Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Redundancy In Nonsense

  OK, I've about had it with these Multi-Dan “Experts”. It's pretty much reached the point that anyone who has more than 3 (maybe 4) yudansha ranks in any multiple systems, and has done so in under 10 years,...
I'm saying, is a “Fake” P.O.S.
  I'd written before, that individual's that needed to list all their prior studies, must have considered all those studies to be a waste of their time. Other wise, why would they then study yet another system? For a comparative analysis, I can understand (been there, done that). But to waste your time attaining a yudansha grading? Frankly, you just have too much time and money to burn!
  I realize that a lot of people are “into” the bragging rights (game). When someone asks me what I study, I tell them RyuTe. I've attended other systems classes, even “ranked” in a few of them, big F'in deal? They were all Crapola when compared with what I do now (and for the past 30 years).

 It just seems like the majority of websites I checkout, list the instructor/author as having a legion of Dan ranks, and are yet rarely past the age of 28? Do most people find it more important to have a large list of things attempted, or a small list of actual abilities/accomplishments?
  In contrast, I (constantly) review my own (kyu) rank requirements for my students. I have striven to diminish those requirements (to their root techniques). Though (as always) dependent upon the individual student, those requirements could be sufficiently learned to acquire a shodan rank after 2½ – 3 years. From my own perspective, a shodan ranking is an equivalency to being familiar with all of the required basic motions (and are thus, ready to begin serious study as a Yudansha).
  Given my own experience with having student's that (already) have a yudansha grade (in whatever system) when they begin with me, I know that the transition time between systems doesn't (really) decrease with that prior knowledge. If anything, it increases it! They have to “un-learn” everything they did prior.
  I often reflect on the things I've read of the Okinawan masters of yesteryear. Each of those individual's were known for a singular talent, they might be skilled/knowledgeable in other areas also, but they were commonly recognized for one, maybe two fields of ability.
  When I have the unfortunate occasion to meet these modern Multi-dan wonders, I'm usually quite bored with/by whatever it is they're doing (or at least attempting to do). I've seen a lot, so I'm not easily impressed.
  It seems to be the perceived expectation, that the more systems and methods that you study, the better and/or more knowledgeable that you become. My own experience has shown this to not be the case.
  All systems and methods do not work together (fluidly). And really, Why should they? They were rarely developed together, and they (often) have different desired results. Although Combative motions (in general) are all the same (between different systems). Their differences are usually in the application of those motions.
  I believe that “modern” interpretations of these ancient systems have in many ways corrupted the intent of what was originally shown. Though it might be true that certain aspects may be able to be improved upon, I think it important to (first) learn the original method of those technique's application (before any so-called “improvements” are introduced, or even attempted).
  More often than not, those modern applications are nothing more than a re-hashing of previously tried (and dis-proven) methodologies. The majority that I've had shown to me, have been almost comical in their application, yet I can view local (area) web-pages and find numerous schools teaching the same sht-uff.
  The Japanese are the ideal example of “F-ing-up” a perfectly good system (though I do lay blame upon Funakoshi for much of that corruption). They managed to do so, even while being able to speak the same language, and being close enough to contact those who could have corrected them.
  I happen to be very aware (and critical) of our American ability to “F-up” a martial art, but I do allow slack (for us) in regards to monkeying with the performance of them. We were shown/taught damaged goods to begin with.
  Studying with Taika has assisted (at least myself) with cleaning-up a lot of those minor discrepancy's. I've come to appreciate the similarities between systems (as well as the differences). That doesn't mean I agree with those differences, but I (at least) understand how/why they have them.
  From what I've observed, the individual's who rack-up those multitudes of Dan-ranks, only seem to do so for the aforementioned bragging rights. They certainly don't display any manner of exceptional abilities (either on their part, or in those of their students).
  Presently (at least from my own internet observations), the standard “rank” of instructor's would seem to be seventh-dan (nanadan). This is usually in conjunction with 2 or 3 additional (if not equivalent) yudansha rankings in as many other systems/methods. Even disregarding the age of these individual's, I have a difficult time understanding, or even believing that these are legitimate rankings.
Does anyone else view this with as skeptical an eye as myself?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recognition (As Well As Guilt), Through Association

