Sunday, June 30, 2013

Defensive Attitude

 When someone has a strong (enough) desire to beat someone else (i.e. “you”) into a bloody pile of body parts, there is nothing that you can do to deter that desire (especially when that individual is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol).

  What can be done, is to limit their physical ability to carry through with that desire. This commonly entails nullifying (enough of ) the physical ability of that individual before they are able do the same (or worse) to yourself. Though numerous systems utilize some manner of “pain” compliance, that premiss (of “effectiveness”) becomes irrelevant if/when the individual is under the influence of any elicit substance, Drugs and/or Alcohol.

  It is with that premiss, that we train our students in Oyata's Life-Protection Art. The types/manner of strikes and manipulations that we instruct our students to utilize will function regardless of an aggressor's size, strength or mental/physical state.

  When one first considers the variety of possible ways that someone could assault them, it can be very disheartening. Oyata taught us to categorize those manners into separate groupings. An aggressor can Punch/Strike you, they can Kick you, or they can Grab/Push you. At most, an aggressor is able to combine 2 of these actions (and that's “iffy”). Unless that aggressor is wielding a weapon, these are the only manners of (physical) aggression possible.

  The most probable of these 3 manners, is dependent upon the social situation. Though the majority of schools/systems train their students to defend against aggressive “strangers”, the odds (as well as the police reports) demonstrate the most likely “threat” will come from someone you know (if not being related to, i.e. friend, family member, spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.).

  The social situation can also dictate whether an aggression is that of an “Alpha”(type) of aggression, or that of the “Predator”(type). It's important to understand the differences between the two. In an Alpha situation, there is a chance of verbally deescalating the situation (a simple apology?). When dealing with a “Predator” (type) situation, there would need to be an obvious “threat” (i.e. Police/Security presence and/or assistance immediately available) to deter them.

  Either of these types of aggressor, can place you in the situation of a verbal confrontation (that is likely to escalate to becoming a physical one).

  The “average” (verbal) confrontation is made at “arm's length”(distance). This is (also) the common distance for conversation between two individual's. As/if this distance closes, one's anxiety level will increase as well. If/when the distance is greater than arm's length (separation), there is little (if any) intimidation/physical threat being recognized (verbal threats are counter productive, and “hollow” in their ability to intimidate unless that distance is closed).

  Having verbal “skills” is just as important as possessing any physical defensive capability’s. Our purpose is training our students in the physical aspect of Life-Protection, not “Social-Positioning”. The ability to swallow one's pride (and sacrifice one's peer-position among stranger's) is more important to defending their life than any pride based physical actions are (and are more often than not counter-productive to Life-Protection).

  Once a confrontation has begun, it is our goal (in training our students) to neutralize the aggressor's physical ability to continue that aggression. This can be accomplished through physically disabling their limbs, or through shocking their neural capability's (often via a “knock-out” type of strike).   
 Person's often assume that placing someone unconscious will effect that person for an extended length of time. The average “KO” will last only seconds (which is still more than sufficient time for escape). Even though the individual has only lost (full) conscious for seconds, the effect from the strike will (often) last  for several (5-10) minutes.

  Though the physical ability to perform one of the “KO” (types of) strikes is a fairly simple one, the ability to do so during an (actual) confrontation is more involved (and requires greater practice/ability). Students often get the mistaken belief that “all” they need to learn/practice is how to “knock somebody out” (and then they can defend themselves). There's more to it than that, LOL.

  Namely, if you get “Punched/Hit” (in the head) first, it's unlikely that you'll be doing anything (defensively speaking). This is why our students first focus on how to prevent that strike from occurring.

  It's initially important to understand “how” someone is able to strike you (as well as how they can't). Being that the majority of people are right-handed, we'll look at that hand first.

