Friday, December 7, 2018

Definition and the Use of Motion, within the Oyata Te System

Oyata's methodology (regardless of the time-period for that instruction) has always emphasized (entire) "body" motion/use during the application of the instructed motions. That instruction varied/changed over the course of his (years of) instruction. This came about because Oyata was constantly striving to improve the instruction that he provided to us (his students). Many of the concepts that he taught, were provided with no definitive "labels" that distinguished those principles. Many of them encompassed several (sub) subjects. One of the major ones, we have "labeled" as Force Efficiency.
Force Efficiency is the term that we use in our instruction of the (physical) application of the instructed motions utilized within the Oyata Te system. Oyata did not use this term, it is the phrase that we coined to define the manner that he (Oyata) taught and utilized to convey that concept. The term is used to define the efficient use of the physical actions that are taught to our students (via the instruction that was received from Oyata). Our use of the word “Force” should not be confused with Forceful or to imply “strength” (within the use of those applications).
The average student is initially inclined to believe that having a greater amount of (physical) “strength” will assure that students use of the instructed motions will (always) prove to be the most effective (if not efficient). Of the (multiple) factors that determine the “effectiveness” of an application's use, the amount of applied “power/force” is considered to be the least important (the correct “placement” of that application being significantly more important).
When one is determining what factors are the most universally available, physical strength is only one of, if not the lowest/least important on that list. If/when a technique isdependent upon that “one” factor (I.E. “power”), it is (then) only applicable by a limited number of individual's (male or female). That use is additionally dependent upon it being greater than the opponent's ability to resist/absorb that application.
The student's knowledge of an opponent's natural "weak spots" (not necessarily "Pressure Points") is necessary for the use of those applications. That awareness/knowledge is taught through the instruction of the student's use  >of their own body (within the instructed motions).
Force Efficiency is the initially instructed "awareness" of those strengths (and vulnerability's). Though (initially) taught as an efficient means of technique delivery/use (by the student), it additionally exemplify's an opponent's vulnerabilities. If/when involved in a physical conflict with an opponent who is larger/stronger, the student must have the ability/knowledge that allows them to circumvent those advantages. This awareness is exampled in every aspect of the instructed positions/motions.
When people (generally) speak of Oyata's technique application, they (commonly) will refer (if not “obsess”) to his use of a “neck-strike/knockout”. This technique (though being very impressive) was often difficult (if not "impractical"to utilize in a (more "common") altercation. If that technique were as "effective/practical" (as people generally imply) why didn't Oyata spend more (if not the majority) of his classes being devoted to his student's perfecting it? (obviously) Because it wasn't
(either “easy” nor practical ). Depending on the circumstances, it more often resulted in a “stun” (or temporary imbalance of an opponent (thus becoming a glorified “atemi” strike, which was what Oyata considered it to be. Our use of the term "Force Efficiency" is used to exemplify the student's most efficient use of their body and appendage motion in the application/use of the instructed positions, motions and techniques (whether defensively or offensively). That instruction begins with the student learning/understanding what motions are natural and what motions are not. That includes the subliminal motions that occur in response to expected and/or unexpected actions (performed by the student or Uke during an altercation). The student's awareness of those responses allows them (those responses) to be utilized within the student's application of (the instructed) technique. <
When one examines what constitutes “natural” motion, it commonly consists of forward motion (by the bodies limbs. Those motions that are “circular” (or rearward) are not considered to be as “practical/effective” for use (as those that are delivered
directly forward). (in general) Circular motions require “room” to develop momentum. It is also difficult to (efficiently) include the user's body-weight with those types of strikes.
Oyata Te demonstrates the positioning of the student's hip's and shoulders during those application movements. In general, the hip's and the shoulder's remain (consistently) "square" (to one another) during any motion/movement. When that alignment is altered, the student will be (and "feel") off-balance. I have recently seen (several) “examples” of individual's performing (their own) versions of Oyata's method for performing the Kata (the versions that he taught). What's commonly exampled, is a quickly performed example, that includes (numerous) incorrectly “added” motions (as well as motions that were removed by him as well). Oyata did include additional motions, but they were intended to be (very) subtle (and barely recognized/noticed).
One of the most obvious (of Oyata's changes), was the elimination of (any) "shoulder-wag" (during the performance of the kata). The reasons for doing so are multiple, but its inclusion is an obvious indication of not having been part of his later (I.E. the last 10-15 years of his life's) instruction. The examples I've seen may have been (at one time) "valid", but they should be (more accurately) considered as being "basic" (and certainly not "advanced", as those posters have claimed). Oyata's later years of instruction focused on the student's use/positioning of their body (whether during technique or kata) motion. He felt that this was of higher/greater importance than (individual) “technique” use or variance. Those motions held greater importance than the learning of different or additional technique motions. Once those motions were understood by the student, techniques would become more obvious (via the kata motion) to the student.
I've received numerous inquiries as to why I don't post "video's" of new/different technique applications. If my readers refer to our Oyata Te page, my associate has included (numerous) videos that example (much) of what I have addressed here (technique motion/application, etc.). Frankly, "feeding" the Internet's "need " video examples is not my goal (here).