  There are numerous groups throughout the Martial Arts community, that promote the fact that they emphasize that their student's are often required to study TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). They base this reasoning upon the belief that one must be knowledgeable of TCM's meridian lines/points in order to exploit/utilize them for defensive purposes.
  If one hasn't figured out by now  that “I " don't subscribe to this drivel (#1 your stupid), then you haven't really been paying attention. That choice was not made (solely) from any outside influences, but from my own research into it's applicability (to what I teach/Do).
  Keeping in mind that even a stopped watch is correct twice a day, TCM similarly has individual portions which do contain a level of validity to them. The infamous “meridian lines” are regularly miss-used by these groups, but they excuse themselves by stating that they're only using them as a general reference source (?). Really?, when was the last time you had someone perform acupuncture in a general location upon you? (And if so, then why don't you just buy a chart with all the point locations and do it yourself?)
  I've (actually, LOL) Read “The Web that has no Weaver”, and it's cohort, “Book of the 5 Elements” , Both amounted to being More philosophical than practical, they only covered acupuncture theory, and barely mentioned herbs and physical therapy (Both of which, are a major part of Chinese Medicine that never get mentioned). Both books also Give Western medicine short shrift, and exaggerates the abilities of Chinese medicine in general. The numerous contradictions and generalities made in these books should be enough to make even the most devout pupil, skeptical of their contents.
  These texts could only be used as general references, because there is NO consistency to either of them. They are both filled with redundant inconsistency’s and contradictions that make any attempts to apply rules (that could be followed for their inclusion), impossible.
  These texts, are the framework for charlatans to build their structures of deceit upon. They were never intended for the applications that are repeatedly being applied to them. Acupuncture, (in general) is a Healing art. It possesses NO teachings of (intentional) harm. The so-called “Cycle of Destruction” was NOT intended for application of (any) martial art system (it is intended to be an explanation of the bodies ability to breakdown the equivalency of infections and such).
  TCM did NOT gain it's popularity because of martial arts, it became popular because of it's (limited) use of drugs. That fact also is the reason why it became less and less popular to begin with (Western medicine could very often actually CURE you, not just make you feel good).
  Does that mean that it's all fake? No, (not in my opinion anyway). For treating, and even aiding in healing certain afflictions, I think it can prove quite helpful, just NOT for martial arts.
  It baffles me, why these individual's would believe this nonsense. The fact that you strike a particular location (and create a result) does Not equate to validating all the other nonsense that these guy's are pushing. 
  The only answer that I can establish, is that these individual's have no other excuses to use that would justify their own inability to perform the required actions. If they can make it confusing (enough) then they can point in several directions when they screw-up whatever it is they're doing (or at least attempting to do, LOL).
  I'm aware that there are a few RyuTe member's that actually pursue this stupidity (and they have my apathetic sympathy). By doing so, those individual's have completely abandoned Taika's teachings, and will become trapped in the bottomless (and answer-less) pit that is this direction of practice. 
  What their reason for doing so might actually be, is beyond my own understanding. I abandoned that direction of study (over) 20yrs. Ago, and my practice has only progressed since having done  so.
  I've mentioned (granted, only in passing) the isolationist attitude that would seem to be appearing in a few of the (individual) RyuTe schools. It's my own opinion, that this is what lead to the more recent dismissal's of some of those RyuTe member's/schools.
  Virtually All of those schools/instructor's forbid or at least convinced their (yudansha) students that there was no point for them to attend Taika's classes (not that they did so either, LOL).
  With the passing of Tashi Logue, the Association Guideline Manual (for Dojo Owners) is being rewritten (a long overdue task). Numerous Dojo owners aren't even aware that they are out of compliance. That should soon be rectified (or at least they will be aware of being so, in order to correct it).
  I believe we're all entitled to make mistakes (or at least, poor/ignorant choices). I believe the real question is, will we recognize the difference between what's right, and what isn't.
  For those that were removed/expelled from the Association, I've seen the reasons for their having been done so. Despite the numerous Half-truths and Lies that have been presented by/for those individual's to gain sympathy, they (definitely) don't deserve any.
  Of course human nature being what it is, there's always somebody looking to capitalize off of the efforts of others. Usually, it's a student's gullibility that's being exploited. But Unfortunately, that can also include ignoring the provision of Recognition, when it's actually due.
 This association has always had guidelines to be followed by it's member's. Though not everyone was always aware of those guidelines, it has always been a simple matter to ask. Too often, it's just been easier (and more profitable) to just assume that what will be financially more profitable for yourself is correct, and ignore anything that might work against that belief.  

