Thursday, March 15, 2018


 The application of the instructed techniques are commonly utilized upon (various) anatomical locations that will provide the desired responses. Those locations are commonly recognized as being "atemi" (or even kyusho) point's/locations. These locations (commonly) amount to being (vulnerable) physical locations that are readily accessible for being struck and/or manipulated. These locations can be tendons,muscles or (vulnerable) nerves.The use of these locations requires the understanding of "what" qualifies that location as being vulnerable (for use in a defensive situation).
This can (often) only amount to being "available" (for that use). This requires that the student understand where, when, how those locations are (both) located and vunerable to/for (defensive) use.
These locations are identified (to our students) during their general instruction of the shown motions and applications. The student must (obviously) be aware of the presense and location of those nerves and the location of the relevent muscles and tendons. We (initially) address the "major/main" muscles and nerves of the area(s) of technique application/use.
These begin with the student's knowledge of:
Major Arm muscles:
Of the Upper-Arm:
Of the Forearm:
Arm Nerves: Ulnar Nerve
Medial Nerve
Radial Nerve
All of the nerves within the arm emanate from the brachial plexus (located in the upper lateral area of the neck/chest area for the relevant arm). Where those nerves enter the arm (within the “arm pit”) they continue down the arm into the Elbow then will separate and continue into the hand. The Radial nerve “circles” the upper-arm and travels down to the Elbow, then follows the "thumb" side of the arm. The Ulnar and Medial nerve remain in the medial side of the upper-arm until they reach the elbow. The Medial and Ulnar nerve inter the Elbow-joint (deep) and exit the elbow (entering the forearm) into the anterior side of the forearm. These nerves (loosely) follow the Ulnar bone to the wrist. These nerves are superficially located at the wrist (prior to entering the hand) along the anterior side.
The Upper Leg Muscles:
Frontal: Quadracept Muscles
Posterior: Hamstring Muscles
The (Upper) Leg Nerves:
Medial: Femoral Triangle (cluster of nerves within the medial thigh region)
Radial: Psciatic nerve: Follows the side of the leg medially (Branches and becomes the common Paroneal, goes above and around the knee,
The Lower Leg Muscles: Mainly consist of the posterior calf muscles
The Lower Leg Nerves:The Tibial nerve continues towards the foot, under the calf muscles.
Strikes to the legs (generally) produce one (or more) “general” responses, the “collaps” of the knee or the rotation of that leg (and therefor the “Hip's/Torso). Either of these actions can be augmented with the “follow-through” of the actions. The lateral rotation of the knee can additionally cause excessive (if not damaging) pressure upon the ankle of the effected leg.
One should note, that the commonly struck areas of the “diametrically” located arm, has similarly located “points/locations”, as are present upon the respective leg (the left leg, in relation to the Right arm etc.).
The greatest misconception of striking a muscle, is that it has be either “flexed” (or "relaxed") when struck. The Tori will only have limited amount of control in that ability (regarding the state of that muscle), so it becomes important to understand how the muscle/tendon should be struck in either of those situations. When it is relaxed (comparitively) it will produce a greater reaction when the strike is made upon the muscle body. When the muscle is flexed, it is easier to achieve a reaction by striking the tendon's (of that muscle). (Most of the misconceptions in this regard, are based on not understanding the actions of the muscles/tendons when the limb's are beihg utilized).
When the muscle is relaxed, it is more productive to strike the muscle body. When the muscle is being utilized, the muscles tendon's are easier to achieve a desirable reaction (and vice-versa).
The area directly surrounding a “joint”, contains mainly tendon's. The muscle “bodies” are mainly located upon the locallized limb (mid-way) between those joints. Whether a muscle is flexed or relaxed is dependent upon the action being performed with the relevant limb.
The leg's muscles, are always being utilized (when the subject is standing), so one's choice of targeting is dependent upon upon the subjects positioning and/or action (at the time of an impact). Direct Strikes made upon a muscle “body”, need to be done with a higher level of (penetration) "power" to achieve an effective result (as the muscle will commonly be flexed). A strike to the tendons (of that same struck muscle) need to be done across/perpenticular to those tendons.
The majority of the instructed strikes, attempt to take advantage of the “2 car” principle (with an attempted strike). This either includes the opponent's motion, or the addition of the Tori's second hand. This is also refferred to as being the “cutting board” principle (of application).
The degree of response/reaction (by the Uke) is gauged by the degree of movement allowed (or reduced) by the Tori during the techniques application. Strikes are applied with either direct or perpendicular motion upon the struck tendons/muscles (depending on which is being struck).
The correct inclusion of one's body weight, is effected by one's use/motion of their entire body, This is accomplished via the Tori's (body) rotation and raising/lowering of their body (during the performed motion). This rotation is commonly achieved through one's motioning of the knee's, hip's and shoulder's during those actions. Stances are often (mistakenly) considered to be secondary to an attempted action. Stances are another piece of the primary application. The positioning achieved by the lower body determines what can (effectively) be achieved with the upper body/arm's.
Forward and Rearward (body) motion will additionally effect the subject's (probable) limb positioning. Using the "Walking" example/model, limb position/use (as well as vunerabilitys) can be established prior to the subjects use of those limbs (regardless of whether the subject is moving or stationary when the motion is being performed).
Those individual's who (attempt to) use the "TCM" theory's, use that information to convey a similar understanding of these principles (of motion). We feel that study is unneccessarily confusing (if not missleading) and includes unproven (if not incorrect) concepts and ideas that only confuse the student.
Oyata spurned those ideas and would become (very) hostile if they were brought up. He wanted nothing to do with (any) individual's that promoted that study. He believed it to be a distracting waste of time.
When limb motion was described, it was related in an obvious (if not simplistic) and relatable manner. Oyata may have not known the ("name" of the exact) muscle being struck (or utilized), but he could describe all of the possible actions of that muscle (and how it did/didn't work). That knowledge didn't come from a book (nor from "scholarly" study), his knowledge was gained through his (direct) research of technique use and the reactions from that use.
What we've found (through the instruction of our student's) is that the greater the student's understanding of basic "body-motion", the more easily they will be able to apply the instructed applications. The more obvious (if not simplistic) that understanding is, the more applicable it becomes for the student. For those student's that wish to explore that understanding to a higher degree, the material is readily available through the vast amount of medical texts available in any public library (everywhere). Each of the previously described actions can be described (with greater detail) within those texts (often providing the research parameters that established those conclusions).
The most important factor (for the student to understand), is that an individual muscle, tendon or nerve will not (if ever) only cause/create reactions that are located at the affected location (Ka Han Shin-Ja Han Shin).
The Use of these locations (for defensive applications) will be directly proportional to the student's understanding of the location (and general use) of the commonly used muscles in conjunction with the limb's R.O.M. (during that limb's use).


