Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Okinawan Neck Kiss

  The topic of “Neck Strikes” seems to of been very popular of late (at least with the individual's that I've been conversing with). I believe a lot of the confusion, has to do with understanding how many different “types” of these strikes that there actually are.
  First and foremost, the neck (itself) isn't really all that large. Yet, there are a fair number of different locations to strike it upon (and there are just as many different methods as well as directions to perform those strikes from).
  The initial neck strikes that we teach to students are performed with the student's forearm (a large implement, utilized upon an equally large/general area). Unfortunately, this can lead to a student (mistakenly) attempting to use that implement with (excessive) force (as is often observed in the numerous “U-Tube” videos that are out there).
  There are additionally, a fair number of focused (types of) strikes that are available as well. These can utilize the (or more often “a”) finger-tip, or the back of the tori's hand (similar to a “Back-Handed Slap”).
  Beginning students are commonly shown several different manners of these types of strikes for varying positional situations. These will often include strikes that are implemented using a finger " joint" (knuckle) as well as the finger-tip(s).
  When strikes are utilized (upon the neck), they tend to be used in an angular manner. Even when a finger thrust is utilized upon the sternal "notch" (in the center of the body at the top of the sternum, at the base of the throat region), that strike is directed downward, not towards the rear of the body.
  Not every neck strike is utilized directly upon a (single) specific nerve. What can often produce the emanation of the desired (directional) response (by the uke, when struck), is the anterior scalene muscle(s?). It's several tendons, lay directly “beneath” (under) the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (Shown in the 2nd picture) which I presume is why everyone insists upon trying to “pound” the ever lovin' “piss” out of it, LOL.
  Although appearing to be separate (individual) muscles in this picture that I found (Shown below), these are (apparently) all a part of a singular muscle (the anterior scalene muscle) with individual tendon attachment locations. When you “probe” about (on your own neck, LOL), it's possible to feel many of those individual attachments (tendon's). Each of these (individual) tendons are susceptible to being twisted and/or plucked (similar to a guitar string).

  Laying across/on top of those tendons, is the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (see picture below). This muscle has numerous striking locations along the entire length of the muscle (in different directions and performed in different manners). 
  Additionally, please ignore the ridiculous nonsense that is the (evidently) popular “Kyusho Recovery”(?) techniques and courses that are being sold (in seminars/videos) these days. It is the latest “fad” to sell to students (that you/they can then become “certified”, LOL) to “treat” your (victims) recipients after your neck-strike practice.
  You will be far better served to go to a Red-Cross first aid course (and get certified, it's actual training, unlike this crap that they're teaching at these “kyusho” courses). Once you take the Red-Cross course, you can openly laugh at the stupidity of what these moron's are doing (to essentially “treat” a subject who has physically responded exactly as if they had just “feinted”). What's the “first” thing that these guy's do? (they have them sit up, instead of having them lay down). Otherwise, it wouldn't be nearly as dramatic (can't have them recovering too quickly, LOL).
  Regardless of a strike's intended direction of manipulation (be it a probe and hook, or even a “pluck”) the strike's effectiveness is dictated more by direction, and manipulation manner (than by any blunt trauma). This can be extremely subtle, and will have the appearance of being a (heavy/hard) impacting strike (which they are not, or certainly don't need to be).
  Yet, performing a Hard (muscular) strike is what 98% of the “neck-strike” video's are telling you to do. You can/will produce a “reaction”, just not one that could be as easily utilized to your own advantage (as well as requiring you to expend far more energy, to achieve far less response). 
  Until a student has experimented with several different body “types”, it will be (equally) difficult to (immediately) recognize these locations. This is why we tell our students to “probe” their own body (take that, how ever you want to, LOL). I've provided several pics of individual's "necks" that I found on the internet. You can (easily) see how some are easier (and more obvious) to differentiate the described locations, depending upon the physical state and/or angle of motion, that the individual is in (relaxed, or  stretched out, body type etc.). 


