Sunday, November 13, 2016


 Having received (more than a few) inquiries, I've decided to further elaborate details regarding Oyata's Motion/Technique guidelines.


Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's Effectiveness

Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once

Avoid Moving directly to the Rear

Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,

Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.

Always Face Your Opponent

Learn Your Own Weaknesses, 
In Order to Know Your Opponent's

Addressing these one at a time, 

#1. Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's  

  If a technique requires that the student or their opponent possess a certain level of physical prowess (IE. “strength”) to cause or allow the attempted technique to work, it will be considered to be of limited (if any) value as an instructed technique. Oyata's techniques had no physical requirements or limitations on who his technique's would function upon, nor whom could utilize them (when correctly performed).


#2. Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once,

  Being that the average human, possess 4 (functional) limb's, it can be presumed that one is capable of using 3 of those limbs (2 arm's and 1 leg) when performing a defensive action. Though commonly assumed to be done in unison, there is no actual “mandate” that requires them to be done so. More commonly there is a variance in their use (for each) of the individual limb's motions.


#3. Avoid Moving directly to the Rear,

  Of the various directions of motion that one can make, directly rearward is the slowest (and therefor is the least defensively viable option). Oyata taught various methods of increasing one's speed of their footwork (“switch-foot”, “knee-buckle”, “light-foot”, etc.). These practice methods allowed the student to practice quickly shifting their body-weight. The use of these methods would increase the student's ability to (more) quickly do so.


#4. Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,

Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.

  This is something that would seem to be Obvious, but evidently isn't. Although attempts made beyond a limb's natural R.O.M. Is often possible, that doesn't make that motion practical, or efficient.


#5. Always Face Your Opponent,

  Beyond the obvious necessity of seeing one's opponent, following this mandate will (more easily) keep the student's motions/action's within the Area of optimal Force Efficiency. This area is between the width of the shoulder's, and to the front of the student. 

#6. Learn Your Own Weaknesses, 
      In Order to Know Your Opponent's,

  Oyata taught that one should examine their own weaknesses and inabilities. These could used to example what would (or could) be vulnerable on an opponent. Much confusion (and B.S.) is conveyed within the martial arts community (as a whole) in this regard.  
 If/when something is explained with (any) “mystical” connotations, the chances are 99.99% that it is B.S. Oyata utilized nothing beyond stating that “this or that” location, could cause such and such. He stated that ALL of the T.C.M. Teachings (in regards to Defensive Application's) was total B.S. and would stand for none of it being discussed within his classes, those stupid enough to press the matter would be asked (if not told) to leave.

  In our own experience(s) (over the past 45 years of practice and research), we have never found it (T.C.M.) to add to or enhance any aspect of our training. We invite anyone to attempt to change our minds, but we have discussed with and witnessed numerous individual's who have attempted to do so (with no success on their part). 
  Our instructional approach (and that of Oyata) is through achieving an understanding of the limb's R.O.M. and the natural motions/reactions made in response to the application of Oyata's defensive methodology.

  We utilize these listed (basic) tenets for foundational reference/validation in regards to newly shown/developed technique's and applications. If/when a motion/technique meets these basic tenets, any additional guidelines are considered and a technique/motion is (either) validated (and included in our teaching syllabus), or invalidated (and thus rejected from being included and/or taught within our school). Taught technique's should be usable by any student, upon any opponent (regardless of size, strength or mass). 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Defensive Motion Guidelines

Defensive Motion Guidelines
  A common class period is spent learning new individual application motions. These can consist of singular actions, as well as several defensive combination motions. During the “formation” portion of the class is when these singular actions are reviewed, and corrected.
  During the application portion of our class we combine these individual motions to be applied in (either) successive or collective applications (commonly being practiced in 1-3 Step kumite exercises).
 The most common misunderstanding, is that the application of these motions are not “set in stone”. They are completely capable of being (instantly) modified to deal with a continually changing situation.
 As with anything, there first needs to be established a foundation set of guidelines/priority's for determining these motions acceptance of/for use.
These guidelines should be established as being general in their use. To begin with, let's examine the (required) general preferences (for a motion/technique to be considered as being a legitimate action/technique).
#1 The Motion's Priority, Is to Protect the User.
#2 The Motion Should Be as Natural as is Practical.
#3 The Motion Should Be Able to be Performed Equally by the   
     Majority of Individual's.
#4 The Motion Should Not be Orientated to Either (Specific) Side  
     of the User (Right/Left).
#5 The Motion Should Not be Dependent Upon the Size or Strength
      of either the User (tori), or the Receiver (uke). 
  This is not to say, that there won't be some motions/techniques that fall outside of these guidelines. Only that they may very well not be suitable for use by every individual (student) in every situation.
  In addition to these general guidelines, there are additionally some specific preferences that we also attempt to adhere to. These were Regularly voiced by Taika, and have become the cornerstone of his teachings.