  It's that same premiss (money), which is the major motivator for the TCM nonsense. If your skill, or abilities are so lacking, that you have to resort to this tripe, then maybe it's time you quit (claiming to teach) martial arts.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Preemptive Analysis

  I seem to do a lot of writing about stuff that happens during an altercation, and not too much about things that are going on before the occurrence of one. Some might view this as an over-site, but frankly, I have a hard time understanding why people don't (naturally) already know this stuff.
The following list points out a lot of the more common Aggressive Intent Indicator's commonly displayed by (wanna-be) “Alpha” types. Though usually made by Men, they could also be exhibited by physically hostile Females as well. If this list was for the Predator type of aggressor #1, you'd probably never see them prior to the confrontation beginning. If you did see them, the odds of the aggression even happening would be cut in half (if not more).

Glaring, staring (essentially, sizing you up)
Making unprovoked accusations, threats, demands. 
Swearing for no apparent reason
Baiting or attempting to provoke an aggressive response from you
Moving into range, this can be either forward, or back
Unusual or out-of-place body movements
Aggressive gestures
Agitated pacing
Clenched fists (clenching in conjunction with a wide opening of the
Forward/Rearward weight shift
Straightening of the spine / puffing of the chest
Adopting a fighting stance
Positioning and/or creating space to move or draw a weapon
Teeth clenched, or other stiff or shaking body movements,
(often done in conjunction w/growling)
Cocking your arm back prior to punching or striking;
Tensing/raising your neck, shoulder, or arms prior to striking;
Widening your eyes or raising your eyebrows;
Shifting your shoulders;
Grinning or opening your mouth; and
Taking a sudden and deep breath. 

Other subconscious indications
  Sudden face flush (turning red), When that “Red Face” turns white (which is an ANAEROBIC RESPONSE) it is an indication that subject will attack.                             
  When a person is looking at you, then suddenly looks away, or is looking away, then suddenly looks at you, this is referred to as a Target glance (as when sighting a gun), or a witness check, reviewing how many are around (a quasi-dramatic effect, LOL).

  Change in rate, tone, pitch, or volume of a person’s voice (ie. A “Shouter”),who previously was giving a speech about your faults/disrespect whatever, becomes quiet, or doubles in volume (so as too display/show-off your trouncing).

A Sudden change in a person’s breathing, sudden deep breath.

  As I said, to me, any of these can be something that gets my attention. Not that any of them are a guarantee that something is about to happen, but they definitely are something that warrants attention.
  For those of you who haven't ever been in a fight, go to a schoolyard playground, and watch two little boys who are about to get into a fight. They'll display about everything that's on that list. It doesn't matter the age (5-55), unless someone has trained themselves not to display these actions, they will (almost always) occur (that's what makes them “natural” motions/reactions, LOL).

  Simply being aware that a confrontation is about to occur, doesn't make it go-away. There have to be active steps made to nullify a developing situation. There are also those situations that (despite your best efforts) can't be dissipated and/or you can't (physically) get away from. It's those situations that we train student's to respond to. 
  Knowing (as much as one can, LOL) that a confrontation is about to occur, the defender (tori) should already have their defensive motion in mind, and be prepared to implement it at the first sign of perceived aggression. There is no law that says you have to be struck and/or injured before you can do anything to protect yourself. I've had lawyer's (as students) that did not know this (WTF, they couldn't have been very good lawyer's, LOL. Oh well, They didn't last long as student's anyhow).

  If you have your defensive motion prepared (in your head), that's the only thing you really need to concentrate on. Don't give a S&%t about what they have to say to you, only think about protecting yourself (when questioned by the police later, you were too scared to understand or worry about whatever it was that he/she was saying).

  Too often people make the mistake of attempting to carry on a logical conversation. (uh, WTF) If you've reached the point of concern for your own well being, fuck conversation. Keep in mind, having to Think (concentrate) about something besides what's happening right NOW, is distracting (that's why it was brought up, they don't GAF what your response is, or will be. When you (obviously) start thinking about it (your “answer”), is when you get plowed (confrontation over, are you).

  If they've walked away, your (once again) screwed. By walking away, the confrontation has ended. If you pursue them “your” (now) the aggressor. And frankly, if you do, you deserve to get your ass kicked, and if they have a bunch of friends there, they'll probably get some shots in also (which everyone will deny ever happened and your just whining about getting your ass handed to you).