Those that (actually) are interested in what/how we teach Oyata's methodology should visit/attend our classes to get a more descriptive (and physical) “exampling” for what/how we teach his methodology. Our Classes are (very) relaxed and we are very open to explaining the “how” and “why” of Taika's teachings (as well as those teachings that he didn't agree with).

Random Practice Methods

A recent comment/question (by a reader) on a previous blog, raised the question of “research”, and the methods we utilize to perform our own. Oyata had provided us with several methods (that he utilized himself) to do so. The “examples” commonly seen being done (on the Internet) usually consist of people attempting to use the motions in the same (if not exact) manner as those motions are performed within the kata. Oyata had been shown that those motions are (generally) individual motions (even if not representing "individual" techniques), and they were intended to be combined with "other" motions (demonstrated within the same and other kata). Oyata's explanation was that the (individual) motions, were more like "letters" that needed to be combined with other/additional letters, in order to form words (more complete techniques/applications). Although certain kata may be assembled to emphasize a particular theme, the individual motions could serve multiple uses, depending on what and how they were combined with other kata motions (whether from the same or different kata).
One of those methods utilized “pictures” for each of the motions contained within the instructed kata. This amounts to having a “deck” of picture/cards that includes the motions from each of the kata. The deck is shuffled, then a number of (random) individual cards (motions) are drawn from the deck (1, 2, 3, 5?). Those cards represent individual techniques/applications and defensive motions, so those motions are (at least attempted to be) combined in some way to illustrate a defensive response to the predetermined manner of assault. It doesn't always “work” (in a practical manner), but it does force the student to formulate how the motions “could” be utilized. It can also illustrate additional uses/interpretations for those motions that had not been previously considered.
The use of the cards additionally gets the student “away” from the (common) belief that the motions are (always, if not only) used in the manner depicted within the particular kata.
Taika used this method (using Kodak "pictures"), we now have the convenience of the internet, and can order a "deck of cards" with the pictures (that are provided) in as many "decks" as necessary. A large number of the "basic" motions are repeated within the various kata, so it isn't (really) necessary to print an entire deck for each individual kata. I believe that our own “main” deck of “kata motion” cards, has 197 cards. That “deck” represents the motions contained within the 12 foundational kata (taught to our students) within the Oyata Te system.
The most common use is done by randomly drawing a set number of cards and the student attempts to develop a defensive action/response using those cards. The cards can also be specified (to 1 or 2 particular cards). The student could also include randomly selected additional cards as well (the possibilities are seemingly endless).
The “goal” is to get the student to begin thinking of the motions as all (individually) being important. Student's (often) get “pigeon-holed” into believing that a single (or group) of kata motions (only) has a “specific” (if not individual) purpose.
If one were to “imagine” being the original creator of a “kata”, Why? Would you create that “kata” to defend against (only) a particular set of “aggression” methods? It makes more sense, to provide motions that would have multiple uses/applications (for a variety of aggressive acts). It's been noted (by multiple sources) that many of the early instructors, only taught a single or only a few kata to their students. When those students would study with another (different) instructor, they would often learn the kata that those instructor's taught to their students (often to learn similar if not the same defensive actions). Oyata felt that learning the (relatively small number of) kata that he included within his system was more than sufficient for a (diligent) student to learn/understand the demonstrated motions (which is the purpose of the kata). Understanding “how” to utilize those motions is achieved through the student's continued practice/research of those motions.
Once a student has learned a "set" of kata (regardless of the number of kata learned), they should have the ability (through the demonstrated actions contained within those kata) to develop/practice the instructed techniques (as well as adapt those motions) to a variety of aggressive actions.
It should be noted, that numerous individual's (and/or “newly” developed “systems”) have created their own set of “kata”. Every example of these (types of) “kata”, that I have observed, have been lame attempts (at replicating existing kata and/or motion combinations). I could understand (maybe) developing an “exercise” (to learn/practice a particular motion), but none (that I have seen) provide the varying application of instructed motion that the “traditional” kata provide. Kata, do not provide the (actual) responsive “technique” instruction/application. They provide examples of defensive technique motion. An instructor is (at least initially) required to provide examples for the use of those motions. Student's should avoid fostering the “belief” that a (any) particular kata motion can/will only represent an individual technique/response (to a particular aggressive action). That motion will often be used in additional defensive actions, but its use may vary slightly (within those defensive actions). What is demonstrated within the kata, is (often) a "basic" example for that motion. The kata provides the principles of/for that motion (not necessarily the exact application of/for that motion). Individual circumstances will dictate the (actual) use (for that motion), but the kata provides the physical execution/use of that motion.
I've seen numerous people (attempt to) demonstrate that the kata includes the (initial) actions of the aggressor, this makes no sense (to myself). There would be no purpose to have included the motions of an aggressor (within a “training” routine, like a “kata”). Those motions would already be known/recognized by the student (and often are what the student-initiated their attendance of the class to learn a "defense" in regards to).
The “traditional” kata were (originally) taught in “secret” to a select few students. Their purpose was to convey principles of/for particular technique application, not (necessarily) specific techniques. If that were the case, it would be much simpler to (simply) have a "list" of techniques/motions (that the student would be required to learn). When the student gets away from the concept that the motions are (individual) techniques (and in fact represent “concepts/principles”), the ability to recognize techniques (that utilize those motions) becomes more readily apparent.

