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.

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