  Presuming that the hand is at the person's side (which provides it the most options), that hand has to raise (in order to hit you in the face). Stand in front of a mirror, and watch your shoulder as you (quickly) raise your hand (as if to strike your image in the mirror).   
 With minimal practice, you can see it's difficult to move the hand at all (without it being apparent through the shoulder's motion). You can do so with only minimal movement being done by that shoulder as you begin the strike (but only at a significant loss of any power being included in that strike).

  The point being, is that you don't need to watch an aggressor's hand's (when they're at the aggressor's sides) just watch their shoulder's. If/when an aggressor has them folded across their chest, they're attempting to look confident (which generally means their not). This position only affords them the ability to “backhand” with any (extra?) speed as well as being a “cover” for chest/belly region (which we don't strike at anyhow, LOL).

  Aggressor's do not approach you with their arm's extended (unless they're reaching to grab you), this is a defensive position. An aggressor (looking to begin a confrontation) will have their elbows bent, ready to extend (as either a grab, or a strike). Their hands will be at waist/chest level (open or closed). Those that put their hands in front of their face, have never been in a real confrontation before (they might have limited experience “sparring”, in which case that person's legs should be repeatedly targeted). 
  One of the first motions taught to our students, is the Cover-Parry/Strike motion. This motion will protect the user despite which technique (or hand) that the aggressor uses (or where they are targeting their strike). It is designed to (initially) cover the face/head area, but with practice is used for most any aggressive hand/arm action attempted (by the uke/aggressor). I provided (superficial) explanations of the various methods of this techniques application in previous postings (in addition to explaining how the motion is used in response to either of the aggressor's hands being utilized). 
 Student's are also introduced to the initial "Tuite" techniques that are taught in Oyata's Life-Protection Methodology. The first techniques are for arm grabs as well as the "pushes" that commonly occur at the beginning of a confrontation. Though seeming to be "unlikely" occurrences, it is demonstrated how these simplistic techniques have numerous "real-world" application. 
 Life-Protection training involves more than just learning technique applications and kata. It also includes the recognition of situations that should alert the student to trigger their defensive attitude.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Little Do You Know

  Over the past year, I've been subject to numerous inquiry’s regarding my opinion about the “U-Tube” video that promoted itself as being a “Live”, tuite training seminar. When it was initially released, I watched it (being obviously curious about what they would present). I dutifully sat through the entire production.
  I did cut them some slack (as far as their obvious nervousness) as it was equally obvious that they had never attempted this manner of (video) “seminar” before. I wasn't actually concerned with their “video” expertise, as I was curious about the information that they were claiming to provide.
  The first application that they demonstrated was an “Arm-Bar”. I naturally would have expected that they would have been demonstrating Oyata's manner of application (considering “whom” had been teaching them the version of “Ryukyu Kempo” that they advertise as having been practicing). What was shown though, was as far from anything that Taika had ever taught as one could get (where they came up with it, is beyond my comprehension).
  Evidently none of them had ever had to attempt that (what they were teaching) technique on a resistant/non-compliant subject. The application which they were demonstrating, was a (strictly) “power-based” application (and nothing like what Oyata would have taught).
  It was also interesting that the lecturer had the uke begin their attack (basically) “out of range” (i.e. Their strike would have never hit them, regardless of whether they choose to respond or not).
  After their “Arm-Bar” fallacy (which was drug out far too long), they proceeded to (what we call) the “Push-Catch” technique.  Being one of “our” instructional foundation techniques, I was very interested in how they were going to present it's application. Again, it was a dismal production, with numerous inaccuracy's being provided (within every aspect of the technique's performance). For our students, this would be "the" example for every aspect of how to perform this technique incorrectly.
  If this was (truly) intended to be an “instructional” seminar, the “instructor” failed miserably. With no longer than this presentation was (45 min.), “we” could have easily provided 4 times the information over just this "chest-push" technique (and ours would have been correct, which theirs wasn't). I don't even believe that the instructor even understood that he was (actually) “muscling” each of the tuite technique's that he was attempting.
  The remainder of the shown technique's were (IMO) all presented as “self-centered” techniques. By this, I mean that the tori was (overly) focused upon themselves (often completely ignoring the uke, who should have had the focus of the tori's attention).
  I don't know that they were on any manner of “time constraints”, but they did skip-over (or at least never presented) many of the additional (main) points that should have been addressed, including footwork, counter's, not “muscling” the technique's (which he did excessively). I don't (necessarily) blame this individual instructor, but they should have been including and dissecting these variables as well.
  As far as a viewer “learning” anything, I suppose that would depend on how little they initially knew to begin with. This presentation was only acceptable for pointing out what Not to do (meaning anything this guy said to do, and/or why). And again, I don't necessarily blame the presenter. I think he was doing exactly what his instructor had shown him (and why). The “fault”, lay with his instructor. I don't believe that this individual (really) understood what to look for (as far as correcting, and/or recognizing the faults that were apparent within the shown technique's).
  Seeing that the “comments” were turned-off for this video, I'm presuming that similar opinions became too much for them to stand (though that doesn't explain it's continued availability?). 
 To "preempt" any of the "you can't criticize anyone elses stuff" comments,..Bite me, and who say's? This blog is a totally Opinion Based blog. Pretty much everything I write on this blog are "my" opinions and understandings. These person's displayed thier video upon "U-Tube", that's the "public" gallery. I'm offering my opinion/critique on that public display.
 For those that are familiar with our "6 Principles of tuite" the faults (of that presentation) are readily apparent.


