Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Utilization of Kyusho Locations




  When I began my study of RyuTe, there were dozen's of new concepts and ideas that I had to get my head wrapped around. Many of those concepts had been (weakly) mentioned in some of the other systems that I had previously toyed with, but none presented them as something that every student would be working on/with (almost immediately), regardless of their rank.

  One of the most popular of those subjects, was Kyusho. Many students (myself included), attempted to organize what Taika was showing us (in regards to their locations and applications). Sadly, this often became a Cluster-f*%k operation. Numerous locations could be used for multiple purposes depending on how they were manipulated (direction, type of impact/pressure, whether the location was being flexed or relaxed, etc.). There were numerous variables to almost every instance of a locations use! What made it worse, was that if the wrong manner was used in an inappropriate situation, there would be little to no reaction.

  Taika never really stressed any particular general manner of kyusho application. Locations were shown/taught as they became applicable to what application we were working on (at the time). This meant that a kyusho location could be (only) mentioned (in passing), or studied specifically depending on what that classes emphasis was that night.

  Much like our Tuite Principles, all of the relevant points were not presented/mentioned at same time. They had to be collected through the attendance of numerous classes. Individual's who only studied for short periods of time, were never exposed to Taika's entire instructional method (which is why long-term students of Taika dismiss those wanna-be pretender's as being fraud's and charlatan’s).

  The collection of general application rules, was awkward in several (application) respects. Teaching a location, Only for the purpose of knowing to strike/use that location, seemed to be counter-productive, as well as counter-defensive. It tended to encourage student's to attempt to strike only those locations. Not every location produces a usable reaction unless additional factors are also in effect.

  If a particular location on the forearm (of an aggressor) is struck when that aggressor's arm is relaxed (and not striking), the reaction will be little, if any. When that same location is struck as that aggressor is attempting to strike the Tori, that aggressor will be dropped to their knee's (and their strike nullified).

  But, OMG!!! they weren't knocked-out! and that's what all kyusho points are used for! (uh, not so much). Many kyusho locations cause/create less than (that particular manner of) dramatic responses. That doesn't make them less useful, only that their use is often dictated by the situation (not necessarily by the user's intent).

  It should be remembered, Kyusho means vital-point. Vital, is a relative term, what's (actually) “Vital” depends on what one needs to accomplish. What this means, is that although we'd all like to believe that we would (just) Knock-Out an aggressor, unless the situation allows for it to be able to occur, it probably won't (sigh). This in turn, mandates that our other defensive skills be proficient as well. It's in those regards that knowledge of kyusho/atemi locations becomes more applicable.

  A great deal of noise is made in regards to multiple locations being (required to be) struck, in order to effect any result, this is nonsense. I've both watched and received one of Taika's strikes (that have resulted in either a KO, or a numb (as in “dead”) limb. In either case he only implemented a single striking action.

  We have our own student's practice arm strikes on a regular basis. Even though performed lightly, only limited contact practice can be attempted (before they painfully choose to change the technique their working on).

  Having read several (different) theories about kyusho locations, I've never completely agreed with any one of them (singularly). I've found a combination of several of them to be closer to my own experience and knowledge.

  First and foremost, is the complete dismissal of any/all “KI/Chi, Meridian” nonsense. None of it applies, works or explains any of it. That Shit is only being used to suck-in gullible moron's that are unwilling to investigate the subject for themselves. The understanding of the human neurological system is a tremendous undertaking, and one that I (certainly) make no claims to of mastered (at all).

  That being said, it doesn't mean that it's impossible for the (only moderately educated) average person to be able to understand the basics, or at least with a little effort on their part, LOL. The RyuTe association has several doctor's (medical specialists) who are able to explain the physical/neurological reasons for the reactions caused/created by the strikes that Taika is teaching to us. Taika himself, doesn't know (or care). He say's it doesn't matter. As long as you know that if you do “A”, it will result in “B”, then he doesn't care what “A” is doing. The only thing that's important, is “B”.

  I am exposed to the meridian tripe on a regular basis (I receive multiple E-mails daily). Every one of them, exert more mental and physical effort on any one application, than I would consider necessary for students to use for an entire confrontation. What they consider to be “Tuite”, is re-hashed jujutsu techniques that can (many times) be easily countered.

  Is what I teach/use the answer? That's debatable, the difference being, that I'm willing to change my methodology if/when what I'm doing is proven wrong (to me). It's not like I haven't done so in the past, that was what got me involved with RyuTe 34 years ago.




Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost in Translation


  When I switched my training to Oyata's, from my previously practiced system, I was presented with numerous clarifications (if not corrections) of kata, motion, technique, theory, essentially everything that I had previously thought that I already understood.

