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 45ยบ 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.