Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Illusionary Relevance of Rank

  I have always found it interesting to see how people (in the Martial Art's world in general) react to, or treat individual's based (solely) upon their “claimed” Rank (in/of what-ever). I've been involved with the study of various forms of some martial art, since the age of 14. Since that time, I have encountered hundreds of individual's who have claimed to have (some level of) a Yudansha ranking (and many of those, had no idea of what a “Yudansha” even was).
  Over the course of the years, and throughout those numerous encounters, some of those people actually garnered my respect. This was done sometimes through their actions/attitudes, and sometimes through their abilities (separate things BTW, LOL). Those who did receive it though, never asked for it (much less demanded it).
  The deciding factor for myself was always their personality (over their abilities). A person might know a whole lot about some individual subject (that I might have an interest in), but if they came across as (IMO) being either condescending and/or an arrogant Ass-Wipe”, I would have nothing to do with them.
  After being awarded a couple of Yudansha rankings (of my own, LOL), my concern's regarding raising that level became less, and less. Experience has demonstrated that having any higher level of ranking, would actually accomplish nothing (at least for myself).
  Of course that doesn't take “bragging rights” into account. But I've never felt the need to have to (at least attempt to) intimidate someone with a piece of paper that is worthless to anyone who's name isn't on it (and even then, it's questionable, LOL).
  None-the-Less, I've had numerous individual's (usually someone who doesn't know me at all) attempt to (either) impress or intimidate me with their own “Certificate of Pompousness”. Usually, when presented with this attempt at intimidation, I will respond with an attitude of disconcern (often mistaken for disrespect, two separate attitudes BTW).
  I believe that what bothers me most about the whole Rank-Race, is that the improvement of the system is not being considered as being a relevant factor (when awarding those ranks).
  A "system", that had a total membership of 900 member's (of whom 700 were “Yudansha”) and 200 were of various Mudansha level/rankings would be ridiculously lop-sided (and IMO would be on the verge of collapse).
  The awarding of any Yudansha rank (above Shodan), pretty much is decided by who has the money (to pay for the “test”). Now in some systems, each “test” amounts to (nothing more, or less than) a “hazing” ceremony. To claim otherwise would be completely disingenuous (how else could one “justify” having participants perform kick's, punches, stances or even kata, for ridiculously long periods of time?).
  What does doing so, actually prove and/or accomplish? Does it establish some manner of superiority? (not in my opinion). The fact that I may be able to perform a thousand punches/kicks in succession, does not establish that I am any more (or less) capable/knowledgeable at teaching (or even performing) the art that I study and/or teach.
  Taika did not (directly) mandate that anyone “test” (for a higher rank). He may very well have encouraged it, LOL (been there, done that). But it was never mandated. Everyone, regardless of “rank”, was always taught/shown the same thing (in class, seminar's, etc.).
  It's always been (only) my own opinion, that acquiring higher rank is an option only available to those with money. That (at least) appears to be the primary prerequisite. The (unfortunately) only alternative, is if your running your own organization (then you can make yourself any freakin' rank you wanna be, LOL). The only “catch” will be if anyone else will honor it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ippon-sanbon Kumite

