Thursday, September 29, 2011


  Well, it's been a while since I've done any ranting about some of the stupid stuff I read on the Internet. I had kind of (hoped really) thought that the “Kyusho-Point” craze was over (for a while), but I had someone write me about Patrick Mc-whoever's book regarding the Bubishi.
  Strangely enough, I actually have this book, LOL. It had been a few year's since I thumbed through it, so I did so (yet again). It's still as un-informative as it was the last time I looked at it.
  The majority of the book is personal opinion (of the author, and of interviewed individual's. All of which, have an agenda. “$$”). Whether I agreed with any of the author's opinions/conclusions or not, is really irrelevant. But I was asked my opinion, so here it is.
  The Bubishi is about as relevant to anything that I do or teach, as a Betty Crocker Cook Book. The text is laced with irrelevant Acupuncture trivia, that has no correlation to anything that I do or teach. The included attempts at identifying “point” locations, are useless (and/or wrong). Basic Locations that I and/or my student's regularly utilize are not even shown/identified.
  Being familiar with (actual) Acupuncture “texts”, the manner which that information was presented was confusing at best (if not misleading).
  IMO, this text was published in the hope of profiting off of the “kyusho-craze”, and the lack of accurate information in regards to that subject (for which this text contributes nothing in adding to and/or correcting what is already available elsewhere).
  Basically, the book is an opinion piece. Take it for what it's worth. I've never felt the Bubishi amounted to anything more than a propaganda tool of misdirection, misinformation and general distraction. The included writings are basically quotations of popular martial arts sayings. I've never seen anything revolutionary or (even) “special” about anything that's (ever) been translated from it.
  I was curious as to “his” translations of the Chinese writings (in regards to the included sketches). They weren't exactly consistent throughout the text ? Considering that the original kanji wasn't included (throughout), it's difficult to determine how accurate his translations are (or if they were even complete).
  There are several versions of this text available (beyond this author's). This one is neither better, nor worse than any of the others, and IMO, they're all useless if one's intention is to discover/confirm actual Kyusho point locations. From a historical perspective, your provided with the author's viewpoint (again, take it for what you think it's worth).
  This text suffers from the standard western fallacy of “it must be true/accurate (just) because it's Chinese” How, or even Why that became a popular belief is beyond my own understanding. There's been plenty of Chinese teachings/beliefs that have been proven to be false and/or inaccurate before, so what makes this one any different?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


