A long time is no time.

Featured

What is a long time in martial arts. I’ve been training now over 24 years… and this may seem like a long time but really it’s not a long time at all.

A lot of this time I have seen read and heard a lot about many things buy lots of people. I don’t have to agree or dissagree with it, but I read listen and hear. So in the time I’ve been training whats my passion. Well the main recurring theme in my training is the enjoyment of Kata or what ever you like to call them in your training. But lets just say, the predetirmined routines that are at the very heart of your style.

To me if your style does not have Kata then it’s predominatly a sport and I’ll leave you with that.

Kata to me is the core and foundation of what a martial art style is. Its a nice package containing pretty much everything you need to become proficient in defence, attack, health and fitness. (when done correctly, with intent and understanding)

There are pleanty of people out there that have and are doing enormous amount of research in the where, how and why kata exist and came from. Some of these would be Billy Manne (http://www.energym.com.au), Iain Abernethy (http://iainabernethy.co.uk), John Burke, Vince Morris, Patrick MCCarthy, Higaonna, Taira, Clarke, Dilman… well the list is huge and everyone of them have some very specific and amazing writings. The thoughts I have are similar in ways, and extesnions of what they say, but I have them formulated to suit my way of thinking.

My mentor in my martial arts training is Billy Manne, it’s fair to say that he taught me every technique I use or have used, it’s also fair to say he gave me the skills to develop a greater understanding on what he taught. This understanding has taken over 20 years to cultivate, and my knowledge is growing the more I look at it (my training).

the grading…

Karate Grading

Karate Grading

the current grading system is geared toward developing and producing students that conform to the lowest common denominator.

This is as I see it, its up to the instructor to say ok your ready now go for it… All well and good however this puts the expectation on the student that they are ready and how can they fail if the instructor has said they know it all and are ready to go… so there is to me an expectation that when they are there (at the grading) they will pass, because if they are fail, and some should be asked to re-grade, then it looks bad on them the instructor and the system, less likely to happen, and the bigger the event the less (very less likely) that a student will fail and more likely that the average will be lower than what you would expect.

 so how can this be improved?

by changing the expectation at a grading day… not so much the rest.

i see that when a student gets to a grading day they feel they have passed already. this needs to change

they need to feel that the expectation is that if they excel and only if they perform to the highest standard will they pass and move to the next level.

some points to share: the students

  • need to feel that if their performance is anything but excellent they will need to grade again.
  • have a clear mark of excellence, a visual and written understanding of the requirement, that if they are less than that they will not move forward.
  • a clear understanding that if they grade it’s not an automatic passage to the next rank.

see a pattern

the ultimate ideas is to produce student that exceeds our expectations not make the average. These things are the unwritten expectations, and what we hope to instil in the student, however its not being executed this way. The reality is, the gradings are basically a performance of the average, not a drive to excellence that we really want.

What could a grading day look like?

for example.. you could have a grade day for students every 3 / 4 months and its up to them (the student) to

  • show you they are ready
  • get the necessary techniques done learned and understood before then
  • be there on the day otherwise they miss out.

here’s a rough idea

  • have an notification from the instructor that they can attempt a grading at the next opportunity
  • set the grading days at and let the students that they can grade only on these days (its a limited field so make them want to achieve it)
  • have an open curriculum (by that I mean if a yellow belt is keen and learns the requirements then why not let that person attempt purple)
  • change the grading day to a format that builds on each level

so the day would start everyone together and after every requirement is met for white to brown then the grading is done.

the format would be separated in to 5 components

  1. strength/flexibility (not specifically push ups and sit-up as they are not a good indicator)
  2. fundamentals (hands, leg, stances etc)
  3. predefined sequences (kata, routines)
  4. application (bunkai, yuksu)
  5. practice (sparing, scenarios)

in between each component a break would occur, for drinks toilet break, recover

the student cannot move to the next component unless they have passed the previous comment for their level.

