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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Examining Kata with Application















  When student's are initially shown kata, their emphasis is on memorizing the shown motions. They (often) attempt to interpret those motions as (all) representing various strikes and technique's.  “If” that were their (only) purpose, it would prove to be a very impractical way to convey that information. The majority of practitioner's recognize that the kata do not represent an (actual) confrontation (representing numerous opponent's who are attempting equally impractical methods of assault). Knowing that the kata don't represent this, (apparently) doesn't stop people from coming up with numerous (equally) impractical defensive motions/techniques based upon those motions.

  Oyata taught students to recognize and understand how an aggressor (actually) would “attack” the student. It never included “spinning around” and taking 3 steps (while performing numerous “hand” motions). It never included “bowing” to an aggressor (prior to one's defense), nor “freeze framing” (holding some posture) during a confrontation.

  Kata, were intended to review/practice the taught motions (when a training partner wasn't available), and to provide reflection on how those motions could be implemented during a confrontation. They taught (the student) how footwork should be utilized (when involved in a confrontation). More often the motions represented unique situations for those motions. Common and obvious use of those motions and technique's, should be (equally) obvious (thus not additionally required to be done in a “training exercise”, such as a kata).

 When Oyata began his instruction (from Wakinaguri and Uhugushugu), much of that instruction involved watching (other) people. Watching how they walked, how they moved, and what motions they did during their everyday actions. Until it was understood what constituted “natural”, it was difficult to recognize what was unnatural. Though seeming irrelevant (as unnatural motion is often obvious), natural motion is often disregarded. The recognition of natural motion, allows one to make the instructed motions as natural as possible (thereby making them as unrecognizable as possible). By making those motions as natural as possible, they will (additionally) be as efficient, and as “hidden” (thus more difficult to defend against) as is practical.

 Kata, when done correctly, should be performed as relaxed and as quickly as the student can perform them (without sacrificing any “correctness” of the motions). The exampling of “power” is an irrelevant aspect. “Power” (only) represents an individual's physical capabilities. It only provides an advantage (defensively) if/when one's defense is based upon one's ability to “out-muscle” an opponent. That doesn't mean that power has no use, only that one's defenses can't be based upon it (as many systems attempt to make it).

 The practice of kata is approached in stages. That doesn't mean “basic”, “intermediate” and “advanced” (which I've argued against in other blog posts), and is a “Marketing” tool/habit (and serves no “training” purpose). Kata should initially be approached by learning the correct motions (not “basic”, the correct and complete motions).   
 That commonly means slowly, piece-by-piece. When the motions are being performed correctly and without (conscious) thought, the student should increase the speed of that practice. It is at this stage that students perform the most mistakes (in replicating those motions), thus causing it to be the slowest (in progression) stage of kata training/practice. (Only) following that stage, should the student attempt an increase of any (applied) “power” with the kata motions. If/when the student “changes” (in any manner) how they are performing the kata motions, they are defeating the purpose of practicing the kata.

  The “addition” of any (extra) hip motion, or twisting of the shoulders, defeats the purpose of kata practice. Kata practice is for confirmation of how the student performs the included motions, not for “adding” additional actions (that serve no purpose except to telegraph one's intentions). If you don't “shimmy” your hip's (when you naturally walk), it will serves no purpose to do so while performing a kata. If the practiced motions are not “natural”, they will provide limited (if any) effect in (actual) technique application.

When one's (only) “purpose” for the practice of kata, is to learn “new” technique's, it only exemplifies the fact that the student doesn't understand how their “known” technique's (as well as the kata motions) should be utilized to begin with.

 Any shown/taught motion can be performed in varying manners (regardless of which technique is in question). Each system has their own level/degree of “correctness” for that performance. Those differences are often what people base their arguments for/against (any) taught methodology. For that reason I refrain from (most) direct critiques of another systems methodology of performance. I will (directly) contest something that an individual posts though. The majority of those examples are only applicable for a few (limited) individual's. If/when a motion or technique can only be performed by a limited number of individual's, that should illustrate that the technique has only limited usefulness (for the majority of students).

