Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Well Slap Me Silly !

  According to most surveys (and personal accounts), the most “common” manner of physical assault is performed by (either) a punch (directed at one's face/head, and usually by a male), or slap (most often being performed by a female). The physical components of either action, are similar enough that any counter that may be employed in response to them will be indistinguishable (from a defensive perspective).

  Both motions are (generally) directed towards the side of the head/face of the subject (defender). But the fact that the striking hand is “open” in one method, would imply that it is less effective/damaging.

  Aside from being an overly simplistic evaluation of the (slapping) motion, it also illustrates an ignorance of the action (as being an effective application). Much of this evaluation comes from a “social” evaluation of what is (considered to be) “acceptable” and what is “unacceptable” (from the social perspective).

  This perception is what makes it acceptable for a woman to slap a man, and not vise-versa. To be frank, slaps are considered to be a “socially” acceptable demonstration of disgust and reprimand (if/when performed by a woman).

  In the mono-de-mano situation, the person doing the “slapping” is considered to be treating the other (the recipient) as a woman (yes, I know, a “sexist” sounding observation).

  Aside from any social connotations, the “slap” is an extremely effective method of delivering a strike with minimal risk of (personal) physical injury to one's self (unlike a “punch”, which can easily cause damage to one's own hand/fingers).

  The commonly used “Palm-heel” strike, is simply a forward directed “slap” (though “I” would consider it to be a less effective application of the motion). The motion has all the potential of the common “hay-maker” (punch), just without as great of a risk to one's (striking) knuckles.

  Having watched Oyata perform many of his “knock-out's” using this very motion (and his hand being less than a foot away from the subjects head), I can personally attest to its effectiveness.

  This motion meets all of Oyata's criteria for general application as well. First, it's performed with the hand being open, second, it is a natural motion and third, it can be used in/for a multitude of situations (and targets, ie. The head, the chest, the arm's, the hand, the neck, the face, the groin, the thigh, etc., etc., etc.,).

  Additionally, it provides a level of “defense” (verbally), if/when defending your actions to Law Enforcement (following an altercation). Witnesses (those people who will hang you out to dry) will “see” that you struck the aggressor with an open hand. Though not actually accurate, those “witnesses” will assume a level of mercy (or ineptness) on your part (either of which, will only make your actions appear to have been defensive).

  The most common argument(?) made against it's use, is that it isn't powerful enough (to achieve the response desired). I believe this is because people don't understand what “power” actually equates to being. It isn't the physical motion (alone) that makes it “powerful” (or effective), it's in how that action is performed.

  When we instruct students in this motion, we will tell them to motion the hand/arm in the same manor as a wet towel. Unlike “snapping” a towel, if/when that towel is motioned to strike an object (such as the uke's neck), it doesn't “bounce” (back) off (the neck)”. It wraps around the object (carrying the momentum of it's energy into the object). An (open-handed) neck strike, is performed in the same manor (whether using the palm, or the back of the hand).

  What's more commonly seen (via “U-tube” and such), are person's striking the subjects neck, arm (whatever). These amount to power based strikes. They are not equivalent to what Oyata commonly performed.

  I believe a lot of the confusion came about because he performed these strikes open-handed (and assuming that they were lightly delivered strikes). Most of those I've seen being done by others, have been done using the forearm, and have depended upon the extra force (momentum) provided through this manner of striking.

  When watching these (other) people doing their manner of “neck strikes”, their hand is (most often) closed (even though not always hitting with the hand). This changes the dynamics of the arm's striking potential. Doing the strike in this manner, creates a blunt-force trama to the superficial muscle tissue (at the impact location).

  Though doing so will cause/create a response (often similar to the reactions obtained by Oyata), they are not the same response and will require a higher level of (physical) force to obtain those results.

  This manor of technique application is not what (or how) Oyata instructed (or demonstrated) these techniques to be performed. This is easily shown via the very individuals performing these (well, their) versions of these types of strikes.

  Oyata's were (almost, LOL) always done in a relaxed (casual?) manner. They were (more so) dependent upon angle, momentum and the follow-through (motion). “Power” was a relative consideration, not the dominant one. Though often feeling as if they were done with excessive force, this was often only a perception experienced by the recipient (the actual “force” used, was minimal). 
 One need only observe the recipient of these strikes, when done as Oyata performed them, the knee's buckled (first). With almost every one that I've observed being done by others, the uke will lean away initially (as if attempting to absorb the strike). This doesn't occur when someone is (truly) "knocked-out". The body's (brain's) first reaction, is to return the perceived blood loss to the brain (by causing the body to recline). 

  I've read several articles that made the claim that to strike a muscular (pressure point) location, the muscle had to be relaxed.  Aside from being absurd, how would this even be possible? (for say,.. a “leg” point?) The leg (when standing erect) is almost always flexed. A location either is, or isn't a viable location, and either does or doesn't qualify as being a “kyusho” or (more often) an atemi location. And how would this be applicable in regards to a "neck" strike?

  A muscle that is flexed, is (always) more susceptible to injury/manipulation than a relaxed one.
 Many of these "other" persons (doing their seminars on "neck strikes") attempt to push the "multiple location" requirement (meaning they have to hit more than one location to achieve their result). Oyata only struck his subjects with a single impact. There was no "cumulative" factor/requirement,... at all.

  When practicing Oyata's methodology, it should be remembered that any excessive force being experienced (used) by the tori, is more likely an incorrectly performed technique. That doesn't mean it might very well work (or at least achieve a reaction), only that the practitioner needs more practice if they wish to claim that they are doing the “same thing” that Oyata did.

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