 example.

if the strength requirement for a yellow is 3×1 minute plank 2×25 full movement wide arm pushups 3×20 knee to floor lunges and 3 stretching elements from the list of acceptable exercises in 10 minutes

then they cannot move to the fundamentals component

the grader would need to watch each element and make a comment on the movement

e.g. for the plank

elbows in line with shoulder

feet together

core engaged

back straight

time achieved

if each is not ticked for each set, the the requirements are not met and they need return for the next grading in 3 or 4 months

Harsh

maybe but this would set the expectation that its not a given that you would pass a grading and you need to know and do to make the grade.

What is it with the “Block”

I have to admit it, this topic is one of my biggest gripes in Karate training…. The over used term block. We know the techniques I mean: upper block, middle block, lower block and the like. Well it’s not so much the techniques, but the way they are described that gets me frustrated.

These are the “Classic” beginners first introduction to Karate and the way. Yes I understand they (the techniques) offer more to training than the actual movement. What really gets me is the statement that these techniques are “blocking” techniques. When for me these are more like striking and disruptive techniques, from grabbing distance. They have all the elements of a “classic” Kata sequence, as one hand/arm does the other enhances its purpose by taking the focus, balance, power, or opponent off guard.

So if a block is not a block then what the heck is it. The are defensive strikes and disruptive techniques. Why the difference? Well it your ability to generate power in a manner that will be strong enough to be destructive, meaning that if you cannot do it hard enough then it will only distract your opponent a little, giving you time to do something more substantial.

Ok some techniques. my terminology followed by a more common reference to the same technique.

1. Rising forearm strike – (upper)

Rising forearm strike

Rising forearm strike

I’d rather think of this as a forearm strike to the face/jaw area with the lifting arm, while the “chambering” arm is manipulating some part of your opponent. I can see this working and have used it on occasion. While when you take the action as a literal upper block. It’s unlikely to work in any situation that isn’t rehearsed.

At worst I believe this technique done in this manner would be an effective distractive technique in a clinch.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Swinging center strike – (middle)

Swinging center strike

Swinging center strike

 

Another close in technique, more effectively used to attack or finish, because of the way the hips and body are utilised during the movement. A great amount of torque can be generated. Especially when striking the head/neck area, or the arm elbow area.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Dropping smash – (lower)

Dropping smash

Dropping smash

 

A great way to unbalance your opponent getting them ready and in a position to finish them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More to come.

On history and the masters

I can understand the desire for a lot of people to look at the past masters, the “founding fathers of modern karate” and place an importance on them and their teachings…

But whats the reality, many generations have come and gone in their teachings, alterations, changes and updated ideas added to what they started so many years ago. It is the way of things (change, adaptation, improvements). Its difficult to know what they were thinking let alone what hey wanted to share with others. Many did not record the styles and applications at the time of the development of the routines and Kata. Those that did are a reference for general terms, yet I feel much of the application information on what you are doing at this point in a Kata or routine, was lost in the staged images and stilted descriptions of the time, either by translation or because they didn’t what the full description to be outed.

I think with the technology we have at the moment, the use of video you can see exactly what is meant to happen at a point in time with the moves you are doing, weather its in a Kata or a routine. Provided the demonstrator can explain why how and when you can apply these moves then its all good.

Take a look at youtube, you’ll all manner of modern master touting their stuff… some good some not so good, but the reality there is you can look listen and get an understanding of their knowledge and make the judgment for yourself on weather they know it or are full of it… (you filter out what you don’t want…brilliant). For all I know you maybe sitting there thinking this guy is full of it… if you are good, that’s how it’s meant to be. I think I speak some kind of sense… but then all of us do huh.

(more to come)…

rank – oh my now i’m pushing it

The ranking system in martial arts is both a blessing and a hinderance. I’ll need to explain why of course.

