Monday, June 30, 2014

The Influence of Physical Contact (During a Confrontation)

 I'm certain that (many) individual's read the supplied "title" (to this blog) and thought that I had somehow changed my feelings about "sparring". Well no, I haven't (this is a different aspect of "physical contact", LOL). 

  Students will often negate the importance that physical contact has, in relation to the reactions that it can/will create. Too often their emphasis is only in regards to the results attained from “strikes” that are being attempted (and whether those strikes are successful or not).

  Much “to-do” is made of late, regarding “kakae” strikes. Oyata (eventually) had us incorporating them into nearly every kata motion. They were often described as being “extra” strikes, but they more often only made arm motion that wasn't being (defensively) productive, to now serve a purpose in one's defensive tactics.

  Much of this is a result of students having the “Left (then) Right” mentality while applying their defensive motions. Oyata emphasized the use of both arms for defensive applications (simultaneously).

  The new student will commonly believe that an impact (punch/kick etc.) will cause injury (pain, or possibly even damage) to the location of that impact, and “that” will be the summation of the “results” for implementing an (any) impact/strike. The Problem with this belief, is that it is an extremely limited perspective. To expand that perspective, we have students perform the “Finger Pressure” exercise. This exercise is only used to demonstrate the relationships between different area's of the body, whether those areas are being directly (IE.”physically”) effected or not.

  The Tori should assume a “fighting” stance, with one leg forward and will then extend one arm forward (commonly the opposite arm from the forward leg, IE. A “reverse” punch). Holding their “punching” hand stationary (and extended), the Uke will then gently press against one side of the Tori's (extended) “fist”. The Tori should attempt to maintain the location of their extended fist (while the Uke is applying this pressure).

 As the Uke is applying this pressure, the Tori should note the locations over the entire body, that respond to that pressure (in order to resist it).  
 These locations will change, as the (Uke's) applied pressure changes (in regards to the direction “top/bottom and either side”of the Tori's extended fist). There will also be variations in those responses, depending on where the (Uke's) pressure is being applied upon the Tori's entire arm (inside/outside, upper/lower, above/below the elbow, ETC.).

  This exercise is intended to raise the student's awareness of the physical relationships that exist throughout the entire body (although we may not be aware of them at any particular time). Through that awareness, the student will become more attentive for which locations would provide greater results through their utilization. Many of these could (mistakenly) be considered to be “kyusho” locations, but more accurately they should be considered “Atemi” points.

  One of the more common arguments presented (in regards to the utilization of these locations/points) is the ability for them to be struck during a confrontation. Obviously this is a legitimate concern, and requires practice for their utilization during a confrontation.

  One of the things that Oyata showed (to aid in this), was the practice of multiple contact. When one hand is in contact with an aggressor (anywhere upon their body), the second hand will be more accurate in it's attempt at achieving it's intended contact location.

  This can be demonstrated by having the tori place one hand (anywhere) upon the uke (their body, arm, anywhere). Then have the tori (quickly) “place” (not “hit”) their knuckles (of their striking hand) upon the uke in the desired location. This subliminal “reference” will make the tori's attempts successful (more often) and with far greater accuracy (than when no additional contact exists). This is commonly taught in regards to Oyata's tenet of “2 hand” technique application.

  Being that what is commonly being practiced is a (very) “physical” skill-set, it is easy for a student to fall into the belief that “strength” is the dominant factor in deciding the success or failure for an application.  
 Whether one (actually) has a strength advantage (during a confrontation) becomes less relevant when the natural strengths and weaknesses of the body are understood (and it is understood how to exploit them to one's advantage).

