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Monday, August 15, 2016

Force Efficiency









 I continually receive inquiry's into our use of the term "Force Efficiency".


  Force efficiency refers to the efficient application of limb, body motion and weight use during a technique application. Though individual limb motion is often addressed, every motion involved with that application needs to be utilized is shown as being an entire body motion. Because of how many of those factors are being utilized, students are inclined to focus (only) on the individual limb's use (alone) during their practice of those motions.

  Regardless of whether it is a strike, a push, a kick or a grab, the student should utilize the entire body's weight and motion (within a controlled perimeter) in the performance of the individual action. This implies that the student provides the least amount of vulnerability while doing so. Those motions should also be performed as naturally as possible. Those motions that create (or mandate) exaggerated motion, are often being performed incorrectly (and thereby creating vulnerabilities within those actions).

  A large percentage of Force Efficiency is (simply) performing those motions in the most natural manner possible. Though (seemingly) being a simple rule, beginning students will (often) exaggerate a limb's (or the torso's) motion/use. This is commonly done in order to utilize (extra?) momentum/force with the motion (thereby “muscling” the technique/application).

  To properly utilize those factors, the student must first understand the (natural) range-of-motion (R.O.M.) for both the body, and for the individual limbs. A large percentage of a students tendency to exaggerate a motion, comes from not using their entire body for/with the intended action.

When delivering a “strike” (or a grab, or a push), one rarely utilizes only the involved limb to do so. Body weight is an integral piece of the efficient delivery/use of that action. To do so in any “other” manner, is to imply the use of one's muscular strength (alone). This can/will “work”, as long as the opponent is smaller/weaker (and/or less knowledgeable) than one's self. It is also less efficient.

  Although the arm's can (obviously) motion beyond the width of the shoulders, this should not imply that any action performed beyond that range can be done effectively. Those actions that are done to the areas to either side (beyond the width of the shoulders) will be noticeably weaker. This includes those motions that are performed in those “outward” directions as well.

  This is most readily recognized with the manner that the “outside block” is commonly taught (by numerous systems). When performed as a sideways swing the motion is no better (or effective) than a (standard) “parry”. The arm is simply not intended (nor designed) to be utilized in that manner.

  The arm (via the elbow/shoulder) is intended to (either) “flex” or “extend”. Though it can (obviously) rotate far enough to do so, doing so is neither the most efficient, nor effective use of that limb (in regards to the forearm as an impactive technique application).

To convey that point, Oyata would state that an “inside” and “outside” forearm strike (“block”) were performed using the same arm motion (with no differences in the arm's motion between the two). The difference, was in the user's body motion.

By making that motion a (forward) extension, one needed to only rotate the torso/body accordingly (to become either inside/outside). The (basic) motion remained the same regardless. This (further) illustrated the entire body application of the instructed (in this case, the arm) motion.

  Force Efficiency does not only imply delivered force/momentum, it (additionally) refers to one's own stability when delivering that force/momentum. Though one can obviously rotate their shoulder forward to achieve another “couple” of inches of striking range, most realize that the potential for being placed off-balance is (usually) too great to risk doing so (although that doesn't stop numerous people from doing so anyhow).

  The Instruction of Force Efficiency can (initially) be summarized via shoulder/hip alignment. If/when these are not in alignment (rotationally), the body is being placed “off-balance” (and is more susceptible to external influence) as well as being less effective at the delivery of one's own force/momentum.

  Oyata repeatedly taught (and reminded) us to “study our own body” when seeking answers to our (numerous) questions. In this case, Until you understand how (and why) your own body maintains stability, it will be more difficult (for you) to recognize how to destabilize an opponent's body.

  Force efficiency refers to the efficient application of limb, body motion and weight use during a technique application. Though individual limb motion is often addressed, every motion involved with that application needs to be utilized as being an entire body motion. Because of how many of those techniques are (often) being taught, students are inclined to (only) focus on the individual limb's use (alone) during their practice of those motions.