 Anyone who has read this blog, is familiar with the fact that I adamantly disagree with the concept of “sparring” (as it is most commonly pursued and performed).
 That doesn't mean that I disagree with every form of it though. I regularly have my students participate in 1, 2 and 3-step Kumite. The difference (in how I have my students participate) is in how that kumite practice is performed.
 Kumite is used as a training exercise. The majority of the initial exercises are to acclimate the student to striking with power/force.
We will have 1 student don the protective gear, and the other has none. In most of the scenarios, the student with no gear will be the tori (thus, they can be allowed to strike full-power upon the uke).
 Depending upon the individual technique, the party that puts on the protective gear can be alternated. Unlike the more typical “dancing” tap fest (that usually constitutes a “match”), by not wearing gear, the tori can more realistically apply (actual) techniques upon a protected uke.
 This allows the ability to feel the application (at full-power) when performed upon someone that is (able to) resist/respond (when the tori performs their defensive action).
 Unlike the more common free-form manner of sparring (with points, and a ring and all that), by restricting the motions allowed, to be only 1 to 3 strikes (by the tori and/or uke), and by being protected, the uke can perform strikes without concern of being (seriously) injured.
 Conversely, there are exercises where we have the tori "suit-up" and allow the uke to strike the tori using (full-power) strikes to their head (which is encased in the protective headgear we provide). The uke is allowed to use arm pads (because this is where the strikes are often focused during this training). 
 The focus of this manner of practice, is to experience the technique's performance (with sufficient stressor's in place, to provide a level of error into the practiced motion).
 Though there is no perfect manner of practice, what proves to be the most productive (for each student) will be different. Through this manner of practice, we're hoping to provide the safest method that we can (while providing the most practical application experience).
 Our concern is that our students don't become dependent upon the protective gear that's being utilized during the practice (therefor it is usually the uke only, who is using that equipment).
 These practice sessions commonly can't be continued for extended periods of time. Even though wearing protective gear, being the recipient of repeated impacts can prove to be quite exhausting.
 We will usually alternate our training sessions between Tuite, kumite and kata/exercise practice. We don't tend to emphasize the bunkai aspect of training (it's just something that occurs and is mentioned during the course of training).
 Kyusho practice requires special conditions as well (it's not always “safe” to randomly perform neck strikes, LOL). Having acquired (usually through being constructed by us) protective “neck” padding, there can be some limited practice of those manner of strikes being performed as well.
 The limited motion (1, 2, 3 step) kumite (IMO) is closer to an actual conflict than any of the “sport” models being currently promoted. My own experience has shown that confrontations rarely last beyond a few strikes. If they have run longer, somebody was screwing-up, LOL.
 It isn't the concept of "Kumite" that I disagree with. It's the competitive aspect that serves no purpose in Life-Protection training. Our students are not concerned with "trophies" or awards. Their "ego's" don't require re-fueling through some manner of competitive interchange between one another (or anyone else for that matter).
 Our student's seek to understand how to protect themselves, in the most efficient manner that's possible (for them). This manner of performing kumite practice, is utilized for just that purpose, yet another method of practice.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


  One of the more popular “finishing” holds utilized in martial arts, is the shime-waza (or some variant thereof). Also referred to as the “choke-out” (hold), “blood-choke”, “LVNR” (“Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint®”, a registered name BTW, LOL) and “BVR” (Bi-Lateral Vascular Restraint, an “open-source” title).
  It's advantage, is that it is a blood-flow (restriction) hold, thereby making it far less likely to cause any permanent injury and/or damage to the recipient. It can be applied to 99% of persons, and will create the desired effect/result in a (varying) short period of time (commonly between 5-30 seconds).
  Obviously this would be preferable to the throat-crushing (probabilities) that are associated with the air-restriction methods that are often being taught (and even utilized) by some schools. Those methods would have a much higher Life threatening potential to their implementation.
  Although the bloodflow restriction is a far safer form of an option (between the two), it (as any technique does) carries a level of “risk” with it's implementation. For L.E. Work, the fact that it is intended to be utilized as a safer alternative (compared to bludgeoning) for attaining control of an aggressor, makes it a more socially palatable option.
 A Large percentage of the systems teaching (some manner of) restraining techniques, are doing so with no regard for the well being of the person being restrained. Most, when investigated even moderately, can be seen to lack any manner of safety concerns.
 I've seen a (limited) number of articles decrying the concerns being made for the safety of implementing the BVR method/manor of performing this restraining technique. Everything that I've read in this regard has been based upon Unsubstantiated Hear-sayinnuendo or have been in cases of mistaken association. Even those that demonstrate substantiated concerns have only limited occurrence (and it all still boils down to "if they hadn't been creating a problem to begin with, it wouldn't of been utilized upon them").  
 The commonly utilized BVR method is based upon restricting the blood flow through the brain. Technically, this method restricts blood flow from the brain, and being a closed-loop system, this decreases blood-flow. 
 Though not actually (nor completely) "ceasing" blood flow, the sudden drop will trigger a response in the brain, that causes it to believe that there is a blood flow/pressure problem. This will (in turn) cause/create the conditions that will make the body horizontal (commonly by feinting) and thereby create the conditions to ease the ability of the heart to supply blood to the brain. 
 The average recovery time (until full consciousness is regained) will vary from individual to individual. This can be anywhere from several seconds to 5 (even 10) minutes. This is very similar to the responses from the neck strikes utilized within Taika's methodology. Most often the lingering effects will tend to last much longer (causing disrupted balance, and even distorted visual effects). 
  From observing the various (IMO, fake, fraud, sham, pretender's, etc.) other systems that are teaching the "knock-out" types of techniques, I've always found it hilarious that (after having done so) they then instruct their students how to (incorrectly) "revive?" their student's (as well as charging them to learn this total Crap)
 It's obvious that these moron's have never attended (even a basic) first-aid course. After the Uke (the recipient of the "knock-out" strike) has been struck, they immediately have them "sit up" (crossing their legs in front of them?). The most common of these "knock-out" strikes, are of the variety that creates a condition that the brain identifies as necessitating a response equivalent to a "feint" (in response to the strike that was implemented). 
  This "feint/knock-out" (in turn) causes the body to (want to) "lay-down" (to increase/regulate the flow of blood to the brain). Once this is accomplished the brain causes the body to remain laying down until the blood pressures/flow are equalized, and it (the brain) is satisfied that conditions/pressures have returned to "normal". 
  By having their uke's (immediately) "sit-up", they are countermanding the necessary treatment (for the created condition). This, in turn causes the victim to suffer the lingering effects of the strike for a longer amount of time (meaning, WTF? are these idiots doing?, answer: "It looks more impressive").