  Just going by the included pictures, you can see that there's more to being able to strike a location (on someone's neck) than just saying that it's right “there”. Though (obviously) similar, there are (commonly) definite differences in/because of “body-types” that can make it more difficult (or even easier, LOL) to recognize those locations (at least without having practiced doing so).

  Students are often concerned with an aggressor's who (obviously) has been "working out" (with "weights"). We tell those student's that it's great when they (an aggressor) have. It makes it SO much easier to identify the locations that we utilize.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Neck Strikes

  If there has been “1” subject, that has been completely blown out of proportion (in the martial arts community), it would have to be in regards to the “knock-out” (types of) Neck strikes.
  Unfortunately, these “demonstrations” have become (and are now what most people believe them to be) as being “the” (standard?) technique that demonstrates your level of ability (?).
  The most commonly asked question (of myself) was “did Oyata knock you out every class?” uh, no, he didn't. Over 32 years of study with him, I was only “knocked out” twice (by Taika). I was “dazed”, knocked “loopy” (whatever you'd like to call it) Dozen's of times (though the effects from those strikes were commonly less than a minute or two).
  The average (beginning) student, is often under the impression that “all” they (really) need to learn, is how to “knock somebody out” (the rest of that “stuff” isn't even necessary then).
  And that's where the problems begin (at least for an instructor).
The majority of this “Fantasy” (belief) is regularly propagated by charlatan’s that promote (their) “TCM” nonsense, and attempt to convince people that (in order to perform those strikes) they need to learn a pile of (completely unrelated) nonsense before “they” will be able to perform these types of strikes. NONE of which is true.
  The biggest problem (with performing the neck strikes) as they are typically being practiced, is in the expectations of the person performing the strikes. Although they often can be, they will (more commonly) only provide a temporary “stun” (response) of the struck subject. Of course that's not to be trivialized, causing an aggressor to (literally) “freeze” for several seconds provides an enormous advantage.
  Additionally, it's not as if they're (even capable of) running after you if you choose to take off (it's more of weaving stumble really). In my opinion, the concern is really (or should be) in the manner that these strikes are being practiced.
  All one has to do is go to “U-Tube” and google “knock-out strikes”. You can see dozens of these idiots wailing away on their students necks (young, old, thin and fat one's). This is NOT how the practice of these types of strikes are supposed to be done (it's mostly the instructors that have sadistic streaks that do this nonsense).
  Aside from (simply) performing blunt trama strikes upon these gullible individuals (usually, their own students), they aren't even doing what they are advertising (usually, that they are performing “Pressure-Point” strikes, ...yeah, right).
  When I'm asked about them (in regards to our class), I have to (begrudgingly) admit to teaching our students how to perform them. It's (definitely) not because I don't approve of them, it's more because I (then) have to (once again) explain about how and why they are not the “end-all” self defense technique (that everybody wants them to be).
  They can be very effective, but they also require that you to perform them  only when the circumstances allow for them to be utilized. I don't concern myself with the (bullshit) notion that “these won't work on everybody”. That is a cover your ass statement (used by the salesmen that are promising the world with their effectiveness, if "YOU" do it correctly, LOL).   
 For the elaborate responses that they are guaranteeing (for every strike), they have to to say "you" did something wrong, because it just isn't going to happen.
  Most (new) people will point out that Oyata would always get a dramatic response (when he performed his strikes upon people at seminars), and that was the point. Taika was attempting to recruit students, so he would turn into the showman, and perform for the audience. How he did neck strikes (in a class environment) was very different than how he would do them in a public seminar.
  In our classes, We attempt to demonstrate (to our students) that it is rarely necessary (or practical to expect) to cause the person to loose consciousness (when performing one of Taika's neck strikes).  
 Even when done lightly (as we do in our classes, and that's commonly with neck padding being worn), the response is more than sufficient to illustrate what would happen in an actual confrontation (and it will familiarizes the student with the effects that are made upon the recipient, as well as how little physical effort is required to do so). 
  Those (poor) people on U-Tube (who were on the receiving end of those "muscled" neck strikes) were covered with bruises (on their neck?, WTF?). In 30+ years, I never suffered any bruises from any neck strikes performed upon me (at least from Taika, LOL), and I always felt the reaction. 
 The most common correction (that a student to needs to make to their technique), is to use less force. Too many people attempt to perform a neck strike, as if they were trying to break a stack of boards. This "can" work (? sometimes), but it is not the type of a strike that Oyata was known for, or ever taught. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Are There No Seminars For "Basics"?