  Over the years, listening to Oyata has (always) been interesting. His command of the English language has improved immensely, but the subtle use and implications of certain words still elude him (hell, they do me too!, LOL).

  When I listen to Oyata speak, I don't (always) care for the translator's interpretation of what was said. In his desire for clarity, Taika (even after having made his statement in English) will often have a translator restate what he (Oyata) had just said. I've found that interpreter’s will over-simplify (if not change the meaning of, IMO) what was just said.

  To be fair to some of those translator's, Oyata doesn't exactly make it easy to do their job, LOL. He doesn't always slow-down, or allow time for the interpreter to catch-up (before changing the subject). In a “perfect world” a written transcript would be handy (for numerous reasons), but I'm sure even that would create later debate.

  Video recording of Oyata's seminar events (well, domestic ones...), or at least the one's that feature Oyata, are (presently) not allowed. Oyata was concerned that person's would believe it possible to watch a video, and then feel that they had experienced an actual training session (and believe that they had actually learned something, even though not being corrected/clarified first-hand by Oyata).

  This belief is the equivalent of watching a Football game, then proclaiming that you could (then) do everything that those guys did!
 This is stupid, and I understand Taika's logic in feeling that way. But for those that did/have attended those seminars, it would provide a useful reference (for what was shown and worked on).

  Beyond the (physical) techniques shown/worked on (my own interests are in regards to), a written transcript of what was discussed (by Oyata) would be convenient for future reference. These would be both for the present study by some, and for settling (the inevitable) disagreements by future generations (and for confirming/disputing claims made by those who were expelled).

  Word of Mouth, is undoubtedly the most inefficient method of transferring information between individuals (much less generations). The written word is likewise subject to translation deficiencies (by either the recorder, or the reader). The Video medium has been presented to me on several occasions (as an option). This medium has numerous weaknesses as well. This is evidenced by the multitudes of people who attempt to perform Tuite after having only watched video clips of the techniques.

  To actually learn Oyata's methodology, one would require a combination of any number of these methods. Different student's have different resources available to them. The most efficient (IMO) is through an actual instructor(s). One on One instruction provides the greatest number of learning options (for the student).

  Student's should (when able) utilize a number of different instructor's (in the same system). Some instructor's have a real problem with that idea. Be it because of a power issue, or a denial of Sainthood (or supposed, knowledge level), many student's are denied the option of alternate study from another (or any other) instructor (even within the same system?).

  Even Oyata was shown things from different instructor's/training partners. This isn't to say he was their student, only that he was shown some things that the individual shared with him (usually Kata).

  His greatest advantage was that he spoke the same language as those individuals. I'm hesitant to learn (anything) from someone outside of Oyata's system (much less from another country). As a rule, at least here, we (both) would be speaking the same language (both in our training, and in our native tongue).

  I tend to believe, that there has been a great deal of misinterpretation made between the East and the West. One of the biggest factors that drew myself to Oyata's instruction, was his (total) avoidance of any mystical or spiritual/religious explanations for anything he teaches. It's based purely on technique, and application knowledge




 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Turn and Face the Strange


Ka-ka-ka-ka-Ka ta (Turn and Face the Strange)

 I keep encountering blogs that are written about various opinions of what bunkai from the Naihanchi kata could be. The many varied and diverse interpretations can be (simplistically) divided between sparring/sport and practical (protective) application.

 I don't really have any concern for the sport/sparring applications (see those opinions elsewhere), My interest is towards the protective applications aspect. When others present their opinions on what various motions might represent, I like to compare them to those that I'm aware of (if I'm aware of a technique for the motion being presented).

 When I began my study of RyuTe, the bunkai I utilized for my students was still simplistic. As my knowledge increased, the bunkai that I used changed as well. Strangely enough, not always to becoming more complicated, only different. For many motions, the bunkai became or remained simplistic (technically speaking) but the results became more pronounced.

 It still amazes me, how people will strive to complicate the simplest things (and usually to lower levels of applicability). Of course there are those (still) who don't believe any techniques (beyond the “kicky-punchy” ones) are depicted in the kata motions. Those practitioners are content to continue utilizing simplistic motions that rarely work beyond the walls of the training hall, but if they're happy, then more power to them.

 That isn't what I've been taught, nor is it what I teach to my students. RyuTe doesn't (necessarily) focus upon only certain techniques. It's emphasis is more upon learning what (already) known motions are applicable in any given situation (and the principles that make them applicable).

 The simplistic (and often obvious) motions that are used by many systems as being the represented bunkai would hardly need to be included in a mnemonic exercise for students to repeatedly perform (a.k.a.”Kata”). The vast majority of (supposed) bunkai that I've seen being presented, are of well-known/recognized motions and techniques. Evidently it's obviously easier to inject known techniques, than it would be to (actually) study the kata to learn any different ones.

