Thursday, August 29, 2013

Minimal Motion

  We recently had our student's practicing the performance of various “neck” strikes. This was done with protective padding (on the uke) for their safety obviously, but it provided them with an understanding of what those strikes would “feel” like (on the receiving end).
  Considering that this is “one” of the unique aspects of practicing Oyata's Life-Protection method, we feel that our student's should be familiar with what this application feel's like (as well as how to perform it, LOL).
  For our purposes (that night), we only utilized 3 different types of strikes, Fore-knuckle (Punching), and an “Open-hand” strike to the side and back of the neck). The choice of application method was dictated by the uke's (body) reaction to the initial defensive motion utilized by the tori (in this case, a “parry” of the uke's “face” punch attempt).
  Having practiced these types of strikes before, their execution wasn't the (only) goal of the practice method. What we commonly observe, is that the tori will (often times) exaggerate their own body's defensive motions. Though aiding them in their effort to avoid being struck, they (very often) would move themselves too far away to be able to apply a debilitating (counter) strike upon the uke (aggressor).
  Whether an aggressor's strike misses by a ¼ inch, or by 3 feet, it's still a “miss”. The more that the tori motions, the greater the chance that the uke will attempt to correct their strike. Very often, that greater motion will place the tori too far away (from the uke) for a counter-strike to even be (correctly) applied. For that reason, we prefer that the student motion (their body) only as much as required (to avoid the aggressor's strike).
  For the beginning student, this is an “awareness” that is only acquired through repeated practice (ie. Experience). It isn't simply a matter of learning how to perform a particular strike, but an understanding of all the additional factors that make that strike possible (both the uke's, and their own).
  Student's can (often) get the mistaken idea that “sparring” can/will supply that knowledge and/or ability. IF that were true, it would make “teaching” much simpler, unfortunately it isn't. Sparring attempts to recreate a confrontation after all of the initial opportunities (for ending it) have already passed. The majority of Oyata's methodology is (designed) to be utilized before any of that manner of confrontation can even occur.
  It's for that reason that the majority of our student's training is focused upon the initial motions of a confrontation. When those motions are successful, the student will be presented with numerous options (as to whether continue with any striking methods, or to begin submission techniques, or even to “leave”).  All of which are determined from any initial actions success and/or failure.
  As with the tori's body motions, the performance of the instructed “neck” strikes are done with minimal excessive motion. There is no need for those strikes to be “wound-up” (prior to their use), nor is excessive “power” required for their effectiveness. These strikes are only dependent upon proper placement, and direction (of application).
  Through limiting one's (excessive) defensive motion, they will be in a more effective range for the application of these types of strikes. If/when one's arm's are completely extended when applying these types of strikes, they are rarely being applied properly (and demonstrate the impropriety of that distance for the attempted strike). 