I’ll start by saying that for lower ranks and specifically juniors the ranking system is important and significant in the ongoing understanding if where they are on the progress to being a black belt. I think at black belt things need to change and other factors need to be taken in to account.

For juniors, there are numerous studies that show the effectiveness of the reward feedback system that provides a positive flow for the juniors to strive and achieve the levels needed to progress. The methods of how you provide the positive feedback will affect how they progress and at what rate, however it would seem that when the junior has the reward system they strive to improve to achieve the next level.

Should a rank be a awarded on a time or skills based system, or do they operate hand in hand? You would think that skills progress over time, if the student is given enough time to work at these skills. So time plus effort should equal skill… So if time and effort equals a new skill, and I believe lower ranks need a continual feedback loop to progress with a complete and positive approach, then more levels would equally build esteem and confidence…. but then too much of  will make the next level less rewarding because of the continual reward for the limited effort, so there needs to be a balance. So for lower levels (below black belt), I like the 10 levels to black and then multiple stages between each level.

Beginner and intermediate levels would have more and accelerated step between levels.

At intermediate to black the steps lessen and the time between extends, so it could possible look like the following

| Levels…
|_>    Steps

  1. White
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    6. 6
    7. 7
    8. 8
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    6. 6
    7. 7
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    6. 6
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    1. 1
    2. 2
    1. 1
  2. Black

Ok so whats the thinking here. I feel that for a beginner it important to continually feed them both small chunks of information and reward them for achieving a goal no matter how small.. The steps as a beginner as all big compared to learning the same information after a year or 2 of training. The time frame between the level are approx. the same its the number of rewards between them that would help build confidence and their incremental skills that they will use from there on.

Looking at the list above you may get the impression that the longer they train the quicker they obtain the next level. Not so all the levels are based on a similar length of training hours, for my thinking and the common thought is about 10000 hours to achieve black. Not based on lesson or classes but the amount of hours you spend with an instructor / teacher. That would be about 100 hours per level. As the amount of time you train increases the number of visible rewards ie. stripes on your belt decreases while other methods of student achievement would replace the visible strips.

This also indicates to me that the final step is more about honing your skills in more than learning new ones, and ideally the focus of the student at that time is more intent on the big goal of their Black Belt as apposed to the now learned skill needed to achieve it.

The levels about Black I feel should follow a similar methodology. Though the idea / concept of strips is replaced with another reward system.

For levels above Black I see the following

  1. Instructor
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5
  2. Teacher
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
  3. Master
    1. 1

So my thoughts here are similar to the lower levels… After achieving your black there is a large number of dropouts because a lot of people have obtained the thing they most wanted. To help alleviate this dropout rate I think its important that there are a level of rewards and new skills to be learned for the student to start the next part of their journey. Each level is approx. 1000 – 2000 hours of training / research time with a teacher.

So at level 1 you would learn the skills to better your understanding of training systems and how to impart the knowledge to others. At teacher level you are learning to train the trainers and your understanding is at a deeper level and should be prepared to openly discuss your methods and learn better ways of doing learning and teaching the skills needed to run schools. The Master level is where you would focus your training into a specific area, where you would research and develop the finer points of your chosen area. Part of this would be to publish your study to help benefit others.

Part of the overall precess is the continual feedback loop, at all levels and steps regardless of the amount of training you have done. Feedback in any for will help you better understand what your trying to achieve, and it does not always need to be what you want to hear but provided its honest open and backed by experience or a valid explanation then it will help enhance your process to the end goal.

Of course this could be completely out of whack…. and quite possible the reason I don’t run schools… But hey i’m always thinking on how it works…

more thoughts to follow…

analysing kata

I think kata can be easily over analysed. People can look for things in Kata just for sake of it, making it more complicated than necessary. I like to take a more basic philosophy. No mystical trickery, just straight forward body mechanics and use of techniques to disrupt the opponent and deliver destructive techniques.

