Monday, October 15, 2018

Kata Purpose

During the past 20 years, there would appear to be a greater acceptance for the study of kata within the M.A. Community, The majority of that “study” (IMO) has been limited to interpreting those motions to (only) revolve around the most obvious (if not simplistic) interpretations of/for those motions. The objective of those interpretations is evidently to justify the interpretations that already exist (rather than being an attempt to expand that understanding).
I am inclined to view kata as providing examples of/for application principles (rather than being only examples of technique applications). I can understand why some instructor's would “Poo-Poo” the practice of kata (if the only purpose of the kata, would be for the exampling of “techniques”). That belief makes no sense. Without the understanding of the principles for how and why a technique can/will work, those motions are limited to singular applications.
When Oyata lectured at seminars, or during his classes, those lectures were provided in regards to various application principles. The (individual) “techniques” that he utilized (to illustrate those principles) were not the intent of those lectures. Oyata wasn't concerned if the attendees learned those applications, the goal was to demonstrate a “principle” (that could be utilized in/for multiple applications).
There are a vast number of Kata that are commonly taught within the martial art's community. Many of those kata repeat various motions (between them). If those motions were intended to represent specific techniques, what would be the purpose for their being repeated? (amongst those different kata). It makes greater sense (IMO), that they would represent the application of principles in varying circumstances.
If you take any specific motion, you can (on average) only come up with a limited number of ways that the motion can be utilized (whether alone, or in combination with additional actions). The kata that Oyata included in his system of instruction included those (popular) kata that he believed provided the most common of those uses. Once the principle of that use was understood, he saw no reason that it be (further) repeated. Oyata did develop separate exercises (that could easily be considered to be “kata” in their own right), but those were developed for his student's (further) understanding for the expanded use/application of those motions.
Having “knowledge of/for” a large number of techniques (for responding to a number of specific situations) is all well and fine, but it will not make you a “well-rounded” practitioner. The well-rounded practitioner can/will be able to respond to any aggressive action attempted against them. That ability is achieved by the student understanding the application of the defensive principles that are utilized in their practiced actions.(regardless of the “system” that they are practicing). By understanding those principles, one is able to make any motion/action be/become used as a defensive action or application.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Oyata Te Defensive system

The Oyata Te Defensive system, is intended to train students in effective manners of defending themselves when they become involved in an (unarmed) confrontation. It is taught with a "defensive" aspect ("non-aggressive"). Various applications are instructed to be utilized in/for authoritative situations as well (I.E. Law Enforcement/Security applications).
There exists a fairly common belief, that the practice of a "defensive" art does not include (or even instruct student's in) applications that are intended to cause/create injury. There is no implication being made that a "defensive" art is not capable of causing/creating injury upon an aggressor, only that it is not the intended goal with its use. The priority of a defensive methodology is to protect the user ("first, and foremost"). There are situations where that objective can only be achieved by inflicting sufficient damage/injury (upon an aggressor) that the aggressor is unable to continue their assault. The argument that a defender should (always) be able to "immobilize" (or even restrain) an aggressor (rather than cause/create injury upon them), is an unrealistic expectation. Even when an aggressor can (successfully) be restrained, the situational circumstances may not allow for that to be a valid expectation to utilize in every situation).
The purpose of a defensive methodology is to is to instruct the students of that methodology to protect the student from receiving physical injury if/when they find themselves attacked and/or physically threatened. Although that may require the student to inflict physical (limb) impacts upon that aggressor, the training focus is mainly upon learning to apply manipulations upon an aggressor.
The student of Oyata Te is initially shown to be observant of their surroundings. “Avoidance” is the most practical method of “Self-Defense” and requires the least amount of training or skill to accomplish. The most commonly encountered “aggressor”, is someone who is known to the victim. The majority of physical altercations begin with some level/degree of verbal interaction (whether "hostile" or not), and has escalated into a physical exchange. These can (often) be avoided by not using any "challenging" or "derogatory" language or phrasing during that (verbal) exchange. If the exchange should become physical, the student's first priority, is to avoid becoming injured. Next, they need to neutralize the aggressor's ability to continue their assault. New students are inclined to focus on the second of these defensive aspects. If the first is not achieved, the second is moot.
Providing an effective method of defense should be done by combining one's initial (defensive) actions with those that achieve the second (simultaneously).
The student begins their study by learning the “Natural” movements (ability's and inability's) of their own body. The student's knowledge/awareness of those abilities and limitations allow them to more effectively utilize those motions when applying various instructed applications.
The initially shown motions are (obviously) defensive. Those motions (when they are correctly utilized) are used as transitions to the application of technique responses intended to end a confrontation. The situation will commonly dictate what that will consist of. Because any application has the potential of being miss-applied, and/or being ineffective, the student should be familiar with (multiple) variations of/for those applications. There is no "one-technique" that will work (effectively) in every situation.
The (latest) "popular" trend (in the martial arts community), is the "single-motion" defense. These are commonly "attached" to some alphabetical acronym that makes them easier to remember. I can agree with the concept, but not with what is being shown for the application of those methodologies. These motions are taught as being a "basic" response for any/every type or manner of (attempted) assault. Every one of them (that I've observed), lead into a "grappling" situation. As long as the student is physically strong (enough), the student will (commonly) be able to maintain a superior advantage. If the student is smaller (than the aggressor), they are automatically at a disadvantage. Oyata's methodology avoids the (creation of a) situation that would allow these factors be (or become) a determining factor to the instructed applications.

