Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Body Motion

   Body motion is often mistakenly referred to being a part of “footwork”. Footwork is only a segment of one's Body motion, it includes the motion of all of the limbs, torso and head. The entire motion is what constitutes “Body motion”. Too often students will be inclined to isolate the individual movements of these body parts (during the execution of an application/technique).

  This is often illustrated in their performance of kata (hence illustrating one of the reasons for its practice). This tendency is also a contributing factor for technique failure. Students can become “overly” focused on a singular aspect of a techniques application.

  If one keeps their arms straight down (to their sides) when walking, This will feel (and look) awkward. The same situation exists when performing only a singular aspect of a techniques application. When the entire body is not being utilized, the chances of a techniques failure is increased. We have our students perform various exercises to accustom them to performing their techniques in the proper manner.

  In addition to kata there are numerous exercises that are taught to students to assist them in learning (as well as recognizing) this ability. Though often considered “boring” (or even simplistic), they do prove to be beneficial in this regard.

  The majority of the instructed “striking” methods are performed upon nerves, tendons and muscles. It would be inaccurate to describe these strikes as being “bone breaking”. When an injury is being described, dislocation, sprain and serious abrasion is often proven to be more accurate. More importantly (in our opinion) these manor of injuries will create hesitation and a reluctance (if not inability) to continue any further aggressive actions from that aggressor.

  Contrary to popular belief, the “goal” of training in Oyata's methodology, is not to perform “knock-out” strikes (as being the primary defensive tactic). Oyata's techniques are (primarily) designed to protect the user from receiving injury from an aggressor's attempted strikes. Although those manner of strikes are instructed, they are delegated to a lower priority (depending of course on the defensive situation).

  That manner of strike is only being popularized by a minor segment of the defensive arts community. The legalities of these techniques use can often be questionable if/when used inappropriately. The majority of defensive situations do not require this manner of technique.

  The use of “Atemi” strikes (often mistaken for “Kyusho”) can be utilized with far less risk (both legal, and physical). Depending on the recipient’s susceptibility to the particular strike being utilized.  The resultant effect can be dependent upon various physical/mental factors also (including the influence of any drugs in the recipient’s system).

  If/when those factors are present, it becomes more relevant that the strikes be performed more accurately (to achieve an effective result). Students often mistakenly assume that if a strike doesn't achieve pain or injury, that they are not effective. This is not correct (with a “parry” being the best example). The “purpose” of a technique is to prevent injury occurring to the defender, and to avert the aggressor's intended action. When different (multiple) defensive actions are utilized in successive combination with one another, they are considered a defensive combination.

  In Oyata's methodology, to be considered an effective application, the motions should (first) avert the aggressor's intended actions, and place the defender in a more effective (superior) position. Ideally, the aggressor will be placed in a position of control and/or submission.

  With that being a primary objective, a students initial instruction consists of defensive motions that will defeat an aggressor's actions (punch, kick, grab), and provide a simple “counter” motion (attack) to inflict debilitating injury (to dissuade further attempts being attempted). Whether these motions will achieve their secondary objective (or not), by being in a superior position, they can more easily deter any continued attempts that are made.

  To defeat an aggressive action, a student must first understand what is required to accomplish the aggressor's action. The mechanics of how to achieve any of those actions are reviewed and studied by students during our “1 on 1” (kumite) practice (during a class).

  We (commonly) begin our students with training to defend against a “Head/Face Punch”. This is the most commonly performed “first” aggressive action in the majority of aggressive assaults. To accomplish this manner of strike, there are only 4 (practical) ways of doing so. #1 is the “Shoulder-Cocked” Strike. This is where the aggressor raises their striking hand/fist to their shoulder (“Cocking” it, like a spring). #2 is the “Hay Maker” Punch. This is the wide sweeping “Round” punch, that is performed in a bent arm “swing” or arc (often related to throwing a base ball). #3 is the “Upper-Cut”.
 This strike comes upward, from underneath the chin in the center of the body (commonly attempting to strike the bottom of the chin). And #4 is a punch coming from the side/waist of the aggressor. This strike can (additionally) have a bit of an arc to it as well (and commonly is aimed at striking the “cheek” or jaw of the defender).

