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 Post subject: Slide, Shuffle, drag?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:27 pm 
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We've got a crew of new white belts so it is time to teach stepping, slide stepping, stepping off, and tenshin stepping.

Sliding forwards and sliding back are two things I wish were named differently. I know some folks call them shuffle steps. The slide forward seems OK - folks get the idea that they drive off the rear leg. The slide back seems to be much more challenging - with folks wanting to take a big step back with the rear leg and then drag the front leg back up into position.

I remember a few years back that a discussion of GEM's 8 form drill. And I *think* I remember GEM posting something of how he teaches the slide back in that drill, but I haven't been able to find it.

The slide back was taught to me that you drive backwards with the leg that is in front until the rear leg is planted and then you reposition the front leg into sanchin. Is that what other folks do?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:07 am 
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Hi Dana,
One method I use is to keep the weight on the front leg (90/10) and slide the rear leg back keeping on the ball of the foot and toes, once the rear leg stops I slide the front leg back keeping as close to 50/50 weight distribution as I can. The main idea with this method of backward movement is to keep my eyes on the opponent(s) and use the rear leg to feel for obstructions (roots, walls, furniture, etc) or in some cases the edges of what we're standing on (log, roof, stairs, etc). Using this method you can move backward quite fast over most environments without tripping over or banging into things and maintaining your balance, while still remaining mostly focused on the opponent(s).

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:52 am 
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I seem to recall Mr. Mattson's advice in the Red Book about simply lifting the rear leg and allowing yourself to FALL back, re-positioning the rear leg to plant yourself, then ( I assume) re-positioning the front leg in to Sanchin position.

I believe the reason was that any attempt to "drive back" using the front leg would result in a slight forward movement caused by "springing off", and also, perhaps, slow down the desired rearward movement. Both, negatives.

I've used the rear-leg "falling back" method for nine years and it works well for me.

~N~

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:15 am 
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What is interesting to me is that the rear foot moves first. In the tactical class I took with Roy Bedard a couple of summers ago, he showed the footwork they teach cops. Which is to bring the two feet close together and then step out with one foot - the reasoning being that you're less likely to get off balance that if you extend out into a long stance. This was interestingly similar to the basic footwork that Wes Tasker was showing that day in seminar.

That being said - it was said to us by a senior teacher (which ones escapes me at the moment) that the slide step in Uechi is very, very small. Just the length of your foot. Which would pretty much still keep you within a one step stance.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:49 am 
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Dana,
Are they switching feet after bringing them together and did Roy say in which context that type of footwork is used? :?

For example, one type of situation where I use the backward movement I described is when the distance between me and an opponent is about leg or arms length, and for some reason I need to go mostly straight back. This method allows me to keep a decent base, focus on the opponent and still give me some feedback to what's behind me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:42 pm 
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Hi Dana,

I was also taught the 'fall back' method and have found it works really well on reliable terrain.

Working on unreliable terrain I prefer to use the method mentioned by MikeK - where one really needs to feel the ground before commiting to a complete weight shift.

But, let's face it - you don't always have a choice about how you're going to move.

Here's a good arguement for teaching outdoors occassionally - or introducing odd-ball obstacles in to the dojo!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 7:46 pm 
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Why not train people to go back at an angle instead of in a straight line.. While you're at it teach them to load and as soon as they go back <on an angle> to GO IN!!!! Folks need to train to FIGHT TO WIN not FIGHT NOT TO LOSE..

<EDIT>

And also why not train folks to go in at an angle..? Many good systems train using a triangle approach to movement, where the triangle represents a small flank to either side of the opponent, can be used either in countering or in attacking.

IMO the going back at an angle is best used when dealing with contact and energy that is forceful enough to move you..

With sport type movement you may want to move around a lot to get a read on your opponen't timing and tactics, but IMO using MINIMAL EVASION tactics using some latteral component is the way to go in general..

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:10 pm 
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Excellent points Jim but sometimes you just can't go anywhere but straight back because of environment or situation, for example you may be backing toward an escape. Other times angling could actually open you up. Going straight back is just another skill to be used when needed.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:15 am 
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MikeK wrote:
Excellent points Jim but sometimes you just can't go anywhere but straight back because of environment or situation, for example you may be backing toward an escape. Other times angling could actually open you up. Going straight back is just another skill to be used when needed.

Seems like going straight back is more dangerous, straight back into the street, straight back where they wanted you to move..