  Regardless of whether it is a strike, a push, a kick or a grab, the student should utilize the entire body's weight (within a controlled perimeter) in the performance of the individual action. This implies the least vulnerability (to “countering” techniques) being attempted while doing so. Those motions should also be performed as naturally as possible. Those motions that create (or mandate) exaggerated motion, are often being performed incorrectly (and are thereby creating vulnerabilities within those uses).

  The use of Force Efficiency is (simply) performing those motions in the most natural manner. Though (seemingly) being a simple rule, beginning students will (often) exaggerate a limb's (or the torso's) motion/use. This is commonly done in order to utilize (extra?) momentum/force with the motion.

  To properly utilize those (natural) factors, the student must first understand the (natural) range-of-motion (R.O.M.) for both the body, and for the individual limbs. A large percentage of a students tendency (to exaggerate) a motion, comes from not using their entire body (for the intended action).

  When delivering a “strike” (or a grab/push), one rarely utilizes “only” the involved limb to do so. Body weight is an integral piece of the efficient delivery/use of that action. To do so in any “other” manner, is to imply a use of one's muscular strength (often alone). This can/will “work”, as long as the opponent is smaller/weaker (and/or less knowledgeable) than one's self. More importantly, It is less efficient.

  Although the arm's can (obviously) motion beyond the width of the shoulders, this should not imply that any action performed beyond that range can be done effectively. Those actions that are done to the areas (to either side) beyond the width of the shoulders will be noticeably weaker. This includes those techniques that are performed in those “outward” directions as well.

  This is most easily recognized with the manner that the “outside block” is commonly taught (by numerous systems). When performed as a sideways swing, the motion is no better (or effective) than a (standard) “parry”. The arm is simply not intended (nor designed) to be utilized in that manner.

  The arm (via the elbow/shoulder) is intended to (either) “flex” or “extend”. Though it can (obviously) rotate, doing so is neither the most efficient, nor effective use of that limb (in regards to the forearm being an impactive technique application).

  To convey that point, Oyata would state that an inside and outside forearm strike (“block”) were performed using the same arm motion (with no differences in the arm's motion between the two). The difference, was in the user's body motion.

  By making that motion a (forward) extension, one needed to only rotate the torso/body accordingly (to become either an inside/outside motion). The (basic) motion remained the same regardless. This (further) illustrated the entire body application of the instructed (in this case “arm”) technique.

  Force Efficiency does not only imply delivered force/momentum, it (additionally) refers to one's (own) stability when delivering that force/momentum (whether defensively, or offensively). Though one can obviously rotate their shoulder forward to achieve another “couple” of inches of “striking range”, most realize that the potential for being placed off-balance is (usually) too great to risk doing so (although that doesn't stop numerous people from doing so anyhow).

  A large portion (though obviously, not all) of Force Efficiency instruction, can be summarized via shoulder/hip alignment. If/when these are not in alignment (rotationally), the body is commonly “off-balance” (and thereby becomes more susceptible to external influence) as well as being less effective at the maintaining of one's own stability.

  “Ka han shin, Jo han shin” (Upper body influences Lower body) was a saying that Oyata (constantly) referenced when describing technique application. This (saying) also implied that Lower influences Upper, Left (body motion) influences Right, and Forward influences Rearward (etc.). Oyata was attempting to expand our perceptions and understanding of how (and why) motions/techniques were effected by the entire user's body. This is initially demonstrated to students through the instruction of stances (and exampled in his instruction of Seisan kata).

  Oyata repeatedly taught (and reminded) us to “study our own body” when seeking answers to our (numerous) questions. In this case, Until you understand how (and why) your own body maintains It's (own) stability, it will be more difficult (for you) to recognize how to destabilize an opponent's body.

  The understanding of Force Efficiency is not “how hard one can strike”, it is the most efficient utilization of one's ability to apply the full potential of their available force/momentum during a technique's/motion's application. By doing so, the student will no longer be dependent upon muscular strength (within those technique applications).