 What is often ignored (and has possibly been lost through the modification of the traditional kata by some), is the individual limb motion(s) made within the kata. Certain motions performed during the kata are used (extensively) in numerous techniques/applications, yet could be easily ignored if the motions purpose were unknown/recognized as being important (to those techniques application).

 It appears (at least to myself) that many practitioners/instructors have become sedentary in their study of the kata. They (only) look for the known applications. It's my own opinion that the purpose of kata is NOT to (only) review the known, but to be able to recognize the known, and to (further) apply it to additional situations (through the examples of motion provided within the kata).

 This would make all the motions within the kata (equally) important (including the trivial ones), and the (actual) bunkai limitless (depending upon one's experience/research). The search, for some individual technique (for each motion) has always seemed self-defeating (to myself).

 Right or Wrong, by using this approach to bunkai, we have developed several technique applications that we presently teach to our students. If/when they are proven impractical, we modify and/or eliminate them (from our technique repertoire). More importantly, don't be afraid to experiment, this is how new developments/discoveries are made.
Turn and Face the Strange (as well as the New and Unknown).




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Apathetic or just Pathetic?




  Somehow, my teaching associate and myself became involved in a conversation about the popular “Passive/Internal” martial arts. This would include Tai chi, Aikido, etc. (and several of what many might consider to be internal martial arts). I've no longer invest much concern with these types of pursuits, nor have I been convinced that they warranted any either.
 
  I've written previously of my Aikido excursion, and any exposure that I've had (or mentally suffered through) with Hapkido, has been equally disappointing. I did enjoy Judo, not as a defensive method, but as a learning tool. My exposure to Jujutsu (regardless of the flavor) has always been lukewarm. That methodology just always seems to be ...lacking (and usually in numerous ways).
   
  My associates greatest problem (with the majority of these methods) would appear to be the methods of practice that many of them use. Aikido in particular (when practicing responses to striking methods) uses ridiculous aggressive motions (being utilized by the uke). These methods are not intended to be representative of an actual aggression. They are being used for learning the principles of motion (performed during an aggression).
   
  Additionally, the tori is intentionally attempting to not cause injury (to the uke). Aikido seeks a different finally to a conflicts resolution than when compared to how RyuTe trains students. Aikido stresses that the uke should receive little (if any) injury in response to their aggressive behavior. 
     
  In recent years (the past 20 or so) “CombatAikido has become (somewhat) popular. Essentially, all it amounts to is smaller circles of technique application, and the addition of some strikes. And yeah, that's what the Fat Blow-Hard Stephen Segal purports to practice.
   
  Even when shortened, or shrunk (condensed?), I've never been real comfortable or impressed with, nor confidant about Aikido techniques and their effectiveness. Over time (and with experience) I've learned numerous counters and manners to neutralize the application of those (types of) techniques. I've also heard it argued that RyuTe uses several Aikido/Jujutsu techniques. That I can dispute (being familiar with both). Though appearing similar, the motions applications are distinctly different (which makes all the difference in the world when/if attempting to apply a counter-technique to them).
   
  Our most recent exposure to these forms of application, were observed on postings by an individual that was claiming (to of had) exposure to RyuTe (as well as a dozen other arts, and yes, he had multi-level dan ranks in most all of them (though not in RyuTe), and yes, he is under 25yrs. Old, so you just KNOW he must be good).
   
  He was having one of his mook's perform the typical run at the tori with your hand over your head with a shuto (attack?). He then performed the standard sweep the arm back and forth, then throw the uke away (technique?). He also had pictures of his student's holding (obviously) Fake guns (to what end I have no idea, I do KNOW that HE has zero firearm knowledge, much less how to deal with individual's who would have one).
   
  It's individual's like this that need to be ignored (until they go away). That, or run them out of town (I understand Tar & Feathering is now illegal). All that they accomplish, is screwing up perfectly innocent student's by making them believe that the Crap that their peddling is worth a shit (Gods forbid he should be charging them, that would constitute fraud, IMO).








Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Considerations of Collapsing the Bi-Pod Aggressor



 The human body, is an amazing balancing act. It balances upright, on 2 support shafts (the “Bi-pod”, if you will) that each consist of multiple hinged joints, that are all in a constant state of adjustment. Despite the instability potential, that frame is consistently in a state of locomotion, moving the torso (which additionally has limbs hanging to either side of it) to whatever location the controlling mind wishes it to go to.

 Regardless of these obvious potential weaknesses, Much ado has been made of the ability to place an opponent upon the ground. Or (maybe more accurately) how to do so while gaining, or maintaining control over that opponent while doing so.

 The most common method of doing so, is via brute force. Which, as long as your strong enough, and/or bigger than the subject being moved, isn't usually a problem. But when your not, then alternative methods are required.