  Technique's should (all) be equally usable by every student (regardless of size/strength of either the student or an aggressor). If/when this isn't the case, the “technique” should be omitted from the training syllabus. This is not to say that technique's won't require practice, only that an instructor is (often) required to illustrate what a student may be doing incorrectly (thus causing difficulty in the technique's performance).

  Kata will often stress the practice of particular motions that “make no sense” (to the untrained student). It is the instructor's responsibility to clarify and define what (and how) those motions are utilized in technique performance. This all comes from repeated practice, and (actual) study of the motions contained within the kata.




Sunday, November 13, 2016

Explanations



 Having received (more than a few) inquiries, I've decided to further elaborate details regarding Oyata's Motion/Technique guidelines.

 

Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's Effectiveness

Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once

Avoid Moving directly to the Rear

Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,

Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.

Always Face Your Opponent

Learn Your Own Weaknesses, 
In Order to Know Your Opponent's



Addressing these one at a time, 

#1. Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's  
      Effectiveness

  If a technique requires that the student or their opponent possess a certain level of physical prowess (IE. “strength”) to cause or allow the attempted technique to work, it will be considered to be of limited (if any) value as an instructed technique. Oyata's techniques had no physical requirements or limitations on who his technique's would function upon, nor whom could utilize them (when correctly performed).

 

#2. Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once,

  Being that the average human, possess 4 (functional) limb's, it can be presumed that one is capable of using 3 of those limbs (2 arm's and 1 leg) when performing a defensive action. Though commonly assumed to be done in unison, there is no actual “mandate” that requires them to be done so. More commonly there is a variance in their use (for each) of the individual limb's motions.

 

#3. Avoid Moving directly to the Rear,

  Of the various directions of motion that one can make, directly rearward is the slowest (and therefor is the least defensively viable option). Oyata taught various methods of increasing one's speed of their footwork (“switch-foot”, “knee-buckle”, “light-foot”, etc.). These practice methods allowed the student to practice quickly shifting their body-weight. The use of these methods would increase the student's ability to (more) quickly do so.

 

#4. Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,

Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.

  This is something that would seem to be Obvious, but evidently isn't. Although attempts made beyond a limb's natural R.O.M. Is often possible, that doesn't make that motion practical, or efficient.

 

#5. Always Face Your Opponent,

  Beyond the obvious necessity of seeing one's opponent, following this mandate will (more easily) keep the student's motions/action's within the Area of optimal Force Efficiency. This area is between the width of the shoulder's, and to the front of the student. 
   


#6. Learn Your Own Weaknesses, 
      In Order to Know Your Opponent's,

  Oyata taught that one should examine their own weaknesses and inabilities. These could used to example what would (or could) be vulnerable on an opponent. Much confusion (and B.S.) is conveyed within the martial arts community (as a whole) in this regard.  
 If/when something is explained with (any) “mystical” connotations, the chances are 99.99% that it is B.S. Oyata utilized nothing beyond stating that “this or that” location, could cause such and such. He stated that ALL of the T.C.M. Teachings (in regards to Defensive Application's) was total B.S. and would stand for none of it being discussed within his classes, those stupid enough to press the matter would be asked (if not told) to leave.

  In our own experience(s) (over the past 45 years of practice and research), we have never found it (T.C.M.) to add to or enhance any aspect of our training. We invite anyone to attempt to change our minds, but we have discussed with and witnessed numerous individual's who have attempted to do so (with no success on their part). 
  Our instructional approach (and that of Oyata) is through achieving an understanding of the limb's R.O.M. and the natural motions/reactions made in response to the application of Oyata's defensive methodology.

  We utilize these listed (basic) tenets for foundational reference/validation in regards to newly shown/developed technique's and applications. If/when a motion/technique meets these basic tenets, any additional guidelines are considered and a technique/motion is (either) validated (and included in our teaching syllabus), or invalidated (and thus rejected from being included and/or taught within our school). Taught technique's should be usable by any student, upon any opponent (regardless of size, strength or mass). 