Anonymous said...

First let me say I like the fact you aren't trying to shroud things in the mystical TCM world.

Second, don't you think it's a bit of an oversimplification to propose that folks could figure out how to make techniques more effective by having a look at a medical text? I mean there is a ton of nuance that goes beyond just knowing where the nerves and tendons lay. Don't get me wrong I think that's important, but if this stuff was easy to figure out everybody would have by now. Knowing the vulnerable spots is 10%. The other 90% is understanding how to strike it, the angles, the force, the anticipated reaction to the strike,why it works or what you might have done wrong when it doesn't etc.

To compare it to tuite. You have been blessed immeasurably by your instructor, but if you didn't have that level of instruction. If you had just some basic information about how the nerves lay in the wrist, could you have developed a viable tuite technique in isolation? What if you were further handicapped in the pursuit by having studied in a system that taught a less optimal version of joint locking?

Anyway, I just think most people want their techniques to be as effective as possible, and if they haven't figured out how to do some of these things it's not for a lack of desire or effort. It's a life time pursuit to learn this stuff with highly competent people leading you down the right path. I sometimes wonder what it is the truly accomplished martial artists like Taika have that let's them innovate and understand at such a high level, blazing new paths when most folks struggle to follow while being led.

Openhand said...

Let me first say, thank you for the question(s) and comments. Unlike the majority of the questions that I receive, yours at least appeared to have included some “thought” to them. The questions you provided were valid, and my response (which was too large for here), are fairly common among those received by me and led me to write a “blog post” in regards to my response.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I'll take a look at your reply shortly.