  I was recently looking at a list of available seminars (from various schools and systems). I didn't necessarily see anything that interested me, but I was intrigued by the listed subjects (of what was to be taught).
 Being that my own main focus is on the instruction of students, I was viewing the advertized content/subject matter of the impending seminars. What I noted, was that they all tended to stress some manor of “advanced” training.
 My initial thought was, what about the beginning student? What is it that they are supposed to get from some manner of “advanced” training seminar?
 Of the last 6 seminars that I've had some manner of (human) feed-back on, they have all focused (whether actually, or imagined) upon “advanced” motions and/or applications.
 Why are there no seminars that are (specifically) designed for “beginning” students? Seminars that teach the beginning principles and reasons why a system teaches motions and techniques in the manner that they do?
 I have never seen one being advertized. Every system just “assumes” that their beginning students (already?) know why and for what reason that they do everything,...right?
 Well, actually it's the majority of instructor's that (either) don't know, and/or won't admit to not knowing/understanding those basics to begin with. What's worse, are those that believe that they (already) do, but never attempt to confirm/dispute those beliefs (for what-ever reasons).
 As it presently stands (in the industry as a whole), the majority of “instructor's”, can't provide logical, practical reasons for the majority of what they are teaching. 35 years ago, “I” could have (easily) been accused of the same behavior (and at the time, wasn't even aware of doing so).
 How often is it, that students are expected to (blindly?) follow what ever an instructor tells them to do, without being allowed to question that instruction?
 What makes me laugh the most, is the instructor's that believe that “they” (of course) already know all the answers (to everything).  Knowing the motions of a kata, only means that you are training your body to do those motions, it doesn't mean that you know what those motions (originally) represented.
 When I watch the average (Japanese/Korean/Chinese?) “karate” (type of) class, the things I see them doing (and are attempting to “justify”) are amazing (to me). And not, in a “good” way, LOL.
 I was watching a video (on “U-tube” of course, LOL), where the individual was “teaching” Naihanchi Shodan (a common kata, practiced by numerous systems). This “instructor” was emphasizing a “shimmy-shake” (of his hips) for almost every hand motion being performed within the kata.
 As if this weren't (embarrassing?) bad enough, he then “justified” the motion(s) with convoluted “hay-seed” science that a 3rd grader would laugh at. The ridiculousness of his statements (evidently) didn't even make themselves apparent to him after viewing the video (thus, it's being published on “U-Tube”, for the whole world to see how incredibly ignorant that instructor is about that subject).
 The vast majority of “instructors”, need to (learn how to?) concentrate on understanding the “basics”. Unfortunately, most tend to believe that they, are now “experts” (because somebody gave them a piece of paper with their name on it, and it says they can wear a “black-belt”,...whoopee!).
 In my own opinion, That Yudansha ranking, only means that “now” your able to concentrate on understanding how everything that you've been practicing is supposed to work.
 This is why the majority of systems don't recognize you as an “instructor” until 3rd Dan, but (of course) that will vary from system to system as well.
 I've seen dozen's of “Tuite”(like) classes being advertized, and have even spoken with people going to, as well as conducting those seminars. What was shown was always (supposed to be) “advanced” applications. Uh, what about the beginning principles of application/function? How many 9th kyu (or Godan for that matter) know what to look for when a technique is failing? How many can tell you what is being done incorrectly by just watching you attempt the technique? And more importantly, How many are too ignorant of what makes a technique work, that all they can say is that the technique won't work because of “somebody” being an anomaly? (read elsewhere about that, LOL) Anyone who uses that response (more than once in their life), is too stupid to be teaching that technique (or Tuite in general).