Once the natural ability's (and inability's, if not limitations) are understood (by the student), they can begin to implement the necessary adjustments to the instructed motions (to maintain their effectiveness in use). A student's initial training is (often) in regards to dispelling (numerous) false/inaccurate assumptions about “natural” and/or commonly used (if not taught) motions. The easiest way (IMO) to discern whether a motion has been taught inaccurately, is if/when that motion has been (purely) instructed in regards to the individual limb's potential. The inclusion of the (remainder of) user's body is treated as being supplemental to the applied motion/action. This is regularly displayed when students perform "regimented" practice (with student's lined-up in formation) to review the instructed motions. This is commonly being done with the students arranged in “Horse” stances (for their arm motion review), and “Back” or “Forward” stances for the leg techniques. This will (subliminally) train the student to assume those positions prior to the techniques use (in a defensive use/situation).
This type/manner of practice is done (primarily) for the instructor's benefit. It achieves little to nothing for the student's abilities (in regards to the individual motion). It is mainly done, because that's how the instructor (originally) learned it (and they haven't considered the probable consequences that result from practice done in that manner). Justification is attempted through "commonality" of use (with no concern in regards to the detrimental results from having done so). Within the practice of Oyata Te, we have attempted to avoid these detrimental training practices. We are continually modifying our own training methods to reflect that objective.
The (next) most “popular” type of practice that we don't include, is that of "sparring" (as it is popularly practiced). Our (equivalent) is closer to that of "3-4 step" (defensive) practice (though could easily be considered "freestyle"). This is done with both student's beginning in "natural" stances, and following the "begin" command, the (pre-designated) aggressor, begins their assault. This practice can include the use of protective gear (or not). The match is commonly ended when one participant is immobilized and/or submits. There are no "points" in these matches, they are intended to be for the student's experience with the use of the instructed motions and applications.
This manner of practice is considered (in general) to represent when the student has failed to perform the instructed applications correctly. If/when those applications were done correctly, the (“fight”) situation would not be as likely to occur.
Student's are shown the (basic) use of the “Tuite” applications early on in their training (often from their first class). As the student's abilities with those motions progress, the situations that they will become applicable within are increased as well (during the student's training) including when those motions can be initiated by the student. Many of the basic techniques are commonly bring dismissed as impractical or too rare (in their occurrence) for the student to concern themselves with their (varied) use. The use of "slow speed" practice (to represent a confrontation) can demonstrate the value/applicability of those techniques when being properly applied.
Tuite is an integral piece of the Oyata Te system (having an equal importance as the instructed stances, strikes and application's provide). Those systems that provide (their own) versions of it, (often) treat it as a separate study. Within the Oyata Te system, It is trained for and is utilized in conjunction with the use/application of the more commonly recognized defensive motions (used during a defensive confrontation).

