Friday, December 11, 2015


  I was recently at a social gathering and was introduced to a couple of guys (friends of someone I know). They were friends of the person who introduced us, and the introduction was made on the assumption that we could relate on the subject of “Krotty”. Each had several visible abrasions (upon their lips and cheeks) and They informed me that they “took” (?) a “traditional” system, that emphasized “reality” training (?). They were more than happy to explain the system they were "taking"(studied?) and what was involved in that training.

  They had been “doing” their training for (a whole) 8 months, and informed me that they were getting “pretty good” (while sporting all knowing "smiles"). I then received a list of all the reasons why “All the other systems” were designed for little kids, as well as people who were afraid to learn how to “really fight”. Their “Senshi” (using the "Okinawan" term, that even Oyata never used,...and he was Okinawan) couldn't start/open a (public) “school”, because he wouldn't be able to afford the “required”(?) insurance (if he did).

  After providing a list of names (none of whom I recognized) of people who also “studied” the system (I can't remember the name, it was some miss-match of Japanese/Chinese that equated to something akin to “Dragon Fist”, ?). It was supposed to be a (only) “practical combat” system (which struck me as a contradictory definition).

  After a 20 minute explanation of what their classes included, they asked me what style I “took”(?), and I told them that I studied Oyata's system. They had never heard of Oyata (and showed no interest of him, nor how long I had done so), and proceeded to tell me about how many tournaments, and “fights” their instructor had participated in (with the implication being that he had been victorious in each). They invited me to go to a local “MMA” match and watch him “fight”, I declined, claiming that I was “busy”(at any of the times provided). “They” (of course) would be required to (compete) once they had advanced far enough (in their training).

  And Of course their instructor had “trained(?)/studied and therefor taught “TCM” (I almost walked away, but curiosity kept me there) and “would be teaching that subject” (to them) when they were further along in their training. Though not (directly) stated, it was obvious that instruction was through one of of “Dill-dumb's” follower's (and thus, as ridiculous as one would assume). I recognized many of the common misconceptions that were promoted by that persons teachings.

“They” (actually) brought up the subject of “Tuite” (or “Too-E-Tay” as they pronounced it). They stated that it was taught for ONLY when a “fight” was with someone who didn't really know how to fight, and tried to get “physical”. According to them, it wasn't practical for a “real fight”, and that it didn't work on everybody anyhow (thus their dismissal of it having any effective use). They even provided “stats” on how many people it wouldn't work on (70% of people??, Really?). Of course (once they received it?) “TCM” (training) would “fix” that. They stated that Tuite was mainly for use upon “females”(?) as “they” were smaller/weaker (thus couldn't resist the techniques application). Those (male, only) people whom the techniques couldn't work on, were referred to as being “anomalies” (sic). One of them even claimed to be one of those anomalies, stating that none of it (ie. “Tuite”) would work upon him (and no, I was not provided the opportunity to prove him wrong, we were at a “social” gathering).

  Because I showed (faked) interest (in what they were saying), they continued their description of Why the method they were learning, was so effective. They described the instructed “body mechanics” (not the term they used, but something presumably equivalent). Most of it was superficial, as well as incorrect. This included performance of the “hip shimmy” (with their punches), and the (screaming) “Kiai” (with everything).

“Kata” (of course) were a waste of time, “real” technique could only be learned when doing “full speed/power” sparring (they stated that was how the “old masters” learned/taught,..?). The use of protective padding was only for people not “tough enough” to learn what was being taught (as evidenced by the various abrasions on their hands and faces).

  They even did the “conditioning” (training?), including the use of the “makiwara”, as well as “punching” into varying consistency's of loose material (sand, pebbles, rocks ...”ball-bearings”??). They had the (damaged) knuckles to prove it.

  The entire conversation (aside from the amusement factor) was a reinforcement of my belief of how the majority of people think that (any) “martial art” is supposed to be taught. If these individual's hadn't been so (brain-washed),... misguided in their beliefs, I might have invited them to see what “we” practiced (and why). But frankly they weren't the type of individual's that we would want (as students), nor would they even have an interest in what we teach.

  I would like to believe that these individual's were “anomalies” themselves. I don't believe that they represent the vast majority of people that choose to learn a defensive system, though I do believe that they represent a (depressingly) large percentage of that group. Fortunately (?), I believe that this “type” of person is (only) drawn to the “Macho” (types) of systems that have gained recent popularity. They tend to be young, in physically good shape, and have zero “life” experience. I'd wager that half of those type of people wind up in jail at some point in their life (if their “mind-set” doesn't change).

  IMO, these are the typical (types of) people who fall for the “TCM” nonsense. They view it as a “quick-fix” to whatever their training/practice “lacks”. Having mainly visited (and only “observed”) “martial arts schools” (close to my location, at least over the past 10 years or so), the topics that these individual's discussed in our “conversation”, have popular support (in varying amounts) among most of them.

  Those schools (that I have observed) have their students do 10 minutes of “warm-up”(?)/calisthenics. Then perform 15 to 20 minutes of “line/formation” training, where students “line-up” and perform various “stances”, arm/hand (“blocks” and “strikes”) motions, Leg motions (kicks) and (sometimes) “kata” review. This is followed by students learning “new” techniques (15 min.), and then (sometimes) “sparring” or “new” techniques/motions. The class is then over.

  Though “I” don't feel this is an effective way to learn, it's what many people are able to “fit” into their schedules. It's also how/why the previously described person's can be convinced that when compared with what was described above, those training (sic) methods could possibly be productive.

  The majority of “martial arts” students are male. They are also (commonly) “young” and in moderately decent shape (usually because of their age). Young males are inclined to gravitate towards those defensive systems that are (mainly) “physical”. What most of that group consider to be “powerful”, amounts to the physical transfer of force (commonly through the placement of “impactive” strikes upon one another). IMO, they equate (applied) “Power” with being “Effective”. Though moderately accurate, “I” prefer to equate “results” with application (“power” is only a possible variable to achieve that result).