But I am talking about very small movement.. In fighting for the most part you want to make them miss by as little as possible.. If that means backward movement, fine, but from what I see, most people need little encouragement or work in going straight back and I see little opportunity to counter time the opponent this way. Training to make them 'just miss' and counter, and begin your attack, in one or one and a half beats is where it's at IMO..

But are we talking sport like fighting or threat management? Giving distance with a street threat and putting up the fence is certainly valid, so long as you know what you're backing up into..

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:02 pm 
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I'm not moving back to get a better view, ya know.

In my training, I'm never moving backwards without affecting the attacker in some way. I draw them to a different line, I pull them off their center, I pivot them in place to setup a displacement, I open a vital area for striking.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:17 am 
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I hear ya...Dana..

I am just not an advocate of defensive fighting... I would hate to see you or anyone go defensive and miss, possibly the only chance to 'go mental' on the enemy and hurt him.. Like BJ Penn says.. BE FIRST..!!!!!

And over the years I have come to feel that backward, whatever we mean by that, movement, is a problem for many.. I look at this stuff in terms of attributes, percentages and tactics, where Reverse--doesn't rank too high..

Angling is another issue and how.. Being moved or receiving force is another still.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:38 pm 
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And just a side detail - my understanding of uechi slide step is that it is usually the length of your foot - no more. Because more would take you out of the picture.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:54 am 
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At close/realistic range, a foot's length is probably the original intended distance.

I also agree that backing up is a poor defence mindset, but, as Dana pointed out, can be a useful strategy for the right purpose.

I've found that many techniques work better moving in, but let's face it: if you can't move back without being in panic mode, you've missed some homework.

Remember, Dana is addressing raw beginners learning the basics. What better time to instill both the correct mindset and technique of reverse motion in MA application? It's going to happen eventually.

When you have people literally looking at their feet to see which one's forward, because they can't tell otherwise, you realize that they really need basic lessons in balanced movement in ALL directions, including rearward.

This is not equivalent to " teaching a retreating mindset". ( quotes mine.)

-------------------------------------

An aside:

In Seisan Kata, I found that a key to the most effective application of the "leaning forward elbow strike" ... was the ability to simply " fall forward" in to the technique rather than horse-stancing it.

I found it difficult and un-natural to fall into a stance. It seemed weak, un-purposeful, ineffective.

However, falling into the stance is exactly the precise natural motion required, just like standing up and whacking your head on a shelf.

Easy to do accidentally, difficult to do deliberately.
--------------------------------------------------------
This ties into the concept of " falling away" from a frontal attack by lifting the rear leg, not "pushing off" the front leg.
It's a passive motion, not an active one.

A difficult overall concept to integrate into training, in my experience.
Not because it's flawed, but because it's unnatural at first and therefore uncomfortable and counter-intuitive.

Hey, if was easy, everyone would be doing it!

~N~

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:07 pm 
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When I've told students to fall back it tends to result in students with their weight in their heels and their mobility reduced. What I want people to understand early on and clearly is that they need to build up their awareness of if they are or are not controlling their bodyweight throughout each and every movement.

One of the most helpful things I've found is to do the same pushing on students from various angles during sliding footwork that we do in sanchin. This was a primary difference I noticed in the training in the US vs Okinawa. Many of the Okinawan teachers would push on your body/stance throughout any of the kata - not just sanchin.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:32 am 
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Dana: I see your point about the concept of "falling back" causing newbies to fall back over their heels.


As for the sliding idea, I'm really undecided about, and therefore exploring, which is the superior method, if either is.

The advantage of drawing back the front foot first, is that it removes it from danger of being struck or swept.
However, your balance is temporarily on a very shallow plane.

Falling back, your balance is maintained but the front leg is left exposed, though unweighted.
------------------------------
So, my conclusion is:
If it's an upper-body attack then falling back is better, if it's a sweeping or similar leg-attack, then get the front leg back ASAP and make up the balance with the rear foot.

This seems consistent with logic: however, I can't remember training any drills where the front leg was retreated first, or any distinction between the "protocol" for an upper body attack vs. a lower body attack as far as correct moving-back is concerned.
(I think we just did 8-Step.)

Obviously there is no time to think under pressure so this would have to be trained to be automatic. I might start playing with this and see where it leads.

Similar thought should be applied to forward motion also. A nice little Winter project perhaps.

~N~

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