Moderator: Van Canna
The second misunderstanding about blocks – and the more common one – is that blocks are interceptions. That is “blocks are like anti-missile techniques.”
It is as if people who teach defending this way actually believe that you can perceive the incoming technique, process the information and respond decisively and accurately to it. You can’t. No matter how good you are if you are reacting to the opponent’s decision making, if you allow your opponent the initiative in the fight, however briefly, they will quickly outpace your ability to keep responding.
The reactive reflex arch is too long. You can pull this off in choreographed or predictable technique exchanges; and you may be able to do it where attack zones are limited (in sport matches where no attacks are allowed below the belt or to the back does set up a situation in which you have a highly predictable and relatively easily defendable target region.)
Certainly it is essential to gain the initiative in the interaction immediately or at least as rapidly as possible. If we move properly in response to incoming force it is possible to simultaneously (in a single movement)
1. Reroute the incoming energy past our target region,
2. Reposition our body just outside the range of attack,
3. Off balance the opponent,
4. Damage the opponent’s attacking personal weapon (limb), and
5. Execute a counter and/or set up a counter attack that is launched without any extra motion of your body.
To do this we have to understand the use of the full body in movement. If we move the body as parts – an arm here, a step there – we will not maximize our ability to move effectively.
The means of moving the body as a fully integrated system utilizes the three components of koshi – the ability to move in a whip-like, helical form by rotating from the center, compression – drawing the body toward the center point and then exploding force outward, and using the arches of the body – integrated flows of energy and body architecture which connect the whole body in a resilient unified structure.
In karate it is this kind of deep, austere training that allows an understanding of the deeper levels of the art: of tuite (grappling), kyshojutsu (point strikes), atifa (power transmission) and dynamic tai sabaki (body shifting).
This high level of sophistication in the use of the body is very rare to find, and very valuable. And it’s fun. It also forms the heart of kata practice.
With all the insights, all the discoveries, all the connections, all the ways in which kata come to life, it is not a matter of "innovations." It is a matter of dissolving the obstructions to understanding in the transformative heat of practice.
.My standard for any combative motion, for a long time, has been the Golden Move:
Every single motion should:
1. Injure the threat
2. Protect yourself
3. Improve your position
4. Worsen the threat’s position
That’s every single motion. Because it is easier to teach, many martial artists learned to strike (injure the threat) or unbalance (worsen the threat’s position); learned to block or evade (protect yourself); and learned footwork (better your position, sometimes worsen the threat’s)– but almost all learned them as three separate things.
So you get the stereotypical martial artist who blocks a punch, steps to the correct angle and fires his counterpunch. Taking three moves. Which generally only works in demos where the partner (not a threat) stands still after the block. Offense, defense and motion were never supposed to be separated in the students head or, gods forbid, in the motion of a person who desperately needs efficiency. But it is easier to teach and easier to evaluate than integrated motion.
So, the Gold standard is one move with four effects (and good jujutsu gets more than that with multiple types of damage)
the further we go away from the original intent of the training and the less effective is our training the more and more safe it becomes , and in the process the less effective it becomes .....
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