Research




 The majority of the forms of (Okinawan) karate that I observe today, instruct some manner of joint-manipulation (Torite/Tuite) and seem to be of the belief that it is not (allowed?) supposed to change (nor therefor improve). I understand the need to establish the groundwork (basics) for beginning students to learn general motions. But what I don't understand, is why the higher level students (Yudansha) aren't expanding their (own) understanding of what's already been shown.

  The “Typical” Torite/Tuite seminar being offered will present 20 new or different ways to do something, like some “new” technique. That would be fine, except the majority of students (regardless of rank) regularly perform the elementary forms of the techniques incorrectly.

  It seems that every time I hear someone tell me that they (already) know a technique, they (only) know how to perform the “practice” manner of it's performance. They have rarely applied it in every possible manner of it's use/application.

  It has become commonplace for practitioner's to believe that there is only one way to perform some (any) technique that they've previously been shown (and I use the word “shown” on purpose, because I don't feel that they've actually “learned” the application).

There is an immense vacuum of knowledge where the fundamental techniques are concerned. Most practitioner's are aware of those motions, but rarely are they adept at their utilization.

  This is a sad (enough) statement to be made regarding “Yudansha” students/instructors, but what's more sad, is the denial of it's occurrence.

  Commonly, any technique will have several (different) manners of situations that it could be utilized within. Most techniques are demonstrated using only “1”. This is usually the one in which they were taught the technique, and will then (only) utilize it in.

  I detest the description/term, but in the (supposedly) “live” practice method, a technique is attempted in several different circumstances (with the uke resisting). This manner of practice is essential for learning and understanding the 6 Basic Tuite Principles.

  Those principles allow the student to (individually) dissect all of the techniques that have been taught to them. Every technique, regardless of how simplistic one may consider that technique to be, should be scrutinized to Ad Nauseum.

  Though commonly referred to as (being) “basic”, those technique's should (IMO) be referred to as “common” (as they occur more often than people seem to want to admit).

  We are repeatedly encountering individual's who (want to) claim that such and such technique won't work on “them”. And just as often, we discover that “whomever” has been attempting to perform the stated technique upon them, has been doing so incorrectly.

  Just as often we observe what (other systems) members are calling “Tuite”, are being performed incorrectly and/or resulting in incorrect responses from those technique's application.When queried, those same individual's will (often) “brag” about how they (only) practice those Tuite techniques hard and fast.  Although seeming to be “realistic”, the objective of practice is to learn, and study. Simulating realism, can only go so far. More will be gained from the examination and understanding acquired from the focused study of the technique. Following that, any simulated practice of the technique can be performed.

  The majority of techniques will create some manner of reaction regardless of how sloppily that technique is performed.  Unfortunately many practitioner's consider “any” reaction to be acceptable. This is only accurate if that reaction is sufficient to accomplish the desired goal (at that time).

  What is most commonly seen, is a simplistic forward bend (at the waist of the Uke). This is often resisted through simple strength, and/or having a high pain threshold. Correct technique reaction will often consist of a knee “buckle” accompanied by a rotation away from the Tori (which will prevent the ability to strike the Tori with the Uke's free hand).

  The Tori should additionally be capable of placing the uke in any location and/or position that is required (be that at the immediate location, or relocated to a preferred one, via one of the instructed escort applications).

  The preferred goal, should be to create the desired reaction that is required at the time, and being successful, regardless of any attempt that is being made to counter it.

  It was that mandate that Oyata placed upon his students for their practice of the instructed Tuite techniques. This required those students to research and experiment until that requirement was fulfilled. Some did, and others only accomplished the (their own?) ability to create a “reaction” (usually through “muscling” the technique).

  Any (Tuite) technique that is dependent upon “strength/muscle” for it's success, was not one that was taught by Oyata. Only through continued research (and practice) can a student improve their application of the instructed techniques.












Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Kicks









  Kicks are the 3rd most likely manor of how a physical assault will be initiated. Personally, I've never seen it occur. None the less it is a possibility.