Often Kata have repetitions in technique usually left right left or similar, and as a result the techniques can be utilised on the left and/or the right effectively. The repetitions can all allow for additional meanings of the movements / sequences. The other point for remembering is that in a sequence every technique is optional.. this is especially true for sequences where repeats are present. The point of a Kata sequence is to present the person doing it with a self protection concept for a situation. Don’t get caught in the idea that because there is a movement there it needs to be used. By the same token don’t think that if its not used it does not offer some meaning, every technique/movement is of use, you just need to decide if its necessary for what you doing at that point.

One of the difficulties in Kata analysis is to decide when and where the sequences start, stop, and the use of  techniques when there are repeats in a sequence. For me I try and look at a kata in a number of ways to help decide the manner in which I break apart the Kata. Unlinke some I dont think the entire Kata is a process from start to finish, but  a number of significant concepts joined together to form a  package of information for better teaching and transport (transport over time and distance).

Ok so whats the process…

Ideally you would know the entire kata pattern from start to finish, but in reality this is not 100% necessary.

You then look at it as a whole movement and see if you can spot the techniques that signify a break in timing/speed/movement this would tend to indicate that something has begun or something has finished.

Then look at the techniques being performed and decide which are disruptive and which are destructive. Destructive techniques will have a higher likely hood of the end of a sequence because of their nature, when you decide what techniques are destructive look at the preceeding techniques to see what disruptive techniques build to the finish point and this is a good indication that you have a workable sequence.

So when you have the connection between the disruptive, destructive and changes in time/speed/movement you have a pretty good chance that what you are looking at is a point of something workable from a conceptual / technical point for the meaning of that part of the Kata. (simple)

So what if you get to a part in the Kata that seems like the end of a sequence but quite possibly does not feel like the opponent is going to be finished? I think you can assume that for the purpose of the intended concept in the Kata then you can add your own finisher, the sequence is ended and move onto the next. However if you look at the following few techniques in the Kata and they follow on with some sense it may well be an option to continue.

As I see it a  Kata is a package of information used to remember how to render a non compliant  opponent incapacitated fast….

So there will be disruptive techniques and finishers …destructive…

What is a disruptive technique:

any technique or group of techniques that conveys a method of taking the opponents balance, power, speed, focus so that your destructive techniques are more effective.

Simply walking up to someone and throwing a punch or kick at them will not be as effective as it is when combined with a good disruptive technique.

I’m drifting away from what I started to do and show you how to analyse kata. I’ve given you a few points to consider with the isolation techniques of a sequence. So lets step back a little and take out parts of the kata that may make this isolation process a little easier.

As mentioned earlier often kata have repeat techniques, sometimes left right left or simply what is done on the left is done on the right. So something I try to bring the kata to its core is to take the movements from the forms from the beginning and removing all repeated movements only doing the first version of any set of techniques. Doing this will take your kata and as a result only show 1/3 to a half of the length of the kata.

So why would I take movements out. Why not? Well its the repeats and as I see it, the originator of the kata probably took a little while to compile the basic version from the ideas and concepts, and I feel the additional movements, the repeats are fillers or highlights or simply ways to realign the body to a better position to move into another sequence.

more to follow…

thinking about wrath of the python seisan kata (13 hands)

An interesting Kata and i think can be easily over analysed. There area  number of repetitions in this form and as a result, to me can be utilised on the left and right effectively. The repetitions can all allow for additional meanings of the movements / sequences. The other point for remembering is that in a sequence every technique is optional.. this is especially true for sequences where repeats are present. The point of a Kata sequence is to present the person doing it with a self protection concept for a situation. Don’t get caught in the idea that because there is a movement there it needs to be used. By the same token don’t think that if its not used it does not offer some meaning, every technique/movement is of use, you just need to decide if its necessary for what you doing at that point.