  The more relevant factor for these locations, is in regards to the direction of the strikes implementation (upon those locations). That (of course) is yet another “branch” of Oyata's methodology and a student's study/research. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Distorted Tuite

  I was recently queried as to why I don't “acknowledge” (numerous) proponents for whatever(?) it is that they are teaching for their own versions of Tuite. Well, first off, what the majority of them are teaching is poorly executed finger/arm manipulations that wouldn't work (as advertised) on the majority of aggressive individuals.  
 Second, they are emphasizing a belief in a methodology that is fraught with inconsistencies (IE. “TCM”) and serves no beneficial aspects to the art (nor the performance of these techniques). Third, the “rules/principles”(sic) that they promote only serve to distract their students from any productive practice and (in fact) lead them in a non-productive direction of training (it's blatantly obvious that they haven't researched any of those, meaning “their” instructed “principles”).
  All of these people add their own “caveats” as to when/why their techniques fail. The most common of which, is the “Anomaly” (excuse). This argument purports that an (unspecific?) number of the population, is unaffected by the application of these techniques (or at the very least, some of them). Those same persons experience 1 or 2 (at least) of these anomaly (individuals) at nearly every one of their seminars (which kind of discredits their concept of “anomaly”, doesn't it?).
  Looking over their “10 Principles”, only a couple of them even resemble an applicable practice. The majority are generalized concepts that are so general, that they have numerous possible definitions. Hardly a way that “principles” should be presented. They've also posted (several) videos of their “instructional” seminars regarding these (their) “principles” and their application of/for them. They would have been better served, to have not done so.
  The purpose of an “instructional” seminar, is to instruct. What was presented, was more of a “Look at Me, and what I (supposedly) can do”, recruitment fest. They (meaning I've watched several versions of them, put on by various individuals) perform examples of their techniques, upon their own people, and elicit the (kind of) “reactions” that they claim to be “correct”.
  As I stated previously, some of what they promote are valid methods (just not in the manner that they are presenting them). For the majority of what they're selling, if you remove the “TCM” nonsense from their curriculum, they are left with nothing (to validate their applications/principles or the manner which they are presenting them).
  When I was approached about this subject, I was also “informed” that no one is really that familiar with what (and how) Oyata taught tuite. I would have to agree with that summation (though I would say that only some were familiar, rather than no one). I would be inclined to also include many of the members of Oyata's own organization (in that category) as well (over the years). Not because he didn't demonstrate how to do so, only that student's didn't learn (“study”) how his examples actually worked. Though clearly having been shown Oyata's methodology by him (we have the video to demonstrate that fact), and having witnessed him explain the principles of how to apply it (correctly). The average student (none the less) commonly muscles their application of tuite to produce a response. Unfortunately (IMO), Oyata was very “big” on demonstrating a technique, and then saying “Now you go work on it” (implying that the student, meaning “us” were to research the correct way to implement them). Strength, was never a prerequisite to the proper application of any of his tuite methodology.
  This is how the myriad of weekend “seminar” attendee's, became “Tuite Experts” (and now offer their own seminars for their versions of tuite). Some of those “experts” had even studied with Oyata for some period of time, yet still didn't learn how to perform the techniques correctly. The ability to achieve “a” response, is not the same as producing a correct response (Oyata also taught his instructor's what that entailed as well).
  Tuite is not a “sub” art, of his methodology. It is an integral piece of that methodology. It isn't based on any form of “Chinese Medicine” (nonsense), nor is it dependent upon any manner of “Kyusho” (point) manipulation to elicit a correct reaction. It's based on natural body motion/reaction, and how the body does, and doesn't work.
  Kyusho is a (completely) separate field of study/application. They can (each) be applied separately, or in conjunction with one another.  That should not imply that either, is dependent upon the other. Yet, if one does a “Google” search for “Tuite”, it will produce a (90%) result for their version of “kyusho” applications (which only demonstrates how badly these guys have distorted the field of study for Tuite). The majority of what these people consider to be Kyusho, is (more often) simple “atemi” (distraction) locations.
  If one wishes to “test” someones (anyone's) “Tuite” abilities/knowledge, have them perform their application of tuite technique slowly. If they can't produce an (obviously) equal response from the uke, they don't know what the hell they're teaching (much less talking about). If they attempt to include any “TCM” (in their application and/or explanation), again, they don't know what they are talking about.
  Oyata (repeatedly) emphasized that tuite should be practiced slowly. Not because it was so dangerous, but because you couldn't learn anything if/when you did so with speed. Any idiot can make a Fast application produce a result. Doing so slowly, requires that the performer understand how, and why the technique works. With that understanding, a student can elicit the (or any) response that they, or the situation requires. Achieving this level of ability, can provide the student with a far wider range of responses to utilize against an aggressor.
  One's ability to do so, requires practice (of all of the shown Tuite applications). More often than not, it is the “simple”(if not “simplistic”) applications that are the most commonly utilized in a confrontation. They are also the most often ignored (by students). 