  The first strike (attempt) made by an aggressor, is commonly the one which has the best chance of contacting, and causing damage (to the tori). It's also this strike, that is the most difficult (for the defender) to anticipate, much less prevent from achieving that (first/initial) impact. The majority of that difficulty comes from not knowing which arm the aggressor will choose to utilize to make that initial attempt.
  For that reason, RyuTe has several ambidextrous defensive actions/motions that are taught to student's. I've previously described the 2-handed forearm strike (and it's ambidextrous application). Another of these motions (that can be further expanded upon) is the parry/strike combination.
  This motion (though more involved) offer's greater ability to be modified and/or expanded to include a wider range of application (both defensively, and counter-offensively). Starting hand positions are at the tori's sides.
For simplicity, this description will be for a Right-handed/dominant Tori/individual (Right-side stronger, Left-side weaker).
  The tori's defensive motion begins with the tori motioning both elbow's forward (to slightly in front of the tori). This allows the Tori's Right-arm to motion upward close and parallel to the tori's chest (pivoting at the elbow), until vertical.
  The tori's Left hand/arm will raise straight upward (palm-up). As both arm's attain their vertical positioning, the Left (weak-side) hand will rotate (to palm-down), and motion downward & forward (towards the uke). The tori's Right-hand/arm will motion forward (again, towards the uke) Palm-up (and closed).
  If/when no contact is made with the tori's Left hand, it proceeds forward and down (often performing a downward strike upon the uke's solar-plexus region). If/when the Right-hand makes no contact, then it will usually perform a forward strike upon the uke (often at the neck level).
  Initially, these motions are practiced without including the (tori's) body-motion. This (naturally) makes the motion more difficult, but it also forces the student to focus upon doing their hand/arm motions (more) correctly.
  Assuming the uke initially attempts a Right-handed strike (against the tori), the tori's Left hand will be presented with several methods of neutralizing that attempt. If they (the uke) attempt a straight (from the waist) strike (with no “wind-up”), then the tori's Left-hand will have the more immediate opportunity to prevent it's achieving it's goal. 
  As the tori is raising their Left hand/arm, the hand need only motion across (in front of) the uke's punching arm. Though not always sufficient to “stop” a strike's progression, by continuing with it's originally intended motion/direction (towards the uke's center), the strike will be (both) delayed and diverted (from it's intended target).
  If/when the uke should lift their fist/arm (to “cock” it), the tori's Left-hand should negate it's intended “arc”, and proceed forward with a strike (to either the brachial plexus, or the bicep tendon of the striking Right-arm of the uke).
  If the the uke chooses to perform a “Right-Hook” (towards the tori), the tori can choose to strike the uke's bicep-tendon with (either) their Left or Right arm/hand (depending upon the tori's ability level).
  Tori also has the choice of only parrying the uke's Right-hand strike attempt (to the opposite side of the uke, and/or to either the uke's waist, or the tori's waist, depending upon the desired “follow-up”).
  Should the uke choose to strike with their Left-hand, the most common counter, is to strike the uke's arm using their forward motioning Right hand/arm. This strike is usually made slightly above the elbow (to the medial side). The tori's hand needs to be at the (practiced) 45º angle. If the hand is vertical, it will miss, if it is horizontal, it will also miss (ie. There is a reason we practice with the hand at a 45º angle! LOL).
  Should the uke choose to throw a “hook” with the Left-hand/arm, the tori should still strike the uke's Left arm, but it should be noted that their own Left hand, will also be striking the uke's mid-section (and thus causing an additional reaction by the uke).
  When/if the tori's Left-hand should complete a strike to the mid-section of the uke, the uke's most common reaction is to lean forward. This offer's the opportunity (for the tori) to strike the uke upon the (Right or Left) side of the neck, using their Right-hand).
  The addition of the straight-kick, will change many of the uke's motions and reactions (often slowing their initial punching motion). For this reason, I prefer to delay the kick's inclusion in student practice (I feel learning to deal with not having the kick's added influence to the uke's strike, to be a greater challenge. It also emphasizes greater appreciation for the kick's influence upon the uke's reactions).
  The addition of the tori's body-motion to the technique's application will change much of the uke's ability to impact the tori (as they initially intended). This body motion is accomplished by buckling the knee's and rotating both knee's towards the side that the tori will be kicking with. This motions the tori's head/body towards the opposite side (and repositions the tori's head from being struck).
  This rotation is only of (approximately) 30-45º. Very often student's will rotate excessively (usually to 90º). By over rotating, they slow their response time, and actually place themselves out of position to (effectively) apply their own (defensive) kick/strike.
  The inclusion of rotation with technique motions, will additionally include the rotation of the tori's technique application. This (at first) is a little confusing to the student, but once exampled and explained, it makes more sense. Instead of the technique's motions being directly towards the uke, they are being applied at the 45º angle that the tori has (now) rotated to.
  There are numerous versions of this initial motion. We present the basic version for our student's to build off of (for their own personal defense). Our emphasis is upon the motion's basic execution. The individual limb's motions need to be practiced in their complete form/manner. “Short-cutting” any motions practice, can/will only lead to technique failure. Practice must include the full range of motion for the technique. The fact that (in use) it may end up being shortened, does not equate to it being permissible to allow condensing the motion's practice


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prolog of a Self-Protection System

