Friday, February 24, 2017


 With our continuing exposure to various styles/systems, whether that be through our “visiting” students, the prior experiences of our (regular) students, or through the seminars that we are offering (in addition to the casual observation of other classes). It's becoming (more) obvious to us that Oyata's belief that all (systems of) “karate”, are more similar than different, is a justified belief.

 Regardless of the “system” being taught (whether traditional or eclectic), the motions they contain are (generally) being taught and practiced in the same (or similar) manners (as most every other system is teaching them to be performed). There are often minor differences (with, or without any “reasons” being provided), but the generalized motions are more similar than different in virtually every case.

 This understanding has made it easier for us to provide instruction to those students so that what we are showing them can be incorporated into what those students are (already) familiar with. Oyata's greatest asset (at least in “our” opinion), was that he had an answer for why those motions were to be performed in the instructed manner (whether that motion was within kata, or within the application of an instructed motion).

 Those differences are seen in how (as well as why) Oyata taught us to perform the majority of the instructed motions/actions. It mattered not, whether those motions were in reference to “Tuite” or with the “striking” applications being practiced. We will often (well, occasionally) encounter similarly taught principles and practices, but they are often being based upon (in our opinion) flawed principles (if not “beliefs”).

 If one “solely” gathers their understanding of (other) system “differences” (from watching internet video clips), they will (quickly) have a very skewed understanding of those differences.   The most common response is to “critique” what has been shown, without (actually) seeing if it does or doesn't work (at least in regards to how it is being presented).

 What we've found, is that numerously shown motions/techniques can be performed (successfully) if/when Oyata's principles have been applied to/included with them. What we've seen, is that the majority (of those instructed motions/techniques) are being taught, based on their being “muscled”. That approach is only valid, as long as the student is larger/stronger than their opponent. If what you are learning is based on being a “defense” (that can be used by anyone), and upon “anyone”, then size/strength (of either party) should make no difference (in regards to a techniques viability).

 When providing our seminars, we've found that we can (usually) demonstrate how those technique's already known/practiced by the attending student's, can become (more) effective, and applicable to those students. Our seminars are not “Look at what we can do” events, they are how can you improve what you are already doing “learning” seminars.

  Once the basic instruction of the shown applications has been practiced (by the attending students), we encourage those students to “question” what they've been shown. Without “critique” the seminar would only be a “look at me” event. Basic instruction is only intended to introduce the application/technique to the student.  
 Once that introduction is made, then the practicalities of its use/application needs to be understood (by the attending students). For every “one” student that asks a question, there is (commonly) four more (student's) who don't ask (at least until the class has ended).

  The advantage to attending a seminar is the ability to ask questions of the person(s) providing that event. We don't consider “questions” as being challenges to what we are showing. We consider those questions as being opportunities to “clarify” what was shown. Questions are (rarely) “unique”. We have (cumulatively) over 60 years of experience (between only my associate and myself). Those “Questions”, are often those that have been asked by ourselves (over our own training period) or by our (regular) students. We welcome new/different perspectives, and questions, have the potential to expand our own study/practice. We utilize this same approach in/during our own classes as well (and a “seminar” should be treated no differently in our opinion).

  Though not (initially) intending this post to be a “how to make attending a seminar worthwhile”, I feel as if it is something that needs to be addressed. When watching someone's “video post” (on “whatever” technique/application), “I” have numerous questions (that come to mind), and nobody seems to ask any. If they are, then those questions have been edited out (or are not included in those clips). IMO, this infers that the “instructor” of that seminar (video) is only promoting theirselves, not what's being (supposedly) shown.

  Anything shown/learned at a seminar, should be questioned (to the provider of the subject matter). Those questions will (either) confirm, question, or refute the provided subject matter. If/when the “guest” (instructor?) can't provide equitable answers (to those questions), you are providing a service to your own class (as well as any other attendee's).

  That instructor should have the requested answers to those questions. If/When they don't, why are they providing the instruction? An experienced instructor will have those answers, not “vague” responses that elude to some “mystical” reason as to why or why not.