Saturday, August 17, 2013


 My associate and I went to our recent (local) Shihan Dai this last Saturday. This one was a smaller than average one (when compared to some that we have attended). The advantage to those smaller gatherings, is that it is possible to discuss those subjects that are often “less than popular” and more often relevant to the instruction of student's.
  In this case it was teaching methods, and comparing the manner which some techniques are shown to students. For my associate and myself, we are often needing to illustrate (our own) different manners of Tuite application to our students.
  Very often (in our class), it is necessary to illustrate the performance of a (Tuite) technique being performed in several (slightly) different manners. Each, is valid (in it's own circumstances) though different enough that some might consider them to be different techniques (when in fact, they are only variances of the same motion/technique).
  In our experience, “size” (height specifically) has proven to play a significant difference in how either of us will apply certain techniques. It has nothing to do with strength, only height (limb-length specifically).
  Because of variances between the height of the tori, and that of the uke, there will be a difference in how certain techniques will (need to) be applied. The same (instructed) 6 principles will have to be applied, it's just that student's don't always account for the situational variances (ie. “height” differences).
  Students (and “people” in general) will tend to gravitate towards training partners that are built similar to themselves. For anyone who has participated in (virtually any) “sporting” activity, this is the norm (if not expected choice to make).
  This is also the problem with many people's training methods as well. One should practice their techniques upon someone who would be a (legitimate) threat to them (in a confrontation). But instead, we choose to train with partners who are of equal stature and/or (physical) strength. Those person's are not the (concerned for) “Threat”. It's those great big guys, with the rippling muscles that everyone keeps insisting that “Tuite, won't work on” (that you should be concerned about, and training with them).
  The mental belief that something won't/can't work, is easily dispelled when you practice with, and understand those body type's weaknesses (and that they are equivalent to anyone else).
  Be careful not to assume that someone is (any manner of) an “anomaly” (an over-used excuse for a technique's failure). More often than not, it's simply a matter of poor technique application.
  This is also why it's important to have a wide practice “pool” (of “uke's”, LOL). The greater variance of training partner's that one has, the better. It is easy to become “accustomed” to one's (regular) training partner's (you will learn exactly what it takes to know what each person's particular weakness/susceptibility is, whether consciously or subconsciously).
  It is only through varied practice (with numerous training partner's) that one will develop (what we refer to as) “the feel” of correctly applying a technique. Once this ability has been realized, it becomes faster (and easier) to realize when/how a technique needs to be modified to work (or abandoned in favor of another technique).
  Through the varied practice (upon multiple uke/training partners), the student will begin to see how the principles (actually) apply. Every principle is explained and demonstrated to be utilized in numerous “common” circumstances, each slightly different, but with the ability to be adjusted to work in each. It is learning to recognize those circumstances that the majority of our student's class time is spent practicing.
  Once those circumstances are readily recognized (within an actual Life-Protection situation), performing a defensive counter becomes much simpler, and faster. This can (and will) occur regardless of any (supposed) "anomalies".


Friday, August 16, 2013

Is Your Trainiing Applicable To The Situation?

  When talking to, or reading about what people “do” during their training, it (often) makes me wonder how many people have actually been in a confrontation? A vast majority of what's being done, doesn't seem to have any basis in “actual” confrontations (or at least any serious one's).
  The premiss of the practice of “Te”, is defensive training for “1-on-1” confrontations. I'm aware of (numerous) system's attempts to “train” individual's to deal with multiple aggressor confrontations. These are little more than fantasy excursions for people who have no (actual) experience in real confrontations.
  Regardless of one's "style" of training, the ability to successfully “defeat” multiple aggressor's is more often only the daydreams of those individual's who have no (solid) connection to reality.
  Fortunately, for the majority of situations, the involved perpetrator’s (ie. “criminals”) are rarely, if ever “trained” in any consequential “martial art”. That doesn't mean that they have no ability's, only that they're not as specialized in their training as that of the average martial artist.
  The tactic of “swarming” an individual, is one that is utilized by Law Enforcement and criminals alike. Why? Because it works. Regardless of any individual's claimed abilities, they can be overpowered (by larger numbers).
  For the criminal, that works out well. The average individual doesn't travel in “packs” (and if they do, they aren't likely to be attacked anyway, LOL).
  Despite all of the “B.S.” claims made by (numerous) martial arts, they were designed to be used by an individual, against a “single” aggressor. Nothing more, Nothing less.
  That doesn't mean that those skills couldn't be utilized against multiple individual's (nobody's saying that “criminals” are necessarily all that talented either, LOL). Only that it is not what those systems were designed to be for, or what they are intended to accomplish.
  Until that “objective” is understood (and accepted) by the student (and regardless of the system they've chosen to pursue/study) they will never advance in their training.
  Though the majority of schools will often instruct technique application against a (supposed) thief/robber, the majority of confrontations are going to (actually) be “Alpha” situations (which amount to being supposed “respect” infringements).
  If/when the “goal” is to be able to protect one's self in the most common of confrontational situations, that training should include those situations that you don't (necessarily) wish to cause permanent (or any at all) physical injury. Preferably your response will be to primarily protect you, while causing no (serious) injury to the individual. And Why you may ask? Because there is a high probability that the aggressor will be someone that will (commonly) be a known (if not related) individual. This makes all of the “beat em' till they bleed-out” scenario’s (one would think, LOL) impractical as being a primary practice model.
  The ability to gain control over an aggressive individual without causing injury, can often be an assumed ability (having rarely been taught, much less practiced).
  This can often be the ignored training, that will most often prove more applicable (and more so than any “unknown” robber/attacker” scenario ever will be). 
 The simplest response (IMO), can (very) often prove to be a Tuite technique application. And the most common response (when I state this) is that who ever "will just hit the person attempting the Tuite technique". This statement is often made from someone who "thinks" they know what/how a Tuite technique is used (or for that matter, what it even "is"). Most often, they are wrong.
 A great deal of our training is with/for L.E. application. What is being commonly taught (in many schools) is completly impractical (if not illegal) for that purpose. Very often, it is Tuite that can fill that niche of our civilian students training agenda as well as that of our L.E. students. 
 Tuite is a subset of Oyata's (overall) system of Life-Protection. What was taught 30 years ago (by Taika) was different than what he was teaching towards the end of his life. He was constantly improving his applications, and defensive logic. That doesn't invalidate those earlier teachings, it only means that he moved-on, further improving the techniques that he taught, and abandoning those he felt were ineffective and/or impractical