  Any of these strikes could be thrown, with the aggressor utilizing either arm (though commonly being done initially with their dominant hand). This makes a total of 8 possible methods being utilized as an opening strike to practice defending against. An aggressor is most prone to using their dominant hand, for any strike that they intend to be “powerful” and/or accurate. If that arm can be injured, it greatly weakens an aggressor's incentive to continue.

  There are numerous indicators that can convey this knowledge (mostly through observation of the aggressor before the confrontation begins (physically). If the aggressor assumes a “stance” (with one foot being more forward than the other), it is more probable that the “rear” hand is their dominant hand. Though not a guarantee, it will be accurate (at least) 75% of the time.

  Through the practice of defending against (all of) these strikes (slowly) during class, students become accustom to seeing what each looks like (to develop early recognition of their use in an actual situation.

  Developing the ability to defeat “all” of these variations, requires learning to recognized them while in class (through the observation of our training partners during class). We have our students (initially) work on several (beginning applications) that will defeat any of those 8 striking methods.

  It should be remembered, that one's initial goal (defensive) is to divert/prevent the aggressor's strike from completing it's travel to it's intended target. Preferably this is done while placing the defender in a more advantageous position. When this can be accomplished through the use of “1” defensive motion (regardless of the striking method utilized), the defender's reaction time is shortened (thus increasing the likelihood of it's success).

  Any attempt to do so with “different” individual defensive motions (that are based upon the “type” of striking method utilized), decreases the likelihood of success. Doing so requires a higher level of ability on the part of the defender. Not that it can't be done, only that it places an unnecessary (additional) burden (skill level) upon the defender.

  It is our intent to provide our students with effective individual responses that can be utilized against multiple manners of aggression (striking methods). By having our students focus upon “their own” response (motion), we are eliminating a step of their initial defensive response (thus increasing their speed).

  Through repeated practice of the instructed methods, students will become less intimidated by an aggressor's opening striking method (which is commonly a “new” students greatest concern).

  In conjunction with the instructed hand motions, “foot/leg” motion is taught as well. When a strike attempt is made, it is only required that the defender motion their own body a slight amount (usually 6” or less) to avert an aggressor's impact from landing as intended.

  When being shown “how” to motion, students are taught to rotate their “knees” (as opposed to only moving their shoulders). By rotating their knees, they will rotate their hips as well, the student will maintain directional (body) alignment to their target (as demonstrated in our “Tuite” application instruction). It has become very “popular” to over rotate the hips (when performing a strike or counter-motion) and producing a “shimmy” type of motion (with their hips). This should be avoided.

  The amount of torso rotation is (commonly) to (about) a 45ยบ angle (to the aggressor). This places the defender outside of the opponents effective direction of application. The most effective direction of technique application, is directly in front of the defender/aggressor. Any variation to the outer side of (either of) the shoulders, decreases any effectiveness level for an application, regardless of whether it is a strike, or a manipulation (“Tuite”).

  The rotational placement of the feet play an important part of that directional placement (through the effect placed upon the hips of the defender when doing so) of the body. Any outward rotation will redirect the hips (thus the torso/shoulders) as well. Footwork is commonly the most overlooked aspect of one's defensive capability. For this reason, we devote a great deal of time, and attention to it's correct implementation.

  Stances are meant to be motioned in to, and out of, in a constantly changing manner as needed and/or required. The practice of kata, demonstrates body motion during a technique's application (both for defensive and offensive applications).

  It is not only the defender's hand motions that constitute their defensive actions and applications. The entire body is utilized with virtually every action utilized, whether that motion is considered to be Defensive, or Offensive. 


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