Friday, July 26, 2013

The “Anomaly” Con-Game

  I am repeatedly encountering “instructors” of Tuite (whoever's form they happen to be teaching) who (repeatedly) whine about how their technique doesn't/won't “work” (on an individual), because “that” individual is a part of that (small) percentage of the population that fall into the “Anomaly” group of people (that it doesn't work on).
  Really?,...Your going with that argument?... It appears that in addition to not knowing how to perform the technique, they are blaming the “1” (individual) in 10 to 50 thousand (yes, that's 1 in 10-50,000 people) that some of the technique's will not work upon (in the manner desired).
  They are attempting to convince people, that they encounter these “anomalies” on a regular basis? (WTF?). I don't think so. I would have to state that the odds of that occurring are FAR greater (against it even happening) than the failure rate that they are admitting to.
  Tuite (which is Oyata's form of limb manipulation), requires a greater level of anatomical understanding than the majority of “what-ever” it is being taught at these “seminars”, that the vast majority of these guys are showing (and yes, I purposely didn't write “teaching”).
  The “other” argument (against the practicality of Tuite) is the “smaller” people (usually females) can't perform them on bigger subjects (ie. “males”). That too, is complete Bullshit. It's a failure of the instructor, not the student (or of the technique).
  There are many of these technique's that can be performed with limited training. But that doesn't assure competency with that technique, only familiarity. I know from personal experience, that after being shown 1 particular technique, I spent the next year figuring out how to make it work (correctly).
Strangely (at least to me, LOL), it's the (more) fundamental technique's that I see being performed incorrectly (and more often).
  The majority of the “seminars” that I've observed (appear to) want to focus on the more (involved?) “busy/flashy” forms of techniques. Rarely (if ever) do I see a seminar being advertised for the instruction of “Beginning/Basic” technique's for Tuite.
It is those technique's that will most often be utilized in a defensive situation. Yet, most seminars are (attempting to) teach some (odd form of) elaborate technique's that “I” would never attempt in the best of circumstances.
  From all that I've seen (via “U-Tube”, or in Person), the focus has been on quantity, and certainly not quality (in regards to either the instruction, or the techniques). The “goal” is evidently to provide just enough information, to make you want more (future seminars?).
  It's those “beginning/basic” techniques that students are (far) more likely to use, than any of the more elaborate ones.
  If we were to conduct a seminar covering just the fundamentals of the performance of Tuite technique's, we would (require) a minimum of a 3 hour window just to explain/demonstrate all of the principles of application (from the initiation of the technique, through the submission of the uke) for 1, maybe 2 techniques (for a 10-20 attendee seminar).
  Our L.E. Seminars commonly contained (approx.) 3-4 technique's/subjects and they were (a minimum) of 8 hours (more often those were a multiple day event).
  You speak to most of the attendee's (of what was “advertised” as being a Tuite seminar), and they're “all about” whatever was shown (at the seminar). But as soon as you begin to challenge (whatever was taught to) them, (and usually with the logistics of what was shown), it commonly all falls apart.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Natural Motion