Monday, August 12, 2013

Self-Defense (as it used to be)

  I was recently doing a (general) “internet” search for Self-Defense (just to see what came up). One of the items that did, was for “Bruce Tegner's Self-Defense” book. For those that aren't aware of this guy, during the (mid/late)“60's”, his were the only books (readily) available to most people (including myself, when I was a youth during that time period). During his life (1929–1985) he published 80 books on various MA subjects (Hmmmm, yes, a “Jack” of all systems).
  Although “The Green Hornet” was on (9/1966-3/1967), Nobody knew (or cared) who “Bruce Lee” was, Tegner's stuff was the only written information available regarding the MA.
  Even at my own (young) age, I recognized that what was shown in his books were “simplistic” (if not amateurish). He instructed a number of famous people, and was generally considered to be “famous” himself as well.
  Having owned a couple of his books as a youth, I downloaded one just to reminisce. Being “older”, I actually read the first chapter or two (which I hadn't bothered to do when I was younger, LOL). What I found, was a pretty good summation of what “self-defense” should consist of (and an excerpt has been included on this blog's "pages").
 He named his system JuKaDo (meaning Ju(do), Ka(rate), and  (Aiki)Do. He (obviously, LOL) wasn't fluent with the language, he just "combined" the pieces of the names in order to make a "new" one (sigh). To the "Western" perspective (of the time), doing so, made sense (though making it nearly impossible to write using kanji, LOL)
  Unlike today's marketed attitude, his was one of (honest) “self-defense”. What he presented, was a collection of simple techniques that (most) anyone could follow along with and be able to perform.  Though not being a “technical” manual (by any means), it provided a glimpse into the world of martial arts that most (at least at that time) had no real understanding of.
  Initially having received his instruction from his mother and father (beginning at age 2?) in Judo and Jiu-jutsu, he was later introduced to numerous other forms of the martial arts (a long list) and published books regarding them as well (Though I was unable to discover who his instructor's for those arts actually were?).
  Reading his general beliefs (regarding martial arts), various authors made the correlation to what Bruce Lee had taught as well. They both had very similar ideas about what and how a martial art should be taught. Tegner reminded myself more of “Houdini” as far as how he vehemently disagreed with the (popular) promotion of “mysticism” that was (and still is) attached to the instruction of the martial arts.
  Unbeknownst to me, Tegner was very active in Law Enforcement training, as well as with instructing the Military Police (as I understand, while serving in the Air Force, I would be curious to locate some of his texts in that regard, I just feel it would be interesting).
  Though repeatedly scorned and mocked, what this instructor had to say, was (very often) right on the mark (regarding “Self-Defense”). The techniques that he demonstrated and taught (in his books) were often very simplistic, but that was also his goal (so that any student would be able to perform them).
 There's a "thread" on in regards to him. It matches most all the other entree's that I found regarding the man, and is interesting reading.
 Whether one agrees with the techniques that he taught (in his books) or not, it's difficult to disagree with his methodology. He taught to the masses, not the elite few.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kyusho Frauds