  Basically, getting into a confrontation sucks. It never goes how you've (ever) imagined it. And it rarely ever will. The best one can plan for (if/when you do wind up in one), is that you've practiced your defensive motions sufficiently to execute them effectively, so that your not contemplating what you couldah/shouldah have done, on your way to the hospital (or Jail). 


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Practicality of Joint Manipulations

  I recently commented on a blog that I occasionally read. It's written by a “Brit”, who studies another style/system, so she has a little different perspective on things.
  Generally, her (written) interests are not my (general) cup of tea, but occasionally she'll throw a question or comment out that catches my attention.
  In this case, she was inquiring about the (validity?) usefulness of wrist-locks (and joint manipulations in general). Her argument being, that it was generally faster, and easier to strike someone, than to place them into a wrist-lock (or presumably any equivalent manipulative-type technique).
  Her attitude regarding the problems she associated with their implementation, were unfounded (IMO). Those concerns were the typical concerns that are (widely) voiced by most individuals who often encounter difficulty with that type of techniques implementation.
  As with most situations similar to this one, I am unable to show how those concerns should be addressed. Although I can write out (several) correctional variations, none will be as quickly understood as could be shown in person.
  Either way, this concern should be studied and understood how it needs to be addressed and corrected. There are individual's (and even systems) that state that limb manipulations are fine, but have no value in a typical (sic) confrontation.
  This perspective/attitude, is one that has come about (mainly) by/from individual's that (either) 
 A. Haven't seen the requisite motions to perform those manipulations, 
or B. Haven't acquired the requisite skills to perform those manipulations. 
  Both of which, can be rectified through the correct training program.
  The biggest disagreement seems to be on what (or who's, LOL) training program would be the best. This particular argument is one that gets numerous people into (sometimes violent) debates. It's one that “I” don't particularly care to engage in either.
  Different system's, utilize different approaches to (physical) conflict management. RyuTe is no different. The manner that RyuTe would implement a motion (regardless of what that motion is, a strike, a stance, a technique), will directly effect how and why the remainder of that confrontation will proceed.
  The way that student's are trained in RyuTe to implement and use those joint manipulations, is different than how/why they would be used in another system. This can often account for person's who study one system, disagreeing with another systems use of the technique in a similar situation.
  Principles and goals can dictate differences in technique execution, completion and/or conclusion. This is why I'm not fond of explaining specific technique execution methods here (too many variables between systems). 
  When I am face-to-face with someone, I have no problem explaining (or even demonstrating) a technique, and how we perform it. When I am (physically) present with someone, I am able to visually clarify any statement I might make, and I can answer the (many) questions that inevitably present themselves.
  Joint manipulations are a Major portion of the RyuTe system (2nd only to the over-rated “knock-out” neck strikes in popularity). In both my own experience, and that of my student's, those manipulations and the ability to apply them have served a far greater benefit to me than the majority of the striking skills ever have.
  When I observe (increasingly upon the Web) individual's performing what they call Tuite, it usually turn's my stomach. Very often I know where (thereby from whom) they have learned those motions, and I'm certain that the techniques were not taught in the manner shown.
  Being experienced in what the majority of those individual's practice (Ju-jutsu type techniques), I understand their enthusiasm when shown the Tuite (version). It is often vastly different. The difficulty in correcting anyone who is having problems with implementing these types of techniques, is that it can't be (efficiently) done via written correspondence.
  My personal opinion is one that favors the use of limb manipulations over those motions that are referred to as being impact techniques. Once understanding that strength should be considered an irrelevancy to a techniques effectiveness, the student can begin to concentrate on technique application.
  In addition controlling an aggressor (without necessarily having to cause/create greater injury) physically, doing so will provide the tori with a (more) justifiable defense when interviewing with Law enforcement afterwords.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Efficiently Applying Effect, Without Wasted Motion