  I recently read an article that was lambasting the concept of natural motion. The author first provided the idea, that numerous martial arts instructor's convey the suggestion, that what they are teaching are "natural" motions. He then proceeded to explain (his version of) what “they” meant by that statement “By natural, they mean that the motion be closest to the motion the human body is adapted for (Which was the definition that I disagreed with).
  Who” (exactly) wrote that definition of/for natural? Though possibly written poorly (as I would never define motion in that manner), I don't believe that their intention (or definition) was the one that this author chose for them to have represent their viewpoint.
  The author believes (he's the one that stated it) that any/all motion is “created”, for the required task at hand. He then went off on a tangent regarding “evolution” (and what that equates to). Not having a link to the original documentation/article (source, that the author was referencing) it would be difficult to know the implications of any statements were made within it.
  His followup statement “There is no such thing as natural movement for the human body. Those who think there is do not understand how natural selection works.” was (IMO) at "best" showed the writer to be ignorant (of the subject), and at "worst", was misleading and unrelated (to the topic of the subject). “Natural Selection*” is a separate issue/subject from “Natural Motion”. The two are only distantly related or in any way similar.
  Interestingly (at least to myself, LOL), I had only recently included the footnote at the bottom of my blog. It was actually in reference to articles exactly like the one I'm referencing in this blog.
  The term “natural”, has numerous avenues of definition. The one that I found most applicable (for the purposes of training) was the “any person or thing that is, or is likely, or certain to be very suitable to/for as well as being successful in an endeavor without much training or difficulty”(via “”). As “I” interpret this definition, it means the motion that is most likely to occur without having any (or much) formal training to perform.
  Regardless of how or why it does so, the human body (as well as the average person's limbs that are attached to it) will move in (only) particular, often limited ways. To imply (as the author did in his article) that any motion that you are able to perform is “natural”, is simplistic and (IMO) just stupid.
  If every motion were indeed “natural”, there would be no need for training. The body does perform certain actions and motions that are familiar, and therefor require little (if any) conscious thought to perform them. In the quest for efficiency though, it becomes our goal (as instructor's) to make a student's naturally performed motions be as productive as possible.
  It is in that regard, that we have our students repeatedly perform numerous introductory motions (with the intend of making the student more comfortable/familiar with that motion, and thereby requiring little to no conscious thought to performing them) as/when required. 
 In regards to natural motion, unlike what the referenced author stated, we do understand what that constitutes, and we impart that knowledge upon our students as well. 

*Natural selection is the gradual natural process by which biological traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of the effect of inherited traits on the differential reproductive success of organisms interacting with their environment. It is a key mechanism of evolution. The term "natural selection" was popularized by Charles Darwin who intended it to be compared with artificial selection, which is now called selective breeding.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Essential's

  At our school (Dojo) our classes are in a continuous state of modification (and hopefully, improvement). Over the prior year, my (personal) objective has been to reduce any excessive and/or non-essential techniques/instruction that we provide to our students.
  That pursuit can (easily, LOL) cause one to eliminate subjects that are not always directly (at least not in the typically “obvious” manor) relevant (to life protection training), yet none the less provide information/instruction which is (In Our Opinion) beneficial to the student.
  It is because of that factor, that it is not always as “cut and dried” as it might at first seem to be (when eliminating any superfluous instruction and/or practices).
  Those things that were (originally) based upon false premisses, where simple enough to recognize (head height/spinning kicks, etc.). It was the “accepted” practices that were more difficult to discard (competitive sparring, retraction of kicks, “tight” fists), these were practices that were popularly held assumptions (if not beliefs) amongst the “martial art” community as a whole.
  This included the beliefs of prospective students as well. In the quest to be “informed” consumer's, the imminent student will (tend to) peruse the internet in search of information. Unfortunately, the vast majority of that information is tainted (with the monetary desire to attract students).
  Thus many of those prospective students (customer's) will be distracted towards whatever the latest Fad happens to be. Though seemingly related, the majority of those gimmicks have little, to nothing to do with any defensive Life-Protection training.
  The vast majority of what is commercially available to the prospective Life-Protection student, consists of body-conditioning/awareness classes.
  There's nothing (necessarily) wrong with that (premiss). It's just that rarely will anything that is taught/shown (in those types of classes) tend to be useful during a physical confrontation (if/when the option to “run” isn't available).
  Avoidance, (when applicable) is usually the easiest/best option. But, student's are usually seeking instruction in what to do when they haven't been able to avoid those bad situations (and the option to leave, just doesn't exist).
  With that premiss in mind, we feel that it is important to avoid the inclusion of anything that doesn't add to the betterment/improvement of our students defensive training.
  Using this guideline, we emphasize a large amount of training in Tuite, followed with defensive response training for various types of attempted strikes (commonly) being made against/upon the student.
  A large portion of our students initial instruction is gravitated towards body motion. That can pertain to (both) their own body as well as that of an aggressor.
  This is accomplished through the practice of exercises and that of performing the instructed kata. Though often frowned upon by (some) other systems, we utilize kata to practice and illustrate numerous (body) motions. Both of/for the student, and that of an aggressor.
  These motions are then reviewed in (our version of) 1-2 step kumite. Though practiced slow initially (when first learning the motions), these combinations are speed-up as the student progresses.
  When student's become comfortable with the shown motions, we will include the wearing of protective gear (commonly, being worn by only one of the participants, and not necessarily always being the uke). Once the protective gear is included, the motions can usually be (safely) practiced at full-speed.
  This differs (greatly) from the common practice of “sparring”, in that it is utilized explicitly as an exercise (by/for our students). This is defined (by us, at our school) as a full-speed practice of shown technique. There are no “points” included in this manor of practice, it is not a competition. It is an exercise, used to illustrate “functionality” or “failure” (on the part of the participants).
 I'm inclined to believe that is what should be most essential to any form/manner of training.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Tuite" (GrabHand)