  I was looking over various Internet sites, who've (supposedly) developed their “own” system of (some form of) martial art. I found the vast majority lacking in numerous essential factors (IMO). Most of them being combined pieces of what-ever they believed to be effective for their view of learning/teaching a self-protection system.
 What I saw, was a mishmash of techniques that were often unrelated to one another, and were being presented along with questionable concepts. Most appealed to a particular type of individual (usually young, athletic and male......oh, and very Macho).
 My own experience, has lead me to consider the various factors involved with the presentation/instruction methods used by an instructor to teach a martial art. 
My own prerequisites consist of the following: 
Principles, Theory, Technique, Instruction
 These are the beginning elements of developing any self-protection system. Only after the first 3 elements have been established, can one begin to develop an efficient method of conveying that information to one's students in the application of those elements.
 For many instructor's of martial arts (in general), the transmission of that information is done in whatever manner it was imparted to them by their respective instructor(s). This is often done without ever considering these fundamental elements, or how they are integrated with one another.
 Whenever I observe a class (regardless of the style/instructor), I attempt to ascertain the basis of these elements in what's being presented. Many tend to only contain (or at least transmit) one or two of them, without regard to the remaining elements.
      1. Principles 2. Theory 3. Technique 4. Instruction
 The first 3 elements all have to fit the requirements of each other (IE. No one item of an element can contradict another item, be it of that element, or another). The 4th element (instruction) must guide the student in understanding why and how each of the listed elements are relevant to what, and how the instruction is being presented. Any of these elements should have the ability to be modified, or even corrected (should an obvious weakness or defect in the originally conceived concept occur).
 Each of these elements are important to the ability of the system to function as desired. Until each is actually defined, I (personally) don't understand how one can make any kind of claim as to having “developed/created” a (new) system. Several of these definitions over-lap with others listed under different elements. Given the definitions for each element, I feel that this is justified.
 How I would define these elements (in what I teach) I will attempt to convey in the following. I've made clear my criticism of numerous practices being made by others, and I have been more than willing to debate/discuss those critiques with any who chose to do so. I feel it only fair, that I present my own interpretations of what I have learned, and how I teach that knowledge to others.

                               Fundamental, primary, or general laws/rules or
                    truths from which others are derived or developed.

 As defined above, Principles provide the initial guidelines for a systems techniques and methodology's. Though usually attributed to some form of “moral” standard establishment, in this context, Principles only refers to the what/how/why a system will present it's manor of instructing a martial art.

 Principles are (usually) pretty general in their description. Whether done as a “CYA” measure or not, can be debated by others. The principles that I teach by/follow/recognize are as follows:

(Though appearing some-what vague, these principles can be validated with every technique taught. Though by no means the only principles contained within the system, it's from these that others are derived. Individually, these are explained as follows.)

Motions are practiced from a defensive perspective
 Though seemingly obvious, this methodology reinforces the concept that what is studied, is designed to to be utilized for defensive purposes. Numerous techniques taught have the potential for use as/for aggressive purposes. Though having that potential, they are designed and taught from the defensive perspective.

Practice is always treated seriously
 This doesn't mean that a class can't contain some humor, but the actual practice of technique and motions should be done with seriousness.

Kicks, are performed from the waist height and/or lower
 This relates to the fact that the average distance between an aggressor and the defender is at arm's length (too close for any effectiveness of kicks performed higher than waist level).

A physical confrontation should only last 3-5 seconds or less
 This is based on the reality that 95% of confrontations consist of 1-4 strikes being (usually) made by the aggressor alone. If the defender is unable to end a confrontation in that time period, they will often be the loser in that confrontation.

The open hand is the preferred methodology
 Though not practical for every technique/motion, the open-hand is the preferred methodology. This is based upon the knowledge that an open-hand allows the muscles of the arm to be used for arm motion (as opposed to holding the finger's closed), thereby increasing arm strength, and speed.

Every motion utilized should be a natural motion
 Any motion that feels excessively awkward, should be flagged as being done incorrectly. All motions and techniques taught are non-complicated. This doesn't mean necessarily easy or simple to perform, only not complicated.

Physical Strength is never a deciding factor for effectiveness
 The utilization of any technique is not dependent on physical strength. Every technique taught, should be able to be performed by every student regardless of physical size/strength or gender (presuming the student is of adult age).