One of the difficulties in Kata analysis is to decide when and where the sequences start, stop, and the use of what techniques when there are repeat techniques in a sequence. For me I try and look at a kata in a number of ways to help decide the manner in which I break apart the Kata. Unlinke some I dont think the entire Kata is a process from start to finish, but  a number of significant concepts joined together to form a  package of information for better teaching and transport (transport over time and distance).

Ok so whats the process…

Ideally you would know the entire kata pattern from start to finish, but in reality this is not 100% necessary.

You then look at it as a whole movement and see if you can spot the techniques that signify a break in timing/speed/movement this would tend to indicate that something has begun or something has finished.

Then look at the techniques being performed and decide which are disruptive and which are destructive. Destructive techniques will have a higher likely hood of the end of a sequence because of their nature. when you decide which techniques are destructive look at the preceeding techniques to see what disruptive techniques build to the finish point and this is a good indication that you have a workable sequence.

So when you have the connection between the disruptive, destructive and changes in time/speed/movement you have a pretty good chance that what you are looking at is a point of something workable from a conceptual / technical point for the meaning of that part of the Kata. (simple)

So what if you get to a part in the Kata that seems like the end of a sequence but quite possibly does not feel like the opponent is going to be finished? I think you can assume that for the purpose of the intended concept in the Kata then you can add your own finisher, the sequence is ended and move onto the next. However if you look at the following few techniques in the Kata and they follow on with some sense it may well be an option to continue.

As I see it a  Kata is a package of information used to remember how to render a non compliant  opponent incapacitated fast….

So there will be disruptive techniques and finishers destructive… What’s a disruptive technique, and technique or group of techniques that conveys a method of taking the opponents balance, power, speed, focus so that your destructive techniques is more effective. Simply walking up to someone and throwing a punch or kick at them will not be as effective as it is when combined with a good disruptive technique.

Ok enough of the preamble lets get into it.

From the opening salutation we take our preparation and then

1. move right foot forward to a bear stance and at the same time cross hand bringing the elbows high over the head and then lower the arms to finish with the hands at shoulder height and the elbows approx a fist from the side of your body, in my mind there is a slight tension as you finalise this hand movement and lock the fists into place.

2. withdraw the left hand and explode the punch to the area just below the chest, remember to chamber the hip as you withdraw the arm prior to exploding the punch, and then returning to the start position with the hand at shoulder height and the elbow a fist away from the body

This is repeating technique with the right hand then the left, so the punch is done 3 times. left, right, left.

3. left hand opens arm remains where it is the and the palm is facing in, at the same time the right hand opens and the arm remains in the same spot the hand in this case has rotated so the palm is up, the hands now meet in at the centre line and the right hand strikes into the left.

this is the possible finish of the sequence… though to be safe continue on

4. the following movement is somewhat esoteric and differs greatly from the original, from the right hand striking the left cross the hands right over left and raise them a little and then cross over in repetition at neck height and then finish at waist height again right hand striking left at about waist height.

5. this is a repeating sequence, low kick back withdraw both hands to hips and as you step forward double palm heal at waist height as the foot lands then as the back leg slides to a standing position the hands roll from the hips to the shoulders. this repeats another 2 times

6. assume a cat style stance with your right leg forward and as you do you hands goto a guard position with the left more forward and higher than the right.

7. chamber the right leg and a low side kick to 45 degrees

8. as you withdraw the leg from the kick, spin your body toward the left on the spot so you are facing 90 deg to your previous movement.  your hands at this point perform what looks like a mawashi uke… with your left foot forward and your left hand at shoulder height, your right foot back and your right hand lower than the left and in line with the left elbow.

What’s my thinking here for what these actions are. Again my speculation is we are close with opponent and have crossed the bounds and they now have hold of you.

1. the double hand movement here for this point is options and I choose to use a single arm movement instead of a double, this they have a hold of you with the left hand at either the shoulder, neck, lapel (somewhere there), and they are looking to punch you. your arm moves as it does in the Kata with elbow going high (moving inside their arm) then as you lower your arm at their elbow and finishing low,

2. move forward into a strong stance. withdraw the left arm and punch as shown in the Kata, this helps with a disruptive movement helping bring their head forward and getting ready for the next movement.