The "Other" Interpretations of Tuite

  Tuite is an integral piece of the defensive methodology as was taught by Taika (Seiyu Oyata), yet (for a "new-comer" to the defensive arts), it is often being treated as if it were a separate art all together. Not every system includes this instruction (at least to the degree that Oyata had emphasized it's importance). Most will include some manner of rudimentary instruction in countering "grab's" (and such), but none of the other systems teach tuite (or what they're calling "tuite") in the same manner that Oyata's is being taught and/or performed.

 Having been subjected to, and having listened to the (IMO) "hookey" seminars on the subject provided by some of these wanna-be "experts" their knowledge on and/or about the subject of tuite is dismally pathetic
 (Case in point), the "Dillmanite's" and/or the numerous branches of that ilk, utilize (or at least provide seminars for) their "9 Principles" for tuite. First off, they don't seem to understand the difference between "tuite", and "kyusho" (they constantly blur and/or use the two very different terms interchangeably). Yes, they could be utilized in conjunction with one another. No, they do not have to be. 
 Second, they attempt to include the nonsense that is "TCM" (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as having any relevancy (much less the requirement of possessing any knowledge of, as being necessary) to the utilization of either subject (Tuite or Kyusho). Anyone who is doing so, is not, nor has ever been a student of Oyata's.
 As I look over these "principles", they really amount to being general idea's for the application of any technique ("maintain a mechanical advantage"?, duh...). They are general "technique" application guidelines (and are hardly "tuite" specific). Their principles could just as easily be applied to their "sparring" rules.
  As is typical for these guys (that tend to follow that same methodology), they haven't done any real research in regards to it. They are only hoping to use what they've always done (with their "kicky-punchy" karate), and pass it off as (now) being specialized (?) training.
 When I listen to their lectures on the subject (tuite), what they emphasize are "pain" reactions (and/or a forward bend at the waist). They also stress a "fast" (only) means of application (to obtain their expected responses). They (evidently) don't have the ability to apply their techniques slowly (and achieve those same expected reactions). 
 For Law enforcement/security (as well as other types of supervisory positions), this lack of "controlling" abilities is an obvious weakness in their methodology.
 All of these (types of ) groups operate off of a false premiss (TCM) to determine their "principles" and guidelines. It's like trying to create a ("New"?) "color" standard by using Green, Orange and Purple. Yes, you'll get a few things correct (or at least close), but you'll never get the entire spectrum (of what's available to be learned). And what little may be accomplished, will be far more difficult to utilize (or even learn) than would otherwise be necessary.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Kata Instruction