Technique is derived from kata
 The techniques taught and practiced in the class, are derived from motions contained within the practiced kata.

                                         A particular conception or view of something
                            to be done or of the method of doing it.

 This element is what the majority of people consider to be the main emphasis of a systems methodology. To some extent, there's some validity to that perspective. But as stated previously, without the other elements, the individual one's are but hollow concepts.

The 1st most recognized theory of application for RyuTe, is
The Utilization of “3-limbs”.
 This states that a defender has 3 limbs at their disposal (at one time) for any defensive action taken (2 Arms and 1 Leg). As a (gross) over-generalization, most people tend to attempt 1 Physical motion (that includes serious intent) at a time. It's equally common to respond to only a single action. With familiarity of the motions involved, that can be expanded to 2 motions (2 arms, or 1 arm and 1 leg). Not as commonly utilized (though clearly possible),     
 The use of 3 limbs (2 Arms and 1 Leg) is the preferred manor of application.
 Taika explains that dealing with 1 motion (defensively), is not a problem, dealing with 2 is more difficult, but can be done, dealing with 3 though, this is very difficult (hence, should be our goal when retaliating to an aggression).

The 2nd most recognized theory of application for RyuTe is
The proximity ratio.
 Student's of RyuTe are taught that being closer (to an opponent) is safer. Initially, this sounds contradictory to reason. But when one considers the defensive (mechanical) logic of the premiss, it makes more sense. By being closer, the aggressor is unable to generate as much momentum for a strike (the initial 1/3rd of a strikes motion is the weakest of the strikes range of motion {ROM}). There are also (obvious) tactical reasons for this premiss also, and these are explained and practiced.

Direction of Defensive Motion
 As with the Proximity ratio, the preferred direction of motion is towards the aggressor. Obviously, this is dependent upon the individual situation, but more often than not, this is the preferred direction.

                                      Technical skill; ability to apply procedures
                                      or methods so as to effect a desired result.

The general accepted method of technique application will be similar regardless of the manner of assault utilized (non-side dependency).
  This implies that the defensive manner utilized will not (generally) be dependent upon whether the aggressor utilizes a Right or Left-sided assault method.

A techniques manner of application will be drawn from the motions demonstrated within the kata learned.
  This reminds the instructor that techniques are based upon motions made within the various taught kata.

A defender's technique application, will be prioritized above an aggressor's.
  This is based upon the fact that the majority of individual's will attempt to base their own responses, upon newly perceived actions. This is shown to be a futile effort, and will rarely, if ever work. Students are taught to focus on their own technique/application, regardless of an aggressor's actions. This is a difficult principle to explain in written context (but is easily demonstrated).

                         The act of furnishing with authoritative directions.

The instruction of techniques will be done in a progressive manner.
  This implies that techniques will be continuously modified in more refined manners as the student learns and demonstrates the ability to perform that motion/technique.

Instruction shall be delivered to the student, in a manner that is understood sufficiently for that student to recite the motions to others.
  This is not to imply that the student can instruct another student, only that the student has sufficient knowledge of the technique to identify faults and/or discrepancy’s between execution methods.

An individual student, is the sole recipient of any individual instruction provided.
  This refers to instructional variances between different student's. What is shown to one student, is intended for that student (alone).

Student questions will be answered in relation to that students understanding of the material of inquiry.
This means that any students question will be answered to that students level of understanding and/or relevancy to the context it was presented. 
 Many of the presented rules could (and do) fall under several of the listed category’s. I've attempted to restrict any repetition for reasons of simplicity. There are of course others (for any of the listed category’s) that I have missed and/or not included here. These are only the major points of my instructional method. Each can (obviously) be broken down and explained in further detail, but for a general listing, the provided statements are sufficient. 
 The RyuTe system also includes the Dojo Kun, and the Dojo Principles (which I've discussed elsewhere). These Principles are in no way contesting or contradicting those (and some listed here, are actually based upon those). What's presented here, is what I utilize as guidelines for instructing my own students in technique/theory/application. I'm (pretty) sure that I've covered each of these subjects individually elsewhere, if not (and anyone has a question/statement), then ask. I will do my best to answer.