  The logistics involved with doing so are fairly involved, though if it were done as a “blind-side” (attack), I would presume it to be no more complicated than any other manner of initiating a confrontation.

  An attack that involves no prior (verbal) lead-up, would (IMO) rarely be done via a “kick” (though I would suppose it to be possible). I've never seen, nor “heard” of it occurring, but I make no claims of having “all knowledge” in regards to every manner of possibly initiating a physical assault.

  This manor of assault would likely come from someone who's had a (limited) amount of experience/training in some manner of MA. The fortunate thing, is that there is only a limited number of ways (for anyone) to deliver a kick.

  As with any of the 3 manners (Hitting, Grabbing or Kicking), the defender (Tori) will likely be aware of the situation initially (or one would hope that this were the case).

  If the confrontation is one following a “typical” progression, it will begin with some manor of verbal confrontation (which escalates to becoming physical). In those circumstances, it is far more likely that one would be facing the aggressor.

  To initiate a “kick”, one must first have enough room/space to do so. The ability to (effectively) deliver a kick, where one wants it (to land), requires a larger amount of practice than (most) “non-trained” individual's appreciate. Those who haven't sufficiently practiced doing so, don't realize the level of difficulty involved with effectively doing so (thus, contributing to the rarity to it's occurrence).

  As previously stated, those who have (only) had a few weeks worth of “training” (which would be typical for a “would-be” criminal type), would only know the basic's of the movement, with little to no actual experience in how to effectively deliver it. That shouldn't imply that a (some) level of injury couldn't result from their use, only that the effective delivery/execution of the motion would be limited.

  Even if the person had some level of knowledge/experience (“training”), they would still require sufficient room to perform/deliver any manor of “high” kick (ie. Waist/Chest/Head level). That possibility can (easily) be negated by limiting the “space” available (for the aggressor) to do so.

  “Low” kicks, require even greater amounts of training for their effective delivery. It should be noted though, that for use as a distraction (feint), only minimal levels of training are required (as doing so, requires no contact being made), and when utilized as such, can be used effectively by an aggressor (Uke) as well as the defender (Tori).

  I tend to believe that “most” people would be aware that it is stupid to try to “kick” someone in the head. The logistics of doing so are so detrimental, that only those with (virtually) No experience with physical confrontations would even consider doing so, unless the person that they were going to “kick” (in the “head”, mind you) are so slow and inept, that they could get away with it.

  The easiest defense against that occurrence, is to (simply) step towards them (the closer, the better). This works equally well against those people who (attempt to) use “spinning” kicks (regardless of the type). Those “kicks”, were intended/developed for “sport/competition” (not actual defensive confrontations). The only people that they could (well...possibly) work upon, are those who have never seen them before (which “these days”, almost everybody has seen a “Kung-Fu” movie or two).

  There are only 3 (basic) “kicks” that pose a serious (defensive) threat during a physical confrontation. Each has their own “spacial/positioning” requirements, and are limited through contributing factors that can be mitigated via (above waist) motion/actions. Those kicks are the Front Kick, the Back Kick and the Straight Thrust (which goes by various names, but is performed as a Forward Pushing motion, done with the foot/leg). The Side Kick is (often) included by some people/instructors, but is (so often) limited to “above waist” use, that it is (IMO) too easily negated to be considered seriously (which is explained later).

  The problem/difficulty with use of any leg/kicking motion, begins with the fact that the knee (often) must be raised for the effective use of the foot/shin or knee. Initially, that requires “space”(to do so), and it provides the opportunity for the defender/aggressor to strike that leg (using their hand/arm to do so), as well as making the supporting leg vulnerable to (any) strike/kick (often while ignoring the opponent's kicking leg).

  If the kicking person is close (when attempting their kick), just by raising their knee, they have provided that leg's thigh (to be struck). When done effectively, such a strike can (greatly) minimize one's mobility.

  The (obvious) need/requirement to shift one's body-weight to (only) one leg, should demonstrate the level of vulnerability that is presented with the attempt to deliver any “kick”. If/when doing so, it is (or should be) obvious that one must have the opponent engaged with “above-waist” action/motion (distraction) if/when making that attempt.