3. open the hands as shown in the Kata and with the left hand grab their neck palm in and then strike with the right hand to the jaw line as shown in the Kata. I feel this is a disruptive technique becuase of the distance the hand  travels between the previous move and the contact point.

I think if your lucky and they fall over here because of a knockout you’re blessed… but I think the sequence move forward at least 4 more moves yet. Clearly this a complex sequence… Yet when done fast and with intent the message is clear. We are in close and aggressive and capable of getting the job done.

4. this is a clearing sequence in my point, we have just struck at the jaw line of the opponent, the arcing movements are a good representation of clearing the limbs for the next move

5. double palm heal to the hips rolling to the shoulders, this action will cause the opponent to break balance forward then back slightly

The next set of movements can be analysed differently and I’ll add some more variations to this shortly.

6. lock your opponent with the arms as you side kick the leg around the knee of your opponent

7. using the circular mawashi perform and put your opponent into a sleeper hold

Sequence finished and the opponent incapacitated

conceptual comments to come.

more to come…

a thought about compliance

I’ve seen this many times and over the years its something I find leaving a bad taste in my mouth… (note I asked Iain Abernathy his thoughts on this subject and found that his thoughts are similar to mine here…. a brief encounter of his response in in his Dec 2010 podcast found at iainabernethy.co.uk, good to know I have some influential back up here)

2 people are explaining the techniques from a kata or a sequence from a kata or routine.

The first thing they do is show the respects to the other person and bow.. all good

then they shape up take the fighting stance and move to a comfortable distance apart… more often than not somewhere between 4 and 6 foot apart… (alarm bells here)

then 1 side performs the first move or first few moves, and the opponent moves in time with the other person. (oh nice I wish)

I can see for a class the need for a unified experience to help build a better understanding of how and where a person should move, yet this over relience and teaching of the opponent complining with the attacker gives the person performing the techniques a negative reinforced belief that everything they do will work everytime. good for unrealistic confidence in their ability, and if that person comes into a situation where they actually need the full use of the training, and here’s hoping they don’t, then the unrealistic expectation embedded with them from thier training may be more of a hinderance than an actually benefit.

Oh you may be sitting there now and thinking what a crock. Fair enough, however I believe in an evolutionry process for learning these aspects.

As I have mentioned in the Of course there’s more but…

my learning/teaching processes are: Learn the…

1. indivdual techniques, if the kata has any “new” or unseen techniques to you.

2. pattern, learning the actual pattern in part and eventually as a complete sequence.

3. what I call cadence, which shows in more detail the elements in the kata that have speed, power, and tension elements among other things

4. meaning, what the sequences actually do. based on the principles of body dynamics, leverage, and the distractive and destructive techniques.

5. visualisations the intergration of the above against a partner as you see it in your mind

6. practice with a partner

7. against an opponent/partner realistic representation of against a partner.

now the pratice with a partner section is extremely important and will take a few stages, you obviously cannot jump into the partner drill as you would a visualisation, though you should base it on your visualisation.

partner practice stages

1. 1 side performing the actions and movements using your partner as a reference point for technique placement, for example if your techniques is a punch to the mid section then this is where you make sure that what you are doing is actually approaching the target correctly.

If the sequence requires you to move their arm, or take their balance prior to a following technique then you make sure when you attempt that you can actually find the parts of your opponent to achieve this pratice.

2. partner reaction, where you opponent move or reacts as they would if someone attempts a move as suggest above. Not a compiant move but a movement how they would if it were to happen. ( everyone will react differently depending on what they know or believe )

This ensures that you are doing the movements as need to achieve your goal… for me in this blog this is a Kata analysis reality based sequence as I’ve said before this is usually in close fast and more often than not messy.