Technician, or Technique Whore?

  When I've referenced Taika in conversations/lectures, I've usually referred to him as being a technician. I've encountered numerous individuals from other disciplines who were similarly inclined (in their respective fields), yet rarely do any possess the over-all knowledge level that Taika demonstrates. 
   I've often encountered individuals who possess a numerical defensive technique knowledge level. I don't consider many (if any) of these individual's as being “technician’s” though (at least as I would define one to be). From my own perspective, it's the equivalent of calling someone who has bolted a replacement part on a car, as being a mechanic. Though many of these individual's know numerous techniques, when queried as to the operating mechanics behind each, those individual's knowledge is lacking at best.
  For our students, the initially shown techniques are intended to illustrate individual principles of application. Each demonstrates a variation of the basic application methods. When these are in reference to a wrist technique, they're commonly applied to the ulnar side of the wrist. When applied to a limb, those motions are being applied so as to cause the affected joint to create a condition that can be exploited by the applier to control and/or physically nullify an aggressor's ability to continue any further aggressive behavior.
  For some students, this level of knowledge is unwanted, as well as being deemed unnecessary. Those students are (commonly) seeking the quick-fix (type of) techniques (usually to add to a preexisting technique base), and often fall into the technique whore category.
  To our concept of training students, it is necessary for our student's to understand every aspect of the application (and/or failure) of the techniques being shown to them. To simply be knowledgeable of a (large) quantity of techniques, means nothing. To be able to apply a single technique in a large number of different situations, means far more (to our way of thinking).
  This concept applies to both our combination techniques, and to the tuite techniques taught to our student's. It's rare, that a shown technique has (only) a single situational application. Though some student's aren't aware of it, the initially shown technique's (of both combination's & tuite) will commonly end up being the most utilized by a student (if/when they find themselves in a confrontational situation).
  Possessing a large repertoire of technique's may appear impressive, but when it comes to being able to utilize (any of) them in a confrontation, a more condensed amount will be more readily applicable.
  I believe that being aware of alternative applications is beneficial (if not necessary) for an instructor. But for the student (only desiring to learn to defend themselves) technique redundancy can become confusing (if/when it becomes excessive).
  Very often, it's those technique's that are disregarded (by student's) as being, or having no applicable use, that are the most utilized in actual confrontations. This usually is because of false practice methodology's being applied to those very technique's.
  Straight and/or cross-wrist grabs, pushes, slaps, these are all (very) common occurrences, yet people (student's) ignore their (very) probable escalation to more serious situations. Simply waiting until a situation becomes (obviously) serious, can be too late. When comparing how these situations usually occur, they usually happen under similar circumstances (as those that are being practiced).
  There's rarely any need to have a complicated/involved manor of responding to the majority of these situations. Possessing 30 different manors of responding to a wrist grab is (IMO) a debatable attribute. Granted, having only a single technique might be limiting one's ability's, but too many only becomes confusing. 

  When one is familiar with the mechanics of a particular attack, and the application of the various methods of countering that attack, deciding how to do so becomes more of a matter of individual comfort than necessity. There are usually numerous ways to counter any aggression, the difference between any of them is usually in the ending condition/positioning of the uke.
  If/when one understands the necessary motions to neutralize an aggression, then it should only be a matter of choosing the preferred manor of executing those motions. As a rule, there are only so many motions that are possible (for any given situation). It becomes a matter of choosing how one performs those motions.
  For our student's instruction, we have chosen to begin their study by introducing them to (only) several techniques, that will work for responding to several different common aggressive actions. These responses are appropriate regardless of whether the aggressor utilizes their Right, or their Left hand (the technique is performed in the same manor regardless).
  The first of these taught, is the 2-handed forearm strike (I described this technique in a previous blog). Another of these ambidextrous (response) technique's, is (what we call) the cover/strike motion


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Regarding the Practice of “Neck Strikes”

  Our student's were recently (allowed) to begin practicing Kyusho (type) neck-strikes. The initial reaction (by reader's), is that they would never allow that to happen (to them). This denial is usually made from the (mistaken) belief that this practice is done without any manner of restraint. If that were the case, it wouldn't be happening (in my class anyhow, LOL).

