One of the good things about being an "older fart" is that I'm getting more lazy. And in getting lazy, I'm getting smarter about my karate.
This isn't really a vice or a cause to feel sorry for me. Far from it. Some of my most creative work (including and especially computer programming for my dissertation) came about because I hated manual work. It bored me, and I was concerned about making human errors. For my dissertation and for a most recent product I developed on my job, I wrote programs that ran hundreds of programs. For my dissertation, I'd turn a week's worth of manual work into an overnight job for the computer. For my job, we turned 3 months of work into a 2 hour run. And look, ma, no human errors!
Oh and I was told we couldn't tell the customers how little work it took from that point forward.
So all that is a fancy way of saying I try to take the same philosophy into the dojo as well. Now I try to stay just as buff as the next guy hoping to impress the chicks on the beach. But the reality is I'm sometimes so sore from my weight training going into the dojo that I'm constantly looking for lazy-simple ways to make techniques work in a nearly fail-safe fashion. So... each and every time I work with an advanced student on an old exercise, I make sure I bring my discerning eye with me.
Last night I had Vicki working with a tall brown belt on Seisan bunkai. I have lots of variations on the standard - many of which IMO are far better than the standards. What-ever... That's what the dojo is for after all.
So we're working on the grab-and-carry technique in Seisan. And these days when people do it, I want them to have just a little "taste of the hot sauce." Even if gently done, I like them to try some of these Uechi pointy techniques.
For a tall person facing a shorter one, the reach of the bad guy results in our seisan bunkai practitioner extending nukites into the arm pits. It works remarkably well. Gotta love those joint fold techniques.
In this case though, you also get to poke at the nerve bundle that's distal to the brachial plexus (behind the collar bone). It's right up their in the arm pit where you put your Right Guard. Then you grab the edge of the pectoralis with your shokens - just like in the kata. It makes the person stand up on their tippy-toes. And then... piece of cake to move them.
Vicki was getting a little tired of it all. The breasts were getting jostled around, etc. So I worked on a slightly de-fanged technique, where you palm-heel right into the front fold of the shoulder joint. And what do you know... you get a reflex point reaction! This is important, as these work even when you're high on PCP or jacked up on adrenaline. Those are the kyusho points to remember.
Pain points don't work when you're neurohormonally enhanced. Reflex points do.
I then showed Harry how to bring her to his center, and use a "coat rack" posture to hold her up (with a very loose hold under the arm pits) without doing so much shoken grabby-teary stuff. Vicki is happier, it works really well, and we get to practice it a couple dozen times. We concluded this would be a good one to use against your drunken friend, out-of-control spouse, etc. No hurting, no marks, no police report, etc...
So then we get to the shorter Vicki against the taller Harry. On this one, I tell them that a belt makes a great place to grab and carry. The angles are all right. The coat rack posture works just right. Pull in, rotate, extend out. The laws of physics are employed when possible (conservation of angular momentum, law of levers, etc.).
But... The technique needs a stopper before you grab and carry. And I've always told folks that the femoral creases are a great reflex point to attack. And I want them to play with it.
*MY* favorite way to attack the femoral creases (using hands) is to take those generic nukites and turn them into vertical shokens. The technique is in my tzukenshitahaku no sai. I've always told folks that sai are shokens with an attitude. And double shoken strikes like that are in my Fuzhou suparinpei kata. That's what I did at Winterfest when I dropped someone (without hurting them...) to show how the technique works.
So Harry now is getting annoyed after the second or third shoken poke into his femoral creases. OK, so I can see that. So once again, I extend the wrists of my nukites a bit and see if some palm heels will do the trick. Harry seems to be acting like a patsy for me. So I stand in front of Vicki and tell her to have at me. And what do you know... I step forward, and the palm-heel thrusts stop me in my tracks. And... I get that buckling action at the hips.
And no pain!!!
But boy does it send a WTF???
reaction through your system. That's all the time you need to grab the belt, pull, turn, and extend.
My point (with puns intended) is that we should take some of these ideas into the dojo and actually try them out. Works in theory? Tell Rory this new stun gun thing is going to work against prisoners, and you know what he'll do? He'll stand in front of you and tell you to try it. If he's going to put his ass on the line against some crazed sociopath, he wants to know that this thing is going to knock them on their butts.
I've volunteered for pepper spray to the eyes. I can relate. It ain't fun, but the experience you carry to the street is invaluable.
If something doesn't completely drop Rory, he knows to throw the trash away and use something he's learned to depend on.
As I tell my students, take the damn tools out of the box and start playing with them. You just never know what you'll discover. And there's no better way to internalize all those movements and fit points than actually to start testing some of it.