Monday, June 4, 2012

To (the) Arm's!

  I've been involved in numerous debates (to be nice, LOL) over the effectiveness, or even practicality of performing strikes upon an aggressor's arm's (during a confrontation). I'm usually given the reason (or excuse) for someone's disdain of them, as being that they won't work (at least on them) and it's argued that they can't even be performed (again, on them, LOL).

  Well, it's nice to believe that your so tough/skilled/good that you can ignore being struck (but only on the arms?), but I would have to say that you just haven't been struck correctly.

  Now, when I say that to someone, they tend to get pissed (?). I'm not totally sure why, but they do. Why do people believe that an arm cannot be stricken, in such a way that it is injured (to the extent that it cannot be further utilized)? And why is it, that every person I query, is familiar with banging their arm's funny-bone, yet will insist that an aggressor's arm's are not considered to be valid targets (in an altercation)?

  I was recently having an E-mail exchange (friendly, LOL....I think?), over this very subject, and I was reminded, that even though I can demonstrate something to occur, that doesn't make it a valid argument/statement. Knowing that I am certainly nothing special (and I know that I can use them as a functional application), I have my student's practice their application as well. They, have likewise been able to produce equivalent results for themselves using this manner of defensive striking.

  When I listen to the inevitable complaints (from new students) about their inability to strike an opponent's arm, I usually have to begin by correcting their (basic) technique(s). I've found that student's (at least initially) have the tendency of performing motions (blocks, strikes etc.) too close to their own body.
This is usually accounted for, by the student's proclivity to attempt a strike the aggressor's hand/fist (instead of the aggressor's arm). By doing so, they end up chasing the aggressor's hand (all the way into their own face, LOL).

  When we examine the tendency's of the limb (that we're attempting to strike) overall, we see that the fastest moving part of that limb, is the hand (regardless of whether it's open or closed). I believe people tend to focus upon the hand, only because that's what they're being hit with (usually).

  We attempt to redirect the student's attention/focus onto the propeller/director of that appendage. Beginning at the shoulder, the upper arm controls the majority of the limb's (gross) movement. In conjunction with extension of the elbow, forward motion is attained by raising the upper arm (again, performed at the shoulder joint). Understanding all of the inter-connections required to perform a strike, will assist the student in knowing what's required to prevent a strikes occurrence, and/or preventing it's successful completion.

  Student's should watch one another perform punches, and watch the arm's motions throughout the strike. It can be quickly ascertained that the hand is the fastest moving part of the limb (during a strike). The slowest movement, would be at the shoulder. Everything in between, is only moving at a moderate (comparatively speaking) speed.

  Attempting to strike the hand itself, is a pointless venture (not to mention not being very productive anyway). The clenched hand (fist) is intended to protect the fingers, as well as provide a bludgeoning device to strike with.

  The anterior aspect of the radial side of the wrist offers several locations for distally directed strikes. The dorsal aspect of the forearm (both medial and distal), just below the elbow joint (3-4”), offer striking opportunities that will open the hand (as well as causing a dropping action and numbing of the forearm overall).
These strikes will most often cause a knee-buckle (of the uke) in reaction to the strikes made upon the uke's forearm. This is described as being an involuntary response to those strikes.

  Strikes targeting the upper arm (bicep/triceps regions) can be performed upon most every aspect (frontal, dorsal, medial, distal), there are several locations upon each (and each having it's own direction of required impact). These locations tend to only redirect the upper arm's direction of motion and produce localized pain/discomfort (if/when utilized independently, i.e. struck), but when used in conjunction with other applications (as well as manipulations), can be useful for directing overall body motion and control.

  When the uke/aggressor is performing a striking motion (punch), the hand/forearm is generally directed straight at the tori. The uke's upper arm is (initially) at a 90º angle, this offers access to particular (striking) angles of attack at locations in that area. As the arm straightens (and the hand/fist becomes closer), the forearm becomes a more suitable target (though with greater risk, due to proximity and speed). The majority of strikes to this region are often glancing (when/if performed with the hand), and penetrating (but with a saw-like action) when using the forearm (to strike it with). Either of which, occurring at a 90º to the forearm.

  Neither us, nor our student's find these (types of) strikes particularly difficult to implement, yet one can find reams of proclaimed disbelief and dismissal of these types of strikes (both of their effectiveness, and/or the ability to even perform them). Could someone please explain the reason for this denial?

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