 It has only been in recent years (20+), that the martial arts industry has begun to emphasize the instruction of Vital Points, though more commonly (now) referred to as "Kyusho Points". 
 There are numerous (IMO) misleading statements that have been attached to those locations as well. Though (clearly) translated as "Vital", I've read numerous articles making extravagant claims of it's translation. These have varied between "notated" (?) and "death location"(LOL). From what I've observed, the Kyusho term has only provided another opportunity for the scam artists (of the world) to profit upon the gullibility and illiteracy of the desperate/ignorant consumer
  Though being a real subject, kyusho locations are not (always) exactly what is expected by the new student. Most (though not all) can be extremely painful when utilized. Others may only elicit minimal pain or they can inflict direct injury, but they can also cause/create specific reactions (imagine suffering a coughing fit in the middle of an altercation, not necessarily painful, but dangerous none the less). 
 Maintaining the ability to motion/use a limb (as/when desired) is a given in most circumstances. If/when that ability is eliminated (even if only temporarily), and can be done with minimal skill level as well, then this can become a vital skill to posses. Though they often are, being painful (when utilized) is not a prerequisite of being categorized as a "kyusho" point/location.
 What is the greatest (IMO) fraud that's being sold to the consumer market, is the TCM/Meridian nonsense. This trash is what defines the term "Snake-oil" marketing. These thieves are attempting to sell their nonsense to the (often) desperate consumer, and could care less about how they are corrupting the industry. Their only motivation is profit. 
 Often mixing valid technique/information with their tripe and nonsense, these charlatans only goal is to prolong their victim's desire to pay for the ridiculous nonsense that they are selling.    
 There is absolutely NO reason for any student to WASTE their time and/or money on any of the TCM nonsense. It doesn't work, it isn't true/correct, and it certainly isn't necessary to utilize (or even identify) these locations. Being armed with (only) a rudimentary knowledge of (basic) anatomy and a familiarity with R.O.M. will equip a student far more than any amount of TCM Crap can or ever will.
 What is provided to our students, are a fundamental set of rules for application of the taught locations. These "rules" (also) provide guidelines for the determination of prospective locations as well.
 At NO time did Taika ever endorse, promote or encourage the use of, or even the belief in ANY of the TCM nonsense (quite the opposite actually). Anyone who claims to be teaching Taika Oyata's methods and/or techniques, and is including any form/manner of "TCM" Crap, is a fraud/phoney/fake/liar (take your pick, any will suffice). Those persons should  be avoided (as far as receiving any instruction from them).
 Any that are including this crap within their instruction, have never "trained" with Oyata (because if they actually had, then they obviously didn't "learn" anything, and are now hoping to scam  student's out of their money).


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Size Matter's...