 They are additionally shown rubbing/slapping the opposite side of the victim's (struck) neck (which BTW, accomplishes nothing). It does make for great theatrics's, but medically will result in NO effects (at least that are beneficial). The fact that they are sitting-up, is making them want to faint (again) so the "slapping" is basically being done to keep them awake.
 Of course doing so will also prolong the effects of the strike (which makes for a more convincing demonstration). When one is aware of what is (actually and Medically) occurring during these fraud's demonstrations, then their abilities are shown to be minimal (at best).
 One of the most disturbing aspects of training student's, is their ability to be corrupted by the teachings of these kinds of charlatan's. Unfortunately, this manner of propaganda permeates the Internet, causing valid student's to become confused as to what constitutes valid technique, as well as outright fraud.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beginning Tuite Practice

Originally posted 9/2008

  Observers of our classes, often make immediate note of the fact that we practice (Tuite) at a very slow, controlled speed. This often causes concern (if not outright doubt) regarding the effectiveness of the techniques (at least to those observers). The reasons are two fold for this slow speed practice.
 No. 1, is for the safety of the students. No. 2, is for the difficulty level of practice. What is often not understood, is that in addition to the need to understand the various angles, pressures and motions involved with the various techniques. Practicing the techniques at a slow speed is MUCH more difficult to do, than at the more commonly demonstrated high speed.
 When practice is performed at a slow speed, the aggressor can see, feel and predict all the motions that you (the tori) are making. Seeing as how it’s a fellow student, they should be familiar with the technique, and are able to counter-motion to make it more difficult (not that they can prevent it from occurring necessarily, but they should be able to make it more difficult for the tori to apply it).
 It’s very common for a frustrated student to accelerate a technique; just to “make sure” it works. This is a very unsafe practice, and one that the instructors are constantly watching for. SEVERE reprimands are in order if this is a continuing problem (and should be administered BEFORE a student is seriously injured).
 The more skilled a student becomes at “slow speed” technique, the more effective they will be at “full speed”. When techniques are executed at full speed, the margin of error will be higher. The more precise a practitioner is at a slow speed, the better they will become at full speed.
 The accepted rule of practice being “you will do in reality, as you practice in the dojo”. And, I would stand by this statement, but “reality” (read:experience) will show that an individual tends to “speed-up” when put in a situation of anxiety (ie. Danger). 
 Therefore “practicing” at a slower speed, does not (in our experience) deter from “real life” technique execution ability.
As a note to higher speed execution of technique, when a student reaches a level of comfort/skill with the majority of techniques that they have been shown, the instructors will often work with a student (individually) on full/high speed techniques. A MUCH greater level of precision (and control) is required for these techniques to work (without causing injury to fellow students).
 These methods of the technique's execution are very often performed exactly as they are done within the kata motions, which is sometimes confusing to students until it is demonstrated, and explained to them.
 The question of counters to the Tuite techniques often comes up. We encourage students to attempt to discover (any) counters to any of the techniques that are taught. This research will help the student to avoid mistakes being made when performing the techniques themselves. When a Tuite technique is being properly applied, there should be no counters that can be applied to dissuade it's application. Any counters discovered (so far anyway, LOL), have amounted to improperly performed technique.
 Once a student has learned the basics of how to “break-down” an aggressor, the student will be shown methods of continuing the technique to a fully controlled position (most commonly, their chest on the ground and restrained so that any further aggression is futile or non-existent). Obviously, this is for conditions that permit this kind of action (within a presumed “friendly” environment, and/or no need or reason to cause serious injury to the aggressor). 
 This stage of instruction will also demonstrate to the student how the aggressor (once immobilized upon the ground) can be manipulated (physically) to alternate positions or locations. There are often (some) students who will view this portion of the training as being “unnecessary”.
 From our (the instructors) perspective, this is not the case. Although the need to control/manipulate an obviously “hostile” aggressor (without doing serious damage to them) might appear to be unnecessary to many, your aggressor may (actually) be known to you (a co-worker, family member, ECT.).