  It was for that reason, that Oyata taught his “3-Motions” (at once) philosophy (2-Hands,1-Foot). He didn't (actually) mean “at once”, but the name stuck, and has been passed-down ever since. His intent, was that multiple motions (used in conjunction or closely timed to one another) would confuse an opponent, making it more difficult for them to defend against each of them. The use of 2-hands, with 1-foot/leg was the maximum that one could utilize at a time.

  This was often exampled with the performance of “Tuite” applications (2-hands engaged with the Tuite application, and 1-leg “kicking”). Oyata always taught that a “kick” should be utilized with additional (hand) motions (never “solo”). The application (manner) of those motions further exampled (several) other application principles as well (which will not be presently addressed :) in this blog).

  Though (presumably) obvious, the most likely striking location for a “kick”, is the (male) groin. It is additionally the most readily defended/protected area on the (male) body. Defensively, it is far more productive to “kick” (or strike) the inner-thigh, or even the outer-thigh (but both are commonly ignored by both an aggressor or the supposedly “trained” defender.

  Kick's are often glorified as being the great equalizer, when (in fact) they are no more effective (or common) than the (infamous) “knock-out” punch. Effective application of either requires timing, placement and (honestly) luck (which is often the result of “training”).
  Regardless of which 3 of the discussed manners are utilized, the students defensive arm motion(s) will (should) rarely vary. A hand/arm motion/action (regardless the type), could easily be performed in a nearly identical manor.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pushes








 Pushes are a (somewhat) complicated defensive subject. Though being the 2nd (most likely) manor of beginning an assault, Students will often have a difficult time determining if/when a “push” can be considered to be a aggressive action (and “legally” justifiable for enacting a defensive response).

  When viewed from a “legal” perspective, any physical contact (from another individual) provides a legal justification for a defensive response. Depending (of course) on how well your able to “justify” that response to a judge, is open to debate.

  Oyata taught that enacting a (physical) response to a “push”, should be judged (by the student) through the situation that surrounds the enactment of that push.

  Looking at the physical “act” itself, it is dependent upon the situation prior to the act itself. If the “push” is the result of heated verbal debate and appears (obvious) to the defender, that the situation will become “physical”, responding to a push (with a physical response) may be (legally) justified. If the “push” (only) amounts to someone placing their hand upon one's chest/shoulder (to gain one's attention), any justification for an aggressive response diminishes rapidly.

  The instructed responses to those “pushes” (that are considered to be confrontational) are based upon the legal defense of preventing/responding to an aggressive (physical) behavior. There are no (or very few) limitations to defending one's self from being (aggressively) shoved/pushed. That includes allowing it (the shove) to occur. Physical contact is not required. Only the act of attempting to do so is sufficient to respond (to that attempt).

  It is the perceived intent (of the attempted push) that will dictate the response that is made. Numerous motions can be utilized to (only) divert the intended push. Though preventing the initial action (the push) it accomplishes nothing in preventing further/repeated attempts. In those situations that it is (believed by the student) obvious that the motion is a precursor to a (continued) physical confrontation, it is more productive to attempt to neutralize the ability for the aggressor to continue any further aggressive behavior.

 Though not always practical, responding with a Tuite application can provide the ability to neutralize the aggressor (and place them in a position of submission). As with “Grabs”, responding to pushes (utilizing “Tuite” to do so) requires extensive practice of the instructed applications.

  A “push” can be attempted in several manners. The most common (aggressive) push, is accomplished by (the Uke/aggressor) raising one or both hands to their own chest (level), with the hand(s) “flat” (palms toward the intended subject). They (commonly) then step forward (putting their body-weight into the push) while moving their body forward, and extending their hand(s).

 Whether the intent is to only rotate a (one) shoulder, or to knock you onto your ass, either will cause the student to be placed off-balance (often as a precursor to delivering a “punch”). Attempting to absorb the delivered force (of a Push), is equally problematic (on numerous levels).