 This is the phrase that is used to describe the limb manipulation portion of the art that was taught by Seiyu Oyata (aka."Taika"). Numerous other systems have begun using the term as well, but few (if any) perform it in the same (or even correct) manor that was taught by Taika.
 I've seen it (repeatedly) being taught/described as being a "separate" art. It is (only?) another integral part of Taika's Life-Protection art.
  BTW, I've seen numerous (incorrect) translations for the word "Tuite". Tuite is a bastardized word (a combination of Japanese and Okinawan). "Tui" is the Okinawan translation of the first kanji (utilized to write "Tuite"). It's pronounced Tori (in Japanese). In Okinawan, it would be pronounced "Twee" (or close enough, LOL). "Te" is the Japanese version of the second word/part of the phrase. It would be pronounce "De" (in Okinawan). I've written elsewhere as to why he made this change. It "now" (appears) that everyone is claiming to have always (oh, really?) used these words (to describe their versions of limb manipulation). Uh, no. Only those person's who actually trained with Taika can legitimately use that term. Regardless, it now appears to be a part of the general martial arts lexicon (much like the term "kung-fu").
 The majority of what's being shown/taught and "called" Tuite, is individual versions of Jiu-Jutsu or even Aikido types of wrist/arm manipulations. Despite what these individual's claim, their techniques are not the same, nor did Taika (ever) teach his techniques to be performed in those manners. 
  Anyone who (attempts to) puts forth the notion that a practitioner needs to know (anything) about "TCM" (traditional Chinese medicine) to perform Tuite, is a fraud, and knows nothing about Tuite (as was taught by Taika). Whatever it is that they're teaching, it has nothing to do with, nor was it ever taught by Oyata. 
  Many of the people that promote this garbage have become "popular" (at least with themselves, and amongst the ignorant), and have sometimes even acquired a large following, but that doesn't make them correct.
 To the (average?) casual observer (or recipient), who has had only limited, if any actual experience with Taika's Tuite, his version would always seem to create a far greater effect than would be expected. The most fraudulent of the imitator's will attempt to use "TCM" to (explain?) the increased effectiveness of Taika's techniques. But this is a misleading diversion (to whatever nonsense it is that they are promoting). 
  The fact is, that "they" don't (really) understand how Taika performed his versions of the techniques. Hence, they have attempted to add a collection of (their own) misleading nonsense to further confuse their followers (and be able to maintain their own supposed superior abilities). 
  One of their (blatant) attempts at confusing their students, is their "9 Principles of Tuite" (which are just a renamed version of their "striking" principles). This vague "list" has next to nothing to offer the practitioner in regards to the application of "Tuite" techniques. 
 Equally pathetic, is the recent inclination to award "rankings" in Tuite, WTF? this is merely a sub-portion of the style being taught. Anyone proclaiming to possess a "Ranking" in Tuite either is, or has been a victim of fraud. There is no Tuite "system" (it is only a portion of an entire instructed system). I've even seen people claiming to teach/award rank in Oyata's Tuite methods (Bullshit).
  If your wanting to verify that someone is performing one of "Taika's" Tuite techniques correctly, have them perform it slowly. I've utilized this method with numerous practitioner's of the "kyusho international/Dillman/Moneymaker" ilk, None have been able to make their versions of the techniques even work (without speeding-up, or muscling their version of the technique to obtain "some" manor of response). 
  Those student's have become mislead  by these types of individual's (in regards to how Tuite should be both learned and practiced). When I watch these wanna-be "mimics" of Taika (in the numerous videos that they put out), their technique application mistakes are legion
 Most notably, they (attempt to) copy Taika's manner of "throwing away" the uke (after the initial application of his techniques). This was originally done (by Taika) as an example of the motion being only a "demo" (as opposed to how a real technique application is utilized), 
 Most (if not all) of these people had only attended a few "seminars" (and never actually trained with Taika). Seminars only provided examples of what he was teaching (with the intent, being to recruit actual students). These people had only attended a few of those seminars (and had never actually trained with Taika). 
  Correct practice of Tuite technique is performed slowly, the results are (or should be) identical (to the actual technique application), but without any long term injury being suffered, Any physical differences (Size, Strength) between the tori and uke are irrelevant to the response of the uke from the techniques application (at least when performed correctly).
  Most have attempted to supplement their techniques utilizing some manner of "finger" twists and cranks (to make them appear to work similar to Taika's versions). Though these changes may make the applications appear to be more painful (and may even superficially appear to be equivalent to Taika's versions) , they do not create the correct responses (from the uke) from that manner of application. 
 Whenever I encounter someone who questions the practicality of Tuite applications, that doubt has always stemmed from that person's exposure to one of these other versions of (what they're calling) Tuite. 
 To be fair, not all of Taika's actual students have always (completely) understood the correct manor of how to apply Taika's Tuite applications. Being "close" has (too often) been sufficient for many of those students as well. 
  Even when only watching the techniques being applied, the difference is obvious (if you know what to look for).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Do Ya's Wanna Fight About It?

