's was initiated through the instruction of the "Bo". The motions contained within that practice demonstrated (numerous) concepts and movements that were later demonstrated for use with defensive responses to attempted assaults. His initial practice of the Bo was demonstrated to illustrate numerous unarmed defensive actions. The concept was that all instructed motions were related. "Motion" was the key to that commonality, both defensively and in regards to the application of the instructed technique's. Unless (or until) a student can recognize (and incorporate) those commonalities, their defensive training will suffer from a severe "disconnect".


Friday, December 7, 2018

Definition and the Use of Motion, within the Oyata Te System




Oyata's methodology (regardless of the time-period for that instruction) has always emphasized (entire) "body" motion/use during the application of the instructed motions. That instruction varied/changed over the course of his (years of) instruction. This came about because Oyata was constantly striving to improve the instruction that he provided to us (his students). Many of the concepts that he taught, were provided with no definitive "labels" that distinguished those principles. Many of them encompassed several (sub) subjects. One of the major ones, we have "labeled" as Force Efficiency.
Force Efficiency is the term that we use in our instruction of the (physical) application of the instructed motions utilized within the Oyata Te system. Oyata did not use this term, it is the phrase that we coined to define the manner that he (Oyata) taught and utilized to convey that concept. The term is used to define the efficient use of the physical actions that are taught to our students (via the instruction that was received from Oyata). Our use of the word “Force” should not be confused with Forceful or to imply “strength” (within the use of those applications).
The average student is initially inclined to believe that having a greater amount of (physical) “strength” will assure that students use of the instructed motions will (always) prove to be the most effective (if not efficient). Of the (multiple) factors that determine the “effectiveness” of an application's use, the amount of applied “power/force” is considered to be the least important (the correct “placement” of that application being significantly more important).
When one is determining what factors are the most universally available, physical strength is only one of, if not the lowest/least important on that list. If/when a technique isdependent upon that “one” factor (I.E. “power”), it is (then) only applicable by a limited number of individual's (male or female). That use is additionally dependent upon it being greater than the opponent's ability to resist/absorb that application.
The student's knowledge of an opponent's natural "weak spots" (not necessarily "Pressure Points") is necessary for the use of those applications. That awareness/knowledge is taught through the instruction of the student's use  >of their own body (within the instructed motions).
Force Efficiency is the initially instructed "awareness" of those strengths (and vulnerability's). Though (initially) taught as an efficient means of technique delivery/use (by the student), it additionally exemplify's an opponent's vulnerabilities. If/when involved in a physical conflict with an opponent who is larger/stronger, the student must have the ability/knowledge that allows them to circumvent those advantages. This awareness is exampled in every aspect of the instructed positions/motions.
When people (generally) speak of Oyata's technique application, they (commonly) will refer (if not “obsess”) to his use of a “neck-strike/knockout”. This technique (though being very impressive) was often difficult (if not "impractical"to utilize in a (more "common") altercation. If that technique were as "effective/practical" (as people generally imply) why didn't Oyata spend more (if not the majority) of his classes being devoted to his student's perfecting it? (obviously) Because it wasn't
(either “easy” nor practical ). Depending on the circumstances, it more often resulted in a “stun” (or temporary imbalance of an opponent (thus becoming a glorified “atemi” strike, which was what Oyata considered it to be. Our use of the term "Force Efficiency" is used to exemplify the student's most efficient use of their body and appendage motion in the application/use of the instructed positions, motions and techniques (whether defensively or offensively). That instruction begins with the student learning/understanding what motions are natural and what motions are not. That includes the subliminal motions that occur in response to expected and/or unexpected actions (performed by the student or Uke during an altercation). The student's awareness of those responses allows them (those responses) to be utilized within the student's application of (the instructed) technique. <
When one examines what constitutes “natural” motion, it commonly consists of forward motion (by the bodies limbs. Those motions that are “circular” (or rearward) are not considered to be as “practical/effective” for use (as those that are delivered
directly forward). (in general) Circular motions require “room” to develop momentum. It is also difficult to (efficiently) include the user's body-weight with those types of strikes.
Oyata Te demonstrates the positioning of the student's hip's and shoulders during those application movements. In general, the hip's and the shoulder's remain (consistently) "square" (to one another) during any motion/movement. When that alignment is altered, the student will be (and "feel") off-balance. I have recently seen (several) “examples” of individual's performing (their own) versions of Oyata's method for performing the Kata (the versions that he taught). What's commonly exampled, is a quickly performed example, that includes (numerous) incorrectly “added” motions (as well as motions that were removed by him as well). Oyata did include additional motions, but they were intended to be (very) subtle (and barely recognized/noticed).
One of the most obvious (of Oyata's changes), was the elimination of (any) "shoulder-wag" (during the performance of the kata). The reasons for doing so are multiple, but its inclusion is an obvious indication of not having been part of his later (I.E. the last 10-15 years of his life's) instruction. The examples I've seen may have been (at one time) "valid", but they should be (more accurately) considered as being "basic" (and certainly not "advanced", as those posters have claimed). Oyata's later years of instruction focused on the student's use/positioning of their body (whether during technique or kata) motion. He felt that this was of higher/greater importance than (individual) “technique” use or variance. Those motions held greater importance than the learning of different or additional technique motions. Once those motions were understood by the student, techniques would become more obvious (via the kata motion) to the student.
I've received numerous inquiries as to why I don't post "video's" of new/different technique applications. If my readers refer to our Oyata Te page, my associate has included (numerous) videos that example (much) of what I have addressed here (technique motion/application, etc.). Frankly, "feeding" the Internet's "need " video examples is not my goal (here).