  I was recently reading several articles (written by “martial artists”) about energy transfer, and efficiency in striking and the mathematics of energy/momentum etc. All of which, was... interesting. My problem with them being, who cares?
  Don't get me wrong, I find each of those subjects interesting. I'm just not convinced as to whether the degree to which these individual's were taking their own speculations, was beneficial, or detrimental? (in regards to my own training). Specifically in regards to how (they believed) that they were applying that energy.
  Between the different articles, there was a cluster of formula's being bantered about (with conflicting arguments as to which were actually applicable). Each had it's valid point, but each also had a fault with the viewpoint (hence the arguments over which formulas were valid , and when).
  Some of Taika's lectures give one the impression that he has had specific academic tutelage over the given subject (his understanding is that good, LOL). The difference between one of Taika's explanations and one of those commonly found on the internet, is that Taika's are in layman's terms. His lectures are rarely complicated and/or involved (technically).
  From listening to, and studying from Taika, one of the (many) things I've learned, is that something doesn't have to be complicated, to be effective. It doesn't matter what time, or day of the week it is, Or if some location is associated to dog nuts, or motor oil. As long as you strike the right location at the correct angle, you'll get the result your after.
  I've recently had my student's working on (their own) motions being (more so) focused upon being made towards the aggressor (during a confrontation, and/or during practice). My reason for doing so, began with a mistake that I was observing (many of) them make during their partnered practice. 
  Now granted, it's not like this problem began out of the blue or anything. They'd been doing this for awhile. I hadn't stressed it's correction before, because (frankly) they had greater problems with their technique execution to concentrate upon than this one (you can't fix everything at once! LOL).
  This problem, had to do with chasing the striking hand's wrist. Even though we slow our practice down (to a very controllable speed), the tori tends to chase the striking hand (with their own).
  I'm not (exactly) sure why a student seems to believe that a striking arm, can (only) be controlled by moving the wrist of that arm? Anywhere from just beyond the shoulder (upon the upper arm) to anywhere down to the wrist, will motion that entire arm away from it's intended target.
  Yet, despite being (repeatedly, LOL) told, as well as shown this fact, student's will still attempt to “catch” that striking wrist (in order to motion the striking arm away).
  Well, seeing that simple suggestive verbal guidance wasn't going to fix the problem, I began having student's practice placing their (same side) hand upon the uke's striking upper arm/shoulder. This motion raises from the side (where the hand/arm has been “hanging” loosely) ala “el natural”.
  As the arm is extended (toward the uke) and raised (open-hand, palm toward the uke's center), the tori will focus upon that hand being placed upon the outer/radial side of the striking arm. As the uke is raising their arm, the tori will cross their own extended arm's hand over the top (in front) of the uke's striking arm. That hand/arm will continue it's crossing/downward motion towards the uke's solar-plexus region (initially, by sliding open-handed down the uke's chest).
  What seems to be most discerning to student's, is that there's no (aggressive?) forcefulness being applied to the (initial) motion. It should also be noted, that this is but only 1 piece of the entire defensive action. My eventual intent, is to emphasize each individual component of the entire defensive sequence.
  Commonly, this initial motion is pretty simple for student's to perform. It can be done with either hand (for their respective arms), but, for the (intended) entire technique, each hand will be performing separate motions (and So begins the student Drama, LOL).
  Once the same-side's arm motion has been practiced, we add the opposite side's arm motion (which naturally, is different). That arm's motion begins by motioning laterally (in front of the groin), pivoting mainly at the elbow, and raising in front of the tori (a few inches away from the body while it does so).
  Once the forearm is vertical, it is extended forward (by motioning the elbow of that arm forward). This extension continues only a short distance (the arm overall, should not completely straighten). When performed in this manner (if the uke should have thrown a Left punch towards the head of the tori), the tori's Left hand will (either) end up striking the uke's upper-arm (just above the elbow, on the medial side), or will project over the top of that arm, nullifying it's ability to continue the extension necessary to strike the tori (in the face, or otherwise).
  Though requiring several paragraphs to write-out, the described motion is actually easy to perform. Student's have the most problem with it, when they attempt to do (something) specific with it (the motion). Instead of performing the motion (and dealing with the resultant outcome), they attempt to do something specific with it (while not changing the practiced/performed motions). 
(I know, confusing to understand what's written here, LOL)
  The motion has the designed capability to be modified in it's response to several different/common defensive scenario’s. None of which require a change in the motions initial actions.
  This (of course) doesn't mean that a student won't have to practice all those different possible responses/situations (in order to be able to utilize them).
  This (combined) motion is simply a building block for further applications. It acclimates the student to performing different actions with either hand (at one time). At later stages, the student incorporates body motion, and includes a straight kick. Each of these variables changes (both) the aggressor's and the defender's abilities (both pro and con).
  As each variable is included (and studied) the student will better understand the effect and the required effort to affect those variables. Efficiency is not only about one ingredient in an equation. It is the over-all summation of those ingredients, and their combined effectiveness. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Withholding Knowledge