 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Defensive Motion Guidelines





Defensive Motion Guidelines
  A common class period is spent learning new individual application motions. These can consist of singular actions, as well as several defensive combination motions. During the “formation” portion of the class is when these singular actions are reviewed, and corrected.
  During the application portion of our class we combine these individual motions to be applied in (either) successive or collective applications (commonly being practiced in 1-3 Step kumite exercises).
 The most common misunderstanding, is that the application of these motions are not “set in stone”. They are completely capable of being (instantly) modified to deal with a continually changing situation.
 As with anything, there first needs to be established a foundation set of guidelines/priority's for determining these motions acceptance of/for use.
These guidelines should be established as being general in their use. To begin with, let's examine the (required) general preferences (for a motion/technique to be considered as being a legitimate action/technique).
#1 The Motion's Priority, Is to Protect the User.
#2 The Motion Should Be as Natural as is Practical.
#3 The Motion Should Be Able to be Performed Equally by the   
     Majority of Individual's.
#4 The Motion Should Not be Orientated to Either (Specific) Side  
     of the User (Right/Left).
#5 The Motion Should Not be Dependent Upon the Size or Strength
      of either the User (tori), or the Receiver (uke). 
 
  This is not to say, that there won't be some motions/techniques that fall outside of these guidelines. Only that they may very well not be suitable for use by every individual (student) in every situation.
  In addition to these general guidelines, there are additionally some specific preferences that we also attempt to adhere to. These were Regularly voiced by Taika, and have become the cornerstone of his teachings.

  Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's   
  Effectiveness:
  Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once
  Avoid Moving directly to the Rear
  Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,
  Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.
  Always Face Your Opponent
  Learn Your Own Weaknesses, In Order to Know Your Enemy's


  These guidelines were neither revolutionary or prophetic. In most cases, they are only the obvious. Despite that fact, many systems attempt to (over) emphasize training methods and technique's that are (either) counter productive or ineffective/impractical for the (average) student.
  There are various tenet's that are followed while practicing the instructed technique's. These tenet's are followed without the common fanfare that seems to be attached to most rules of technique practice. They are as follows:
  The Majority of an aggressor's strikes are directed toward the defender's head.
Therefore, the Uke's strikes can initially be presumed to be directed at the tori's head. As both tori and uke become more familiar with the motions, the location of where an uke's additional strikes may be directed can be addressed.
  Strikes emanate from shoulder height and below.
Therefor any defensive actions should initially be performed at “chin” height (or below).
  The Aggressor (Uke) will utilize multiple strikes/motions.
Once a defensive application is understood, the practice of those motions should include multiple striking attempts when/if possible.
  More punches are circular than straight.
Practice should consist of 60% circular strikes being made by the uke.
  The Uke should attempt to “counter” the tori's strikes (when able).
While practicing (understood) defensive actions, the uke should attempt to include any “counter's/follow-ups” that they remain able to perform.
  The uke's strikes should penetrate to an effectual limit
(If the tori should miss their defensive counter, the uke's strike will connect). If/when the uke is too far away (from the tori) to “contact” with their strike, they are not representing an active part of the training process.
  Technique's are practiced at arm's length distance.
Tori and Uke are an arm's length apart. This is the standard confrontation “distance”.
  For both Tuite and Strike defense practice, varied clothing should be rotated.
Variance in student clothing should be included in training to simulate any applicable differences in their training. 
 Oyata taught that a student will have a “strong” hand, and a “fast” hand. Their strong hand was usually their dominant side hand, and their fast hand, was the other. For that reason, Oyata would have students “strike” with their non-dominant hand twice as much as with their dominant (to “build” it's strength/power). He would also have them practice cover/deflecting motions using their dominant hand (to build it's speed/control). Oyata was (basically) ambidextrous, he could utilize either hand, equally (and didn't understand when a student couldn't do so). He believed it to be a “Flaw” from being born a Westerner, (which was his “Joke”).
  In Oyata's methodology, students begin with simplistic exercises to familiarize the student with the performance of the instructed motions. That practice begins with the student working on the Initial Defensive Combination. This combination introduces the student to the utilization of 3 defensive motions used in unison.
  It's accepted that it is impossible to be certain how an aggressor will begin an aggressive action. Even though we can not be certain of what an aggressor will (initially) do, we are aware of what actions are most likely to be used. This is based on (both) personal experience, and on (police) records of physical assaults.
  The most common “first” action (on the part of an aggressor) is a punch directed at the tori's head/face or at/upon the student's abdomen. Being that it's rare that the tori would (specifically) know which hand an aggressor would use (to hit them with), the first instructed motion will defend against either hand being used (by the aggressor). This attempt is (most) commonly an attempt to hit the head/face of the defender (tori). The next factor to consider (defensively), is how that strike will be delivered.
  There are only four ways that a punch can be thrown (using either arm). The most common is a “Roundhouse” punch. The second most popular is a “cocked” straight punch. Next is a punch thrown from the waist, and finally an “uppercut” punch.  Additionally, the tori can't be certain which hand will be utilized for delivering that punch.
  The first instructed (defensive) “combination” will work regardless of which arm or striking method is used. It is intended to provide an effective response regardless of which striking method is used (and the same motion can also be used against either arm being used by the aggressor.
  This (the most commonly taught “first” defensive combination) motion can be successively used against any of the aforementioned striking actions that might be utilized. It adheres to all of the defensive application guidelines, and meets all of Oyata's technique preferences.
  This motion will introduce the student to Oyata's defensive methodology, and provide them with an (initial) defensive technique that can be used in a fairly short amount of practice time. That doesn't mean that it's necessarily simple, but compared to many commonly used methods, it utilizes simple to learn motions that can be naturally executed in a (comparatively) short amount of time.











Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Force Efficiency in Application






  When performing a defensive motion/technique, the student should maintain that the motion(s) remain within the most optimal positioning for their application. The majority of students only concern themselves with the final portion of a utilized motion. Every application has fundamental requirements for it to be successful. “Fundamental” implies that those subjects are required for every attempted application.

  Understanding human Kinesiology (the study of anatomical motion) will aid the student in their ability to manipulate an aggressor during a confrontation. That ability is (further) exemplified through the student's recognition of “Force Efficiency”. In the simplest terms, force efficiency describes the most efficient use of body motion while performing a chosen action, that produces the greatest effect. Though doing so by other means may do so (slightly) more quickly, those methods often produce more opportunity for “counter-measures” to be utilized against them, and/or result in less effective applications. The human body is designed to operate in specific ways. Though other means of achieving those motions exist, that doesn't mean the body is designed to motion (efficiently) in those manners.

  If a student is only focusing on the individual limbs motion, they are ignoring those fundamentals. When students are initially shown a motion (be it for the arms, legs or a movement/position), that instruction is initially focused upon the individual portions of that movement. Once that portion is understood by the student, the instruction is widened to include the remainder of the body.

  For the beginning student, their instruction is initially directed to the “stances”. Stances are positions that are intended to provide a stable “base” for (which ever) arm/leg motion it is that they will be attempting to perform. Each of the shown positions are intended to provide that stability under given circumstances.

  The majority of force efficiency principles deal with maintaining the alignment of the shoulders and the hips (with one another). This alignment is intended to provide the greatest balance (and thereby ability to perform) the techniques that utilize the arm's and/or legs. Maintaining that alignment will cause the student to always consider the Upper/Lower body codependency (ka han shin/jo han shin).

  When that alignment is altered (from being “square” between the two), the person will be “off-balance” (and any technique performed will not be done in the most efficient manner). Numerous instructors/systems teach their students to motion the shoulders/hips “into” the performed action. Doing so, may add (slightly) to the applied body-weight transfer (of “mass”), but the cost of the increased instability (in doing so) does not justify that supposed increase.

  Many students are of the belief, that doing so will “make” their motion be more powerful. The gain (in transferred momentum) is only minimal (disregarding the obvious fact, that they are decreasing their own stability when doing so). The resultant lose of stability (whether the delivered application is successful or not) does not justify any (presumed) “gain” of transferred momentum. It equates to being an “over-commitment” (for a delivered application), making the student (then become) off-balance and/or highly susceptible to counter-measures (being applied by the opponent). If/when a technique/application is dependent upon strength/power (to begin with), that motion has limited (if any) value.

