Monday, March 5, 2012
Prioritize Your Focus
When I watch student's practicing our defensive combinations, I often see/hear student's complain about how they can't “catch/block/deflect” the aggressor's hand. This is a common difficulty for student's. I tell them to think of protecting themselves (instead of the aggressor's hand) as they perform the defensive motion (whatever that may be).
Student's regularly attempt to (visually) focus upon whatever the aggressor is doing at the moment. At first, one would believe this to be a good thing (but not necessarily). The attempt to do this, is a re-active action. By attempting to do this, you are trying to play catch-up to every action the aggressor makes. Your defensive actions must become preventative (so those aggressive actions can't/don't occur to begin with).
Taika explains it as when you “bat” a fly away from your face, you don't focus all your attention upon the fly. Your attention remains upon what-ever your doing at the time. An aggressor's hand, is like the fly, it's (often) too quick to see (hence, we focus upon the arm that's attempting to make that hand, strike us). The arm move's much slower, and less than the hand does (during any strike).
When student's complain that an aggressor's arm moves too fast (to be struck), we show them that it doesn't (really) move that much at all. The hand, motions a great deal (and quickly too). But the arm (that actually makes the hand reach it's destination), doesn't traverse that much distance (nor at as great of a speed).
This doesn't mean that the student doesn't (still) need to be quick with their own strikes (against that aggressor's arm), only that they don't need to spread their attention out over a larger area than is necessary.
Taika says that we spend too much time practicing to protect the face. Protecting the face, is something that comes naturally. One should focus upon protecting the body (for/during practice). These strikes are far more difficult to defend against (yet we continually focus upon protecting the face).
Because of this type of focus (upon the face), the protective strikes (commonly called “blocks”, LOL), are usually performed too high (and are often done above the stomach level!).
As we attempt to prevent an aggressor's strike from impacting upon our body, we should be focusing upon our own body (it's where our concern generally lies anyhow). Protect those parts of the body that will disable you if/when they become damaged/injured.
People (very often) are under the mistaken belief that RyuTe doesn't believe in preventing an aggressor's strike from hitting them (when re-phrased, that's exactly what they're saying, LOL). RyuTe's focus, is upon injuring the (aggressor's) arm that's attempting to injure us. There is a (huge) difference between those two statements.
As student's (and actually, all of us) learn more, our priorities of focus (each individually) are modified accordingly. As you become more proficient with newly learned actions, you'll begin to incorporate those actions into your defensive repertoire.
Practice those motions that you do poorly, and/or have the greatest concern for (and the least ability with). It serves no purpose to emphasize practice upon those skills which come easily to us or that we are already proficient at. Focus your practice upon those motions that don't come as naturally or easily (to you).