 We feel it is important not to neglect the “legal” consequences of any possible actions on your part. We also do an extensive amount of law enforcement instruction. For them, it is (far) more important than to the average citizen. As students have been taught these techniques, (most often) they have been shown, or it has become obvious as to how to make the damage (to the recipient of the technique) either permanent or temporary.
 The more severe the level of injury (to the aggressor) is, then usually the easier it is for the defender to perform the technique. Your skill level with the techniques must be higher, to cause the least amount of injury to the assailant.
 As a student moves forward with their practice of Tuite, they will learn that excessive (if any) pressure, with the secondary/support hand (during the execution of a technique), will actually hinder (and possibly negate the effects of) the application of the technique.
 Light contact/pressure is what is what is most desirable and sought by the user/performer of Tuite. This is explained (albeit simplistically) by explaining that the body will resist with as much pressure as is exerted upon it. If you were to grab the aggressor’s hand hard (exerting a high level of pressure/strength), they would in turn, respond with an equal or higher amount of strength (becoming a battle of who’s strongest) If a light (but controlling) pressure is maintained, then the aggressor can more easily be redirected and controlled (whether they “butch-up”, or not).
 The example most often shown, is having the student extend their arm straight out (to the front of) their body. They are then directed to resist the downward pressure of the tori's hand, which is placed on top of it. Initially, the tori’s (ridged) hand pressing downward will be straight and flat, with a steadily increasing pressure being applied. 
 The student’s hand (depending of course on the individual's strength) will eventually be forced downward. This is an example of force meeting force. After this is demonstrated, the instructor repeats the exercise. This time the tori “relaxes” his hand, letting it drape over the student’s hand. Again, the instructor presses downward, but this time with a sharp, yet relaxed pressure. The student’s hand will fall quickly (this time), and the student will be unable to resist. The “relaxed” pressure being applied is not perceived as resistance/force (by the student’s brain). Therefore the amount of resistance is not amplified to the aforementioned level necessary to resist the downward push. 
 This idea can be further expanded with the example of an additional contact. This involves making a third contact by the tori (upon the uke) while executing a Tuite technique. This can be something as minor as a “touch”. Basically any minor contact on another (different) part of the aggressor’s body is all that is required.
 As an example (again using the same example as before), have the uke resist and have the tori apply steady pressure with the applied motion (maintain a steady pressure to a level that is able to be resisted by the uke). Without changing the amount of pressure/force being exerted on the technique/motion, the tori should move his closest foot towards the aggressor’s nearest foot, and make slight but noticeable contact with it. At the moment of contact the tori will feel a very noticeable change (Drop) in the resistance level of the uke.
 These examples illustrate that the uke may not necessarily notice (or for that matter, even feel) the “touch” that is being utilized, but the brain does “note” the contact, and is dissuaded from it's original task which it was concentrating upon to begin with. 
 This is a simplistic example of Taika's “strike in 3 manners” and amounts to “Contact” in 3 places. The more common example is shown using 2 hands “striking/blocking” and 1 Leg “kicking”. It still amounts to 3 points of “contact”. When we practice, either “Tuite” or when working on defensive combinations, this is (often) our goal.
 These 3 points of contact are not always (nor even necessarily) “Kyusho points” of injury/damage. Often they are simply “3 distinct points of contact”. Even perceived motions could be included into the “3”. An obvious example, would be “raising the Knee” (as a perceived “groin” strike), which can slow (and very often stop) an incoming strike.
 At the very least, this can (and usually does) cause the aggressor to move their own “hips” rearward, which (in turn) removes power from their initial action, be it a strike or a grab, though differently for each. For a strike, it will slow or stop, a punch. For a grab, the aggressor “tends” to grab tighter (for balance) while lowering their body weight (to either resist or absorb the knee strike), the grab made upon the tori becomes the uke's balance point (then being more susceptible to attack). Either of these actions will make it easier to perform a Tuite technique (upon the uke's grabbing hand).
  Though our practice methods are different from many of the other instruction methods, we feel that the methodology that we utilize will present the best practice and learning method available for the study of Tuite.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuite Videos on the Internet