  Though numerous defensive systems (attempt to) teach those positions/motions via the practice of “sparring”, Oyata taught that doing so (additionally) “taught” the student to wait until the aggressor began their assault (and only then, utilize those positions), before beginning their defensive responses. He (Oyata) demonstrated that by doing so, the student will have (unnecessarily) delayed that defensive response. He additionally demonstrated that many of the (popularly) taught methods of performing those actions are flawed (in the manner they are commonly taught). The majority of those differences are often subtle, but are each done for specific reasons.


  Those types of applications are for the young, strong, inexperienced student. Will they work? Yes,...sometimes. There are too many reasons why they (more likely) won't though. The majority are intended to make the user “feel” (as if) they are being more “powerful” in the execution of those motions. They provide the illusion that the student is progressing in what they are studying.

  Oyata did not endorse those methodology's (within his instruction). He taught that the student should understand what does, and doesn't elicit (actual) results. Though he didn't actually refer to what is being taught as “Force Efficiency” (as this is the name that “we” utilize for it), he taught natural body motion.

  Force Efficiency consists of natural body motion in conjunction with the application of (entire) body-motion/use. That includes standing, walking, limb motion and any “body” related motion involved in the application of defensive actions.



Recognition of Shoulder/Hip Alignment (IE. “Force Efficiency”)

 When one is standing naturally, the arm's will hang loosely by the sides and the shoulder's are relaxed. This is (commonly) recognized as being a “Natural” stance. When you note the position taken by the feet, they are (usually) splayed slightly outward, and generally positioned at shoulder-width. It is this (basic) position that a person assumes when standing. They may (or may not) have something in their hands, but the position/stance is common. This was the stance that Oyata taught students to practice (and perform) the (taught) defensive motions from.

  The weight of the body should be evenly distributed between both feet. If/when the weight is toward one side, it should be (blatantly) obvious (to the student). This constituted one of Oyata's first lessons (to his students). When an opponent's body-weight is concentrated to one side, that person is only able to perform particular actions (without any additional body-weight being shifted, in order to be included in those actions). To do otherwise required additional (body) motion(s) to be included as well. If that motion was an “arm” motion, the shoulder's (may) require adjustment/change, if the motion was for their legs, it would have to be done with the leg not bearing the user's body-weight. The position of the head would (virtually) never raise, but it may rotate (or more likely drop), but (if/when performing an action) would likely face towards the intended action.

  Any of those possibilities could (initially) be detected through the observance of the person's shoulder's. To perform any of those motions, the shoulder's will display some level of motion. This implied that observance of an opponent's shoulder's was (initially) a student's priority (defensively).

  The use of the arm's (by an opponent, or by the student) implied that the performed motion would (likely) occur within the area between the user's shoulder width. For that reason, Oyata taught that one's initial defensive motion(s), include the repositioning of one's body to be “off-center” (to one side or the other). This could be done to either side (depending on how the student trained, but the direction was (actually) unimportant (defensively).

  As the student performed this repositioning, their arm's would be motioning in (practiced) directions to provide a defense against any motions performed by the aggressor. Through that repositioning, any of the aggressor's arm/leg motions (leg or hand/arm strikes) could be negated, and provide for the user's own Hand/Leg responses.

  It is (virtually) impossible to (exactly) know “what” an aggressor is going to do (as their aggressive action). It is possible to limit those options though. When the student begins (by standing “square” and evenly balanced) they are then able to motion to either (Left/Right) direction (as the situation develops/proceeds). The student should of (already) been aware of what actions were possible (via the aggressor's stance/positioning) and thereby have already chosen a direction for their own (initial) defensive motion.

  Oyata's defensive method was intended to address an aggressor's initial action (“attack”) and follow it with motions that would neutralize any continuance of those attempts. For that reason, the practice of “sparring” served no purpose (with what/how he taught that purpose to be achieved). 


Defensive Positioning

 

  Whether one chooses to (or “winds up”) being on the “inside” or “outside” of the aggressor's arms, is a widely debated subject. It should really be irrelevant (defensively). Either position can be utilized to respond to an opponent's aggressive action and/or allow for a defensive response. Both positions should be addressed during one's practice. The more important factor (in either instance) is that the student be aligned for their own force efficient use of their applications/techniques.

