Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WTF, (Why Tuite Functions)

  I've received numerous commentaries in regards to my "review" (ok, some would say critique) of some video's that exampled individual's "versions" of Oyata's Tuite techniques. The majority of those videos were done by individual's who had "0" one-on-one experience training with Oyata. One of them even went to the extent of deleting all of the negative comments that had been made in regards to it (?). The majority of their content was (obviously) based on only observing Oyata (either via "videos" or at seminars) perform those motions/techniques. It's blatantly obvious that those individual's have only had limited (if any) experience with any of the demonstrated techniques (so can hardly be held accountable for understanding their own misapplication of them).
This leads to my own (biggest) "complaint" in regards to the videos. The fact that they hadn't devoted any time to understanding how (much less why) those technique's work or should be applied (or even how/why they won't work). The demonstrated actions were (all) based upon muscling the opponent's limb's into submission (with little to no concern in regards to how/why it should occur).
Anyone who has read our book should have immediately recognized the (numerous) ways that those individual's were misapplying the demonstrated motions. Virtually every principle that Oyata had directed (in regards to the use of those techniques) was disregarded (within those videos). Some of those misapplications were even (incorrectly) "justified" by those individuals. The majority of what was being misapplied was based on the person's "feeling" stronger (while doing the motions). This resulted in them attempting to overpower the individual. This is only possible if/when one is larger/stronger than the assailant/uke (as was the case in these examples).
This belief was (IMO) additionally reinforced by the lack of whole-body application of the instructed motions (I.E. "Force Efficiency").
The comment's that I received commonly asked for specific "problem's" (with what was observed in the videos). As I stated, take your pick, I had "problems" with all of it. Each of the aforementioned videos utilized the (what we call) "Push-Catch" or "Palm-Press" technique.
This application of (any of) the countering techniques (in regards to that action), should be applied so that the aggressor's ability to resist them is being minimalized in the most effective manner.
Understanding how this should be accomplished, requires the student to (initially) understand how that is most effectively done. 
There have been several (failed) methodology's that have attempted to promote their own "principles"(for this purpose), but each have only amounted to being a vague "List" of (general) procedures that contain no actual guidance within them. Our "6 Principles of Tuite", are (at least) specific in their execution and use. Their utilization is done in unison, so this will require that the student understand their individual application within the specific techniques. 
This will (in turn) require that the student understand what/how the aggressor is "strong" and/or "weak". Muscle strength is (or should be understood to be) a "non" factor. Within each of those examples (on the videos), the aggressor/uke's arm is "straight". This is the most difficult position to apply a (any) defensive application (upon the wrist, as it is being demonstrated within those videos). To further complicate the intended technique's application, the tori draws the aggressor's hand/wrist to their own chest (prior to attempting to applying the intended technique). They have "created" a muscle dependent application. The aggressor hasn't been "broken-down" or debilitated (at all). This is a demonstration of "muscling" a technique, if/when the tori is smaller than the aggressor, this will place them at an (extreme) disadvantage (and serves NO purpose in regards to the application of the technique).
This "tendency/habit" is based on the "tori" feeling stronger while performing the action in this manner. It ignores the reality of the situation (in regards to the aggressor's abilities or lack thereof). The majority of people that practice (their manner of applying this motion) depend upon speed and power for its success. The techniques should be applicable regardless of the speed, or the level of power utilized for their application. This is why we practice the motions slowly (and of course to reduce the chance of injury).
Within each of the chosen videos, the person's who attempted to "explain" their applications failed to address numerous issues within those applications. They (all) basically presented a manor of using their hands, while an aggressor was pushing at them. What little detail that was provided, was more often than not, incorrect in the majority of the conclusions made in their regard.
Prior to their deletion, there had been numerous query's in regards to technique application (within those videos). None of the aforementioned videos addressed (any) "specifics", and what was demonstrated only illustrated their lack of (any) awareness that existed for them. 
Our own "white-belts" scoffed at the demonstrated examples within those videos. Even with their limited experience, they recognized that what was shown would not result in the successful application of the demonstrated motions. The presenters seemed to believe that what they were doing was actually "correct". For themselves, within the presented situations, they may well have been (somewhat) "correct". But for the majority of practitioner's, what was presented would have more commonly resulted in a failed applications
My own feelings are only those of empathy (for those individual's). They are obviously promoting what they believe will work, I just happen to not (at all) agree with them or their methods.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Visual Training