 Taking into account the physical construct of the human body, one wouldn't think that would be such a big deal. The difficulty comes from that pesky brain that people have in their head. Despite the (often obviously) limited social and/or reasoning skills that the owner may possess, the brain (working on a subliminal basis) maintains the body's position and state of balance with fairly regular consistency.
 
 Consider the conditions that the body faces when a person experiences a “Tripping” incident. Though (often) completely unexpected, the body attempts to prepare for an impact while simultaneously trying to correct and remain upright. The total number of independent actions that are required to accomplish this feat would fill several typed sheets of paper. To perform these same tasks consciously, could not be accomplished.

 Most often when we are attempting to force an individual to the ground, it is being done to (either or both) prevent any further aggressive behavior and/or to control that individual's ability to perform any further aggressive behavior (for what-ever reason).

 That is commonly accomplished by placing the individual on their stomach (face down) upon the ground/floor. The higher level of difficulty (for the student) is doing so without causing them injury/harm. Though pain is not a relevant factor to being able to accomplish this, it's inclusion/occurrence (when applicable) does make it simpler.

 There are several methods of collapsing the standing individual. This can be done by the manipulation of an upper extremity (meaning the arm's), or by direct impacts made upon the legs. Manipulations/impacts upon the torso tend to require greater amounts of force/effort to effect even equivalent reactions (than when made upon the upper extremities).

 The neck and upper chest regions would (of course, LOL) be the exception to this (as either are very susceptible to impacts). For beginning students, these areas are already being emphasized as primary targets (both being easily accessed and able to be used with multiple striking methods).

 The more difficult method (for the beginning student) is the manipulation of the upper limbs to effect a take-down. New student's mistakenly assume that the purpose of the arm/wrist manipulation is to cause/create damage to that limb (that happens to only be a side-effect). The (main) purpose is to effect a collapse of the aggressor's support system (legs). This allows for further manipulation (of the upper limbs), which is required to apply the control positioning upon the aggressor.

 Even if utilizing strikes upon the aggressor's legs (to effect their collapse), some manner of control needs to be in-place upon the aggressor's upper body/limbs to effect control of that collapse (lest the aggressor be able to escape that control despite being taken down).

 The most difficult part of accomplishing a take-down, is the ability to control the individual once they are there. For that reason we spend an inordinate amount of time teaching students the (many) variables that will be encountered when they have placed someone there (and what's required to maintain control of that individual). 











 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Runnin' on Empty..




 I found an article that someone had written (sorry, I don't remember who the author was) that attempted to justify the use of the Japanese kanji for Kara that was used to replace the (original) kanji that meant China.

 The author went to great extremes to justify their reasoning for using the kanji (and the subsequent translation) for “Empty”. Although the author did a decent job of doing so, I thought it sad attempt, for what was a mistaken understanding (from every native account that I've ever heard).

 What the author attempted to do, was to justify empty as being a philosophical euphemism for a martial arts spirituality (“empty cup” and whatnot). Sorry, this is Bullsh*t. The kanji transposed for kara (china), was kara (meaning open), not “empty”.

 How many times have you heard arguments concerning the empty-hand art (that has weapons ? ). It was never intended to represent “empty”, it has always been recognized as meaning ”open” to the Okinawans (except to the Japanese of course, and thereby the Americans).
 
 Open-hand makes sense, Empty-hand is just stupid. Because portions of the art don't include weapons, does not make it an empty-handed art form. Everything regarding “Open” directly relates to what is taught (at least in RyuTe).

 Taika relates this concept/belief philosophically as well. The Open-hand is one which is offering assistance and help. The empty-hand is one that is wanting (if not begging). Those systems that utilize the image of a fist (for symbolic reasons) are (in many ways) offensive and detract from the true nature and performance of Te as being the art form that it is. It also emphasizes an unjustified proclivity to striking with the closed hand.

 One of the most difficult tasks as an (RyuTe) instructor, is teaching new students to not use the (stereotypical) tight “fist”. Inevitably, when someone makes a fist, they want to strike someone (usually the assailant, LOL) in the face. When they make the loose fist (as taught in RyuTe) that “hit the face” desire, isn't so pronounced.

 My teaching associate went to the trouble to create a document explaining the proper “RyuTe” fist (it's on the RyuTe forum for association members). I believe a lot of the confusion stems from student's who've transitioned from other systems. The assumption being, that “a fist, is a fist, is a fist”, uh, not so much.

 It goes back to the open/closed-hand debate. The open hand, will move faster, be stronger and can accomplish more than a closed hand (fist) is ever able to. This is often (already) known and recognized, but seems to be readily dismissed (usually because it conflicts with one's prior beliefs/assumptions).