  Size/Strength (alone) is not Relevant to a Technique's   
  Utilize 3 Defensive Motions at Once
  Avoid Moving directly to the Rear
  Hand Motions Work Best, Above the Waist,
  Leg Motions Work Best, Below the waist.
  Always Face Your Opponent
  Learn Your Own Weaknesses, In Order to Know Your Enemy's

  These guidelines were neither revolutionary or prophetic. In most cases, they are only the obvious. Despite that fact, many systems attempt to (over) emphasize training methods and technique's that are (either) counter productive or ineffective/impractical for the (average) student.
  There are various tenet's that are followed while practicing the instructed technique's. These tenet's are followed without the common fanfare that seems to be attached to most rules of technique practice. They are as follows:
  The Majority of an aggressor's strikes are directed toward the defender's head.
Therefore, the Uke's strikes can initially be presumed to be directed at the tori's head. As both tori and uke become more familiar with the motions, the location of where an uke's additional strikes may be directed can be addressed.
  Strikes emanate from shoulder height and below.
Therefor any defensive actions should initially be performed at “chin” height (or below).
  The Aggressor (Uke) will utilize multiple strikes/motions.
Once a defensive application is understood, the practice of those motions should include multiple striking attempts when/if possible.
  More punches are circular than straight.
Practice should consist of 60% circular strikes being made by the uke.
  The Uke should attempt to “counter” the tori's strikes (when able).
While practicing (understood) defensive actions, the uke should attempt to include any “counter's/follow-ups” that they remain able to perform.
  The uke's strikes should penetrate to an effectual limit
(If the tori should miss their defensive counter, the uke's strike will connect). If/when the uke is too far away (from the tori) to “contact” with their strike, they are not representing an active part of the training process.
  Technique's are practiced at arm's length distance.
Tori and Uke are an arm's length apart. This is the standard confrontation “distance”.
  For both Tuite and Strike defense practice, varied clothing should be rotated.
Variance in student clothing should be included in training to simulate any applicable differences in their training. 
 Oyata taught that a student will have a “strong” hand, and a “fast” hand. Their strong hand was usually their dominant side hand, and their fast hand, was the other. For that reason, Oyata would have students “strike” with their non-dominant hand twice as much as with their dominant (to “build” it's strength/power). He would also have them practice cover/deflecting motions using their dominant hand (to build it's speed/control). Oyata was (basically) ambidextrous, he could utilize either hand, equally (and didn't understand when a student couldn't do so). He believed it to be a “Flaw” from being born a Westerner, (which was his “Joke”).
  In Oyata's methodology, students begin with simplistic exercises to familiarize the student with the performance of the instructed motions. That practice begins with the student working on the Initial Defensive Combination. This combination introduces the student to the utilization of 3 defensive motions used in unison.
  It's accepted that it is impossible to be certain how an aggressor will begin an aggressive action. Even though we can not be certain of what an aggressor will (initially) do, we are aware of what actions are most likely to be used. This is based on (both) personal experience, and on (police) records of physical assaults.
  The most common “first” action (on the part of an aggressor) is a punch directed at the tori's head/face or at/upon the student's abdomen. Being that it's rare that the tori would (specifically) know which hand an aggressor would use (to hit them with), the first instructed motion will defend against either hand being used (by the aggressor). This attempt is (most) commonly an attempt to hit the head/face of the defender (tori). The next factor to consider (defensively), is how that strike will be delivered.
  There are only four ways that a punch can be thrown (using either arm). The most common is a “Roundhouse” punch. The second most popular is a “cocked” straight punch. Next is a punch thrown from the waist, and finally an “uppercut” punch.  Additionally, the tori can't be certain which hand will be utilized for delivering that punch.
  The first instructed (defensive) “combination” will work regardless of which arm or striking method is used. It is intended to provide an effective response regardless of which striking method is used (and the same motion can also be used against either arm being used by the aggressor.
  This (the most commonly taught “first” defensive combination) motion can be successively used against any of the aforementioned striking actions that might be utilized. It adheres to all of the defensive application guidelines, and meets all of Oyata's technique preferences.
  This motion will introduce the student to Oyata's defensive methodology, and provide them with an (initial) defensive technique that can be used in a fairly short amount of practice time. That doesn't mean that it's necessarily simple, but compared to many commonly used methods, it utilizes simple to learn motions that can be naturally executed in a (comparatively) short amount of time.