Sunday, March 16, 2014

The "Principle" (of the thing)

  Our Student 6 Principles Tuite book has been completed for a while now, and was published (last fall) and is (presently) only available to any of our recent students . Though not being the “End-All” of everything “Tuite”, we feel that it presents the application methodology that we at our school/dojo utilize clearly, and effectively (and as was developed through our instruction from Seiyu Oyata). We've already began several additional student releases as well.  
 These will cover varied subjects including "Law Enforcement Applications", "Female Self-Defense" and several others that will address equally specific subjects. Considering how much material we abridged from this book, we have yet enough for another book, over just Tuite techniques (containing a wider variance of applications) and another covering “Defensive Striking Applications” as well.
  What's covered in this book (I will provide a "link" if/when available to the general public, LOL) is what was shown to us by Oyata over a 30+ year span in regards to the application of tuite (much of it in the last 15 years). These principles were not shown “together”, but were presented (each) individually at various times. They were often (individually) repeated by Oyata during numerous training sessions, and were then expected to be remembered (by us, his students).
  The only thing that we have done, is to compound them into the 6 most relevant principles for our students to utilize during their  study/research. Our book provides examples for each of the 6 Tuite Principles, as well as examples for some of the (introductory) Tuite techniques that are presently taught at our school. 
 Being that it was "self" published (through the book dealer we utilized), we didn't have to pre-purchase a large number of copies. When we release it to the public they will be available "on-demand" (thru the publishing company). It is 202 full color pages (LOT'S of photos), with limited "white space" (empty page space). It is available hard or soft cover. It fully describes our teaching/application method for Oyata's Tuite and provides pictures/examples for all of  the described applications. Being that it is full-color, this makes it slightly more expensive (but in our opinion, easier to view/read).
 Publishing in this manor is slightly more expensive (for individual purchase), but it doesn't require that "we" spend vast amounts of money meeting any "minimum" purchase/production mandates.  
  Though numerous systems (or at least “individual's) emphasize a “need” for kyusho knowledge (to utilize their tuite techniques), that belief is false (at least with how Oyata taught, LOL). A correctly performed technique has no “prerequisite” for (any) knowledge of “kyusho” (or “TCM” either). All that is required, is the correct performance of the technique.
  The most commonly utilized “principles” being used today (by numerous individual's) are what is being called, the “9 Principles”. These are being pushed by several organizations that teach their own manner of tuite (mainly those of the "d" following). Having “had” that manner of grappling applied (upon myself), IMO, it fails many of “our” set of standards. The majority of those 9 principles, are being based on arbitrary circumstances that are “vague” (at best) if not misleading (or wrong, if you prefer).
  I've written before of the anomaly excuse that is currently being perpetuated as being responsible for a technique's failure (and actually amounts to a performer's failure). In the 30+ years that I've been teaching, we've only encountered that situation twice. And in both instances, it was only an application failure on “our” part. Oyata experienced no problem with the techniques when he performed them on those same individual's.     
 Those occurrences were over 15 years ago, and we have not experienced any others since that time (which was part of what motivated us to compile our 6 principles book). Yet, I hear these individual's “claim” that there is (commonly) at least “1 or 2” of these "anomalies" at every one of their seminars (hmmmm..) ?
  When I observe what is regularly being promoted as being “Tuite” (on the Internet), those techniques are more often various forms of “Jiu-Jutsu/Aikido” (types of) wrist/arm manipulations. That's not to say those techniques don't work, or are invalid, only that they are different (than what Oyata taught to us). To make the claim that they are “the same”, is disingenuous at best (I leave any worse evaluations to the reader).
  The study of Tuite can become a (very) involved process (depending on how proficient one wishes to become with it). I've attended classes (within other systems) that spent a total of 15 minutes on the subject (including the student's practice time with them), and in that time period demonstrated 4 techniques. What the instructor's goal was, I have no idea, but it wasn't to teach those students (any) "Tuite".
  When we have student's work on Tuite, the common minimum, is an hour (and depending on how well they're doing with them, we may show several variations from that technique).
  Once the student has become proficient at recognizing the 6 tuite principles, “our” job (as technique “corrections directors”, LOL), is much simpler.
  The “top 3” most common problems encountered, are the (lack of) recognition for the principle that they are not performing correctly. Next, is the “positional paradox” (something I see done incorrectly by nearly every example of tuite on the internet). And incorrect footwork.
  There are other (obvious) examples of incorrectly applied techniques (demonstrated by their “uke's” reactions), but those reactions are considered to be “correct” (by those who know no better).
  For (your own) reference, “if”, the person performing the technique “requires” that the technique be done (only) quickly, they (probably) don't really understand how the technique should be applied.
  If the technique can't be applied upon a person stronger than yourself, the technique isn't being applied correctly.
  Size/strength/speed should have no relevance to a techniques ability to work.
  If the uke, is able to make (physical) contact with the tori (using their “free” hand) during the performance of the technique, the technique isn't being applied correctly.
  The “excuses” of flexibility, strength or any amount of (prior) experience (with having Tuite types of techniques performed on them) will make NO difference on the ability of the technique to work. These are excuses used by individual's who don't know how (or why) the techniques are supposed to work (to begin with).
  Most individual's are familiar with (maybe) one or two of the principles that "we" use, but even then, are often performing them incorrectly. It is our hope that the 6 Principles that we've assembled can be used to further our student's own research on new/different techniques (as well as confirm their performance of presently practiced techniques).
  Whether one practices Oyata's methodology or not, these principles can be applied to any practiced limb manipulation techniques. In our opinion, this makes these principles a practical “teaching” and “research” tool. Regardless of the techniques origin.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I have to go “Ki”...

