Martial applications vs. dojo etiquette

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Martial applications vs. dojo etiquette

Postby Bill Glasheen » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:01 pm

I've been teaching martial arts now for just short of 35 years, and have branched out quite a bit from my first few styles. So I know a thing or two about martial applications.

Folks who work with me a lot - particularly the men - can tell you I'm not shy about tapping target areas, so long as safety is maintained. For instance in the Seisan bunkai "groin strikes," I'm all about people going for the target. Particularly in the "official" bunkai where they have you going for the less-probable rear hit application, I think it's important for people actually to work on getting the hand RIGHT ON the target. From years of working with people in contact martial arts and having done surgery in the lab for 4 years, I can hit a target on someone blindfolded if they touch me or I them. Meanwhile, those who don't target are terrible at doing it, and I fear wouldn't be able to pull that technique off when they needed it. For my guys who I know wear cups, I demonstrate by swinging my hand half an inch from the package, and then knocking on the cup to show folks I'm right where I want to be without even seeing it.

One class of targets I try to teach people are what Bruce Miller likes to call reflex points. These typically can be found at joint folds, but are in other areas like the suprasternal notch. Most trigger the dynamic stretch reflex and cause the joint to buckle. In the case of the suprasternal notch, it triggers the gag reflex. The good thing about these targets is that they still work when someone is in the extreme range of neurohormonal stimulation, and they still work if the person is drugged (but standing and conscious). That isn't the case with target areas or grappling techniques that rely on pain to work.

One of my favorites, and one I learned from Okinawa sparring champion Mayamia, is the femoral crease. I never thought much of the Uechi sokuto geri until Mayamiya showed me how you can grab a person's arm and fold them in half by fitting the foot blade right in that crease. The angles are perfect, and it works like a charm. Mayamiya says that he uses it to "cut those tall Americans down to size." :wink: (FWIW, he's a perfect gentleman. He just knows how to fight.) The target area is also suggested by the opening of Sanchin kata. While those thrusts can be used in many locations, a double shot to the two femoral creases will cause someone to buckle at the hips. If not the nukites, hirakens or seiken fists work just fine.

So there I was yesterday teaching the technique to Elizabeth, one of my new kid students. She's home schooled, so karate class is a chance for her to get out. While a lot of kids these days don't go for karate, this is a big thing for this precocious but sheltered kid. And we all love her.

Elizabeth is 12, and puberty is just kicking in. Normally everyone is just "a student" in class and I don't make a big deal when body parts are touched. It's all a very professional and clinical atmosphere, with some light-hearted joking when appropriate. But when it came to me showing her how double hand thrusts to the femoral creases could make the body buckle, I paused. That little voice in my head said that perhaps I should skip this lesson until another day.

Thoughts?

- Bill
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Postby chef » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:33 pm

If you are uncomfortable about that, discuss it with her father, since he is in the class anyway. After discussing it with him, you could show them both the move and demo on him; then let Elizabeth demonstrate it on her dad, and then alternate and have them do that back and forth, with them taking turns on each other. Once she is comfortable with that, she could do that with others, and you.

Other option: let a woman show her, with you present to discuss it. Then let her do it to another woman, then let her try with another man with a different height.

It would be great to get Crystal back in that class. She works well with the girls...even if only on a Saturday.

I would help, but I am not around that much.

FWIW,
Vicki
Last edited by chef on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dana Sheets » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:45 pm

I agree 100% with Vicki's wonderful suggestion. If the alarm bells go off in your head, respect them.
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:00 pm

chef wrote:
I would help, but I am not around that much.

We could change that. Or maybe I'll hire Dana to kick your #$%^ if you play hooky too much.

Your instructor,
Bill :)
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks to both of you for excellent suggestions and comments.

I thought it appropriate to bring up here. I think there's a fine line between being condescending and/or paternalistic (and avoiding learning good martial applications) vs. being inappropriate. Mostly I hear about the former from you, Dana, which is why I love working with you. For many reasons, things just work well with us. That involves respect on many levels.

I find that it's important for an instructor to create a good atmosphere for men and women (or men-men and women-women) to do their thing together.

On a related subject... Rich Castanet once told me that I was the first male he had no problem with touching or being touched in the course of doing our dojo activities. It surprised me at first when he said that. But then when I spent more and more time working for socially oppressive Fortune 500 companies (constantly in fear of harassment lawsuits), I began to understand more.

Plus guys who haven't spent most of their lives in sports sometimes don't understand how most athletes just get over the boundary issues when on the field.

- Bill
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Postby chef » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:23 pm

Dana, you have my absolute respect, admiration, and friendship as well. I hope I may someday be worthy of such respect as you have, and be thought of well. I wish to give more than I take to those in karate and in life.

Thank you for all of your contributions and gift of self. Please give my regards to Heather (along with a hug).

Regards,
Vicki
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Postby Shana Moore » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:57 pm

Bill, I add my agreement to Vicki and Dana's and think Vicki's suggestions are spot on. If you are having warning bells, and her somewhat sheltered environment is probably part of that, then I would respect that.

That said, one of the things I always liked in your class was that you generally do not treat men and women differently. It is a repetitive issue I see on other boards that it is hard for women to get men to spar with them as simple partners.

When you are in the dojo, you are there to train. As long as appropriate protective gear is worn, and you understand your partner's levels and boundaries (as noted above), then I say you should train with very little attention to gender. Otherwise, you are doing a disservice to everyone.

I think it's very important that Elizabeth be taught how to use the techiniques you mention, and I respect your caution for her age and boundaries....as long as she still gets the opportunity to learn these ideas.

Respecting where a student is at is one thing...as long as it does not limit what you teach them.

Does this make sense?
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Postby Dana Sheets » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:47 pm

chef wrote:Dana, you have my absolute respect, admiration, and friendship as well. I hope I may someday be worthy of such respect as you have, and be thought of well. I wish to give more than I take to those in karate and in life.

Thank you for all of your contributions and gift of self. Please give my regards to Heather (along with a hug).

Regards,
Vicki


Thanks Vicki,

I treasure our friendship as well. Respect is always a 2-way street in my world! :)


This Bridge

Respect is built
Like a bridge it is
Constructed which is to travel
The gap between two
Filled which was
By construction
of relation
Developed which did through respect
Which is to be between
As this is a bridge
Built on bricks
To support it
So a pillar was existent
Through this bridge
Named which is as respect.

ROHIT SAPRA
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