  When I first began studying Shito-Ryu, my instructor had made passing mention that when I began to teach (my own) students, that I should always refrain from telling them everything, I should keep something in reserve for myself.
  I would hope, that this comes across as being as freaking paranoid to everyone else, as it did to me. I understood his intention (at the time), but I still didn't agree with it. If anything, it prompted me to do the opposite! I attempt to show my student's everything that I know (as soon as their able to understand it anyway, LOL).
  I have to presume that he had constant concerns over his student's “challenging” him? (who knows). He taught in Kansas City at a time when Martial Arts was a big business (early-mid “70's”). It was common for competing schools to (physically) Beat an instructor out-of-business. 
  Somehow the whole idea that a student, would be able (or would even want) to challenge their instructor just seems, ...childish? To me, it sounds (more) like the instructor had some really poor judgment skills when accepting students, and frankly, Who wins that argument? If the instructor wins a confrontation (as you would presume them to), so what? (they defeated a student, LOL). Their judgment in students is now in question. If the student wins, does that imply that the teacher must Really be good? Or that the instructor sucks? (uh, but he taught the student?). In any event, not something I concern myself with.
  The (only recent) revival in the study/research of kata, has placed the spotlight upon the fact that many (if not most) systems don't really know what their kata motions represent. Could this (in fact) be a result of this withholding information attitude?
  The idea that withholding knowledge should even be considered, is (to myself) an idea that guarantees a martial art system to become terminal. With that sort of mentality, there's no other option for the system. Given only a dozen generations of student's, the system would have numerous “gaps” in it's instruction (hmm...sound familiar?).
  Not to be confusing, but not withholding information, doesn't mean that a student is told everything (all at once). That would actually prove to be a counter-productive gesture. Too much detail/information (very) often will only be seen (by the student) as being confusing.
  In hind-site, I believe my Shito-Ryu instructor was lacking (in many regards, LOL) in his instructional knowledge. When I began my study with Taika, I would ask numerous questions. He answered a great many of them until (I believe) he got sick of hearing me, LOL, and told me to study the kata (to find my own answers).
  When I would believe that I had discovered some tid-bit of knowledge, I would present it to Taika, who would either confirm it or turn and shake his head in disgust while walking away from me (yes, that happened a LOT, LOL). 
  I was watching the “I am Bruce Lee” movie recently, and I was listening to these various people comment about him, and the things that he said and did. Some I agreed with (a lot I didn't), but the majority of what he (Mr. Lee) attempted to do, was erase the self-imposed barrier's between systems/styles (he was fervently against “styles”).
  When I first began my training with Taika, one thing he always emphasized, was that all systems were the same. He preferred that you had studied an Okinawan or Japanese (same thing) style when you started with him (less changes to be made in what/how you did things).
  In Taika's viewpoint, it didn't matter what system you studied. You were a human being. Your body could only move in a specific manor. Regardless of what system you trained in, you still could only move in that manner. Your bodies weaknesses were the same as anybody else.
  In many ways, what Taika taught, was exactly what Bruce Lee was always talking about. I've also been present when Taika was asked about Bruce Lee. Taika kind of shrugged his shoulder's and said “he was an actor, I see nothing special”. I have also seen Taika perform (his own version of?) the 1” punch, and explain how it's done (he used to do it regularly at seminars, LOL).
  Of the multitudes of people that I have watched come and go from Taika's tutelage, the trait that has proven most successful, is that of patients. Taika has never been one to get in a hurry (with much of anything, LOL). His claim, is that we (westerner's) are too slow to pick-up on what he is trying to convey to us.
  From my own exposure (to him), I would have to (reluctantly) agree. Every single time that he has revealed some earth-changing parcel of information, his claim has been that he has always done it that way (but we never picked up on it). There's always those who wish to claim that it's just not so, that he has just kept it secret, that he doesn't want anyone else to figure it out.........Bullshit.
  I have copies of Video shot in the mid-late 70's (and yes, I've specifically looked), he DID always do those things, and NO we just didn't pick-up on it. Taika doesn't restrict information from what he's teaching, he just doesn't shove it up your ass (like you'd like him to) in order for you to understand it.
  I truly believe that Taika does some of it on purpose to weed-out a number of the dingle-berry's that aren't quite up to snuff! (which was proven by the exodus of the last group of thieves who were purged). He's been forced (by those individual's actions) to empty the association of those whom don't wish to learn what (and how) he has chosen to convey his knowledge unto his student's.
  Taika teaches by example, this is a concept that is only moderately understood today. The practitioner's of today, are too involved with obtaining their next “Dan-Rank” so they can rename themselves SUPREME ROOSTER VACUME/SWALLOWER (or something).
  Westerner's have (once again, sigh...) proven that they are Lazy. We want it all handed to us (on a silver plate, with a side of wine). When I tell my own students, to work on something for a week, you'd of thought I just proclaimed a life-sentence upon them, LOL.