  Though it depends on the context, and the perspective one has concerning it, physical size can effect how one will need to deal with a possible aggressor. If we're debating the advantages/disadvantages of confronting those (muscular) attributes during a physical confrontation, then it's a relevant concern (depending on which end of that spectrum you fall into).
  Though believed (by the ignorant) that possessing greater strength (at least in comparison to your opponent) will assure a victorious outcome (when becoming involved in a physical confrontation), it is not a “guarantee” by any means.
  It should be accepted that there are exceptions to every rule, the following generalization is no different. “Above” normal (strength level) individual's are rarely involved with martial art's. That doesn't mean that they are/would be or aren't/can't be any good at martial arts, it just means they rarely become involved with them (they are rarely interested in them).
  Our original dojo, was located close to a high school (with a fairly prominent athletic curriculum). On (only) “2” occasions did we have any of those (very large, and very muscular) student athlete's come to our school to consider attending classes (a small group of about 8, very large, “kid's”). These guy's were (presumably) around 17-19 year's old.
  I was instructed to demonstrate (upon “them”, individually) some (very) “light” and slow, tuite (so they could understand what we were attempting to teach to our students. Every one of them (which is common, and was expected as well) attempted to out-muscle me (in order to resist the technique's application). 
 During that demonstration (upon them) they seemed to be in disbelief (of the effects that were created). 
  It was hard to say what their purpose in coming to the school (actually) was, but none came back to attend classes (which was too bad, we were looking forward to having some large, muscular individual's available for practice.
  All that having been said, I/We have had some (2, “male”) student's who were of (actually far) above normal strength/pain tolerance levels. The technique's that we taught would work on them, though not identically to the manner that everyone else would experience them.
  Where as “most” student's would experience a “high” level of pain/discomfort (when these technique's were being applied), these two didn't (experience the level of pain/discomfort that everyone else did). They still “dropped” when the technique's were applied, but there was no pain involved with eliciting that response (the reaction was only experienced on a nerve/reflex level for them).
  They would then immediately get back up, and begin questioning “how” that response/reaction was accomplished. Their “draw-back” (for learning), was that they had no “reference-base” to draw on themselves (for when they were attempting to apply the technique's upon others).
  They were (eventually) able to learn how to apply those technique's, but it required a (much) greater period of time before they were able to do so.
  For our school (and our own training) those students natural attributes helped us to (both) affirm, and dispute many of the application methods that are commonly being utilized (by other systems, as well as by some members within our own association).
  In part, having access to those student's helped us to develop our “6 Basic Principles of Tuite”. Without having those individual's to utilize, we would (likely) have never known of the possible (or probable) inaccuracy's of our technique's application methods.
  As of yet (and we're always re-confirming, LOL), we have not encountered any individual's that these technique's will not function upon (and as required/expected to). Does that mean that they are always the correct response for every situation?...of course not.
  But simply because someone possesses a high level of physical strength, is not a reason for properly utilized technique's to not “work” upon that individual.
  Larger muscles are viewed (by us) as larger opportunity.  
 Understanding the physical (consequences) “effects” of having those larger muscles, is what we instruct our students in how to take advantage of them.
  In conjunction with increasing the size of the muscle, one will increase the definition of the tendons as well. This tends to make them easier to locate (for our own strikes and manipulations upon them).
  Preferred striking locations are often located between many of those muscles, as well as directly upon many of those muscles/tendons. When taught the direction and angles of how/where to direct those strikes, the student can have an easier time with performing their strikes upon those preferred locations.
  The obvious question, then becomes are larger individual's easier to defeat in a physical altercation? Not necessarily (at all), it only means that the available opportunities are (often) more readily apparent.
  Learning how, where and when to strike these locations is what a large portion of a student's practice time is spent doing. Conveying that information is what a large portion of understanding what the kata are demonstrating (in the practice of them) that the student is being guided in by the instructors. 


Monday, August 5, 2013


  I read a lot of “posts” on chat groups and blog's alike, and it always surprises me when people (make the claim) that what is taught in Oyata's system now, is the “same” as what was taught 30 years ago.
  This claim, is of course made by individual's who have no (present) affiliation with anything that's been taught (by Oyata) within the past 10 years. They base their entire claim on what they (sometimes) were shown and/or heard about Oyata's teachings from even 15 years ago (and commonly by individual's either not or only loosely affiliated with the present association).
  This is equivalent to saying that a collage level math class is the same as a 3rd grader's math class. Yes, they both contain many of the same elements, that doesn't make them equivalent to one another.
  Using that same analogy, both methods of application are valid. But it does not mean that they are both the same. Many of the same results can (often) be attained, but they are often different ways to achieve them.
  Having listened to (numerous) lectures/statements made by these “X” affiliate's, I recognize the statements (originally by Oyata) being made (though being made, and claimed as being their own, by those individual's now, LOL).
  The common “training period” (or at least what's commonly considered to be the average time period for training, LOL) is around 5-6 years. This is the amount of time it will (usually) take for the average student to achieve a “Shodan/Black-Belt” level. Not that this is (or should be) considered the “end” of one's training (but it most commonly is...). The vast majority of student's quit, once having acquired a “Black-Belt” (or at the very least, reduce the amount of time they spend training).
  I've received numerous (private) E-mails (via my blog “comment's”) from individual's who haven't “trained” (read attended, LOL) from one of Oyata's (active member) instructors in years, yet then attempt to “tell me” that what ever I'm commenting about is wrong, or that they learned it different (15, 20, 25,... 30 years ago!), well, no Shit, LOL.
  What Taika taught (take your pick of how many years ago) would be considered (in many circles) to be different than what he taught towards the end of his life. Or (as we view and understand it) what was taught towards the end of his life, was what and where his teachings and technique's evolved to. That doesn't invalidate what was taught (those many years ago), it only means that he moved on.
  This is similar to the manor that “exercises” are utilized. Once the concept is understood, the exercises purpose has been achieved (time to move on to the next level). It serves no purpose, to (endlessly) repeat an exercise, once that concept is understood. It is only a building block to higher learning.
  What those individual's who follow what was (ie. “used to be”) taught by Oyata are pursuing, is not the same methodology that the student's of the present form of his system are. They share many of the same rudimentary motions, even concepts, but the end results are often very different