  Their view amounts to the “Might makes Right” philosophy of “self-defense”. I acknowledge this as being “1” way of viewing defensive practice. I also consider it to be extremely limited in both practicality and longevity (which is why it's appealing to “young”, “strong” males). Unless you are in that category of physical shape/gender, it has limited (if any) value as a practical system to base one's defensive training upon. As one advances (in both “age” and experience) the limitations of that perspective become more and more obvious. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Push-Catch (a review)

  There exist a number of “example” videos (on U-Tube and various personal pages) for the Tuite motion/technique that we call “Push-Catch”. It goes by several other names as well (“Palm-Fold” being the most popular). We have yet to see one that doesn't include multiple misapplications of this technique (and those motions being instructed as desired actions).

 Initially Ignoring the arguments that it (the application) is difficult if not impossible to achieve, (that subject is one that should be examined/studied separately in our opinion). I will address the most obvious of the witnessed misapplications being performed (if not "Taught"). This will be in regards to what and how the technique should be performed when the Tori's (initial) “grab” is successful (regardless of the accuracy of that grab).

  Beginning with the premise that the Tori's “grab”(of the Uke's pushing hand) is successful, those technique's and examples being shown contain numerous flaws (when compared with how we instruct students in their execution of the technique).

  The first of those, is in what is done with (what “we” refer to as being) the “support” hand. Other instructor's are inclined to utilize that hand as a “brace” for the “Grabbing” hand's actions. They (typically) do so, by "grabbing" the Uke's wrist. This creates several hindrances to the technique's execution. By creating this brace, the uke is (then) able to resist the technique's application. It then becomes a “contest” of who is stronger. As long as the Tori is (physically) stronger/larger than the Uke, the technique can be (forced) made to achieve a result. This subject was addressed on our “FaceBook” page (with a video) that discusses “Bridging”. In this technique, the “support” hand, should only be providing a fulcrum for the (Tori's) primary hand's motioning of the Uke's hand/wrist.

  The 2nd most popular mistake being made, is pushing the “grabbed” hand (of the Uke) directly rearward. This creates several undesirable results, first, it causes the Uke's (grabbed arm's) elbow to swing upward and forward (creating the possibility of it's utilization as a strike upon the Tori), and is (again) an attempt to “muscle” the technique (to achieve the desired result).

  The next most commonly performed mistake, is that they (the Tori) pulls (all) of the involved hands (ie. the entire application) to their own center (ie. “Away” from the uke). This is done (and we recognize) because people feel (and to some extent are) “stronger” when doing so. The “Problem” with this action, is that doing so, extends the Uke's arm, by doing so, they are making the Uke stronger, and more able to resist the application (this can easily be exampled).

  Also popular, is grabbing the Uke's hand or finger's, “Horizontally”, the contact of the Tori's hand can be initiated at (almost) any angle, but when the technique is (actually) being applied, it functions more effectively (when) at a 45º angle. To attempt application (at any other angle) will cause the Tori to have to “force” (“muscle”) the Uke's hand to achieve a reaction.

 Next (on the “list”) is if/when the Tori is bending their own (Primary) grabbing hand's wrist (while applying the “wrist-fold” of the Uke's hand). Doing so defeats any of the existing leverage available for that hand's motion.

 It is also common, for the Uke to Grab onto the Tori's (grabing hand) commonly across the “palm” of the pushing hand. When this  occurs (besides turning the technique into a “who's stronger” situation), we will commonly “change” technique's. There are ways to correct this, but it is often easier (for students new to the application) to simply change the type of technique being utilized.

 The next most commonly seen version, will have the Uke's forearm (of their grasped hand) positioned vertically, then applying (or at least attempting) a downward pressure to the wrist rotation. Though a reaction/response can be achieved (I commonly use this method as part of my own application of this technique, hence I am very familiar with it's use), they are often only pressing the Uke's wrist straight downward, while maintaining the vertical positioning of the Uke's forearm ("that" being the incorrect part of this version of application). This will create the possibility for the Uke to “counter” the application (for which there are several available means to do so).

 In many variations, it is (often) evident, that the Tori is performing the action of “Premature Rotation” (incorrect “timing”) when the technique is being applied. Doing so (again) creates a situation of “muscling” a technique to achieve the desired response.

 The problem of “muscling” a technique (to achieve compliance) is being repeated in almost every example we've viewed, and is often done within every stage of the technique's application. We believe that much of that tendency, is from the emphasis being placed upon “speed” (of the technique's application). Though this is an obvious concern when actually needing to utilize the technique (In an “actual” self-protection situation), when students are practicing this technique, they need to understand how/why it does/doesn't work. If one only practices the application “fast”, it is (nearly) impossible to recognize the nuances of the technique's application.  
 It is (completely) possible to “slop” this technique, and achieve some level of “result” (though not necessarily the desired one). It is this tendency (to emphasize “speed”) that is being used (In our opinion) to cause (convince?) smaller students, to feel capable in/with the technique's performance.

 Only through the “slow” performance of the application is a student able to recognize the necessary motions to correctly perform the technique. There is NO requirement that the technique be applied quickly (for it to work). If/when that “claim” is being made, the person who makes that statement doesn't know how to perform the technique.

 Also evident are the “follow-up” errors (or maybe “presumptions”?) for how the Uke would react to the manner they are applying the technique. Many of the examples shown, have the Tori (literally) dragging the Uke to the ground. This is an (another) example of “muscling” a technique (to achieve a desired result).  
 We believe this to be based upon (the “belief”?) that the Tori has to force the Uke into compliance. This is an inaccurate assumption (ie. “Completely Wrong”). If/when one has to “force” the Uke to do anything, they are doing something incorrectly.

 When the technique is applied correctly, the “main” problem, is being able to “keep up” with the Uke's travel to the ground (which is when many people can/could “lose” their controlling ability). (Again) Though Slow practice of the technique, the student will become familiar with the changing dynamics as the Uke is re-positioned to a prone position (on the ground).