 I've mentioned (in previous posts) that we teach the instructed kata in progressive stages. These "stages" will vary between each student, and throughout the individual student's instructional tenure. What is commonly seen as being the "basic" version of we instruct a kata (eg. "Naihanchi Shodan") is just as often how numerous other systems will consider that kata to be performed (and be the/a "complete" form of the kata).
 It was this perception, that led Taika to not be in favor of "videos" of the kata performance (as with the 13 video tapes). A video can only represent a single "stage" of a kata's instruction (or a students progression with that kata).
 Utilizing the presentation of those kata (as is done on the tapes) in the "basic-intermediate-advanced" format, you are (in effect) returning every student to a Shinkyu ("New" student) level (with the instruction of each kata). Though possibly good for the instructor's pocketbook, it benefits the student in no manor (by returning to basic execution, over, and over). 
 We have changed the manor which our students are instructed in performance of the instructed kata. It used to be, that every kata was taught in (the same) progressive stages (basic, to advanced). When we (finally, LOL) took a step-back, and saw how ridiculous this was, we reformulated our methodology to our present approach to kata instruction.
 I had mentioned before, that we treat every one of our student's as separate entity's. Not every student is shown the exact same (additional/correctional) motions at the same time of their instruction. This is done for numerous reasons (but is essentially the instructor's decision, based on that instructor's evaluation of their student's capacity to assimilate the provided information). 

 When a student is first shown a kata, their main focus is on remembering the "pattern" as well as the associated motions to complete that "pattern". Once the pattern has been established, the various idiosyncrasies of each motion are then fine-tuned to meet the prerequisites of the kata's performance. It is this latter task, that is an unending endeavor (Each modification/detail is to be included in not only the kata being studied, but all of the previous and future kata as well). 
 (Repeating) When student's are shown a correction/clarification, that information is to be included to/in every kata known or taught to that student (from that time forward).
 It is this factor, that confuses students the most. Whenever a particular (minor) motion/correction is illustrated, it is the student's task to (from then on) include that correction to every kata that the student has, or will be shown. There are (of course) exceptions, and when they are presented, those exceptions should be notated by the instructor to the student.
 When kata are taught in this manor, there is no longer (really) any "basic" kata (except for the very first kata shown to the student).  
  All kata after that (when compared to how other systems instructional methods do so) will "begin" with all of the "fine-points" already included in their initial instruction (therefor bypassing the traditionally understood "basic" format for that kata). 
 It should also be "Re"-stated, that we don't teach children (at our school), Our training methods are targeted towards adults and therefor our expectations (for our students) are much higher than they would have to be if we taught children. 
 Taika always stated that each of us would (eventually) find a particular kata that we (individually) would "like" (the best). It would most often be the kata that contained the techniques that we (personally) preferred. That would often become "our" kata. 
 This concept seems (almost) counter productive today (considering how most systems are taught). Unless one is going to become a "instructor", possessing a vast "catalog" of kata, is pretty much a waste of one's time. 
 If you are familiar with, and can perform all of the technique contained within any one of the (traditional) kata, you have little (if any) need to know any additional kata. Taika included the 12 essential kata, so that his student's would have options (available) to collect from. A thorough knowledge of each and every one, was never expected, nor required (for one to learn the Life Protection Arts). 
 If a student has no intention of ever teaching anyone else (and yes, we've had a number of those types of students), then that student has no reason to retain "how" to perform a "basic" kata (and in regards to any kata learned further along from the beginning of their training, what "they" would consider basic, would be "intermediate/advanced" to anyone else). 
 When kata instruction is viewed in this manor, one begins to question the value of teaching (much less having to learn) "Basic-intermediate-advanced" methods for every kata.
 We believe that teaching in this manor (as described), is more productive and motivates the student to higher levels of performance/execution (than having them "start-over" as with the previous/common methodology with every kata).