  I've spent the past weekend perusing the Internet/U-Tube for videos of Tuite being performed. What I found, was that the majority of people and/or systems don't know WTF “Tuite” is.
  The biggest misconception, is that Tuite and Kyusho are the same thing. This is only believed by (complete) Moron's, and is peddled by the circuit Charlatans and scam artists (believing so, makes it easier to shovel their crap).
  The very few video's that I was able to find (that illustrated their techniques), consisted of the typical high-speed performance of commonly taught Ju-Jutsu and Aikido techniques.
  I (again) found one video from a school that did an “Internet Seminar” (for their version of Tuite). The way it was presented, you'd of thought that it was some manner of High-tech instruction. Unfortunately, it was a very “typical” amateurish event.
  It advertised (and became obvious) that they were affiliated with one of the ex-RyuTe groups. Basically, all the techniques demonstrated were performed (IMO) as if by untrained “yellow-belts”. It was pathetic (which was surprising).
  Considering who they were affiliated with, I would have presumed a higher level of knowledge (especially since the techniques they covered were very simplistic). The manor which every one of them was explained and demonstrated, was amateurish at best (and definitely sad).
  There are basically less than 6 "schools" that are (both) Non-RyuTe and are located within the U.S. That are putting any Tuite video's on the Internet. Every one of those, are (either) directly, or indirectly affiliated with Dillweed's nonsense.
  As I had mentioned in another Blog post, most of those individual's have distanced themselves from him, and are now pushing their own brand of his stupidity. I know that a few of them have invaded Europe, and are doing a number of their little “Seminars of Deceit”. The majority of these medicine shows are pushing the Kyusho aspect (greater continuing profit potential), and attempt to tie it to everything (including Tuite).
  Those that are in the U.S., obviously don't devote any time to real study of the art. From the videos that are on the Internet, there is only a simplistic approach being made towards any study of Tuite.
  I've written before of their ridiculous “10 tuite principles” used by all of these other groups. Of their 10, there is only 1 of them that is even similar to any of our 6.
  Having seen this lack of information and/or examples, I am becoming rather anxious (in regards to publishing our Tuite Manual). I believe my greatest amazement, is that nobody has (obviously) spent any amount of time on figuring out the most fundamental of guidelines for performing Tuite techniques (even in general).
  If what I found was (accurately) portraying examples of what is being taught (in regards to the performance of Tuite), Then the market is definitely in need of further refinement.
  Having already investigated the quality of (any of) the written information that's available on the subject, I know that there isn't anything of value that's (presently) available.
  I know that when I'm viewing what these individual's are presenting as being representative of their applications, it's obvious that their intentions are not to improve their student's understanding, much less the performance of Tuite. Their goal seems only to be having something to tell their (paying) students (regardless of whether it helps them to accomplish their application of the techniques, or not).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Knuckles or Palm?

 I had been reading a blog that was discussing the various advantages/disadvantages between striking w/the palm of an open hand, and/or with the fore-knuckles (of a "fist"). The data that he's utilizing for his research, comes from an article that supplied (some manner of) measurements supplied from another (unrelated) research project.
 The conclusion that both he and the provided research came to,  was that there was no difference in the amount of energy being transferred (between the two methods). Although I believe there are more variables in play than what he listed, based upon his limited research base, I would be inclined to agree.
 The way that he judged his research, I don't hardly see how it could of come out any other way.  (As he described it) the comparisons were made from striking a stationary target, directly in front of the person performing the strikes (using either method).

  I would have been more interested in comparing two methods that were more different in how they were accomplished. Between the two described motions, the muscles in the (entire) arm, are being flexed the exact same.

  There's also other considerations that should be evaluated when comparing various striking methods, namely, a clenched or relaxed striking hand. In either of the two methods he describes, the forearm muscles are flexed (identically, well, close enough, LOL). 
  I'd be curious (if I had access to the measurement devices that he utilized) to see the difference when the strike is performed in the manner that we instruct. One of the main differences, is that Oyata taught us utilize an "open" fist (meaning that the finger's aren't tightly closed upon one another). 
  I am aware that strikes performed in this manner are "slightly" faster, and often have a delayed perception by the aggressor (due to their finger's not being tightly clinched). Despite this, I have no knowledge of their having any greater power from being performed in this manner.
  I tend to believe that this manner of "test"? (measurement) doesn't really provide (that much) usable data. The level of (measurable) "power", is only a minor factor regarding the response to a strike's impact.
  In the practice of Te, it isn't any singular aspect that is focused upon to accomplish a successful technique, but a collection of numerous (often minute) component's/motions that construct an effective application.