 Equally common is for a beginning student (when being the “Tori”), is utilizing incorrect footwork, which (often) leads to Poor (if any) “Force Efficiency”. The majority of those situations are correctable, but they often occur on an individual basis (making it awkward to provide a written prevention of it's occurrence).

 These (preventable) problems account for so many of the performed mistakes, that (for us) it's a relief to only have to deal with improving the student's “timing” (usually with the manner they perform the initial “grab”).

 Despite so many systems utilizing this “basic” (Tuite) grab, there seem to be innumerable problems with how they are showing it to students. When performed correctly, it's a valuable technique (for training, and for use). It is also regularly being dismissed as being a “muscled” application, and too difficult for most students to effectively use.

  We utilize it as one of, if not “the” training/example tool for understanding the 6 Principles of Tuite. They are all (easily) identified/exampled within it's application, and (from an instructor's perspective) it can provide obvious examples of possible “counter” capabilities, as well as the means to prevent them from occurring. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015


  The use of terms within the martial arts community is (too) often “vague” (at best). Many will attempt to (only) utilize foreign names for those descriptions, but this is rarely of value if/when the student (or instructor) is not (completely) familiar with the language being utilized. When I initially began training with Oyata, I would inquire about the “names” of the motions he was showing us, he replied by stating that we should use the name that “we” (American's) were comfortable with (and use a description that was represented by words within our own language. He said that we were not “Okinawan/Japanese” so those names that were common (on Okinawa) could (would) lead to our misinterpretation.

  As we learned more of his art, this soon became obvious. Now, When we hear (American) practitioner's describe technique use/motion they will (often) relate that use or motion to a “Japanese/Chinese” name. When we would query Oyata (in regards to this) he would “roll his eye's” and (again) explain the motion, and repeat that we should use a descriptive name that was clearer to ourselves (that is in one's natural language).

  When I began teaching, I (often) used numerous “Japanese” names for motions (when conveying those motions to my students). As I progressed in my own studies, and was exposed to additional systems, I found (many) of those same names (being utilized to describe a motion) that were used in multiple ways (sometimes in completely contradictory manners), to how we would be using/teaching them. Japanese use is often associated with (vague) “concepts”, as opposed to literal (translatable) terms.

  Even students who have a “working knowledge/ability” with the Japanese language would (often) be confused about the techniques names or meanings. When a (common) English description was utilized, there was an immediate understanding by the student. That would have been fine, if motion definitions were “Universal” as well, but they're not.

  The majority of (commonly utilized) Japanese/Chinese names (for motions) are only “General” (if not vague) in nature. Many of the Japanese/Chinese names (popularly) utilized, are far from accurate (in description of their use).

  I have met (and read) numerous people that will make the argument, that because they teach a methodology native to that language, and by using those (foreign) names (regardless of the instructor's native language), that they are being “traditional” and (therefor) those terms should only (if not always) be utilized.
 We disagree with that premise. We feel that it is more important to be “accurate” in our instruction. That requires that a student should (easily) understand the motion, as well as it's “name” (what that motion is being called).

  In that pursuit, we attempt to use the common (scientific/medical?) terms and names for (most) motions when teaching those motions to our students. “Japanese” (in our case) names may well be included, but they are never stressed/emphasized.

  Utilized Name's can/will effect how someone (ie. students) will interpret how/why a motion will be understood and utilized. Most “popularly” within our own instructional experience (and when compared with how others utilize it) this has been demonstrated with (our rarity for) the use of the term “Block”.

  To “Block” something, is to provide an obstacle in (somethings) continued progress. This is also how (most) students will interpret the term (often despite any further provided definition for the term). If/When the term (Block) is utilized accurately (in the case of an “arm/forearm block”), one would place that limb in the path of an aggressive motion (commonly a “punch”). I have never seen it used (with any effectiveness) in that manner. It is most often used as a deflection of the aggressive action.

  My own “pet peeve” is the performance of (what is commonly called) an “Outside Block”. This motion (as it is commonly shown) is completely ineffective beyond the purpose of (being) a deflection. The motion (as commonly taught) is the weakest possible application of a forearm motion (for either deflection or impact), yet is popularly shown for use as being an impactive application (ie. Striking with the lateral {Radial} side of the forearm). Even with the inclusion of “Body-Rotation”, the motion has minimal stability, and is equally unable to utilize any of the included motion/momentum in it's application.

  This is basic “body mechanic's”. The arm's “natural” aggressive motion/direction is forward (and in this instance, it is an extension), and arguably (in some instances), “medial”. As the “outside block” is commonly taught, (at best) it only amounts to being a deflection (to the performed lateral position/side). Within many systems, this is an acceptable expectation. Within Oyata's defensive system, this would be considered a “wasted” opportunity/motion.

  Although it has been “popular” for (many) systems to (now) include the concept of “Blocks being Strikes”, instructors will (still) continue to teach the “outside block” as a sideways (lateral) motion.

  Oyata often commented that “outside/inside block, are (performed) same”. This can be confusing, until one see's how he performs those motions. Those motions require body-rotation (for their inside/outside designation). The arm motion is (actually) performed in a forward direction, this principle can also be applied to the upward/downward counterparts (blocks) as well (for which both should include forward body motion). Being identified as “strikes”, will (or at least should) instill the concept of “body-weight” inclusion. This is most easily done through body-rotation /motion being included with the action. It also demonstrates that any rearward motion diminishes any (applicable) “momentum” being used with those manners of “strikes”(blocks).

  Though believing this to be  a “basic” concept, we've been involved in numerous lengthy debates over the subject. I recognize that different systems view applications differently, and have/made a “reasoned” excuse for those differences. I (at least) have a complete lecture over the subject, just saying that “you've” never seen something taught a certain way, is not a rational for disagreement.