  The really sad part (IMO), is that it isn't that Taika makes anybody do anything (too outrageous) out of the ordinary. Very often, simple observation, and consideration of the presented situation/problem can lead one to the answer that they seek (then on to the next conundrum, LOL). 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What a Freakin' Pain in the Neck

  The most whored-out aspect of being involved with the practice of RyuTe, is the public infatuation with Taika's K.O. Strikes. Although these constitute a very small portion of what is taught/learned in the RyuTe system, it (obviously) garners an unfair portion of attention.
  First off, they are greatly misunderstood, what is generally seen, is the demonstration of a neck-strike being applied to a willing recipient. They are being performed to demonstrate that everyone is susceptible to certain manors of being struck, and that strength is not the main factor in their use (or in their effectiveness).
  Anyone who (attempts to) emphasize Chi/Ki or any other wanna-be (magical) nonsense as being relevant to their application, is LYING TO YOU. There's nothing “magical” about it. Yes, I could go into all the medical reasons that the reaction occurs, but why? I am not a neurologist (so why should you believe me?). There are plenty of medical resources on the internet, look it up for yourself. The only difficult part of finding out, is knowing how to ask the right questions.
  The majority of the naysayer’s, are those whom have never even experienced those strikes (as the recipient). They determine their opinions based only upon their visual experience (of the event).
  The most popular argument against the ability to even utilize these strikes, are based on the claim that they can't be implemented during a confrontation (to myself, this one is especially stupid).
  The difficulty doesn't lay with the ability to do them, but when to do them. If your still playing the sparring game, you will (have far more serious problems, LOL) rarely (ever) be able to utilize these types of strikes. The physical dynamics (of either the tori or uke) necessary when attempting them, are dependent upon the actions that occur during that situation and don't usually allow for their implementation (and still prove to be effective). 
  Every example which I have seen done (both in person, and on video) by person's outside of the RyuTe Association, have been heavy-handed (and not in a good way, LOL) attempts to use brute force to accomplish that attempt. Considering that the common implementer (of those attempts) is someone with minimal to NO experience (with physical confrontations), they make incorrect assumptions about how to apply those strikes.
  There's also the prominent (and valid) concern with physical injury/damage being done from repeatedly receiving those (types of) strikes. Having received those strikes myself, from Taika (and even from my associate, LOL), physical damage is rarely a concern. Beyond the (mental) shock from the initial impact, the physical concern over receiving those strikes (when/if done properly) is usually minimal (and the effects dissipate rather quickly).
  Student's often are under the mistaken assumption that any reception of those (types of) strikes will create some type of (?) permanent damage. As with any physical activity, the possibility of incurring an injury is always present, especially when practicing any form of martial art.
  What I find strange, are those that feel that participating in (fully-geared) sparring, (done at full power) is “safe”, while receiving any manor of point strikes, are dangerous? If that were so, wouldn't those fully protected professional Football players be in perfect health when their careers are over?
  The only time that these neck strikes should be considered risky/dangerous, is when the applier is using excessive power to apply the strike (in order to accomplish any result). A total “knockout” is a ridiculous and/or dangerous goal to be attempting anyhow.
  A momentary “fuzz” or “light-headed” result, is a more than sufficient result for a lightly applied strike. These light strikes are far more practical (and predictable) in an actual confrontation. They are additionally much easier to accomplish than the much touted knock-out strikes are. Of course, the “KO” result can also be accomplished with those Light-handed strikes, they only require greater precision.
  An additional problem that comes with the heavy handed approach, is the resultant bruising and skin abrasions (along with split-lips/eye-brows/cheeks/ears etc.). Any manor of liquid (like) substance that comes out of an aggressor, posses a potential threat to the defender's physical well-being. Maybe not in those initial moments of a confrontation, but possibly in the months following that confrontation.
  Somehow, being able to state that you Won a confrontation, then fall victim to the effects of a body-fluid based pathogen that the aggressor infected you with, is a bit pathetic (considering there's rarely a need to intentionally create blood-flow from an aggressor).
  Anyone who's ever been involved in a physical confrontation, is aware of the fact that cuts, and the subsequent bleeding from them, are a very possible occurrence. This is the fallacy of the ground and pound (idiot's), and honestly, is the reason I'm not too keen on working out with them.
  I have enough friends and family member's involved in the medical field, that I'm very aware of the risks involved with those possibilities. For that reason when I'm confronted with someone who wants to argue that point strikes and Tuite manipulations are a waste of their time, I usually want little to do with that individual.
  Aside from the potential viral effects of this blood-letting, the legal implications from unnecessarily causing an aggressor to bleed (or at least leak fluids of any form) are rarely worth their occurrence, even for the potential entertainment value (intentional or otherwise).
  Working with L.E. Over the years has also brought to my attention the greater awareness and importance, of the post-confrontation encounter/interview between yourself and L.E. Officer's. If/when that (supposed) aggressor is covered with (what are potentially) unnecessary injuries, it may become difficult to argue that they were necessary. One should always assume that everything they do to that aggressor, will potentially be used against them in a court of law.
  To myself, this only adds to the viability of the practice of these (types of) strikes. Unless applied in the manor that the amateur’s use them (with brute force), they leave only minor (if any) traces of their implementation, and minimal (again, if any) apparent surface trauma. Utilized in the manor Taika has clearly demonstrated (lightly), these strikes would rarely cause sufficient permanent damage to warrant concern, yet will obviously suffice to create effect.
  It should be understood that this by no means, implies that any light tap upon an aggressor's neck can/would or even could cause a sufficient reaction to aid the tori in defending themselves. Neck strikes are nothing more, or less, than yet another technique to be utilized as applicable if the opportunity presents itself. They are not effective when performed haphazardly, or without practiced intent.
  Regardless how they're presented to student's for practice, it should be understood that they are nothing more (or less) than another technique to be used as needed. They are not the end-all epitome of the available techniques. There are numerous other techniques available that are arguably more practical.
  Though neck strikes may be impressive, there are many factors that have to come into play before they can be efficiently applied. This is why they are (generally) not taught until a student has learned a majority of the more basic motions. 