  We usually begin this (type of) practice with the use of neck-braces. These amount to the commonly seen neck support/braces that are found at local stores (Wall-mart, Osco etc.). Though these are initially insufficient to fulfill our safety concerns, the inclusion of additional padding (such as that found within the average forearm/shin pad) will usually suffice.

  Though the use of protective padding implies that one can repeatedly strike the protected area (with little concern for safety), this isn't the case. The use of padding only allows for the use of controlled strikes, and in limited number. Repeatedly striking anywhere (much less the sensitive neck, LOL) isn't a good idea.
  We do allow the more experienced student's (who can demonstrate control) to participate without the use of the neck-braces. The strikes themselves, are limited (in the amount of applied power/force). Even with this limitation, the strikes (though rarely resulting in more than a few second's of response) will clearly demonstrate the desired results.
  The purpose of this practice/example, is not so much to be able to do the strikes (that's the easy part). Their purpose, is to expose the student to receiving the strikes themselves (albeit, limited and controlled). This isn't done in the belief that one will build any level of immunity (you won't). Unless one is familiar with the results, they can't plan for how best to follow-up with subsequent techniques.
  The only way for one to know how a subject will react to these strikes, is to perform them on someone (and to of received them, themselves). Initially, this sounds a little psychotic. It's not (nearly) as bad as one would presume it to be. The use of the padding, both protects, and limits the level of impact immensely
  We also restrict the amount of force utilized with the strike itself. Though the potential for abuse is present, that potential is always present in a martial arts class (and in numerous commonly taught techniques). Obviously, the student's are only allowed this exposure if/when the instructor is comfortable with the individual student's ability level.
  These strikes amount to light, but solid impacts to the appropriate locations. Initially, these will be forearm strikes, and will gradually include individual hand (types of) strikes. The amount of pressure used is equivalent to that used when lightly tossing a hand-ball back and forth.
  Although padding is utilized, and the effects are temporary, the number of strikes performed must be limited (otherwise, bruising becomes a problem, LOL). The most common reaction (from one of the strikes) is a momentary (2-3 seconds) white-out with an equally limited amount of dizziness. After that time period, there are no sustained effects.
  The types of strikes utilized are naturally limited. Using a punching-type of technique (upon the neck) would obviously be irresponsible. The effects we wish to convey can be accomplished with simple/light open-hand and forearm strikes. These are easily controllable and will cause/create minimal impact trauma (especially at the reduced levels of impact that we're utilizing).
  On a lighter note (well, to me anyhow, LOL) as I was writing this blog, I received a solicitation from one of the “kyusho-peddler's” on First-Aid (presumably for their manner of Kyusho strikes). 
 I've already seen it, the “First-Aid” presented is 2nd rate (at best) and contradictory to much of what should be done. By following those given directions, you (actually) prolong the effects of what's been done (sad, really). For impressing your buddies (at how long someone can be made to feel like dog-shit) they're great, for recovering from the effects created by an (actual) kyusho type of strike, not so much.
 Go take an actual First-Aid Class. The knowledge gained will be superior to anything that will be learned from one of these literary pieces of nonsense.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Problem with Being purely “Reactive”

