Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oyata's “Milking” Punch

  When I first began my study in Taika's art, I already had 7 yrs. Experience, and a Yudansha ranking in Shito-Ryu. After 9 months (or so) of studying with Taika, I abandoned almost all of that previous training. I felt that I had wasted my time with it, and (needed) to get rid of the habits acquired during that study. This wasn't a (necessarily) easy thing to do, the longer that habits are repeated, the more ingrained they become. Even after all this time, I can still feel the tendency to want to do (some of) those habits.

  When I work with the students that I have now, I can see them (struggling) to modify their own habitual behaviors. One of the more common one's (that they have to learn), is with Oyata's milking punch.

  Now, to be fair, they have a lot of (minor) changes that they are being asked to modify (included with this action/technique) from the manner which they have been punching up till now. Oyata doesn't teach to pull-back the punching hand (to the side/waist) to begin with (that seems to mess with a lot of student's, LOL). We begin with it, at the (front) waist (basically, positioned to the front of the hip bones), and not, to the side.

  Like many (system's), we don't rotate the shoulder (when completing the punch), and we don't rotate the hips (beyond their respective shoulder). Just prior to the fist reaching it's target (and if necessary), it will rotate until it reaches a 45º angle. As it makes contact, it then milk's forward, and down (in a manner similar to milking a cow,....uh, if you can relate to that, LOL). The motion is also identical to the one made (by the hand) when one is swinging a suburito (heavy, wooden sword), which is why we include this practice in our curriculum.

  What's usually the most difficult (for the student to remember/do), is to keep the finger's (of the punching hand) loose (one should be able to easily slide a finger within the rolled finger's of the punching hand). To the beginning student, this has the appearance of weakness (in the punch itself). More often, it only serve's to illustrate the weakness in the user's original manner of punching.

  If you read (and observe) about how (the majority) of systems teach how a punch is (supposed to be) made. They explain to roll the finger's (tightly), then wrap the thumb around them (to hold them even tighter). That would seem, all “well and good”, but the most common problem (then) becomes, that the back of the wrist, is bent upward/backward. (then, LOL) as one pushes (the now clenched) fist forward, the “pinky” (finger) will feel weak. To compensate, it is very common for student's to lean/rotate(?) the hand (towards the forefinger), to make the pinky, feel tight (also).

 The problem now (LOL), is that the (2) fore knuckles (used for striking with), are out of line with the forearm (bone's) which creates a weakness in the wrist. as one (once again, LOL) rotates the bone's of the first 2 knuckle's, back in-line with the forearm bone's, the pinky (once again) feel's weak, from the fist loosening to align the knuckles with the forearm bones, LOL (and so it goes round and round).

  The first consideration (or concern, IMO) asked, should be what are we striking with? ...(answer) “The first two knuckles”. To ensure that they are solid (for making an impact), they should be in-line with the bone's of the forearm (both laterally, and vertically) the wrist would (obviously) be straight in order to complete this requirement. The finger's, should be “out of the way” of the striking knuckles, ie.-the impact points, are the knuckles (so they require a clear path to the target).

 THAT, is all that is “REQUIRED” to accomplish a strike (using the 1st 2 knuckles of the hand as the impact point(s).
Nowhere, is it mandated that the (other) finger's be rolled-up, or compressed (in any manner) for an effective strike to be made with the first 2 knuckle's of one's hand. In fact Taika teaches to NOT have the remaining finger's tight (at all). 
  (On a side-note, Taika used to talk about kara-te. He stated that (American) people interpreted it as “empty-hand”. He said this was wrong (many weapons are taught in Te). “kara” means (also) “open”. This has philosophical, as well as tactical meanings. RyuTe teaches that the open hand is stronger, and faster (than the closed hand). The open hand is also one which “offers”, as opposed to the empty one, that is begging.)

  Once one has (actually) made an impact with (the first 2 knuckles of) the hand, RyuTe teaches to (then) milk the impacting knuckles (the motion again, is identical to that made by the hand, when swinging the suburito, which could be interpreted as being side-ways, and towards the pinky). I've heard this explained in several ways (as to effectiveness, or even purpose).

  The simplest way that I've found (for describing to student's), is to relate it to performing a tuite technique, and changing directions half-way through the technique. If one is unfamiliar with this, then the explanation (obviously) would make little sense. 
  Similarly, If the body see's an imminent impact (regardless of what type) coming at it. The body will (naturally enough) brace (for that impact). “if”, for what-ever reason, that impact is different (than what was expected) the reaction to it, is commonly greater (in the body's effort to to dissipate the effects).

  This (too) is a common reaction. If you have ever grabbed something, and presumed it to be “cool”, then realized that it was “hot”, your reaction was usually (far beyond) what the reaction would have been if you (before hand) thought it was only “warm”. By tricking the body's presumed/perceived input, one can capitalize on those (often exaggerated) reactionary responses.


Man of the West said...

Glad you wrote this one. I think I'll be putting a link to it in my sidebar.

Alejandro said...

Interesting post. Some pics would be very, very helpful too!