I am acutely aware that there are "different" ways to apply the Tuite techniques that Oyata had demonstrated to individual's during his years on the "seminar" circuit in the "80's" and "90's". Unfortunately, the majority of the attendees of those seminars never sought further instruction in the performance of those techniques. The majority just "took" what they saw, and assembled (something) that they thought was being demonstrated.
The vast majority of those individual's (simply) based what they had seen upon their own ideas of what was being done (and were typically incorrect). That has been clearly demonstrated by the resultant video's that have been presented by those individual's on "U-Tube" and the various available formats.
This is the (all to common) tendency of "Visual Training", where people only "see" a technique and then attempt to replicate it. When this is done, they commonly resort to muscling that technique, and if/when they are big or strong enough, they come up with some manner of motion, that "they" can perform (somewhat) similarly.
I've seen 2 or 3 videos that have attempted to "explain" how those techniques should be performed, and what was shown (at least to myself) demonstrated the complete lack of understanding (or study) that those individuals have devoted for the demonstrated applications. Each one was (IMO) "muscled" (to make it cause some manner of reaction).
Two of those videos used (what "we" call) the "push-catch" or "Palm-Press" application for demonstrative purposes. This technique is not the "easiest" of applications to (initially) utilize, but it is very useful for the instruction of the 6 Principles. In the aforementioned videos, (virtually) "all" of those principles were applied incorrectly and the "demonstrator/tori" didn't have a clue that they were doing so.
What I observed (within those videos) were "technique's" that those individual's had developed, and were now (obviously) teaching, but they had no (serious) relationship to Oyata's versions of them (despite any "claims" of having learned them from him).
"Tuite" has (repeatedly) been placed in the "sub-art" category of instruction. Because of that classification, the involved motions and techniques have been minimalized to being "bulk" limb motions/applications. The execution of "Block's"(sic) are given more attention than what was demonstrated within these "examples" of the applications. It's obvious (to us) that little to no time has been spent actually "studying" the execution of these motions (as is clearly demonstrated within those video releases).
We found it "interesting" that each of those videos relied on escalating "their" manner of executing the technique's to include some manner of "strike" to make it "effective"(?). This is one (of the numerous) things that make us doubtful of the individual's having (actually) "studied" the applications (at least in the manner that Oyata had stated should occur). When the techniques are being applied correctly, there's rarely a need for the inclusion of those "strikes". These "additions" are commonly the result of some level of technique misapplication (if not failure) of it's (correct) use.
In each of the aforementioned video's, the individual's focused (only) upon the aggressor's "wrist"(during the application of "their" technique's). It's obvious that these individual's "compartmentalize" their technique's and fail to consider or apply "whole" body application (of the demonstrated technique). This examples the fact that they are "muscling" (their own versions of) these techniques.
In each of those videos the individual's "suck" the aggressor's hand into/against their own body. The is done because people "feel" stronger when a motion/application is performed close to their own body. It additionally makes the opponent more capable of resisting the technique. By doing so, they have forced themselves to (then) have to "muscle" the application of the technique. If/ when the student has (even minimally) studied the application of these technique's, this becomes obvious. If the person's within those video's had used "larger" uke's, it's doubtful that any of the shown applications would have worked (as Oyata had demonstrated them). It was for that reason that (within our book) we had the smaller person performing the majority of the demonstrated applications.
The use of Tuite is not a manner of overpowering an aggressor. It is the application of motions that undermine the ability of the aggressor to resist those applications. Within the aforementioned video's it wasn't (just) a single factor of the applications that were being misapplied, it was (virtually) all of them.
Video's that (only) demonstrate "technique" application, (IMO) are pretty much worthless. Those videos exampled NO "Principles" for the completion or application of any of the demonstrated applications. What was shown, was how to "muscle" an aggressor's limb into a submission...maybe. The inclusion of Oyata"s name during their demonstration, does not provide any amount of validity for what was shown (as those applications included none of his application methods or principles).