 The manor of (“Tuite”) technique utilized will be dependent upon the timing of the technique's application. Three possibilities exist, prior to contact of the push (while the push is motioning towards the student),  following the act of the push (while the aggressor is retracting their hand(s), and while the pushing hand is in contact (IE. during the push). Technique's exist for all 3 situations, and the student should be familiar with each.

 All three situations contain (varying) difficulties in their application. Speed (in “catching” the hand) when the push is being initiated, and (sufficient) balance (after having absorbed the push), when the aggressor is retracting their hand(s), and the ability to "pin" the hand while the push is being performed.

 When attempting to “catch” an incoming push, there are various (instructed) methods for slowing the aggressor's push (including stepping forward, rearward and to the side). Stepping rearward has the least likelihood of success (for numerous reasons). Stepping (or “shifting”) to either side, is faster/easier and will cause a (slight) unbalancing/hesitation of the aggressor. Doing so additionally provides opportunity to “grab” at least one of the pushing hands. Capturing/pinning the hand to the chest (though probably the easiest) requires a sufficient "grasp" be made (of the aggressor's hand). It additionally limits one's "counter" (attack) choices. 

 The practice of the instructed techniques is (commonly) based upon rushing towards the aggressor, and grabbing (one of) the intended pushing hands while being raised to the aggressor's chest (to enact the intended “push”). Being able to do so, of course requires that the Tori was aware of the probability of the action occurring.  If/when doing this is impractical or is (simply) missed, the instructed method is to (either) capture the pushing hand during it's retraction (following the completed push), or during the attempted "push".

  When attempted as the hand is being retracted (and if/when the student is physically able to grasp it), application of the instructed technique is (often) easier to accomplish. This ability is also dependent upon the Tori having not been initially unbalanced by the performed push. 
 Regardless of which (timing/method) is utilized, each require sufficient practice with having performed the technique(s). It's true, that even a "sloppily" performed application can often garner (sufficient?) results, but as with any other technique, the more practice one has with the techniques, the better.





 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Grabs















  Grabs are one of the 3 manors that Oyata taught to us, that an aggressor could perform an assault upon a student. Grabs are commonly utilized to effect level of control over a subject. They are rarely relinquished until they are demonstrated as having become a liability.
 Once the “offensive” grab has been performed, The grabbed person's attention is commonly transferred to their “free” hand. They are prone to utilize that “free” hand to either strike the aggressor, or to attack the grabbing hand of the aggressor (commonly while attempting to “pull” their grabbed limb free). For the aggressor (the person who performed the initial “grab”), they will commonly (either) begin moving (pushing and/or pulling) the grabbed arm (to either unbalance or pull the grabbed person somewhere), or they will begin striking the person with their own free hand/arm.

  For the “Tori” (the person who was being “grabbed”), they (generally) have both hands remaining free. They have the option of either “striking” (with their “free/UN-grasped” hand/arm) the aggressor (“Uke”), or utilizing them to perform a technique upon the Uke's grabbing hand/arm.

  Oyata taught that “striking” (alone) carried a greater chance of failure (or resulting in only limited effect). Doing so was limited by numerous factors (positioning, physical size/strength, etc.). One's ability to perform a (proper) Tuite application was not effected by those factors. An improperly applied application will fail as well, but that is not the fault of the technique (and would occur regardless of the type of technique attempted).

  The most common argument regarding (against) the use/application of Tuite, is that an aggressor may be too “strong/large” to effectively apply the technique. This argument is only valid, if/when the technique is being improperly applied (at least in the case of Oyata's form of Tuite). Student's are (often) inclined to overly focus (only) upon the attempted application. An aggressor will not (just) “stand there” and allow the Tori to attempt the technique's application. As a technique's being applied, the Tori's attention must include the Uke's responses (during that application attempt). They (an aggressor) is not inclined to just “stand there” and allow it to occur.