  Many systems stress that a student should (always?) be located to the outer-side of an aggressor's arms. Though having some (obvious) disadvantages, if/when being located on the “inside” (of the aggressor's arm's), it is not (really) that bad of a location. The most popular argument made against this positioning, is that the aggressor can strike the defender with either of their arms. What (generally) isn't pointed out, is that the defender has twice the number of vulnerable targets available to them (upon the aggressor).

  The majority of vulnerable locations are located upon “medial” (anatomical) locations on the human body. These locations that are (generally) facing towards the opponent's center-line (and are thus naturally “protected” from strikes when one is positioned to the “outside” of the width of the person's shoulder's). Being on the “inside” also places each of, (generally) the opponent's limbs outside of the defender's (shoulder-width). This (at least initially) provides the defender the opportunity to take advantage of that positioning (while protecting their own locations of vulnerability).

  When positioned to the “outside”, the defender commonly has to negate (through moving) the opponent's limbs to reach those “points” of vulnerability. Many of the (most) vulnerable locations are on the aggressor's arm's. These can more easily be accessed if/when the defender is located between the aggressor's shoulder-width (IE. When on the “inside”).

  People generally recognize that when you are positioned to the outside (of the opponent's shoulder width), they will be inclined to utilize some manor of “force” (in order to apply any manor of technique). That force, may be through injuring the opponent (via delivered impacts), or through moving the opponent's limbs (in order to apply that force). Oyata taught that one should utilize those locations that are (immediately) available (regardless of one's present location). Though not necessarily being individually “devastating”, cumulatively, they caused the aggressor to become (if not less aggressive) less effective in any continued attempts.

  Force Efficiency plays a major role in one's ability to accomplish this. Disrupting an opponent's Force Efficiency is an important factor/purpose for any applied technique. If/when someone is “off-balance”, their Force Efficiency is (greatly) reduced. This applies to (both) delivered, and received technique applications.

  The student should focus on applying this principle with all performed actions (Defensive as well as Offensive), through their occurring within the distance between the width of their own shoulder's. Those motions attempted beyond those limitations will result in (obviously) reduced success. This is easily shown by the student performing a “punch” (using only the motion of the arm) directly in front of themselves, then to the side. The differences in the level of effectiveness (between the two) is obvious.

  The same situation exists (though more obviously) when attempting to utilize the legs beyond the direction(s) of directly forward and/or rearward (though downward is a more accurate description of direction for a “rear” kick). So-called (forward) “round” kicks, entail the leg (and body) being rotated for their delivery of a “round” kick. “Rearward” round-kicks, are referred to as being “hook-kicks”. The “extension” kicks, are almost all (anatomically) “downward”(directed) kicks (more accurately being “thrusts”).

  Force Efficiency should be recognized (and utilized) in every limb action attempted/performed. Any motion that attempts to operate beyond those limitations will (itself) be limited in it's effectiveness and applicability.

  Our instruction of Force Efficiency is began with the limb's “Range of Motion” (R.O.M.). That knowledge is directly utilized with (both) “striking” and “manipulation” (“Tuite”) applications. It is shown with each of the instructed techniques (mentioned previously). Many of the included principles (of Force Efficiency) are naturally recognized (though not always understood, or utilized) in a students application of the provided instruction. Developing the student's awareness of those relevancy's, is the reason and purpose for having an instructor (regardless of the “system” being taught)



 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Application and Use



  Over the years we have met (and trained) with numerous individuals who have studied various forms of “self-defense” and martial arts. We often compare methodologies and techniques. This has been done to further our own understanding and knowledge regarding the instruction of Oyata's methodology of “life protection” that we provide to our students. Very often we don't agree with what is being shown (or at least how it's being shown) but it expands our awareness of “what” is being taught by different systems/individuals doing like-wise.

  Those differences are often made in regards to expectations made (by those other systems) when training in those methodologies. Many, (though not all) of those systems regard themselves as being the most efficient (based upon their own expectations) for what constitutes an effective, and thereby efficient defensive methodology.

  I've found it interesting, that the majority of the systems (at least all that we've encountered) are (at their core) based upon “power”. Whether in the delivery of it, or at the very least, the use and application of it. It (power) is commonly recognized as being the only trait regarded as having merit for (their) application's effectiveness. I could agree that power is a piece of a technique's application, but I don't consider it a “dominant” factor to (the majority) of technique success (or effectiveness).