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Re-Examination of "kata"

  Oyata used to speak about how he felt that the majority of the practitioner's of “te” (both in the West, and the East) misunderstood how the purpose and practice of kata should be done.

  Kata should be treated as a learning/study “tool” for the practitioner of Life Protection. Every motion in the kata, should be examined thoroughly to determine it's purpose/reason for inclusion (in the performance of that kata).

  On numerous occasion, he made it clear that there were no “extraneous” or irrelevant motions in the kata. The claim of a motion being a “formality” or of no value as a defensive motion/application, suggests an irrelevancy (of motion/application) that would hardly be worth passing on to one's students.

  Not having the original (inventor's?) persons who developed the kata available for questions about those motions, mandates that the practitioner's have to study those kata motions (in order to determine the meaning of the included motions).

  Essentially, this amounts to “reverse engineering” the kata (in many if not most cases). We do know numerous defensive motions (that were handed-down from those masters), if we can recognize those (few) motions within the kata, then we have something to start our own research with.

  Oyata was shown numerous “hints” and clues about those motions from his instructors (Uhugushugu and Wakinaguri). He has (in turn) shared them with us (to continue that research). Oyata never claimed to know All of the (possible) Bunkai from the kata, but he did understand how to distinguish “technique” from nonsense. He felt “that” knowledge was more important than learning a few specific techniques that could be associated to them (and thereby only be applicable to a few students).

  When Oyata talked about “bunkai”, he explained that it could (often) vary between individual students. The individual application (interpretation) was irrelevant. It was more important that the interpretation be applicable (and follow the “rules” that he taught for technique validity) by anyone. This didn't imply that the motion/technique would work for every situation, only that it meet the standards for the application being presented (that one determined the motion represented).

  When he first proposed this method (of “bunkai” interpretation), numerous people were “upset”. There was a (prominent) belief that each motion had a singular application that it represented. Of course this view was being based on speculation (since the creators of those kata were long since dead, and no written explanations had survived them).

  Whether true or not, it was a vastly superior method of practicing/researching the kata (and resulted in far superior applications as a result of using his methodology).

  Taika taught that numerous applications were illustrated in each of the taught kata motions. These were often depended upon which other (kata) motions were included/used in conjunction with them. If you were to assign a number to each different motion, and attempted to pair them (differently) with each of the other motions (in the various kata), it becomes quickly apparent that there are an infinite number of (possible) applications potentially available.

  For this reason, when I am asked a “bunkai” question (for a specific motion), I will commonly provide a very “basic” interpretation. It is always dependent upon which other motion(s) that it is paired with (if at all) to determine what it represents.

  Believing that any singular motion, is the (only) bunkai for any kata motion is far too simplistic of an interpretation. The guidelines that Oyata provided for us have (often) been repeated by numerous individual's (who had attended his seminars over the years). Many have attempted to make them “specific” (rules) for the purposes of “bunkai interpretation).

  Oyata recognized (through the instructions provided by his own instructors) that those rules are generalizations. He taught that each motion would have numerous interpretations, and that each student would have to determine what “they” felt the movement represented (and be able to validate that claim).

  Numerous students (over the years) would approach him with their own interpretations, which he would (either) acknowledge their version, or demonstrate what was wrong with what they were proposing (which was more often the case). This was what made Oyata the obvious “master” (though he hated that term, and is also why we only called him “Taika”).

 Kata research (frankly) is not intended for the beginning student (and shouldn't be a concern for them either). Their only need is to learn the (beginning) manner of performing the kata that are provided to them. Their priorities should be focused upon learning the execution of the motions shown to them (by their instructor/s). Kata research is (more so) for the instructor, or for the practitioner who is familiar with all of the beginning motions (it would be difficult to do so, without that essential knowledge anyhow).