Saturday, March 23, 2013
Practicing to Get What's Available (Out of a Punch)
I've been reading numerous articles lately, regarding "How to Punch". I understand the desire to have student's perform them correctly, but I don't understand the disparity between the system's/instructor's that seems to permeate the industry.
The physical performance of a "punch", is simply the rapid forward motioning of the hand (of which has often had the finger's gathered, if not rolled into a "ball", and is then further referred to as being a fist). This "fist" is then moved with a rapidly executed forward motion, which then impacts a "target", using the fore-knuckles of that hand. The preferred target location, is commonly the head/face of an opponent (whether performed as an aggressive act, or as a part of a competitive sport).
The common belief, is that one needs to possess great strength (preferably) to accomplish anything when utilizing this (type of) strike. I've expressed my own beliefs regarding the “punching of someone in the mouth” before, so it's (generally) understood (by my reader's anyway) that I don't view it as being an effective manor of (actually) neutralizing an aggressor.
Regardless, the ability to “punch” (effectively), is something that we have our student's train/strive to accomplish. We provide Taika's (system's) methodology to that endeavor, and utilizing those methods, our student's are (commonly, LOL) able to produce sufficient transfer of energy/momentum into a target (uke), to produce effective results.
This is began with learning to produce a “basic”(?) punch. Considering that our lightest student is (I'm guessing) around 95#, that would (presumably) have a potential of delivering (at minimum) a 95# worth of mass, at how-ever fast that student can move their (whole) body (which will increase the amount of transferred energy).
Unfortunately, the majority of (at least “new”) students aren't able to coordinate their (entire) body sufficiently, to be able to produce an efficient delivery of that mass and momentum. To that end, we begin our students in the practice of (what Taika referred to as) performing a “Power-Punch”. This initial form of (this) practice, is to learn the beginning concepts of proper delivery of body mass.
The practice is began when the student is first shown how to practice a punch (itself) in the air. While standing in a Horse Stance,the student will alternate (Right/Left) the act of punching directly to their front. Some system's teach to punch to the center of the student's body, Taika has shown us that this is incorrect (and frankly seems a little stupid when you think about it, LOL).
We have our students punch directly ahead of the punching arm's shoulder (to the same location that the hand would be if raised straight ahead, as if raised when the arm was hanging naturally at the tori's side). When practicing “punching” while in a Horse-Stance, the hands will (initially) be placed to begin their motion, to the front of the hips, bending the elbows slightly, in order to accomplish this positioning.
This is done (initially) to deter the student from the desire to “cock” the punch (commonly seen done by most systems) to the student's side, or even up under/into the armpit. Doing so, will produce the (unnecessary) reflex to “cock” the hand before striking an aggressor (a time-consuming and wasteful if not stupid habit).
When beginning to learn “how” to perform a punch (correctly), it is not uncommon to have the student utilize a pencil with learning the initial motion. This is done by the student placing the pencil between the (inner side of the) Bicep muscle, and the Pectoral muscle (on the chest). The idea, is to perform the punch, while maintaining the pencil's (held) position.
The ability to perform this (albeit minor, LOL) feat, will teach the student to not over-extend/commit the arm, and/or the student's body-weight (ineffectively) into/with a performed strike.
To practice the “Shuffle” Punching method (which is focused more on the inclusion of the tori's entire body-weight), the student will begin in a ready-stance, and perform a “step” forward (to begin with, only the distance of a natural stride/step).
As the student's body-weight begins to transfer to the forward leg (with both knee's being buckled slightly), the striking hand begins it's upward and forward projection (towards the intended target).
The tori's Rear leg, will coordinate with the striking hand, and motion forward (itself) towards the forward leg of the tori.
As the striking hand is extended, it's impact should be coordinated with the arrival of the rear leg's (foot) positioning beside/behind the tori's forward foot. The hand's arrival at it's intended “target” should be concluded with the “milking” action being performed upon the impacted area.
Throughout the entire performance of this motion, the tori's hip's/shoulder's should maintain a “square” positioning, with the striking arm (neither leading nor lagging the strike itself, remaining in synchronicity with the strike).
Though completely usable (in the practiced format), it is the principle that should be learned (and therefor applied) from the performance of the exercise.