  I was recently speaking with someone about how we (as students) used to train (in various manor's). In those days (35 +/- years ago) I/we did a lot of “different” (stupid) things that we (at that time) considered to be “practice”.

  I participated in all of the “hand/arm/leg” conditioning farce's that have shared varying amounts of popularity over the years. I've done the (varying) indoor/outdoor/summer/winter training marathons. And I've participated in endless hours of “sparring”.

  It is that time spent with sparring that I regret the most. It has taken me years to undo the myriad of bad habits that were acquired from my participation in that fallacy.

  When students come to us to train now, they often have questions regarding “sparring”. To the uninformed beginner, the assumption is that they will need to “spar” in order to learn how to defend themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  The typical manor of sparring that one see's in 90% of the (supposedly) “self-defense” schools today, are designed for (and utilized as) “confidence building” tools. The arguments that are used to justify the practice are as ridiculous as the practice is itself.

The majority of schools tend to focus on their students sparring for the obvious monetary reasons. It's a “sport” pastime, and it draws students (who pay for their time spent at the school).

  Those schools that focus on the sparring aspect for training, rarely offer much else (in regards to defensive training). They often (honestly) believe that by repeatedly sparring, they are learning how to defend themselves (and are gaining experience in doing so).

The “reasons” they give to their students (for it's emphasis), are misleading (at best), if not criminal (in application). As I have stated numerous times, if the true “intent” of training, were to be able to out muscle an opponent, then every class (time) should be spent doing weight training. Women and children should not be allowed to train (no point, they will always be out “muscled”). And kata practice would be waste of class time.

  The only reason that this sparring myth is perpetuated, is because the majority of M.A. Students are never involved in a physical altercation. For the one's that go out and start those confrontations, they provide the excuse for why whatever was shown to them, didn't work (because they were the actual aggressor).

  Studying a (any) martial art will only raise your odds (of not getting your ass handed to you). That's what it's purpose has always been. It won't make you some “killer-ninja” or an unbeatable warrior. It will only raise the chance of you not getting your ass kicked.

