Friday, December 21, 2012

Isolating the Defender's Actions

  Training student's to perform effective defensive responses is dependent upon first understanding what aggressive actions are possible (that could be utilized upon them).
  I've stated (repeatedly) that the defensive techniques that we teach to our students, can be adapted to be utilized against any of the 4 (most common) basic manors of arm/hand strikes (through the use of the same basic motion).
  I was recently asked why I (as an instructor) don't teach student's how to perform the “attacking” methods that we're training to defend against? My initial response, was a question, … why?
  The motions that we train student's to defend against, are the most commonly utilized aggressive methods that someone would be likely to have used upon them.
  Somehow, training to implement those actions seems...counter-productive? I'm aware that many systems teach their student's all of the “attack” methods that can be commonly encountered, but I have a difficult time emphasizing or even justifying that pursuit.
  The dynamics involved with choreographing various (effective) methods of attacking someone, require different priority's for the performer (than learning the defenses against them, which is our main emphasis).
  The biggest weakness that a new student has (when they begin their training), is unfamiliarity (with the motions). A student's initial (2-person) practice routines are designed to expose them to seeing these aggressive techniques application, as much as the defensive motions that are being shown and practiced.
  Just as importantly (in our view), student's are learning to identify and recognize the minute motions (that are the clues) to an aggressor beginning their attack.
  The most common (detrimental) habit that a beginning student will have (and need to overcome), is chasing the aggressor's striking hand. The new student will tend to focus (solely) upon the aggressor's fist (that is racing towards their face). By doing so (and because of the reactive delay), any attempted parry/diversion will be made when the aggressor's hand/fist is already within inches of their face (meaning that they're practically slapping their own face in the attempt).
  One of a student's first defensive exercises, is learning to extend their own arm towards the aggressor (to avoid the habit of chasing the aggressor's hand). Student's will initially reach their own hand upward, and towards the aggressor's (striking arm, on the same side) shoulder.
  By motioning towards that shoulder, they will place their own (entire) arm between themselves, and the aggressor's striking arm. That extended arm can be motioned outward, or inward (as needed) easily, and quickly.
  Initially, student's will focus on preventing an aggressor's opening strike(s). It is these initial strikes that will often determine how (or even if) they will be able to proceed with their attack.
  Once a student's ability allows them to prevent that initial strike from landing on it's intended target, then they can begin learning how to immobilize that aggressor (to prevent further attempts).
  Students are shown particular motions to perform when an aggressor attempts to strike them. These motions are performed in one manor (regardless of the aggressor's specific action). As most person's are aware, Oyata emphasizes the use of both hand's used in conjunction with a kick in (most) all of their defensive actions.
  Though numerous singular (one-sided) defensive actions are often (also) taught, the mainstay of techniques taught are intended to be ambidextrous in their ability to respond to any attempted aggression.
  All of these taught methods of defense are based around the basic premiss, that there are only so many ways that an aggressor is able to strike the defender. The defender's task, is to perform a motion that will protect them from any of those (aggressive) motions, with as little variation as possible.
  This is the task laid upon every instructor, to teach to their student's. In attempting this feat, there are numerous schools of thought as to the most efficient manor of doing so.
  Most are based around reactive responses to aggressive attempts. Oyata's methodology is based around a more assertive response to those attempts. When Taika's defensive motions/techniques are implemented, they are designed to cause damage to the aggressor, as well as prevent any further attempts (on the part of the aggressor).
  Initially, that damage is focused upon the aggressor's limb's (that are striking the defender). By causing injury to those limb's, the defender is attempting to make the aggressor choose not to continue their attack (upon the defender).
  If/when those attempts fail, and/or prove insufficient, the defender then escalates their defense through the application and the location of their techniques implementation. This will very often include the utilization of atemi, and kyusho (vital point) locations. These are locations that are more easily susceptible and/or cause more serious reactions from being their being struck or manipulated.

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