Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Two-Handed Forearm Strike

This is a re-post/edit of an earlier blog. The reason I've re-posted it, was in reference to a reader's question on a previous blog in which a comment was made in reference to the lack of difference in performing a defensive motion/technique in regards to a Left or Right-handed punch by an aggressor.”

Ambidextrous Defense, The Two-Handed Forearm Strike

  We teach this technique as one of several “beginning” Defensive combinations to student's when they begin their study of RyuTe.   
 When instruction is initially began, the student should determine their dominant (or “Strong-side”) hand. If the student is Right-handed, then (usually) the Right hand will be their “dominant” hand (and vise-verse, if Left handed).

  This technique is often taught as a Reaction/response motion for unperceived, or surprise aggression as it is a very simple, yet effective protective motion. As with most RyuTe beginning techniques, this motion is ambidextrous in it's response capability (meaning it works equally well in defeating a Right, or Left hand Strike from an aggressor/uke, though the tori's motion doesn't change, regardless of which hand the uke uses).

  Practice of this, as with most RyuTe combinations, Begins with the tori and the uke standing face-to-face, at an arms length of distance from each other (confirmed, by the tori placing his hand on the shoulder of the uke to establish “distance”).

  Practice is began with both parties having their hands at their sides. As the uke begins their strike, the tori will raise both hands straight up (bending at the elbow), then will loosely close the finger's of their strong-side hand. This is done without clenching them together, so as to keep the muscle's of the forearm relaxed, while protecting the finger's from accidental injury.

  The fingers of the other (non-dominant, or weak-side hand) are left open, intending to parry an approaching strike. The dominant hand then crosses in front of the tori (to the opposite side) at face level, while the weak-side hand, will also cross in front of the tori's face, but is done with an open-hand.

  The strong-side's motion will be closer to the uke, and performed with the intent of being a strike, the weak-side will motion with the intent of a parry, or deflection. Both of these motions will cross (in front of) the tori's face (to protect it), and be performed with the intent of Injuring the aggressor's striking arm. Emphasis should also be placed on utilizing the forearm of the strong (striking) arm, as opposed to the (sole) utilization of the hand as being the striking implement.

  When performing these actions, the tori's body should rotate slightly to face towards the tori's weak side. This is done to add (body-weight) emphasis to the dominant (striking) arm as well as repositioning the tori's head (which was commonly, the originally intended target of the uke).

  The tori has several targeting options available to them (upon the uke's striking arm). There exist numerous atemi points on the uke's arm that could be utilized (depending on the tori's desired reaction from the uke). Initially, the tori should limit their (defensive) strikes to the uke's striking arm's forearm. As the tori becomes comfortable with striking specific points on the forearm, they should begin practicing strikes upon the uke's upper arm (at the relevant points located upon it).

  When these strikes are performed correctly, the uke's arm will be unable to close it's respective hand's fingers, and/or will be unable to bend at the elbow (depending on the struck point). 
  Too often (especially beginning) students attempt to “target” their defensive strikes towards the uke's Head/Neck area. It Must be remembered, the threat, is the uke's arm's (and/or legs), and our goal is to immobilize those threats. If necessary, any other threats are dealt with after the offending arm (ie. The “Punch”) is neutralized.

  At beginning levels, the tori can rotate into a Back stance (which is faster), or step towards the uke into a step stance. Once the student is confident with the action, then tori will add the option of a straight kick to the defensive action. Doing so, will change the dynamics of the student's initial stance use/choice (usually) because of the change to the uke's reaction resulting from the kick. For this reason, the addition of a kicking motion, will usually be delayed until the student has been shown several of the initial combination technique's.

Right-Handed Strike
  When student's are comfortable with the execution of this motion/technique, we offer them the option of full-speed/power practice (utilizing Full-Coverage Protective Head-Gear). This optional practice method is encouraged, but not mandated. It's utilization illustrates (to the student) how this motion will work effectively for either a Right or Left-handed strike attempt.
 Left-Handed Strike
  There are multiple “follow-ups” available, and student's should be encouraged to experiment with discovering what (and/or which one's) would work best for them (be it Tuite, arm-locks or strikes) in varying circumstances and/or their individual level of instruction.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Describing Technique Applications

  I am repeatedly being asked to describe various technique's applications. For a few, I have given a simplistic description (not including all the tweaks, and variables that are present). If one is really wanting to understand what I describe here, then attend a class and see it, first hand.

  If you live close to our locations (Kansas City, Mo. And/or Excelsior Springs, Mo.), then it's not like it would cost you anything to do so (and no, we don't charge for explanations/demonstrations).