  I believe many disagreements come about because of distorted views of (often “basic”) application concepts. At least for “our” students, we want them to be able to knowledgeably address what is being attempted. Being too “simplistic” can be as equally misleading, as being “vague”. By using terms that are recognized (in multiple fields of study) we are striving to reduce those occurrences. 
 Being American, the language we use is English. The following are some of the terms that we utilize (for our students) to designate particular locations and directions of motion for the human body. Though not a complete list, it contains the majority of “basic” terminology that we utilize.

General “Side” Designations

This are terms utilized to designate a particular “side”, location or direction of/upon the human body.

Frontal-Anterior-Front-Palm (side)


Side-Lateral (Sideways)


Right-Left (usually including a “source” for the reference, ie. The  
                   “Uke''s” or the “Tori's”)

Vertical-Up/Down-(Also utilized when describing the Orientation 
                                of “erect” and/or “standing”)

Horizonal-Side to Side

Prone-being “face/chest” Down

Supine-being “On one's Back”or“face/chest” Up

R.O.M.- “Range of Motion”-This is the directions/positions that a particular limb/body part is (naturally) capable of moving. Though further motion is “possible”, doing so will commonly cause discomfort and/or “pain”.

General Anatomical Terms of Location

  Though having had (actual) “Doctor's” as student's/instructors, the majority of our students (nor ourselves) have had (extensive) “medical” training (beyond CPR, First-Aid, AED training, etc.). We don't expect or mandate our students to acquire any themselves (we suggest that they should, for numerous reasons beyond “training”, but it is not a student requirement). None the less, we feel that a student's familiarity with (more correct/precise) terminology is important to their study of Oyata's methodology. We use the following terminology for the majority of the instructed information. Though many are “generalized” terms, we feel that a (working) familiarity with them will aid a student with any continued study (beyond that provided by us, or through conversation/debate with others).

  Many of the terms we utilize can be used (and defined) by/in different or multiple formats (though all should be obvious from contextual use).

Head -the entire appendage attached to the neck, includes  

Face -front of the head, includes Cheeks/Jaw/eyes/mouth/nose/ 

Neck -the entire “joint” which attaches the head to the torso 

Throat -Front of the Neck

Shoulder -the entire (front/back/side) area that includes the (upper)
                  Joint of the arm

Arm -area between the elbow and the shoulder

Forearm -area between the elbow and the hand

Wrist -the “joint” between the hand and the forearm

Hand -the appendage attached to the forearm, that includes all of 
            the fingers (phalanges)

Chest -the front side of the torso, above the abdominal region

Back -the entire rear side of the torso

Waist -the area slightly higher than (but including) the abdominal 

Abdomen -the front of the body below the chest (sometimes 
                   including the groin area)

Hips -the area lower than the waist, where the legs are attached to
           the body

Leg -the entire lower appendage attached to the torso via the Hips

Thigh -the upper portion of the leg that is attached to the lower 
            torso (via the waist area/hips) and to the knee (on it's lower 

Shin -the lower portion of the leg, attached to the bottom of the 
          knee and to the ankle

Ankle -the “joint” that attaches the foot to the leg

Foot -the lowest extremity that is connected to the ankle/shin

Anatomical “Joints” of the Human Body

  Though the human body contains numerous locations of motion, those that can be (easily) manipulated externally, are commonly limited to the following “14” General locations.

Neck       (1) - Limited Range Rotational “Ball & Socket”

Shoulder (2) - Limited Range “Ball & Socket”

Elbow     (2) - Flat Hinge / Limited Range (Rotational) Flat Hinge                           in relation to upper arm (side)

Wrist       (2) - Flat Hinge

Waist       (1) -Limited Range “Ball & Socket” (Mainly Forward )

Hip          (2) -Limited Range “Ball & Socket” (Mainly Forward &  
                       Limited Back/Side)

Knee       (2) - Flat Hinge

Ankle      (2) -Limited Range Flat Hinge/ “Ball & Socket”


  Numerous Joints cannot (easily) be “directly” manipulated, and doing so must be achieved through the motion of those (directly) attached body/limb appendages.

Joint         Directly Manipulated Via*  (* i.e “Unnatural” Motion) commonly through 

Neck       - Motion of Head

Shoulder - Motion of Arm

Elbow     - Motion of Forearm commonly in conjunction with  
                  immobilization of the Arm

Wrist      - Motion of Hand or in conjunction with the Elbow

Waist      - Motion of Upper/Lower Torso

Hip         - Motion of Thigh

Knee      - Motion of Leg or Thigh

Ankle     - Motion of Shin or Foot

  The body will “naturally” perform (particular) defensive motions/reactions to protect the body (in general). This includes motions to protect “joints/limbs” that are perceived to be in peril of injury. This includes the defensive retraction/retreat (ie.“Reactionary Retreat”) of a threatened limb, and/or the inclination to (reactively) motion the entire body (in various degrees) into a “fetal” position.

  Numerous instructed techniques and applications will take advantage of the bodies natural reactions. One's level of recognition for those motions can/will aid in the students defensive abilities.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Arm-Bar Fail