 I've written before on the relevance of semantics. This relevance is obvious (or should be) when comparing open to empty. Westerner's are embarrassing enough, LOL, without making arguments for a mistaken interpretation.

 Just listen to the moron's cry, who've been kicked out of the association for doing their deceitful practices. Their excuse is always “Taika said he "didn't care!” (if they even bothered to ask him). Which is a typical Okinawan/Japanese response, he “didn't care”, what you thought, or what your reasons were, don't do it.

People hear, only what they want to hear......






Determining What's Common



  I was at a bar recently (having a drink, relaxing and B.S.ing' with some friends) and I just happened to be perfectly positioned to watch an altercation between two (male) patrons. Neither of these individuals had any (apparent) training, and as the pummeling progressed, it didn't appear that any serious damage would be sustained (by either individual). The entire confrontation lasted about 45 seconds (actually a Long time).
  
  Despite the hype that's promoted by the MMA and the Ground-fighting systems, fights are far more simplistic than those systems would care to admit. Even when your the initial aggressor, it's very risky to take your opponent to the ground (especially without back-up).
  
  The confrontation I observed was “typical”. Two individual's trading a couple of quick punches, then migrating into a clinch, followed by a couple of “attitude” shots, and finalized with a (verbal) submission.
  
  From my understanding, this was neither the first, nor (undoubtedly) would it be the last, altercation between these two, LOL. It apparently was a (semi) regular event. When I was working as a bouncer, I saw these kinds of conflicts pretty regularly. It was important to be aware of the relationships between select patrons (including recognizing when something wasn't “standard/normal”).
   
  Neither individual attempted any form/manner of kick. Neither party performed any strikes upon the opponent's legs. Neither person tried to apply any manor of restraining method until after the clinch portion of the altercation.
  
  These individual's followed their (own) pre-programed method of conflict. They've done it often enough that (I'm sure) if/when either were to engage with someone else (besides their “regular” confrontation partner, LOL), they would still perform those same motions (no-doubt expecting the same results).
   
  There are numerous individual's on the internet, that promote their vast amounts of experience in confrontations. Though much of their information is valid (to a certain degree), that doesn't mean that it should be accepted as being typical (or even applicable for the average student of the martial arts).
  
  I receive a regular (2-5 E-mails a day) stream of sales promotions from various individual's that proclaim that “they” are going to make “me” a deadly force to be feared! (ROTFLMFAO!). This is usually done over a weekend (WOW!), for around $600.00 U.S. Dollars (awww....).
   
  It's my opinion, that if you want to become familiar with “common” confrontations, you need to “hang-out” in places that those events occur on a regular basis. Disregarding the fact that this is a really Stupid pursuit, you should also have any vital medical information tattooed upon your body (to aid the ER tech's while they're attempting to patch you up in the ambulance).
   
  The average student just won't be involved in the majority of the confrontational situations that are being promoted by these individual's. I've had numerous individual's (both here and in person/class) “Poo-Poo” the practicality of the Tuite motions that are being taught.
   
  This opinion is usually being based upon how these types of techniques are being taught by other systems. Contrary to the Beat em' till they Bleed attitude (which seems to be quite popular ?), I have no desire to intermingle with any bodily fluids from anybody.
  
  I had a brief interchange with another blogger, who was bewailing the fact that because of their own slight physical size, wrist/arm manipulations were too difficult to apply (evidently, when the recipient wasn't complying ?, uh yea-yah?). This attitude seems to be quite popular (and widely believed).
   
  Personally, I find that working on these techniques with women (especially), is more challenging (as an instructor), and I (additionally) always learn from the experience. Commonly, the female is smaller than myself, and (usually, LOL) has less muscular strength than I possess. This requires a more complete understanding of the techniques application, as well as recognition of the inherent weaknesses of the uke. Both for me to explain how, as well as for the student to be able to apply the technique upon a larger/stronger aggressor.
   
  I've found that 95% of the confrontations that I find myself involved in/with, can be reconciled from the (eventual) application of some manner of Tuite. It hasn't mattered how the confrontation/situation was began, I've been able to end it, through the use of a limb-manipulation (Tuite) technique.
  
  This is mostly the result of (my own) motivation to do so. I will often by-pass presented opportunities to strike an individual (in those situations) when I am given the chance to apply a Tuite technique. I may utilize a distraction (type of) strike, but rarely (if ever), do I attempt to create a (physically) damaging result from an applied strike.
   
  I train students to proceed to a control/restraint-position/technique in almost every application that I teach. That doesn't mean that it's always a practical choice for every situation, but I believe it's an easy enough omission to make, when the situation doesn't permit it.
   