Of course there are limitations, and those are that you need to get up and go home injury free…. We need to live and work and be normal active people in the community. So obviously we cannot hurt our in class opponent there is this compromise. Even though we compromise we do not need to be complient to the unrealistic motions of your partners actions.

more to come…

thinking about iron horse nahanchin kata

There have been a number of versions of the kata over the years and I’ll attach 2 versions that have been most prominent to me, I realise that if you come from a different style then it’ll be a bit different.. either way i’ll be going over principles / concepts revelant to kata that move side to side..

the opening sequence of 3 techniques is as follows.

1. from preparation stance

2. hands move up to mid section and weight drops slightly by bending the knees

3. focus right and step horse stance right and right arm moves in the same direction stopping above the knee… (1)

4. standing up in a should stance, left elbow head / jaw height (2)

5. right elbow head / jaw height. (3)

This is where I believe the first sequence ends… Well essentially you could stop and the left elbow, for the purpose of the principles this technique finishes the opponent. For me the repeat elbow is a representation of allowing functionality on either side

For me the main concept here is the movement of the body weight in line with the motion of the hand.

Some assumptions here.

– Its an attack to the front or to 12 o’clock

– The height of the stance is not as important as what occurs because of them

– the hand movement is not a strike but disruptive movement to take the balance of your opponent and place their head in the optimal position for a finish attack, in this case the elbow.

A small video to showcase this.

Some detail…

I’ve mentioned the preparation stance in the post briefly… In the beginning…

So I wont say much else here except.. the addition of movement 2 here adds the following concepts.

2.

this to me is a transition point, not really a focus point though its important as it show a withdraw of hands and and feet with a slight dropping of weight. it possibly indicates a regathering of strength balance and lowering of your centre (your personal body weight) to better perform the next set of movement and or to brace yourself agains an opponent who may be grabbing or starting to grab you.

3.

when performing this move see your right hand in this case (as we are initially moving the entire body to the right) grabbing at the wrist of you opponent (how this comes about is not important at this point in time), from there as in the kata move your body to the right stepping out into a wide stance and extending the right arm in the same direction. Now because you have hold of you opponents hand this will cause a number of thing to happen to them.

Note here: the entire movement here does not need to be huge just enough to do the following…

If you have their right hand..

as you step and pull in this case you will cause their body to rotate slightly dropping their right shoulder a little, starting the change in their balance. the drop in the shoulder will open their neck and head and show the prominence of their jaw line, getting the head ready for you to attack.

4.

now that the head is exposed and their body weight and balance in moving toward you the effect of the left elbow will be significantly increased, and the continuous movement of you to the body right will have a greater impact of their head. the impact here will be with you entire body weight moving through the impact zone of your opponent, and even if you do not exactly hit the jaw line where the knock out point is the power and impact from the elbow anywhere in that area will render the opponent useless for enough time to escape.

 

So what are the main conceptual processes here…

Well there are a few but the main ones are:

1. using your weight combined with a technique is invaluable. ( this may seem like a basic concept here), the use of dropping body weight in combination with punches, elbows, kicks, grabs, and pulls is a highlight.

2. how sharp translations of movement and energy on an opponent cause the opponents body to be better aligned for attack.

 

In this form as I see it there are 2 significant movements you do to the opponent that cause similar effects on their body but from 2 different approaches.

 

I’ve mentioned one of them above where you grab their hand, step and extend. This movement cause the opponent to loose balance slightly rotate their body to a closed position and open their head/jaw to further to a better strike attack.

I feel its interesting that this movement is repeated in a number of other kata, so my assumption here is that the closing of the body and extension of the head / neck area is important for swift and effect incapacitation of a person.

 

The next sequence starts where the last left off at the end of the second elbow. From there the sequence continues as follows

 

1. A backfist right hand toward the head

2. a reverse punch to the mid section and in this case I believe the rib cage or the solar plexus

3. withdraw the left hand that just punched and move your body to the left and

4. strike open handed with the right hand stopping in a wide stance and the right hand inline with the left that has withdrawn to the side of the body.