Those that (actually) are interested in what/how we teach Oyata's methodology should visit/attend our classes to get a more descriptive (and physical) “exampling” for what/how we teach his methodology. Our Classes are (very) relaxed and we are very open to explaining the “how” and “why” of Taika's teachings (as well as those teachings that he didn't agree with).


Random Practice Methods




A recent comment/question (by a reader) on a previous blog, raised the question of “research”, and the methods we utilize to perform our own. Oyata had provided us with several methods (that he utilized himself) to do so. The “examples” commonly seen being done (on the Internet) usually consist of people attempting to use the motions in the same (if not exact) manner as those motions are performed within the kata. Oyata had been shown that those motions are (generally) individual motions (even if not representing "individual" techniques), and they were intended to be combined with "other" motions (demonstrated within the same and other kata). Oyata's explanation was that the (individual) motions, were more like "letters" that needed to be combined with other/additional letters, in order to form words (more complete techniques/applications). Although certain kata may be assembled to emphasize a particular theme, the individual motions could serve multiple uses, depending on what and how they were combined with other kata motions (whether from the same or different kata).
One of those methods utilized “pictures” for each of the motions contained within the instructed kata. This amounts to having a “deck” of picture/cards that includes the motions from each of the kata. The deck is shuffled, then a number of (random) individual cards (motions) are drawn from the deck (1, 2, 3, 5?). Those cards represent individual techniques/applications and defensive motions, so those motions are (at least attempted to be) combined in some way to illustrate a defensive response to the predetermined manner of assault. It doesn't always “work” (in a practical manner), but it does force the student to formulate how the motions “could” be utilized. It can also illustrate additional uses/interpretations for those motions that had not been previously considered.
The use of the cards additionally gets the student “away” from the (common) belief that the motions are (always, if not only) used in the manner depicted within the particular kata.
Taika used this method (using Kodak "pictures"), we now have the convenience of the internet, and can order a "deck of cards" with the pictures (that are provided) in as many "decks" as necessary. A large number of the "basic" motions are repeated within the various kata, so it isn't (really) necessary to print an entire deck for each individual kata. I believe that our own “main” deck of “kata motion” cards, has 197 cards. That “deck” represents the motions contained within the 12 foundational kata (taught to our students) within the Oyata Te system.
The most common use is done by randomly drawing a set number of cards and the student attempts to develop a defensive action/response using those cards. The cards can also be specified (to 1 or 2 particular cards). The student could also include randomly selected additional cards as well (the possibilities are seemingly endless).
The “goal” is to get the student to begin thinking of the motions as all (individually) being important. Student's (often) get “pigeon-holed” into believing that a single (or group) of kata motions (only) has a “specific” (if not individual) purpose.
If one were to “imagine” being the original creator of a “kata”, Why? Would you create that “kata” to defend against (only) a particular set of “aggression” methods? It makes more sense, to provide motions that would have multiple uses/applications (for a variety of aggressive acts). It's been noted (by multiple sources) that many of the early instructors, only taught a single or only a few kata to their students. When those students would study with another (different) instructor, they would often learn the kata that those instructor's taught to their students (often to learn similar if not the same defensive actions). Oyata felt that learning the (relatively small number of) kata that he included within his system was more than sufficient for a (diligent) student to learn/understand the demonstrated motions (which is the purpose of the kata). Understanding “how” to utilize those motions is achieved through the student's continued practice/research of those motions.
Once a student has learned a "set" of kata (regardless of the number of kata learned), they should have the ability (through the demonstrated actions contained within those kata) to develop/practice the instructed techniques (as well as adapt those motions) to a variety of aggressive actions.
It should be noted, that numerous individual's (and/or “newly” developed “systems”) have created their own set of “kata”. Every example of these (types of) “kata”, that I have observed, have been lame attempts (at replicating existing kata and/or motion combinations). I could understand (maybe) developing an “exercise” (to learn/practice a particular motion), but none (that I have seen) provide the varying application of instructed motion that the “traditional” kata provide. Kata, do not provide the (actual) responsive “technique” instruction/application. They provide examples of defensive technique motion. An instructor is (at least initially) required to provide examples for the use of those motions. Student's should avoid fostering the “belief” that a (any) particular kata motion can/will only represent an individual technique/response (to a particular aggressive action). That motion will often be used in additional defensive actions, but its use may vary slightly (within those defensive actions). What is demonstrated within the kata, is (often) a "basic" example for that motion. The kata provides the principles of/for that motion (not necessarily the exact application of/for that motion). Individual circumstances will dictate the (actual) use (for that motion), but the kata provides the physical execution/use of that motion.
I've seen numerous people (attempt to) demonstrate that the kata includes the (initial) actions of the aggressor, this makes no sense (to myself). There would be no purpose to have included the motions of an aggressor (within a “training” routine, like a “kata”). Those motions would already be known/recognized by the student (and often are what the student-initiated their attendance of the class to learn a "defense" in regards to).
The “traditional” kata were (originally) taught in “secret” to a select few students. Their purpose was to convey principles of/for particular technique application, not (necessarily) specific techniques. If that were the case, it would be much simpler to (simply) have a "list" of techniques/motions (that the student would be required to learn). When the student gets away from the concept that the motions are (individual) techniques (and in fact represent “concepts/principles”), the ability to recognize techniques (that utilize those motions) becomes more readily apparent.