  I've explained (numerous times BTW) that this blog, is not a teaching blog. It's purpose is for comparative discussion and explanation of instructional technique's and methods. I utilize RyuTe for the basis of doing so. I enjoy (friendly, productive) debate, I believe it can expand one's understanding of a subject (and often reveal possible weaknesses in one's understanding of that subject).

  My hesitancy to describe technique's (in detail) stems from the fact that the various systems being taught today, often utilize different names and/or meanings for similar (if not the same) actions. My description/break-down of an outside forearm strike, will (for many) seem overly descriptive, if not down-right boring. Most will think “why not just say outside block?”, well, for numerous reasons. First off, we don't call, nor consider that motion to be an outside block (hence, the name difference). Second, the manner that we teach/perform the motion is is different (though at first glance, it appears to be the same motion). Third, this is the “internet”, which means that any Jack-off can get on-line, and make a blog proclaiming anything they want, with little to no retribution for having done so. Technically, I fall into that category, I could be anybody, who's actually a nobody. I prefer to be confronted/challenged face to face.

  I am more than comfortable, and happy to demonstrate anything that I write about on this blog (technique's, principles and/or theories). If one has read the side-bar, I make no claims of complete knowledge or competency with all that Taika teaches, only a moderate ability with that which I am familiar.

  Some have accused me of being too lazy to describe those subjects here (and I would agree with them, LOL, I am!). It's a whole lot less effort on my part, to demonstrate a motion/principle than it is to write it out (at least well enough for myself to be comfortable with doing so). It was also suggested that I utilize video on here, Why? (who's being lazy now?). Those that have the desire to learn, will seek out an instructor. There are numerous RyuTe instructor's across the country (and/or world). It all comes down to how badly you want to learn RyuTe, and will you compromise with something else. 
  Rather than reading what I have to say about teaching RyuTe, ask our student's what they have to say about learning RyuTe. Better yet, come by and ask all those questions that are presented here, but I brush-over because of my reluctance to write it all out, LOL. I will provide full explanations and demonstrations of anything I've written about.

 My #1 passion is teaching, whether it's RyuTe, or Shodo, I enjoy teaching, to anyone who really wants to learn. The problem I see today, is that very few really want to learn, they only want it handed to them. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Viability of Headlocks, and Control Techniques

  I recently viewed a blog that was addressing head-locks. I'm not a big fan of head-locks, but I can see how one can fall into one (either performing, or receiving).

  Before I began studying RyuTe, the majority of head-locks that I'd been exposed to, only restrained the person (somewhat). Their arms remained free to do what-ever (hardly an effective manner of restraint). Taika showed us his method of applying a head-lock, and it elicited a completely different reaction from the recipient.

  Taika's version, caused the recipient to (immediately) pull their own hands towards their own face/neck/chest (it would vary per individual) and they were unable to reach any other location (upon the tori). Likewise, he showed an escape (from an improperly applied head-lock). This was a simple pressure point application that usually causes the recipient to reel backwards (screaming) as it is applied (my students do not like to practice this technique, LOL).

  Either if these (Taika's version of the head-lock, or the escape) are simple enough, that excessive practice is rarely required to become proficient at them. Previously (in my experiences), I had been subjected to practicing elaborate throws, reversals and attempts at strikes that were all subject to the uke's physical build and/or pain resistance threshold.

  As I mentioned, head-locks are not a personally preferred application. I (still) envision the drugged-up crackhead who feels nothing being the individual that I wind-up attempting to apply one upon (call me paranoid, LOL). I feel more comfortable with an arm/leg restraint. If I disassemble someones limb, at least they can't hit me with it, if they get free.

  The application of a controlling technique upon a (single) limb, is often viewed as being inadequate for (truly) controlling an individual. This belief is most usually accepted by individual's that haven't had the techniques properly applied (many times including BTW, L.E. Officer's). I've stated (repeatedly) that the worst example of an arm-bar application, is usually done by a Police Officer. Very often they're able to accomplish the task, but it wears ME out just Watching them.

  The arm-bar, is only a transitional technique. It's intent, is to motion the individual into a safer position (for the applier) before a more effective controlling position/technique is applied.

  The problem with any controlling position/technique (for civilians) is the practicality of their application. Circumstances have to allow for their application. When those circumstances don't exist, then higher levels of injury (to an assailant) are usually required to assure the tori's safety.

  It's for that reason (the lesser requirement of inflicting injury) that I prefer to utilize controlling techniques. I have no problem with escalation, but why go there, if it's unnecessary? Even if you ignore the (possible) legal consequences of doing so, it just seems petty to me.

  It could be argued that escalation involves less physical effort, which (you would think) would interest me, but maybe it's the technical challenge of applying the technique that holds my fascination.
 Nah, I just enjoy causing the guy pain and humiliation by holding them there. And, if I leave no permanent marks or injury, it's harder for them to press charges if he gets a shyster lawyer. LOL.