5. reach underneath with the left hand and as you move to a higer should stance reverse elbow to the head of your opponent.

 

Similarly here we have a number of conceptual movements, againt the use of body weight and technique to finish the opponent. The use of distracting techniques, and this time opening the gate, where we move inside the opponents arms to better facilitate our attack.

In the sequence above the actions in 1. and 2. are distracting, movement 3. and 4. are the setup and 5 the finisher.

In movement 1. and 2. I believe your opponent has grabbed you where you reach and grab at the wrist of your opponent, as you perform your “backfist”… in my interpretation here is a rotating distraction with the aim of either dislodging their grab or opening the arm enough to allow your reverse punch into the rib area, these actions in the form are performed in close succession if not at the same time. I don’t believe it matters if they let go or not, your punch to the rib should allow you to grab their arm as in 3. above and step to the left and assist the taking of balance with your right hand pushing with speed and power into the elbow region of their arm, this movement here as it was in the first sequence will help align their head for a better finishing technique.

the finisher is the reverse elbow in the case to the side of the head / jaw.

things to remember here we are in close and performing these actions in close succession, the movements are ment to cause confusion and as intended incapacitation of your opponent. while is advisable to be out side the gates of your opponent on occasion it proved the best and fastest option to finish them.

 

The final sequence…

We have finished the slide up elbow in a shoulder width stance… from here

1. right hand covers the right side of the body with the hand near the face hands closed, the left arm extends and finishes at shoulder height inline with the opposite shoulder.

2. as you perform the above, trigger the right foot and do a left left low round kick.

3. as you withdraw the leg right hand punch to the head followed by a left hand punch to the head.

 

The is the end of side one the Kata now repeats everything on the opposite side.

the sequence mentioned above offers a number of recurring themes in Kata and the introduction of a kick.

I movement 1 we assume that the opponent has grabbed either 1 or 2 handed at our jacket. it could also be a throat grab or something similar. The conceptal idea with the right hand is to regain some contraol from being grabbed. The advantage of grabbing you opponent is that you know where they are and when combined with balance taking techiques we can easily find where they are in relation to where we are.

the extending hand in movement 1 is aimed at a number of places, the inner arm, the outer arm, the head neck area, depend on where they are and what arrm they grab you with or you decide to attack.

 

 

 

one more sequence to come…

A little power a bit of speed…

I mention cadence in the processes, from the page Of course there’s more but…. Well since this is a bit of a difference in topic I thought I’d revisit and discuss in more detail.

I think that timing and changes in speed of a kata are a more modern interpretation of the performance than the older versions of the kata.

I feel thought these changes can help highlight areas of importance and other underlying concepts the kata provide.

Much like repeating techniques, the changes in speed offer the practitioner ways to think more deeply on elements of the technique.

Tension for example shows there is an increase of overall strength when tensing parts or all areas of the body.

Speed in a technique will cause the body to react differently to a power shot. The difference may be important at that point of the kata and put the opponent in a different position for greater benefit for the following technique.

Dont always focus on the prominent technique or the one performing the most obvious action. The remaining parts of the body have as much to determine the outcome of any technique as do the part doing the actual destruction.

Just because some parts of the kata are performed at speed or with tension, we must not focus on that fact. Do not think that if its done slowly in the kata then it’s done slowly against a partner.

The number 1 rule is to make the technique your looking be responsible for incapacitating your opponent. There for if a movement is performed slowly that represents a taking of balance… This is best performed with speed and power to make sure what you do has the desired affect…

An educated guess would tell me that the majority of speed difference have come in more modern times, as part of the interpretation of the masters that learned and changed them to suit them a little more. Its the nature of kata for that to happen. I think it would be fair to say that the original kata was performed at a speed for the creator to remember the moves, nothing more.

… more to come…