  The concept of “Ki/Chi” is (greatly) misunderstood and miss-utilized in the West. As a teaching/concept principle, it is an easily understood analogy. What it isn't, is an actual skill/ability.  The idea of being able to “channel” the flow of energy is only a concept. Though completely possible to (first learn) relate all of the medical/anatomical components necessary to perform a physical motion, it is easier (for the average untrained student and instructor) to conceptualize the notion of water flowing, through an analogy being made to that energy (momentum) being made to a liquid.
  This simplistic analogy has been corrupted to include (if not become) a “mystical” quality/ability that can be developed through various questionable studies (that commonly have NO relation to the practice of a defensive art).
  Obviously I am adamant in my (disgust?) disapproval for this manor of instruction (when these “mystical” abilities are being endorsed as being a real, much less a valid training method). Oyata was very clear about his feelings on this subject, he believed it to be total nonsense and useless for learning the protective arts. He disapproved of any of “his” systems instructor's teaching this belief to their students (in regard to his system).
  As an analogy, the idea of momentum being a liquid is a more easily understood concept for the new student to understand. The correct positioning of the feet, in conjunction with how the user's arms are being motioned “could” be broken down into their various components, but that information can be conveyed after the student has physically been shown the differences in how those motions may be applied. Everyone is familiar with how water flows (most easily/quickly), when momentum is related to water flowing, the student more quickly understands the concept (and overall training doesn't need to be interrupted).
  Though I disagree with how this mnemonic is being used (in relation to life-protection instruction via the “TCM” nonsense), I too have used the (water) analogy when teaching various concepts. Granted, this is most often in relation to performing brushed calligraphy (Shuji/Shodo), but in the process of relating various concepts to students, “water” is an easily understood medium (for the student to relate to what is being done physically). In fact, I've come to use the words “like water” if/when making these analogy's (in order to avoid any misconceptions of “ki” being made).
  Ki/Chi is a commonly used term in the Orient, that doesn't (or shouldn't) imply that it is accepted in the same manner that is being promoted here (in the U.S./West). Any living thing has “life” or energy (plants, animals, people). The fact that this “energy” can be utilized and/or developed (by an individual), is nothing mystical (as is often promoted). What can make it confusing (to Westerner's), is that Ki/Chi can be developed (though not in the manner that's being sold to Western student's).
  Muscular strength is considered to be a form of Ki/Chi, mental attitude is considered to be a form of Ki/Chi. There are numerous examples that are commonly used in the East, that have nothing to do with any manner of a mystical energy.
  Using the term “Ki/Chi” (of course) makes the concept sound more Oriental (if not “mystical”), which is (very) often the intention of the instructor. Students often come to learn a defensive “art” that is Oriental. When comparing the numerous defensive methodologies, it is the Oriental one's that have the greatest popularity. Apparently, in order to be accepted as being an “authentic” Oriental art, students have come to expect some manner/level of mysticism to be included in that study. Whether this is used to explain why “they” can't (instantly) perform the instructed motions, or as an excuse (as to why they can't) is open to debate. But what can't be logically argued, is why it is an expected part of that instruction.