  One need only view their own local police response records (for the area they live in, commonly available On-line) and the most typical forms/manners of confrontations (at least those that are reported, LOL) are listed for your own evaluation. Additionally, don't assume that you know what the listed charges constitute. Different localities can have different standards for battery, assault, Domestic violence, robbery, theft (take the recently so-called “stand your ground” case in Florida).
   
  When one see's what crimes are commonly being committed (in the areas they frequent), it makes it easier to decide what manner of training they should be pursuing. Consider it a dose of reality, LOL. Over-all crime has steadily dropped (across the country) for the past 20 years. Certain areas will always experience fluctuations (due to numerous factors), but serious (deadly) crime (via altercations) is still commonly dropping. 
  
 This of course shouldn't imply that training for more difficult situations shouldn't be done, only that student's shouldn't become discouraged by any lack of immediate ability, or obsessed in the pursuit of unrealistic goals (that will most likely never be needed or required anyhow).  

   
 I do believe that student's should strive to exceed their present standards and consistently improve (be it in known techniques, or with different applications). One's first priority should be in protecting one's self from the most common threats and assault manners and methods. It's my own belief, that one could spend an entire lifetime just practicing the variables associated with those situations (with no need to ever worry about the rabid zombie Apocalypse, ….of course,.. you never know.....).



 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Teaching Trash, While (Also) Teaching RyuTe




 Having reviewed the general membership of the association (via the RyuTe website and viewing the listed web pages), I find it interesting that there are a number of Dojo that (still) teach another system in addition to teaching RyuTe.

 I find this extremely odd. I mean, I understand the need to generate funds to pay the bills, but beyond the instruction of children, why would you bother? (with those other systems).
I'm sure there are some who would read this and determine that I am being (extremely) biased. They would of course be correct, I am biased (and hold no reservations about being so). But beyond that bias, I've seen no system that compares to RyuTe (as far as self-and/or Life, Protection). If my interest was in “Sport” Karate, then I would have only limited interest in RyuTe (it's a poor choice for training in that field). 
 
 The vast majority of RyuTe Yudansha are, and have been, converts from other systems. They commonly held some Yudansha level rank in those systems. This means that they didn't “come-up” through the Mudansha ranks in RyuTe, and (therefor) weren't exposed to the same training that would (usually) be received from having done so.

 When interested students observe these person's classes, they see what those instructor's have always taught (IE. Their previous teachings). People will tend to not change the little things in their instruction methods. They commonly don't (yet) realize that those little things, are what makes all the difference (in what's learned).
For example, they continue to have student's tuck their hands at their sides (when performing punching strikes). They have student's perform kicks and strikes the same as they always have taught. 

 They haven't abandoned their previous teaching/learning methods. Many of the individual's who have been expelled from the association, likewise never modified their prior (to beginning RyuTe) teachings (to emphasize the RyuTe methodology) Mostly, because they never had gone through those teachings methods themselves (being “bestowed” with their ranking when they joined the association).

 Taika had the regrettable habit of allowing newly converted student's to retain their prior rank. This (in turn) allowed a number of (we'll say) not so deserving individual's to procure undeserved rank, without having (actually) learned the RyuTe methodology of application that subsequently would of been procured.

 The majority of those individual's have since been purged from the association (and of course have since then also promoted themselves to higher “Dan” levels, including 10th Dan, LOL). Even the most recently expelled hadn't attended any training in 10 years! Yet, they still “claim” those 10 years as having been time training with Taika?

 As far as retaining the instruction of a prior system (when the instructor has converted to RyuTe), I am at a loss. I don't really understand why. It would seem far more practical, to teach RyuTe, and offer “sport karate” (as optional) classes for those so inclined.

 RyuTe offers a “Sport” Kumite competition (though not everybody may be up to/for it, LOL). I (personally) don't participate in it anymore, or even instruct that manor of practice (I do recommend to my students whom to go to in order to participate in it). It's focus isn't Self/Life Protection, so I don't want to waste my own (or my students) time in regards to it.





Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Detailed Practice of Arm Strike/Parry



  The Practice of this motion begins with the tori and the uke standing face to face, at an arm's length distance from each other (confirmed, by the tori placing his hand on the shoulder of the uke to establish that distance).
   
  This description is for a Right-Hand dominant person. If the student is Left-Hand dominant, they should adapt these instructions accordingly. Additionally, it should be noted that the Free-Air practice of the Tori's arm motions is the same as when practicing with an uke, whether the uke is attempting to strike with either arm, the tori's arm motions remain the same. 
  
Non-Dominant (Left) Hand's Motions
  Practice is began with both parties having their hands at their sides. When the uke begins their strike, the tori should motion their Non-Dominant side hand straight upward and palm-up (bending/pivoting at the elbow, until the hand is (essentially) vertical, and the elbow is extended forward from the body (towards the uke) and continues in an arcing motion rotating to palm-down.  
    