Monday, March 12, 2012

The Web We Weave...

  Several of the student's that I teach have reached a level of understanding that I can (now) begin to have them work on Taika's exercise for technique motion/application.
  Though not pushing them directly into performing this exercise, I am easing them into it (through some familiarization exercises). Though similar to a kata, Taika's exercise is a direct replication of technique motions applied to various (and common) examples of attack methods.
  Unlike a (common) kata, the student is familiar with the motions that they are performing (while going through the exercise). They are knowledgeable about the movement's meanings. It isn't a blind exercise of motion that so many commonly practiced kata are (or become).
  The development of Taika's exercise came about over years of refining it to it's final form. It is a simple alternation of practiced motions that are applicable for numerous commonly encountered assault motions.
  Though the practice of kata is usually hailed as being the “practice method” for techniques, kata are really more akin to being a parts catalog, than an assembly manual. The kata motions illustrate techniques, and only occasionally how they are (or should be) performed.
  What they don't always do, is illustrate the situation that the motion would/should or even could be used in. Kata motions usually display a hint of the aggressor and/or the defender for reference purposes only. It's virtually always up to the practitioner to know how to apply those motions.
  This exercise guides the student through numerous defenses from frontal assaults, as well as those from the rear. None of the responses are either complicated, nor unfamiliar to the average RyuTe student.
  Unlike previously taught/practiced exercises (in our classes), this routine is focused towards being performed with a  higher speed (once the basic motion is understood). That doesn't imply that one can be sloppy with it's execution, only that to succeed at accomplishing the applications, they can not be successfully performed at (only) a moderate speed.
  This routine was developed over (about) 10-15 years. Taika re-vamped it several times over that period until settling upon it's present form. Personally, I like the premiss of the exercise (the practice of technique motions that can be immediately applicable as practiced).
  BTW, The title I chose for this article, has somewhat of a double entendre, Those familiar with the TCM drivel, will leap right on anything that sounds like it's akin to any of their stuff (hence my reasoning, LOL). Taika's exercise is called “Spider-Web” (thus the blog name). The two have absolutely nothing in common with one other, but I've heard that several of those other groups have attempted to make an association (I only wish to dispel it, and/or taunt them about it, LOL).