  If/when it is viewed as being such, is that methodology conveying the idea that if you can't generate sufficient “power”, then what you are learning won't work? This (in turn) conveys to myself that the instructed applications have an inherent weakness if not fault.

  The majority of “Karate Students” tend to be young, healthy males. If/when an instructor is emphasizing that their instruction is (primarily) to be used in regards to “self-defense”, that instruction (should be) geared towards teaching students who don't (only) fall into that category. When those students don't (fall into that category), they will develop the impression that they are unable to achieve an adequate level of skill/ability (with the instructed applications). This is particularly true with female students. Despite what any instructor says, the (average) female, will never be able to produce/generate the equivalent “power” generated by a male student. Are there exceptions? Of course, but they are limited, and are thereby exceptions.

  For that reason, power cannot be considered a dominant factor to any instructed application. If/when it is, then the instruction is being focused upon a limited number of it's students. This doesn't mean the system is “bad”, only that it has limited application, and is therefor only optimal for a limited student body. It also demeans the implication that the system is intended for “self-defense” purposes for anyone. This is clearly demonstrated by how (many) systems teach various technique's to their female students (as opposed to their male students).

  Whether being shown a striking application, or a limb manipulation, female students are (often) shown different methods of utilizing them (?). The technique's are the same regardless, so why are they shown how to utilize them differently? An aggressor will commonly base their (own) attack upon their own strength (verses their victim). A victim is (rarely) afforded that option. Their training should therefor never consider “their” own strength to be a deciding factor, regarding the effective application of their defensive motion/application.

  Defensive training encompasses numerous factors (for it to be successful). Speed, Accuracy, Timing are all more important to achieving that purpose. Physical size/strength have little to add in achieving those factors. Focusing upon strength (alone) will actually diminish those (other) factors. Modern (Western) practitioners are (obsessed?) focused upon striking an aggressor with as much power as they can (for their applications to “work”). They regularly “demonstrate” how an application won't work if done with insufficient “power”. This is (IMO) more of a demonstration of (their) applications inadequacy's.

  Whether that application is a limb manipulation (IE. “Tuite”), or an impactive motion, if it is (purely) based upon the user's level of strength (“power”), then that application has limited value to the average (and far more common) student. One of Oyata's (basic) tenants (“sayings”), was that you didn't try to “out box a boxer” (or “fight your opponent's fight”). You would likely lose if you did. This was a matter of “tactics”, not “technique” (Students can often confuse the two).

  Oyata's (instructed) “tactics”, were intended to create situations that favor the student (in the performance of their technique's). Though hardly “new/unique”, his manner of technique application was different from what was (and is) being currently taught (for self-protection).

  The most distressing (to the majority of observers), was his (total) disregard for the practice of “sparring”. That practice is utilized by most (if not all) so-called “defensive” methods. The biggest problem with it, being that it ignored/skipped (over) the initial part/portion of (most) physical confrontations (IE. the verbal interaction between the two parties), “sparring” attempts to imply that there is no opportunity to negate that confrontation until the involved parties have (established) their (initial) physical positions.

  This is commonly accomplished by the aggressor having positioned themselves to deliver their strike/grab attempt, and the defender having to resist and/or respond to the delivered action. Oyata taught that the defender should utilize a (visually) “neutral” position, and to (then) respond to any attempted action. That presumably neutral position, is where the student practices their defensive motions from (during their training). It additionally provides a legal (appearance) of having no interest in participating in a physical confrontation.

  Being that Oyata's techniques/applications were not dependent upon physical strength/power, that positioning did not require that the student be obligated to generate that (much) “power”. One needed to only watch Oyata utilize his applications to see that “power” was rarely (if ever) a dominant factor to any of his applications. Positional changes and hand/arm motions and (body) movement accounted for the majority of the success for his defensive actions. That being said, does power aid in those applications? Yes, but to imply that it's use is mandated for their effectiveness is a gross exaggeration, and only exemplifies the observers misunderstanding of how/why those applications worked. 






 

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).