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Anomalies Revisited

  It would appear that I rustled some feathers with my condemnation of the individual's that want to cry about how so many people are part of the “anomaly” category (which is their excuse for why they continually fail to make their techniques work).
  I'm afraid that I will continue to adhere to that statement. The vast majority of teachers (of Tuite, including many of those who “now” claim to instruct Oyata's method) have not put the time forward to (actually) study/research that skill-set.
  Many that I have encountered (or more accurately confronted, LOL) are simply teaching the same ol' jiu-jitsu/hapkido techniques that they've always taught (just renamed now, to “tuite” in order to “fit” the public perception).
  Most of these outfits are simply selling the latest “Fad” to make some quick (and easy) money. For a while (thankfully) that market had dried-up here. The major player's in that scam had gone to Europe (where evidently they're quite gullible for the garbage these guy's were peddling).
  Unfortunately, most of the bigger names in that niche are back here in the States (maybe Europe wised-up and threw them out?). I noticed that my E-mail has begun to get reloaded with their Junk mail again (I can become all “Sir-tif-eh-ma-Kated” from them there guys,...They say-eed so!).
  As for the "Anomaly" Epidemic, (at our school) we have only encountered “2” (actual) of these "types" of individual's (and I would question even that number). Those person's (both) had extremely high Pain thresholds, but they still reacted to the (correct) application of the techniques (and in the manner required to complete the application). They just didn't experience the level of discomfort (OK, “Pain”) that everyone else does.
  Regardless of how fast, or hard that you would apply the technique (short of those techniques that would “break/dislocate” things), these individual's would “jump” back-up (after being taken to the ground), and ask “how the hell did you do that”? It was never that these individual's didn't react, it was simply that they didn't feel anything (in regards to the applications).
  Those same individual's were also the slowest at learning "how" to perform the the applications as well (they had no personal “reference” to go by). They would attempt to “muscle” the techniques, which would inevitably fail. It was also the only means of retribution that those who hadn't figured out how to perform the techniques on those 2 (as yet), had for returning the frustration, LOL.
  It's (obviously) become “easier” to just say that someone is part of a (supposed) group that you can call/consider to be an “Anomaly”. Watching how they perform their techniques, I would gladly be an “uke” for their demonstrations. Being a “training” situation, I would simply ask them to perform the technique(s) slowly. The exact same reaction (body motion-wise) "should" be the result (every one that I've witnessed, has been dependent on speed, and power, to get any reaction).
  90% of what's being taught at these other systems “seminars” (that claim to be teaching “Tuite”), amounts to dragging the uke to the ground. These are examples of “something”, but they are in no manner similar to what/how Oyata's techniques are supposed to be performed.
  We've had student's who have (supposedly) performed/practiced these types of technique's for years. Within 5 minutes of practice with us (at slow-speed mind you) They recognize that they haven't been doing anything similar to what we do.

  Some have gone so far as to make the claim that they “trained” with Oyata,...uh, no. They may have attended a seminar (of Oyata's), but that is not equivalent to having trained with him. 
 Before crying "ANOMALY!", make sure your not the one screwing something up on the "application" end of a technique's execution. Regardless of whether or not the uke feels any "pain", they should still react (in the manner desired).