  When I'm working with students on their technique/combination execution. I'm constantly telling them to be Active, and not Reactive. This often goes against many (other) instructor's teachings. It seems that most classes drill on speeding-up a student's reaction time (to aggressive motions made against them). There's nothing wrong (per-say) with doing so, but in the long run, it works against the student.
  How? by training the student to wait for an aggressor's motion/technique, prior to beginning their own motion/technique.
  My problem with this manner of practice, isn't in the concept, only in the execution. What the vast majority of student's will do, is to wait, until they see/identify the individual manner of an aggressor's attack method, before they execute their own defensive actions.
  A great deal of this comes from systems stating that “such and such” (motion/technique) is for a “such and such” (attack method). This is repeated through (generally, 6-8) different manors of defending one's self, from whatever specific attacking method/manner is used each time. Frankly, it's too many choices to be made before a defense can even happen (which means it will never happen in a real situation).
  This is one of those situations that having a choice works against you. In a controlled, practice environment, I can come up with a dozen different responses to any particular aggressive motion made (towards myself). Experience has shown, that in reality, I will commonly utilize one of (maybe) 4 different responses to any given situation.
  Recently, I've had student's working on our 2-handed strike. This technique is designed to offer an effective defense, while (also) providing the ability to strike an aggressor's arm (when they execute a strike). This technique is maybe one of the most miss-applied techniques in our repertoire.
  As demonstrated in an earlier blog, the motion is simple and can be utilized against either a Left or Right-handed strike. The purpose (beyond preventing the aggressor's strike from landing) is to disable the aggressor's arm. This goal is not always achievable, but should none the less be what is attempted.
  Very often, and understandably, student's focus on preventing the strike from landing. Though obviously achieving a purpose, it does nothing to prevent further attempts being made.
  Merely hitting the aggressor's arm, will rarely accomplish much (short of preventing being struck). For some, this is sufficient. For our student's, this is considered less than ideal. If an aggressor is able to repeat the strike, then nothing has been achieved.
  Initially, the striking of the arm is sufficient (for training). This is expanded to include a kick (and of course, a follow-up strike). For now, the goal is to disable the aggressor's arm. This can be accomplished by several different striking methods, as well as locations struck (upon the arm).
  It's during this manner of practice, that those locations are learned, and attempts are being made to contact/utilize them. Because our focus is being limited to only performing the arm motions, this is difficult. Students can easily become frustrated.
  The individual motions are broken down to illustrate their specific actions, which have often been ignored, or over-simplified (by the student for their own benefit of execution). This modification of the taught technique, though simpler to perform, is now lacking in the ability to cause injury to the aggressor's arm/limb.
  This is most commonly evident in the manner that the outside forearm strike is being performed. When done as taught, the motion will rise close to the tori's body, then motion outward (towards the uke). The hand is kept at a 45º angle, this is very important to maintain. If the hand/fist is kept at a flat, 90º angle, or even vertical, the tori will not be able to strike the (several) shown locations (points).
  The fact that the strike leaves the body in a forward direction is what (IMO) confuses beginning student's the most. It's easier to understand knocking a strike away (by moving in a windshield wiper manner) than to strike the arm (in several shown locations) and possibly injure that arm.
  Part of what's not being realized is that the tori's body is going to be motioning also. Not that it's going to move a great deal (unlike some instructor's that will have their student's spinning around like a top, just to perform one of their “blocks”). That motion (for us) is only a 10-15º rotation. If the student has been practicing the motion correctly, that now makes the (practiced) forward motion, at an angle to the aggressor. It also allows more momentum/power to be included in that motion/strike.
  Once this is understood (by the student), they can begin focusing upon their strike (instead of the uke's). When the motion is being done correctly, the tori's strike will connect, and the uke's strike will be diverted (preferably along with causing injury to the uke's arm).
  Practicing in this manner will make the student faster, simply by eliminating those unnecessary steps (evaluating what the uke is doing, which technique to react with, Left/Right strike etc.). The less ambidextrous (in regards to which arm the uke is using) a technique is, the less useful it will be.
  The attempt at being reactive to whatever may be thrown at you (with a host of techniques to choose from), is an exercise in futility. The student should only have 2 or 3 (with little to no distinction between them) options. This often will only come, once one's basic technique motion is correctly understood. I often read that once one becomes Yudansha, they're always working on basic motions. Well, get a clue....