  When the student is initially “learning” the technique/application, the Uke's “job” is to point out any/all misapplication of the (Tori's) attempted technique. (Only) Once the technique's application is understood (by the Tori), the Uke will include “counter-measures” to that attempt. These can include “counter-strikes/grabs” and/or “pushes/pulls” (depending upon the specific situation).

  It is commonly at this point (of a student's practice of a given Tuite technique), that the student will begin to understand the use of their (own) body with the application of a (Tuite) application. “Tuite”(as Oyata taught it) is a whole or entire body application. Beginning students are inclined to (only) focus upon the “hand's” during their initial attempts at technique's application.

  Though “speed” is a relevant factor (during an actual defensive application), it should not be the primary factor (to a technique's application or success). If/when a technique can only be utilized when done with speed, particularly in a practice/training session if/when performed “quickly”, it is commonly being done incorrectly.

  One of the most common mistakes made, is in regard to the Tori's body positioning during a technique's application. Once the (basic) technique is “in place” (and pressure/leverage is being attempted), the Uke will (often) attempt to “strike/grab” the Tori (using their “free” hand/arm). The student is shown to “face their threat” (the Uke's free hand/arm). Doing so will (both) aid in the technique's (correct) application and provide the Tori (student) with the “awareness” of that attempt, as well as providing the ability to be able to counter that attempt.

  Tuite is (often) taught as providing a (disabling?) controlling ability over an aggressor. Though entirely possible to cause/create a disabling/injurious result (from it's use), it is the ability to “control” an aggressor that is it's greatest asset. That ability is shown/taught to be (easily) escalated to create injurious results (if/when required), but it is the ability to not cause those results, yet neutralize the situation that is it's greatest asset.

  Numerous systems (and/or instructors) teach these applications as being (only) for causing/creating injurious results. The majority of “situations” that a student will be involved in, are not (and/or far from being) “life threatening”. Though (obviously) there are exceptions, the most common physical confrontations occur between individuals who “know” one another. It is rarely desired (or necessary) to cause those drastic levels of physical injury (to neutralize a situation/confrontation). It is additionally not in the best legal interest to do so either. If/when a situation can be neutralized (without causing serious physical injury), one's legal defense (if/when one becomes relevant or necessary) is much easier to justify.

  Oyata always stated that the (correct) application/use of Tuite required (many) hours of practice to (both) understand it's use, and to utilize it effectively. There are no “basic” Tuite technique's, there are “foundation” technique's that are “built upon” (for performing variations to those application's). Numerous foundation techniques (in regard to “grabs”) are shown to beginning students. As the student advances in their training, they are inclined to ignore those (foundation) technique's. They are shown (early in the students training) because they occur more often (than many of the “striking” defenses that are shown). Students will (often) dismiss this, and (only) focus upon the instructed striking defenses.

  I witness “grabs” being utilized in (almost) every confrontation that I've observed. It isn't always as an opening motion, but they are utilized (either) initially, or during a confrontation. I am fully aware of my own (physical) limitations, and if/when provided with the opportunity, I will (immediately) utilize that opportunity to the utilization of Tuite (even if/when I have to create that opportunity).

  Attempting to “trade punches” with someone (an aggressor), devolves the confrontation to who is physically stronger. If one's “goal” is to be able to “out punch” an (any) aggressor, they should studying “boxing” or be working out at the gym (rather than going to a “karate class”).

  Oyata said that “Tuite” was the great equalizer. It is based upon skill, not strength, ability, not size. When I'm confronted with arguments against it's use/practicality, those arguments are commonly based upon (their own) “physical” ability's (size and strength, not technical ability) or that of a “hypothetical” aggressor. The obvious weakness to their argument, is that they have to provide an “unlikely” encounter to justify their argument. Would I attempt those types of applications as initially taught? no. They would require modification (to the initially shown application manner). But would I attempt them? Yes, I would. My own level of experience would provide me with sufficient ability to effect a satisfactory result from their use. That experience is the result of practice (of those applications). Without practice, any technique is subject to failure. 