Included motion



 The concept of there being (only) “hard” and/or “soft” styles is (to myself) limiting. In general, these "types" are distinguished by the system's inclusion of strikes (or not) and the inclusion of some 
degree of "mental" reflection and/or practice (commonly seen in the form of "meditation"). Learning 
the delivery of "strikes" is the more simplistic of the two. It Is the easier of the two for student's to 
understand, so it is what is initially learned and practiced by the average (beginning) student. Grab's 
and parrying (or deflection) motion defenses, are often reserved to the more experienced student. 
Any, if not all styles of defense utilize both of these concepts, they only vary in the degree of their 
use of either (between the different “systems”).

The ability to effectively utilize "strikes" is commonly dependent upon the (physical) size/strength of the student. The application of manipulation (types of) techniques (should) have no such limitations imposed upon their use. Oyata's methodology for the use of either of these applications, was dependent upon the student using their entire body (within that use). The use of the “fist” was more often limited to the use of the first two knuckles (of the utilized hand). Emphasis was made upon the wrist (of the striking hand). It was only necessary that the wrist remains straight (to prevent “buckling”) on impact with that forward strike. The “fingers” remained loose/relaxed. As long as the wrist maintains a straight alignment (with the forearm), the wrist would be unlikely to “buckle”.
Being that the intent/use of the fist was rarely intended to be (mainly) dependent upon the amount of delivered force/momentum, it was the placement of that strike that was of greater concern. The amount of force delivered, only added to that strikes use/effect.
The “punch” that Oyata used, was shown/demonstrated to include a lateral “milking” action (of the striking wrist) upon impact. This was shown to create additional reactions (by the Uke) with its inclusion. Those reactions are demonstrated whether the strike is delivered with force, or not.
The use/availability of greater amounts of force are obviously beneficial, but should not be considered to be mandatory (for the effectiveness of an application/technique). The idea is to create a specific reaction, that can be (further) utilized with additional motions to create the desired response.
Efficient application of technique is achieved by entire body application of the movement being utilized. This is done by using the concept of force efficiency. When combined with correct technique application (regardless of the amount of physical strength utilized), The technique will be applied in the most efficient manner.
Force Efficiency equates to correct (body/frame) alignment being applied with the attempted application. That alignment includes specific directions (of motion and alignment) to be used within the delivery of the attempted application. Any additional motion (being included by the student), is commonly unneeded and/or equates to being wasted motion.
Though being (at least to ourselves) a simple (if not obvious) use of (body) motion, we have had student's who have argued otherwise (commonly by presenting arguments that they “feel” more powerful when including those actions). The fact that they “feel” those motions, should example the uselessness of those motions. When a motion achieves the (ideal) transfer of the generated energy/momentum, the person should not “feel” anything. This is commonly exampled when a student states that they “felt” nothing during the performance of an action (although the results of that action, resulted in an obvious transfer of mass and momentum). If/when the motion is felt (by the user), it is not being transferred (into the target/subject). The most common example of this is when students include a "hip" shimmy. The motion achieves nothing, but the student "feels" it (and therefore "thinks" that it has made the motion more powerful).
There are motions that can increase the amount of delivered mass/energy. Those motions are performed in (often subtle) ways that can be achieved without the inclusion of forced "additional" motion. One of the simplest is the continued (relaxed) inclusion of a limb joint's extension. This is most easily exampled with the use of a forearm strike. As the forearm makes contact (with the intended/target location), the (striking) student's wrist is relaxed. This allows the (striking) wrist to then wrap around the targeted (Uke's) arm. Doing so will increase the amount of delivered momentum/energy into the impacted object (I.E. the Uke's arm). By the Tori maintaining a “straight” wrist (during this action), they are countering, if not decreasing the amount of delivered momentum. It was the inclusion of these types of simple changes/actions, that make Oyata's methodology more productive (if not “effective”).