  A recent “private” conversation with my instruction associate (in regards to a recent “post” on a popular blog) reprized one of our pet peeve's (in regard to “Technique Application”). This one was in regards to “Arm-Bar” application (methods).
  The post was defining and illustrating how the author taught this technique to be applied. My associate (as well as myself) were in (almost) total disagreement with the author's interpretations and/or (his) application of the stated technique. Much of the author's arguments "for" this manner of application consist of various popular opinions on the subject. (which we disagree with...completely).
  The Author's descriptions and provided video(s) exampled the application as it is commonly being taught (by the vast majority of systems, including some present instructor's of Oyata's system).  Those systems tend to focus upon “muscling” the arm/body to the desired positioning. Though I'd be willing to bet that they would argue that point, it's fairly easy to prove (by simply watching any of the available video's, that they provide). Almost all of those examples, are of “2-point” Arm-Bars (that would be “2 points of contact”). This is the most common manner being taught for the execution of an Arm-Bar application (by the majority of systems).
  Though Oyata (also) taught the 2-point Arm-Bar, he (regularly) stressed that the 3-point Arm-Bar was superior as a (Far more effective) application. (Almost) All of the provided examples (in the article) were Frontal/Side applications, they also were (all) “muscled” (to achieve a response). This was mainly due to poor positioning (In our opinion) prior to their application. Almost all of the demonstrated applications were (again, in our opinion) Frontal Arm-bar applications (and misapplied at that).
  Considering the manner that the application was (attempted) being applied, the uke's escape method was not surprising (we've seen similar attempts made when applying Oyata's 3-point application as well, though not successfully).
  The most obvious mistake made (in our opinion) is in their “misapplication” of the Arm-Bar itself. In every provided example (whether in this article, or anywhere else the technique has been demonstrated), the persons (appear to?) don't seem to understand how a (basic) “lever” works (nor how being aware of that fact would change the manner they are attempting to achieve this technique). In each of the provided examples, they are attempting to apply a “3rd order” category of lever. This is the least efficient manor of lever (1st being “best/most efficient”, 3rd being “worst/least efficient”).
  In regards to Oyata's methodology, it (directly) defies (several of) his principles for technique application.
  The “first” problem observed, is that of the tori's positioning. In none of the provided examples is the tori (in our opinion) correctly positioned before beginning the technique's application. We attribute this to (their) insistence of utilizing a 2-point Arm-Bar.  Though (obviously) possible, it is a horrendously inefficient application (and was deeply frowned upon by Oyata). The 3-point Arm-Bar (obviously) requires the correct positioning as well, but no attempt (at correcting this) was made in any of the provided examples (though it was clearly possible to accomplish that correction).
  We found it interesting that the initial “flaw” (with the application) was readily identified (the uke bending forward at the waist only), yet no attempt was made to correct that action from occurring(?). Nor was any attempt made at correcting the tori's positioning (before) applying the application. Doing so would have made it much simpler prevent the shown “counter” as well as achieve a more effective application.
  The utilization of the less efficient 3rd class application, also (forced?) the need to “muscle” the technique (during it's application). If the uke were stronger (than the tori) in the application of this technique, it would amount to (another) probable “failure” of the technique's application. The use of a 3rd class lever requires that the user(tori) be stronger than the recipient(uke).
  The “argument” for this manner of technique application, is that the tori will utilize nerve points (upon the levered arm) to maintain an advantage over the uke. This also mandates that the tori have a secure (and exact) hand/arm placement in addition to control of the uke's arm. If any of these are flawed, the technique (then) requires “muscular” dominance over the subject. This is (in our opinion) an obvious “flaw” in the demonstrated technique.
  The performed manor, as well as the provided explanations (for that manor) are to “us” examples as to why/how people consistently experience “problems” when attempting to perform an “Arm-Bar”. In almost every instance, the tori (in those examples) attempts the most difficult manor of technique application. It could be argued that the practitioners made the application more difficult (as well as less efficient), though I believe that it was unintentional.
  From my own perspective, I view it as “experienced” martial artists, attempting to (unnecessarily) include known information, and (force?) make it applicable to an technique. The “simpler” (easier?) and more obvious (at least to our perspective) manor of/for application is thereby ignored (or is simply dismissed due it's simplicity).
  It was Oyata's opinion (and was regularly included within his teachings) that the obvious and (very often) simplistic perspective, could just as often, be the most efficient method. The articles provided examples illustrate how that concept was surpassed in favor of an obviously “forced” manor of technique application.
Each of the provided examples attempted at least “2” (as well as more) manors of diminished effectiveness to achieve the completion of their technique applications. Each of those misapplications caused the technique to be more difficult (to accomplish) and provided more opportunity for counter-applications and/or the technique's failure.
  Does this imply that I believe the application (shown) to be without (any) value?, no. Would I teach (any) of these to my own students? And again, no (at least as a technique that one would/should/could “depend upon”). The application illustrated in the article lacked many valid uses IMO. The continued expansion (on the website) provided no further information (to correct any of the “flaws, and honestly they didn't seem to be aware of most of them either).
  From what we observed, none of the “weaknesses” that were displayed in the videos were addressed (sufficiently) to make the described application efficient or effective. 

Monday, November 23, 2015


 I am regularly tasked with explaining that Oyata's system has changed (over the past 20yrs) from what was taught during the 80's/early 90's. The Eastern manner of instruction, is one that presumes that the student will continue their training throughout their lifetime. The Western “model” is one of (only) a few years of study/practice to complete one's training in a methodology. Therefor students of/from other methodology's regularly assume that what is taught in that method, is the same as what was presented in the later years of Oyata's life (within "his" methodology).

  Patience, is a concept that Western students don't seem to subscribe to. They are easily distracted by those systems that provide supposedly “quick results” (often to unrealistic threats). Though numerous popular defenses can be easily and quickly learned, they are rarely pertinent to the situations that actually will occur. Likewise, the manner that those situations are resolved need to be both practical and Legal to utilize as well.

  Learning defenses against numerous manners of assault is a topic that needs to be included, but the average student should be focusing upon the most common of those assaults, not the extravagant (ie.”Flashy”) manners of assault that are often presented on “U-Tube” and the internet (in general).

  I regularly browse the Internet, and I see a plethora of these videos. My personal preference is to view the most “basic” of those offerings. One can tell a lot about the system being presented through those examples. “How” an instructor is having their (beginning) students perform the initial motions of the system can display a great deal about how that system is being taught, and where it is (eventually) going to evolve to.

  The information “I” provide on this blog, is (very) “basic” (in regards to our instructed material). The majority of it is material that is mentioned during “classes” (and often promptly forgotten/ignored). From the mail I receive, I know that many would like me to elaborate on (“details”) the differences in how we utilize those motions. The “problem” that I have with doing so, is that the probability of miss understanding is too great (to make it worth my time in doing so). We are more than happy to do so “in person” (and have done so numerous times), as much of that information is intermingled with additionally taught concepts and motions.

  Person's seeking the “Quick-Fix” answers (commonly to their present systems problems) are often disappointed. Those “fixes” are usually linked to additionally existing problems (that defy their systems tenet's in application).

