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. 

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