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.

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