  I make these statements based on my own experiences (both attending, and providing seminars). When you are attending a seminar, “you” are the customer (you probably paid to attend it), you should be asking those questions that allow you to believe you received your money's (and “time's) worth. Even if/when that “seminar” is free, you're still committing your time (that could be utilized elsewhere/otherwise). 
 Whether what is being shown is (in your opinion) “good” or “bad”, something can be gained through the attendance of that event. It's (unfortunately) often up to you to determine what that level of knowledge may be.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Atemi/Kyusho Direction of Application

 Though the term “Kyusho” is being regularly utilized to describe (any) strikes, those strikes are more commonly Atemi (strikes). Unless a strike results in achieving a particular response (that couldn't be achieved by another type/manner of “strike”), it shouldn't be considered to be a “Kyusho” (type) strike. Oyata considered “Atemi” strikes, to be distraction (strikes). This means that an atemi strike commonly results in causing minimal, if any physical injury/damage, but will result in achieving a particular response. “Kyusho” strikes (regularly) can or do (directly) cause physical damage if/when properly applied.
  Considering that the majority of confrontations and/or situations don't require the use of those types of techniques, the majority of what is taught (within Oyata Te) are atemi strikes. Those persons that seek (or claim to teach) the “magical” one-touch/strike technique, have bought into the fantasy of the “deadly Eastern Warrior”. Oyata didn't teach that manner of technique application. He became “popular” from his neck-strike “knockouts”, but that amounted to being a (very) small piece of his methodology (and was considered to be an atemi type of strike).
  Regardless of whether a strike was considered to be Atemi, or Kyusho, that strike required that it be applied in the correct direction, and with the correct amount of force. It's commonly assumed, that “more” force (being used with those strikes) is “better” (than less force). This assumption is inaccurate. Numerous examples of those applications can be performed incorrectly through the use of excessive force.
  Those individual's teaching the “more”(force) is (always) better, have never studied with Oyata. He (Oyata) would often demonstrate how excessive force would negate an applications effectiveness. Though producing an “effect”, that effect would never be equal (or even close) to the results he achieved with those same motions using less power, but (more) correct technique. This was the result of understanding the motion/technique, and not simply attempting to replicate those motions. This was also (readily) displayed with the (attempted) replication of his (Oyata's) Tuite techniques (by “others”).
  In order to (properly) utilize the strikes that Oyata taught, one needs to understand what the strike (upon the particular location) is intending to achieve. The most common response (to an atemi application) is a withdrawal of the impacted location (commonly being directly away from the location and direction of impact). The same result could/would (often) be achieved with a push (to the location) as well. This is readily evident in the application of Oyata's Tuite techniques.
  Many of the “observed” examples (being taught by other methodology's) attempt to distinguish locations by “how” they are utilized (ie. Via a “push”, “rub”{?} or “strike”). Those systems that do, are (commonly) interested in promoting how “painful” the manor (of application) that they teach is. “Pain” is an irrelevancy (to technique application). It (pain) is subjective (to the individual) and should not be considered relevant to a techniques (proper) use/application. It is the reaction/response to the motion that is important (defensively).
  When this (“response”) approach is used (in the application of this manner of technique), it achieves a defensive function within one's defensive actions. Oyata considered size and strength, to be irrelevant factors (when considering technique application). When a technique is properly applied, those factors should not effect the desired reaction (from the applications use). Using this approach changes how (numerous) commonly taught techniques are applied (or even considered for use). The idea of using “brute force” (as one's “main” defensive option, and/or means of application) is limited to those student's who are capable of achieving that level of force. This is commonly exampled by those “instructors” (of that mentality) once they have aged and/or have suffered injury, (often from the pursuit of that methodology) that can no longer replicate the very applications that they once taught/endorsed.
  In 30 years of study with Oyata, I never saw him use (or teach) “strength” or “power” to achieve a desired reaction to an applied motion or technique. Can strength be used to achieve some of those results?, of course, but that shouldn't be the “Basis” for any techniques use or it's inclusion in a defensive training curriculum. Doing so, only perpetuates inaccurate beliefs in regards to the effectiveness of those techniques.