If someone chooses to develop (?) their own version of Tuite (and subsequently) "teach" it, that's their business (and I could honestly care less). But I do care when they attempt to use Oyata's name to validate that instruction.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Changes, Transitions, Progress

It is repeatedly stated that "martial art's" needs to (must) "return to its roots". Which sounds (very) prophetic, but what does that really mean? The majority of martial art systems began with an individual's determining the most practical manner of defending themselves, whether in "combat" (with an enemy soldier) or defending themselves from a roadside thief. Today's practitioner will (commonly) only be doing so within the limitations that are allowed within the social constraints of the society that they live.
For the majority of us, that means that if/when we find ourselves involved in a physical confrontation, we should be capable of protecting ourselves (and/or other's) from suffering physical injury when being involved with protecting ourselves.
How that is accomplished, is commonly dictated by how society allows the individual to do so.
Oyata's instruction has gone through numerous changes over the years. Numerous practices that he once endorsed, were later abandoned by him (as being impractical and/or diversions from his methodology). "Sparring", (constant) use of the makiwara, the emphasis of "power", each of these practices were abandoned as diversions from actual technique application. Though power is important, it should never be the emphasis of one's training. Believing so, only limit's the student's understanding of technique application.
There have emerged numerous "groups" that state that they are teaching Oyata's methodology. For the most part, they are more often teaching a version of it. But much of that instruction is based upon his prior teachings. In his later years, Oyata's emphasis was on understanding the what and how of utilizing his techniques. This included the manner that he wanted students to perform motions within the kata. These were shown to affect the manner that those motions were to be applied with technique, and the results thereof. Those changes affected everything from "strikes" to how Tuite should be utilized.
These changes equated to "Sui-e" (Changes, Transitions, Progress). This was a concept that Oyata promoted for his student's to adhere to. It was never a "mandate" that one remain trapped by tradition or public practice methods, but one of constant advancement (in one's training). It was a belief that "life" was important (whether that of the student, or of an aggressor).
Sui-e dictated that one should be constantly improving (whatever one practiced). It implies that one should be constantly improving what(ever) they do and that it achieves a higher level of skill while doing so. It implies a greater level of moral achievement as well. In the practice of a "Life Protection" system of defense, that means that the student should strive for greater skill (in performing that art) to guarantee the concept of protecting life (all life).
In Oyata's (later) years of instruction he stressed the application of motions that depended not on power, but on technique. In the early years of his instruction, he stated his system's priorities. Those priorities were that the size of the participant's (aggressor or defender) made no difference in the effectiveness of the instructed techniques. That the kata illustrated the principles for utilizing the techniques, and that the student need only study their own body to learn where an aggressor was most vulnerable. Numerous systems are including additional "studies"(sic) to be practiced by their students. Oyata stated that those practices were a waste of (the student's) time (and detracted from their progress).
Many systems are now stating that their instructors were awarded "scrolls" that illustrated the use of these practices. They may well have been presented with those scrolls, but Oyata did not provide nor feel the need to provide those types of scrolls. Oyata's methodology is based upon basic application principles. The scrolls that he did receive (and then provided to us), illustrate those concepts.
"Returning to one's Root's" often only means to utilize basic, recognized concepts. The inclusion of confusing (if not meaningless) practice methods and teachings does nothing to advance one's training.

The study of individual and "whole-body" limb (I.E. "basic") motion will lead the student to question numerous commonly taught practices. Kata motion (study) has the potential to illustrate this practice as well. This is (often) the intent of Sui-e.