Included motion

 The concept of there being (only) “hard” and/or “soft” styles is (to myself) limiting. In general, these "types" are distinguished by the system's inclusion of strikes (or not) and the inclusion of some 
degree of "mental" reflection and/or practice (commonly seen in the form of "meditation"). Learning 
the delivery of "strikes" is the more simplistic of the two. It Is the easier of the two for student's to 
understand, so it is what is initially learned and practiced by the average (beginning) student. Grab's 
and parrying (or deflection) motion defenses, are often reserved to the more experienced student. 
Any, if not all styles of defense utilize both of these concepts, they only vary in the degree of their 
use of either (between the different “systems”).

The ability to effectively utilize "strikes" is commonly dependent upon the (physical) size/strength of the student. The application of manipulation (types of) techniques (should) have no such limitations imposed upon their use. Oyata's methodology for the use of either of these applications, was dependent upon the student using their entire body (within that use). The use of the “fist” was more often limited to the use of the first two knuckles (of the utilized hand). Emphasis was made upon the wrist (of the striking hand). It was only necessary that the wrist remains straight (to prevent “buckling”) on impact with that forward strike. The “fingers” remained loose/relaxed. As long as the wrist maintains a straight alignment (with the forearm), the wrist would be unlikely to “buckle”.
Being that the intent/use of the fist was rarely intended to be (mainly) dependent upon the amount of delivered force/momentum, it was the placement of that strike that was of greater concern. The amount of force delivered, only added to that strikes use/effect.
The “punch” that Oyata used, was shown/demonstrated to include a lateral “milking” action (of the striking wrist) upon impact. This was shown to create additional reactions (by the Uke) with its inclusion. Those reactions are demonstrated whether the strike is delivered with force, or not.
The use/availability of greater amounts of force are obviously beneficial, but should not be considered to be mandatory (for the effectiveness of an application/technique). The idea is to create a specific reaction, that can be (further) utilized with additional motions to create the desired response.
Efficient application of technique is achieved by entire body application of the movement being utilized. This is done by using the concept of force efficiency. When combined with correct technique application (regardless of the amount of physical strength utilized), The technique will be applied in the most efficient manner.
Force Efficiency equates to correct (body/frame) alignment being applied with the attempted application. That alignment includes specific directions (of motion and alignment) to be used within the delivery of the attempted application. Any additional motion (being included by the student), is commonly unneeded and/or equates to being wasted motion.
Though being (at least to ourselves) a simple (if not obvious) use of (body) motion, we have had student's who have argued otherwise (commonly by presenting arguments that they “feel” more powerful when including those actions). The fact that they “feel” those motions, should example the uselessness of those motions. When a motion achieves the (ideal) transfer of the generated energy/momentum, the person should not “feel” anything. This is commonly exampled when a student states that they “felt” nothing during the performance of an action (although the results of that action, resulted in an obvious transfer of mass and momentum). If/when the motion is felt (by the user), it is not being transferred (into the target/subject). The most common example of this is when students include a "hip" shimmy. The motion achieves nothing, but the student "feels" it (and therefore "thinks" that it has made the motion more powerful).
There are motions that can increase the amount of delivered mass/energy. Those motions are performed in (often subtle) ways that can be achieved without the inclusion of forced "additional" motion. One of the simplest is the continued (relaxed) inclusion of a limb joint's extension. This is most easily exampled with the use of a forearm strike. As the forearm makes contact (with the intended/target location), the (striking) student's wrist is relaxed. This allows the (striking) wrist to then wrap around the targeted (Uke's) arm. Doing so will increase the amount of delivered momentum/energy into the impacted object (I.E. the Uke's arm). By the Tori maintaining a “straight” wrist (during this action), they are countering, if not decreasing the amount of delivered momentum. It was the inclusion of these types of simple changes/actions, that make Oyata's methodology more productive (if not “effective”).