  Many only seek to utilize “pieces” of what we teach into those systems (ie. “Tuite”, “Kyusho”, etc.). I liken it to taking parts from a “Ford” truck, and trying to make it work on a “Toyota” coupe. The parts look similar, but they just don't fit!. It would require an extensive modification of the existing vehicle (system) for those parts to function. It might be able to be done, but (why?) it's doubtful that it will function as intended. If that “part” is really desired, why not change vehicles? If your wanting that part to function (as designed), change vehicles (systems).

  The majority of people realize this, and when many of those (minor) “details” are shown, they immediately write them off as “not important”,or trivial and/or not relevant to what “they” do.  We've encountered very few individual's who (actually) research their presently practiced/instructed applications. It is far more common, that individual's will teach those methods/techniques exactly as (they were) taught. Very few (and that's being kind), are able to define/explain “all” of the pertinent motions involved with those instructed motions. We tend to blame this on the (popular) “2-3 year Black Belt” manor of instruction. It has (in our opinion) greatly lowered the (general) level of knowledge available in present Yudansha.

  We understand that the vast majority of students, attend a “for profit” school. There's nothing wrong in doing so, but (the majority of) those establishments are in “business” to make a profit (whether to “pay-bill's”, or make a living through). The average “time of study/class attendance” is between 6 months and 3 years (despite what many claim). If/when a student can't achieve their “goal” (ie. A “Black-Belt”) during that time, they “quit” and (commonly) move on (whether to cease their study completely, or to begin with another system). Those are the same people that (obsess?) are so concerned with getting a “Black Belt” (and after having done so, will then quit).

  When person has come to us to “compare” their applications (to what we teach), it amounts to them demonstrating a motion, and wanting to see how “we” teach it to be done (or what we utilize in comparison to that motion). This isn't (really) an accurate comparison. There are numerous factors that determine whether an (even a “simple”) application is utilized. We can compare “details” of that application, but the differences are usually (more) in regards to the entire defensive action (as opposed to the individual “piece” of the action).

  Those pieces should also include Stances and Body Motion (without even getting into the responses of the Uke). Undue focus is commonly placed upon the motion(s) of the Tori “hand's” (only). Though those motions are important, they are not the only necessary motions (to make the application function correctly).

  During the latter years of his instruction, Oyata spent a great deal of time upon those “details” (of motion) during the application of the instructed technique's. Many were in regard to what we now refer to as “Force Efficiency”. A large number were (simply?) methods of achieving motion deception. These were designed to mask the tori's intended motion. They also dealt with hiding one's ability to even perform those actions .

  When one studies these methods, it examples those displayed traits/motions if/when performed by an opponent. They become instilled defensive actions (to be observed in an opponents actions). This is what I see when watching the various “live” examples presented “on-line”. I see opportunities that are commonly ignored/dismissed (within those “example” videos).

  For those that follow the “sport sparring” ideal (of confrontation practice), those methods that I am referring to, are (easily?) commonly dismissed as “unimportant”. If/when one has allowed a confrontation to dissolve into that manor of conflict (ie."sparring"), they have (already) missed/ignored bringing the conflict to a quick resolve.

  Though sounding counter-productive, body/stance “change”, is (often) taught/learned prior to hand motion. Though commonly taught as being done in conjunction (with one another), there is a “lag” between the two. Oyata usually taught “Hands before Feet” (in application/use). Though commonly the situation, these could be “swapped” (depending upon the pending circumstance). It was with the premise that the range of practice should (initially) be done at “arm's length” (between the tori and uke) during practice of the instructed technique's. It quickly becomes obvious, that there is rarely a “simultaneous” use of both. The (additional) use of “hip-rotation” (what we refer to as “hip-shimmy”) was discouraged as well. It is considered (and shown) to be counter-productive to technique efficiency. The majority of these items are rarely taught (or even covered) in many systems, often as a result of the practice of applications being done under (what we would consider to be) “unrealistic” conditions, and with equally “unrealistic” expectations. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Including “Force Efficiency” with Applications

  To further expand on the concept of Force Efficiency, one must begin at How this concept is best achieved. Beginning with efficient motion, one must understand how each limb is able to motion. Limbs are combinations of different “Joints” (where the bones of the limb's are attached to one another). Both the Hips, and the shoulders are limited range “ball & socket” joints. This allows for rotation in multiple directions, but forward/rearward motion are the main (intended) directions of motion. The Elbow and the knee's allow for full contraction, and restricted extension (allowing those limbs to “straighten” only). The wrist and ankles only allow a limited amount of forward/rearward flexion and extension with little (if any) rotation. The elbow's and the knee's are where the feet and the hands are allowed their respective rotational abilities through the arm and leg's dual bones attachment at the elbow and knee respectively (the wrist and ankle are limited in their individual rotational ability).

  Though the degree of those ranges may vary between individual's, they are (regardless) all similar between individual's. The greatest amount of variance between people will be their individual muscular capabilities (i.e. “strength”). In order to develop (or confirm) the validity of a technique/application, muscular “strength” should not be a mandate for a technique's effectiveness (nor the ability to perform it). This is the most common mistake made with many exampled “Tuite” applications.

  Understanding the limb's motion ranges will define how that limb can be used in an offensive motion. That motion is most commonly an extension (of the limb) to deliver the desired momentum/force. Being that the elbow and the knee are (essentially) flat hinges (they only open/close in their respective “2” directions), the shoulder and the hip are the determining “joints” for directional delivery of that extension. Impactive range, is determined through the rotation of the arm bone at the shoulder joint or the thigh bone (at the hip) for the (respective) hand/foot.

  Once this is understood (recognized), the use of these limb's (to deliver/resist strikes) is determined by the fact that those motions are most effectively accomplished in (either) a forward (extension) and to a very limited degree, a rearward (extended) direction. If/when that direction is varied beyond being done in a (directly) forward direction (for the arms), the amount of energy is increasingly diminished (dependent upon the degree of that variance from being done directly forward).