 This motion is both downward and towards the uke (ideally, parrying the uke's intended strike with it's motion).
It should be noted that the tori's hand, does not have to contact the uke's hand or wrist. Contact can be made upon any part of the uke's striking arm (from just below the shoulder level of the arm, to the forearm of the striking appendage). Additionally, at this stage of practice, there is no intended or implied Grab being made (upon the uke's arm). This motion's intent, is to redirect the uke's strike away from it's intended target.
  Individual Practice of this arm's motion should be made before proceeding to the next layer of this motion.
  
Dominant (Right) Hand Motions
  The tori's Dominant-side hand/forearm should cross the body low by crossing/protecting the groin area. This arm will then raise, remaining to the inner-side (nearer to the body) of the Non-Dominant hand's motion. It then raises to a vertical position just forward of the tori's body (with the elbow motioned forward in conjunction with the Left elbow's position), and then motions forward. In most systems, the emphasis is made upon the lateral/outward arm motion. In RyuTe, that emphasis is forward.
    
  These Two motions are done together and either in conjunction with, (or slightly before) a Straight kick. This kick has the potential/probability of causing the uke to lean forward, which in turn, assists the tori in the follow-up Neck Strike, commonly performed with the tori's Dominant-Side Hand.
   
  Once the student has sufficiently practiced these motions, the tori will be taught to rotate (their body) to either side during the execution of these motions. This adds distancing to the tori's initial position (in that the uke's original target location, the tori's Face has been moved), and doing so also motions the tori away from the uke's (still) free arm.
  
  There are also several different manors of using either arm in this particular motion. What is initially shown/practiced, is only the beginning motions. There are alternative motions for either arm that can be utilized (depending on the uke's or the tori's actions and/or responses).
  
(The first practiced response is for an uke that is attempting to strike with their Right Hand.)
  As soon as the tori detects the uke's motion of their Right arm, they should be motioning their own Left hand upward towards the uke's shoulder (as was practiced). Upon reaching the uke's shoulder the tori's hand will rotate (with the palm facing the uke's center-line). That hand will then motion towards the uke's center-line, and proceed downward towards the uke's waist-line (Palm-down). 
    
  The Tori's Right arm should be crossing/protecting the groin area, while raising to act as a back-up for the Left arm's action. As tori becomes confident with the success of their Left hands motion, their own right hand should be motioned laterally (till vertical), then motion forward (towards the uke). Depending upon the uke's position at that time, the tori's targeting of that arm could be several locations (Neck, Chest, Temple). 
   
(The 2nd practiced response is for an uke that is attempting to strike with their Left Hand.)
  As soon as the tori detects the uke's motion of their Left arm, they should be motioning their own Left hand upward towards the uke's Right shoulder (as was practiced with the prior example). Upon reaching the uke's shoulder the tori's hand will rotate (with the palm facing the uke's center-line). That hand will then motion towards the uke's center-line, and proceed downward towards the uke's waist-line (Palm-down). This motion should be done with the intent of wiping downward upon the front of the uke's chest. 
    
  As was done previously, the tori's Right hand motions across (in front of the groin area) and raises to a vertical position with the elbow extending towards the uke. Unlike the prior example, at this point, this arm may (already) be in contact with the uke's striking hand/arm. Whether it is, or isn't, the tori's Right arm (and elbow) should be extended towards the uke. 
    
  This motion will allow for one of two occurrences, either the tori will strike the uke's (upper) arm (preferably at a taught kyusho location), or the tori's hand will travel over the top of the uke's striking arm (which leads to several options of/for further manipulation). In either occurrence, the uke's striking attempt is negated. 
    
  Regardless of whether the student is practicing for an uke's Right or Left handed strike, the captured uke's arm will (initially) be taught to be placed into an Arm-Bar, and the uke will be manipulated into a submission position (usually face-down on the ground). 
    
  When the basic execution for both of these protective motions is learned, we have students begin to include the kicks with their protective actions. The kicks will modify the motions of the uke, previously made motions will be amplified/exaggerated (often extensively).
    
  As mentioned previously, follow-up motions (for either arm situations) are as varied as they are extensive. Those motions can be modified to be used as simple submission, or to causing the subject's loss of consciousness, to termination of the subject (in obviously extreme circumstances). 
 I've written before about striking the uke's arm (when it is attempting to strike you), I've also stated that it isn't always possible/practical to do so, but that doesn't negate the practicality of all strikes being made (or even able to be made) upon the aggressor's arms. These protective motions (when performed correctly) exemplify that belief. 









 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Myth of What Can, and Cannot Be



  I have read several accounts of how the ability to do something is (somehow) not possible, or is unrealistic to accomplish. I found this attitude to be prevalent in several subject areas regarding martial arts (in general). Namely, in regards to the accomplishment of utilizing strikes for the purpose of blocking/defeating an aggressor's strike, and of (simultaneously) causing injury to that striking arm.