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What Oyata Te Encompasses

This system of instruction in Oyata's defensive methods and methodology evolved from 30+ years of the founder's experience from Oyata's (direct) instruction. The Oyata Te system employs the (direct) instructions and guidance that was received from Taika Seiyu Oyata during his final years of instruction. Many of the founding members trained (directly) with Oyata himself (on a weekly basis) during those years, and were completely familiar with Oyata's desires for his methodology's advancement. Although his (public) organization "survived" his passing, that organization has chosen to pursue a different direction for that membership's instruction. Although we recognized their reasons for doing so, we did not agree with those choices and have chosen to pursue the instruction of our students to be done in the manner that we received it (from Oyata himself). For that reason, the founding member's organized the Oyata Te system.
We pursue the "ideal" of sharing Oyata's methodology with interested systems/instructors, and attend numerous gatherings/seminars that allow us to do so. We have no (or at least limited) desire to increase our system's membership level. The majority of the instruction that we provide is (often) for the improvement of "any" system/methodology's technique application (as it was provided to us by Oyata).
Oyata provided varying levels of instruction (in his methodology) over the years that he lived within the United States. What was taught prior to his immigration (here) was different than what was taught after that arrival. That instruction continued to be improved (by him) until his passing in 2012. His final years of instruction focused upon principles and details of/for instructing his methodology. That instruction included (numerous) changes/additions (if not corrections) to kata and weapon's use/application.
Oyata was never a “fan” of the “belt-ranking” system (commonly employed by the various martial art systems). He would often express regret for his employment of it, and felt that it (too often) inflated the egos of some individual's who had been promoted (with it). Within “our” school/system “Oyata Te”, and within our system of instruction, we have restricted (if not eliminated) the "Dan" ranking system. Once our students achieve a Yudansha (Black Belt) ranking, there is no further/higher “ranking” available. All Yudansha are treated as equals. Those who have/provide particular (if not specific) instruction (in various subjects) are recognized, and are (individually) approached for instruction in those subjects.
Our student's main focus is upon “open-hand” (defensive) training. That instruction commonly entails a longer training period that is more commonly recognized/experienced (within this "industry"). The average amount of a student's training (within our school), prior to testing for Yudansha is 4-6 years. We additionally don't “charge” for mudansha (“kyu” rank) gradings. This should be understood to be the result of the fact that we are not attempting to “make a living”(nor are we obligated to “pay bill's”) from the instruction of our classes. That “obligation” (obviously) will vary between instructors of this system. Unlike many of those instructor's, we reserve the right to dismiss a student/attendee for any (justified) reason, and/or reject a student's application to study with us (These would be rare occurrences but it should be understood regardless). We have limitations on how many student's that we will accept (within our weekly classes) but with the varied "work" schedules of our present students, overcrowding is rarely a problem.
The seminars that we attend/instruct at, are (most commonly) used to illustrate individual aspects of Oyata's methodology (whether those are shown in regards to "Tuite", "weapon's" or defensive applications). Attendees should never assume that they are (then) “training” in the Oyata Te system. They are only receiving exposure to that system.
Only those person's who train in and/or have received a Yudansha ranking (within the “Oyata Te” system) are authorized to award or present ranking within that system (and is done so within the parameters of our system's mandates).
For those that (continually) have asked, neither Oyata nor ourselves have ever Endorsed or accepted/condoned any amount of "TCM" instruction/practices to be a part of the instruction that we provide. We are fully aware that numerous persons that attend our seminars participate in "that" practice but has no relevance to what (or how) our instruction of Oyata's methodology is provided.
We consider the pursuit of that subject to be “on par” with Flat-Earther beliefs. Student's are free to believe/study anything that their interests leads them to, but those beliefs are not recognized by the Oyata Te System/ instructors.
That being stated, we regularly explore (recognized) medical research that aids in our instruction of the Oyata Te methodology. Our students are exposed to the study of (general) Anatomy and body/limb motion (Kinesiology). This was the only "extra" (type of) study that Oyata endorsed. It could be (easily) argued that Oyata included (a limited amount of) behavioral tendency's, and to an equally limited extent it is (being limited to a person's naturally performed actions and reactions).
Oyata's methodology focused on the efficient performance of the instructed actions. Those actions are intended to provide specific reactions (by the aggressor) with their implementation. Though not (individually) being complicated, they required a greater amount of practice to perform them (effectively). Each of our students receives individual instruction (as each student will have particular differences/limitations and/or abilities). This accounts for the "limitations" that we impose on our (own) class sizes. This commonly results in (that student's training) requiring a larger (I.E. longer) than is commonly recognized amount of time spent with their training.
The video examples that we have provided (elsewhere) in regards to the Oyata Te methodology have been provided for those practitioner's who possess some level of experience (in the illustrated subject). Those examples only illustrate limited examples of those subjects (being addressed within those videos).
Becoming an instructor/member of the Oyata Te system requires an instructor to (personally) participate in those classes that provide that ability. Though being a "common" practice, the Oyata Te system does not automatically bestow (any) “rank” upon a new member/practitioners (regardless of any previously earned ranking). We consider the provided instruction to be individual (if not specific) from other commonly taught defensive systems. Although (possibly) appearing to be “elitist”, we are only choosing to endorse a specific method of defensive instruction/practice to/for our own students (within our instruction of this methodology). Our acceptance of (member) instructor's to endorse any "additional" instruction/practices (within their own classes) can or may be accepted, but are not (necessarily) recognized (by any other members within our organization).