  “Understanding” that the body is most efficient when correctly aligned, it is imperative to understand the optimal way(s) to correct/compensate the entire body's positioning to deliver a strike/motion (when the direction of delivery varies from the optimal direction of doing so, i.e. directly forward).

  Optimal alignment can not always be achieved (during an altercation). For that reason numerous manners of correcting one's “alignment” are taught to students. The instructed kata illustrate many of those positions and are often questioned by practitioner's (during their instruction). It should be realized (remembered?) that the kata contain numerous “tidbits” of instruction. This is why I view many of the “direct application” (following exact motion) interpretations (i.e. “bunkai”) with doubt (if not disfavor).

  Oyata taught that kata motion was (more often than not) only “bits and pieces” of technique's and application. This is why research was required to understand what was being exampled in the Kata's motion.

  Having a basic understanding of Force Efficiency (which entails numerous subjects and details itself) is imperative to one's ability to perform effective techniques (and interpret effective “bunkai”).
 Though we only briefly touched on this subject in our first book ("The Six Basic Principles of Tuite"), our continuing series of "Technique and Application" books are going to address Oyata's defensive body motions and principles/applications more deeply (in various related topics/subjects).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Defining “Force Efficiency”

  Having received (numerous) questions in regards to what I'm referencing to (when stating “Force Efficiency”), I will attempt to explain the concept, as we interpret it.

  The human body is designed to move in particular directions efficiently (with force and ease). Though fully able to (physically) motion in additional directions, those directions are awkward if not (obviously) weak and uncomfortable. Despite this recognized fact, particular motions (technique's?) are shown to be performed in manners that (attempt to) defy their natural manner of motion. This results in “techniques” that are inefficient and weak. Though the body and it's limbs are capable of motioning in numerous directions, that fact should not imply that each of those (possible) motions are efficiently accomplished (nor even desirable).

  This was one of the most emphasized points of Oyata's instruction. It is related to everything that Oyata taught (stances, motion, technique, kata etc.). It was this understanding that defined “Force Efficiency”. We began using the term to define Oyata's descriptions of how/why he instructed particular motions to be performed. The concept is essentially the recognition of how the body naturally performs an action or attains a position (whether the entire body, or a particular limb or appendage). It additionally defines/examples the bodies weaknesses.

  To begin to understand this concept, one need only observe their own body and limbs. Through simple observation, one can establish what positions/motions are natural and which are awkward/weak. This is also evident in what positions are uncomfortable (if not painful) when achieved. Each (individual) limb has (different) Ranges of Motion (R.O.M.). Those ranges dictate how (if not why) a motion should be performed to achieve the most from the action.

  When understood, this concept will illustrate how/why Oyata taught stances and technique's to be performed. This included how one should motion (footwork) when moving in kata (which further illustrated Oyata's defensive principles) and the relationship to the instructed defensive motions.

  As an example, if one stands in a “natural stance”, and rotates their shoulders (to face more to their side), the body is “out of alignment”. The hips and the shoulders are “out of alignment”. This makes any action performed (with either the arm's or the leg's) weaker. This situation is regularly exampled by individual's when performing an action incorrectly. When this situation occurs (and it is commonly done), it is often not even noticed by the individual doing so.

  When told to “correct” the situation, the individual will commonly move the shoulders to achieve the desired alignment. This is “one” way to achieve alignment, but what if the shoulders are (already) in correct alignment? (for the performed “hand” technique/application). That situation requires that the “hips” be realigned. Rotation of the hips is not (necessarily) achieved (nor even able to be done) by moving the hips (alone). To rotate the hips, one need only rotate the appropriate heel (of one of the feet) to attain the desired “hip” positioning.

  This is illustrated by how Oyata would have us “modify” a back-stance. When one assumes the (commonly instructed) “Back-stance”, the forward foot is positioned to point forward, and the rear foot is positioned at a 45º. When this position is taken, the hip's are aligned at a 45º as well. Students will commonly have their shoulders “squared” with the opponent (directly in front of them), ie. Their “hip's” are out-of-alignment with their shoulders (or with the opponent), and (presumably) with the direction that a technique will be directed.  
 To “correct” this misalignment, the forward foot is rotated (“heel-in”, towards the opposite side). Doing so realigns the hips, to become “square” with the shoulders. The torso is now in alignment and able to more effectively deliver an (hand/arm) application. With many of the instructed technique's (and kata), similar minor corrections are required to achieve this “body alignment” (ie. “Force Efficiency”).

  The “mistake” that is commonly made, is that person's will argue that they don't feel that they can deliver as “powerful” of a strike (as that is what the majority of practitioner's gauge “effectiveness” upon). They base this “belief” on how (much) they feel the technique (that they are performing). This is a mistaken perception. The fact that you are “feeling” the technique, demonstrates that not all of the generated energy/momentum is being transferred to the targeted subject/object. This explains that when a technique is delivered correctly, the user perceives little (if any) effort (on their part). This also demonstrates why the “hip shimmy” (when delivering a strike) is an ineffective (and wasted) motion.

  The term “Force Efficiency” encompasses numerous individual factors, but they all are related to one's ability to most effectively apply an instructed application or perform a motion. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