  The arguments that I've read against the occurrence/practicality of these (types of) strikes, have been (IMO) ridiculous. In what realm of existence does anything that requires practice, suddenly become impractical, much less impossible?

  The most prevalent argument (being made), is that by doing so, you will still be struck (WTF?), I've yet to figure out how this argument is substantiated. Granted, I've only my own thoughts to go on, but I have to presume that these individual's are basing that opinion on the idea (belief?) that your attempting to strike the aggressor's fist/hand.

  I base that belief, on the fact that I continually watch (those same individual's) perform their Parries/Blocks upon the hand/wrist of an aggressor's arm. Inevitably, these same individual's are chasing the aggressor's hand/fist as it motions towards their face (in the hope, that they will be able to catch (up to) and deflect it).

  When we (in RyuTe) are taught to protect ourselves from an aggressor's strike, we are performing those actions (with the intent), to cause injury to that aggressor's arm. In addition to preventing the aggressor's motion from completing it's (intended) course of action, that limb should not be in an equivalent state of physical readiness as when it first made that attempt (because of sustained injuries from our defensive motions).

  For the seasoned practitioner of RyuTe, a protective action is rarely a singular limb's motion. Being in possession of two arm's, we generally attempt to use both of them in our protective motion. (usually) While one arm is striking an aggressor's limb, our other arm is acting as a backing (or “cutting-board” as Taika puts it) to prevent excessive deflection of their limb (from our strike upon that limb).

  To do this effectively, requires that one be familiar with the bodies (overall) natural Range Of Motion (ROM). Not only of the aggressor's, but of their own as well. Very often, having (first) struck the aggressor's limb, that same motion/strike will continue in order to strike (again) elsewhere upon the aggressor (with both being performed as one continuous motion).
  
Another often overlooked point, is that even when (only) deflected, we still have the option of striking the uke's arm as they return it (via kakae strikes).
   
  This continuous-motion, cannot be (effectively) accomplished without an understanding of the limb's natural motions (of both the uke and the tori). I believe much of the disregard being made towards the defensive striking capabilities of a defender, are made from the limited understanding of the limb's motions being made during the described actions (by both the uke, and the tori).

  When the aggressor/uke strikes at the defender/tori, they are targeting a specific location (usually the face/head). Once that attempt is made, it will be retracted (commonly, in order to be used in another attempt). Though the specific direction made when going out isn't always known, the direction that limb will take during it's return is always recognized. It's during that return trip that the limb is most easily struck.

  When pointing this out, the most common (and usually smugly stated) retort, is that you've already been struck (so your strike can't/won't even occur). Though our emphasis is upon striking the aggressor's limb (during it's strike attempt), that emphasis should not end with the aggressor having failed at that initial attempt (via the applied parry of that strike). Body motion (the tori's) will also be utilized and The uke will still (as in always) retract their arm (in order to attempt another strike). It's during that retraction, that the defender/tori should be (again) attacking the aggressor's limb.

  Most of those who have argued with me (over this issue) have (mistakenly) made the assumption that I disagree with the deflection (parrying) of an aggressor's strikes. I too additionally do so, on a regular basis (parry strikes, not just argue, LOL). But, I can/do also strike the aggressor's arm before/during and/or after their initial strike attempts.

  The fact that I deflect/prevent an aggressor's strike from completing it's initially intended course of action, does not conclude the altercation (if only, LOL). It's for that reason, that I don't (only) emphasize parries during a defensive action. They should not (or ever) be considered a singular technique. They only accomplish a singular result (redirection). Though generally preventing their initially intended purpose, the stricken limb can can still be re-utilized (to repeatedly make the same, or similar attempts).

  What I generally encounter, is individual's who only desire (if not insist upon) to strike the head/face of an aggressor. I've never been threatened (much less injured) by anyone's face. And yes, striking it can cause various results that might assist in your defense during an altercation. But person's will rarely just allow you to strike them there. It is usually the best defended location on the aggressor.

  Conversely, if I cause your arm to go numb (as in, you can't even hold, much less pick-up anything to hit me with it). Your very unlikely to be that great of a threat to me (something akin to a one-legged man in an ass kickin' contest?). Person's also rarely protect, or even worry about their arms being struck (their ignorance works to our advantage, LOL). This also affords me plausible deny ability (when being questioned by L.E. Officials afterwords).

  In numerous subjects, one can accept/deny a topic based solely upon their perception. The problem (of course, LOL) is that their perception could be unknowingly skewed (and provides them a false understanding/interpretation of the situation). It's this mistaken perception, that I feel has made individual's believe that an aggressor's arms can't be injured (by the defender striking them).