Monday, July 25, 2016

K.C.MO. RyuTe Seminar Review



Kansas City, Missouri 2016 
Ryu Te  "Heart of Okinawa"
Summer Seminar




  During the previous weekend, we had our “Heart of Okinawa” Ryu Te® seminar, and (so far) from the feed-back that we've received, we believe it was a huge success. There was a large number of weapon's and Tuite application classes taught (which was the main theme for the seminar). I feel (a little-bit) “odd” at writing a review in this case (considering it was local K.C.MO., seminar (that we organized). Despite that, I will attempt to be “objective” in this review.

  There was a good instructor/student ratio for each of the classes and the feed-back (so far) has been (very) good from the attendees. I was informed their will be a “review/feed-back” questionnaire sent to the attendees (regarding their opinions/feed-back) and have already received some (presentation/organizational) suggestions that are being considered for future seminars.

  Regarding the provided “content”, Oyata's son Masaki Oyata taught an Iaido (sword drawing/cutting) exercise. I wasn't able (available) to attend that class (as I was teaching another class during the times it was offered). Those that did attend it, stated that it was very informative, and that he did a terrific job with it's presentation.

  Kyoshi Ichiro Oshiro (from Wichita, KS.) taught a class for “Eisa” (Okinawan Drum and Dance), then the students who attended his class performed for the remainder the attendees at the closing dinner Saturday night (which demonstrated Kyoshi Ichiro Oshiro's skill at teaching this specialized art, considering that none of those students had any prior experience with that art before this weekend). Everyone was very impressed (considering that those students only had 3-4 hours of study/practice). 
 The seminar "cost" also included a custom "carry-bag/backpack" (for carrying all the provided written material for every class that was taught), as well as a multi-color pen and paper for making "notes". Also included was a "Retro" seminar T-shirt (featuring an 80's caricature of Taika Seiyu Oyata).

  There was a class that explained/defined the “basic” motions taught in Oyata's art (Ryu Te®). Numerous weapons kata and application classes were provided (these included Manji Sai, Jo, Cane, Bo, Nunchaku and Chizikun Bo) as well as a class for Instructor development and Marketing (for school owners). There was a class that expanded upon the 6 Principles of Tuite (use and application), and there was a class explaining the practice of “Shodo” (Oriental Brush Calligraphy) and a class/discussion forum for the instruction of a Women's Self-Defense class.

  During (and following) the closing dinner, Robin Oyata (Taika's wife and “head/director” of the association) expressed her pleasure with the seminar and the “family” attitude and exchange (of Taika's art) that was exemplified during it's occurrence.

  Every class that I participated in (and I understood it to of occurred during the others as well) included (additional) input from the attendees (of those classes). This was encouraged so that a free exchange of known information could be shared among the attendees, as well as the instructors. One of the (my own) calligraphy classes ran “over” time, But that (my “excuse”, LOL) was because I was answering a number of questions being asked, as well as having students share their own experiences/knowledge with the subject (including my own “long-winded” lectures) regarding brush calligraphy.

  This seminar was intended to be an exchange of Oyata's knowledge and instruction (for his art). As an “association” the Ryu Te® Renmei is in a continuing process of unification and clarification of Oyata's instruction. In that regard “I” feel that it accomplished the intended purpose of a seminar. 
 As was with this seminar, it has become a "common" practice to have these (RyuTe®) types of seminars "open" to/for anyone, of any style/system to attend. This is being done with the intention of educating the public in regards to clarifying what is being taught presently within Oyata's art. Although commonly speculated about (when not being denied), it is not being taught/performed (the same) as what was taught 25 (or even 10) years ago. Oyata abandoned numerous practices (as being impractical, or even detrimental) to his "Life Protection" ideology.
 By making attendance "open" and available to anyone to attend, it is hoped that any (inaccurate) critique of being "elitist" can be dismissed as being untrue. If an event is offered near your location, I would encourage you to attend, and evaluate for yourself whether these claims are accurate or not. 
 I can only attest to this seminar, but I will state that all in attendance were both friendly and open to the ideas and information that was being presented.