  Oyata's methodology was comprised of numerous (seemingly) “minor” variables that effected the over-all application of the instructed motions. Those additions effected the level of force efficiency available to the student, and the effectiveness of the instructed motions/techniques.
 The manner that defensive techniques are commonly taught, begins with the first “strike” being thrown. A confrontation rarely “begins” with (only) the performance of a “strike”. It is (much) more common for a confrontation to begin with a verbal exchange (between the aggressor and the student). It is during that exchange that numerous factors and opportunities are presented.
 Students are commonly taught (by “many” systems) that they should raise their hands (defensively?) to protect themselves. Though seeming to be a wise choice, it is (additionally) raising the belief (by the aggressor) that one is ready for any impending physical confrontation (essentially conveying a “let's fight” attitude).
 This also relates to our instruction (to students) to practice at a distance of “arm's length” (from an opponent). This is commonly an uncomfortable distance for most people. It is a passive/aggressive positioning. It (for many persons) will cause the aggressor to step/motion their striking shoulder back when initiating a strike (in order to create greater distance to launch a head strike).
 Oyata taught that one should initially leave their hands (down) at their sides. If an aggressor should raise their hands (first), that would modify that positioning choice. But until that occurs, a defender's hands should remain down. For “most” person's, this seems a stupid choice/decision. (Via Oyata,) that is because people ignore many of the telegraphed “signs” of an aggressor actually beginning their assault.
 During an actual confrontation, “body motion” is often exaggerated. The initially made motions (prior to the delivery of a strike) are studied, and the observance of their occurrence are practiced during class (which is another purpose of “class time technique practice”). As with many subjects (being taught), students tend to focus upon the “ending” portion of an action/technique (whether these are done by themselves, or by the uke).
 A great portion of Oyata's instruction was in masking (hiding?) any telegraphed signs of body/technique movement. This was done in conjunction with maintaining the highest level available of/for “force efficiency”. It was this instruction that led Oyata to modify the manner that Kata were taught to be performed. Some have stated that this was reserved to/for “higher” level students, this is inaccurate. He stated (to numerous people/instructors) that these were to be taught to all students (Oyata did not “restrict” any teachings to higher level students or instructor's).
 The concept of “force efficiency” was to be integrated into all instruction. It is initially demonstrated to students during the instruction of Tuite techniques. If/when this concept is ignored or taught incorrectly, the efficiency of a technique is restricted (if not prevented) from being applicable. This is one of numerous factors that are (often) being taught incorrectly.
 The most easily seen indication of an impending strike, is the motion of an aggressor's shoulders. Though the hand/forearm can motion with (some) rapidity, the shoulder will telegraph this action (prior to it's occurrence). Numerous system's teach a “hip” shimmy/rotation when delivering a strike. This was something that Oyata railed on (in regards to it being pointless, if not detrimental).
 There was a recent article I saw in relation to “hip positioning” presented in a group that I belong to. It focused upon the “forward” stance (zenkutsu dachi). It attempted to explain the positioning of the hips, in relation to the spine. The article ignored the (major) detrimental effects of the described positioning, and the flaws that were evident, even in their “correction” (and were clearly evident in the provide photos). The article (IMO) only demonstrated the flaws that were present in how the stance was being taught to be performed, and that the writer didn't really understand the (important) point that wasn't even addressed (in the article). Though easily corrected, they never mentioned how that could/should be done. It was (again, IMO) an example of “limited interest/understanding” (much like the student who only looks at the hands during the performance of a Tuite technique).
 Oyata (as within “most” systems) taught that every technique is an entire body motion. The individual subjects taught within a martial art (regardless of the “system”), are not “independent” and should not be taught as being such. All subjects are to be utilized in conjunction with one another. The “feet” are not the only part of the body used in the delivery of a kick. Nor are the “hands” the only body part used in delivering a “strike or grab”. Every aspect of the body's positioning and motion must be included in every utilized action. It was this subject that Oyata emphasized the most in his instructed method.
 This was the (main) emphasis of “Force Efficiency”. It consists of numerous factors that every student should understand. If/when they are not incorporated within each of one's defensive motions, the technique's effectiveness (or even applicability) becomes questionable. When I observe techniques presented by others, the first thing I observe is the practitioner's available “Force Efficiency”. It includes numerous factors, including body/limb positioning and use, as well as how or if, muscular “strength” plays a part in the motions success (or failure).
 The vast majority of other "popular" systems rely on muscular strength for their techniques success. For our instructive purposes, that factor alone would negate a technique's practicality (much less the instruction of it). To best understand how Force Efficiency is ataintained, the student must be familiar with each of their limb's R.O.M., and the related muscles utilized in their usage. Every limb has (both) effective directions of use, and less than effective directions. Many practitioner's conflate the two, and perform numerous ineffective actions, and/or don't realize how inefficient those actions (actually) are.
 When one examines the limbs individually, their respective limitations should become readily apparent. The fact that a limb can achieve a particular position, does not equate to it generating any “force” (momentum) while doing so. The most prominent example of this is what we refer to, as being a forearm strike (to the outside). This motion is more commonly referred to as being an outside “block” by most systems. As it is commonly taught (as a same-side forearm strike to the outer side/direction) this motion is an incredibly ineffective motion (for much of any purpose, including deflections/parries).
 When one understands how the Bone's, muscles and joints of the arm (physically) function, it becomes readily apparent that the arm is designed and intended to extend and/or contract. That ability is primarily intended to either be done in a “forward” (or away from the body) extension, or in a “pulling” contraction (towards the body). For purposes of “Striking” (an aggressor), the extension of the limb provides the easiest ability to do, unfortunately it is also  not how most instructor's teach this motion to be achieved. Much of this mistake is made because of person's using “pictures” for reference on how to perform this action.
 Book references, commonly illustrate “start” positions, and “ending” positions (for arm motions). The required “travel arc” is dismissed, and an assumption is made that the arm achieves that position in any manner that the individual chooses. This is commonly done the easiest way (duh), and it becomes a sideways motion (in order to attain the shown position). The manner that many are doing so, is both weak, and pointless (accomplishing neither the intent of the action, nor anything of value).
 The motion should be performed in a forward direction. To achieve the desired result (motioning the aggressor's arm to the left or right) requires that the tori rotate (their own body) when performing the (arm's) forward motion. As a result of the tori's rotation, their arm (should) perform the preferred forward motion (to deflect the aggressor's arm). By making this (the tori's arm) a forward action, it can additionally be utilized as a striking motion (as opposed to being only a deflection of the aggressor's arm). This is also why Oyata stated that “Inside/Outside block (strike) same”...
 This exemplifies the concept of Force efficiency. There are (numerous) other factors shown as well, but this is one of the easiest to example and understand.