  All you have to do is go on “U-Tube” and search out “street fight videos”. You won't see any (actual) martial artists, nor will you see any of the technique's that are commonly practiced in a dojo either. That's because most people don't know how to fight! (and those that do, don't tend to get into fights).

  The vast majority of “street fighters”, have/rely on (their) “1” technique (to get by with). It will work for them 98% of the time, and that's sufficient knowledge for them. This has always been the case (throughout time/history).

  Possessing a tremendous amount of combative skill/knowledge has never been a priority for any “street thug” and/or “martial artist”. It's always been about the one's who (were smart enough to) keep their own ability's and “tricks” secret (from any potential rivals/threats), that might persevere (against them) during a serious confrontation.

  Smart practitioner's learn to avoid the typical “Alpha” confrontation, and only concern themselves with the “Predator/Prey” situations. It's the 2nd that's likely to send someone to prison and/or the hospital (either of which is more serious than “jail”).


Sunday, July 14, 2013


 I've found it interesting that many martial artists have become obsessed with the idea of acquiring a "title" with or without a given rank. The really (sad?) pathetic part (IMO) is that "titles" are not bestowed simply because of the acquisition of a rank level.
 My associate and myself have both (on numerous occasions) been asked what our "titles" were (?). I guess that our names were insufficient (for whatever reason). Those people didn't seem to be able to accept that we didn't have/use some Okinawan/Japanese "title" (instead of or in conjunction with our names). 
 It's always kind of bothered me that martial artists (American's mostly) seem to be obsessed with the acquisition of "titles" (most of which they know nothing about). 
 Titles of recognition (Tashi, Kyoshi, Renshi, Hanshi) are often used (mistakenly) in substitution for a received rank. Titles are not automatically acquired from the reception of/for a (any) particular "rank" that may be received.  
 Titles are awarded separately from any "rank level". Of all the (numerous) individuals that I've seen that have made claims of having some manner of "title", but only rarely is that ever the (actual) case. 90% of the time, those "titles" are self-awarded. 
  I only know of "1" individual that studied under Taika Oyata (that's still alive, LOL) that received a certificate for the title of "Tashi" (Greg Linquist, and I translated it for him myself after Taika had presented it to him). The rest, have evidently been self-awarded (as none of them are displaying any certificates to validate those titles). 
 There are a number of individual's (ex-RyuTe students) who have also awarded themselves various titles (most all are completely fabricated). 
 Various other member's have also begun to be photographed wearing the banned colored Yudansha rank belts. Taika had (originally) banned the wearing of (any of) them to avoid the "ego" problems that are associated with those rank displays.
 This is the reason that No Yudansha ranked member wears any belt (in this system). The kyu ranks wear them (mostly for their instructor's reference), but that's all. Yudansha are (all) considered to be equal, we are all students of Oyata's teachings. 
 With Taika's passing (and even before), there have been numerous individuals that have attempted to elevate their own (presumed) position/standing, not (necessarily) only within the association, but within the (general) public perception
 Sadly, rank has nothing to do with ability (or even knowledge). Though implying a greater knowledge/ability, there certainly is no guarantee of that being the case (via "rank"). The same is true for "titles" as well. Originally, those titles were intended to identify particular individual's (for ability/knowledge). Like the "ranking", Titles have lost their original intention. Subjects should be evaluated on an individual basis (by their students).
 Any individual who
requires (and/or goes to the trouble to emphasize, if not mandate) that their "title" be utilized, is IMO too insecure to study from (or to have as an instructor). "Titles" serve no purpose beyond feeding the ego of the individual. 
 Too often these titles are utilized in place of any knowledge or received training. All that is usually required to attain one (from any of numerous groups), are the presentation of the required funds (to purchase their certificate saying that you are whatever it says you are). And as with most similar items (in this industry) it's only value, is what "you" believe it to be (because it's unlikely that anyone else will, and most will consider you a doof-us for utilizing it).
 I believe that if you have to require your students to "respect" you (via a "title"), then you never will have that respect. It is only one's actions (as their instructor) that will gain any (true) respect.