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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:58 pm 
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So for many years I've done arm rubbing. And for many years most of my partners have been stronger than I am. So I start arm rubbing just like everyone else and then, evetntually, my arm gives out. Sometimes that happens well in advance of the amount of rubbing that would be good for my partner. So this is what I do:

I simply place the palm of my other hand against the elbow of the rubbing arm and use it to support my arm. This allows me to use both sides of my body, keep good form with my rubbing arm, give my partner a good workout, and continue to build the strength in my own arm past when I would have been able to do so.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 5:47 pm 
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Dana:

That's exactly what I did when working with my teacher Charles Earle. He loved arm rubbing, but my arms gave out way before his. I know Mr. Fisher in your dojo also has a love for arm rubbing, and is very good at it.

I know many dojos today skip over arm rubbing, but since arm rubbing and pounding was 1/3 of Kanbun's basic curriculm, I am a bit disinclined to skip right to pounding or to ignore it. I think, however, two other issues come up in arm rubbing in America. The first is height. As you know, Okinawa is a fairly homogenous culture, where especially among the senior instructors, there is not a great variance in height. Here, though, we often end up with a five foot tall person paired with a six foot four person. I believe (yes, just my personal belief after training for a few weeks) that one should adjust one's height for his or her partner. Since the five foot tall person cannot make too much of an adjustment, I encourage the taller person to practice a low stance while doing arm rubbing with a shorter person.

Second, arm rubbing is a cooperative, not a competitive exercise. While I think it reflects a very high level of self defense application, it should be practiced with a sensitivity to one's partner. It is way too easy for a stronger person to turn arm rubbing into a nothing exercise for both partners. Much like any other aspect of our art, form, precision, and an awareness of self and partner should be practiced. It's not competitive.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Of course, I am also hoping that when Dave gets back from Europe he will be up for some arm rubbing, or that the next time we train together you will show me again how much the rest of one's body must be used to do arm rubbing properly.

Peace
Robb in Sacramento


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:04 am 
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Hi Robb,

Yes - sadly David took off for far away lands once again. The amazing (and totally fun) part is that he always comes back.

Your comments reminded me of the training we did on half hard/half soft and what you showed me about where and when those are combined. The way you demonstrated it to me, arm rubbing is a really wonderful tool to teach that at the beginning and a way to invite more experienced students to deepen their understanding.

I remember my teacher telling me to "lock in my sanchin" when I was a white/green belt. At the time that meant I was over tensing some muscles in my extremeties to make up for the core muscles I hadn't yet learned how to use. As I learn more about my body I try to be more efficient in what is hard and what is soft. And as I use my core muslces more I find that I am building more fluidity in my arm, leg, and body shifting movements. The other really good thing about your tradition of doing arm rubbing long after most would want to drop their arms is that once you get through the burn of the delts and they just give out -- you only have your core mucles and legs left to hold your structure. Which reminds me that we've got a 22 year old student that we need to introduce to this training (too much shoulder)...so that gives me a goal for next week when I'm finally back on the floor after several weeks of travel.

happy training,
Dana

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:52 am 
Dana-

Interesting practice... This is also the way that a couple of the Pentjak Silat systems I practice throw their punches. There's a variety of reasons and applications, one of which is exactly what you described... Good stuff :D

-wes


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:28 am 
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Hey Wes,

Yah - it is a good beginning training for augmenting strikes and covers and even slips. Bobby Campbell called the technique "timing hands" when he presented it at our school several years ago and John Spencer mentioned it again just this summer at camp.

For some folks using two arms against one is guarantee that they'll be able to overpower - however I'm so much smaller than many of my partners that often it just brings me up to where I get a light shot instead of a harder one. Which is fine as long as I can keep moving.

It is a reality for me that most men can easily swat my guard down or away so I've focused my efforts on learning how to bridge off that force and try to make it help me during sen no sen timing. ...still gotta ways to go...

Which, since I wasn't sure how to spell that (with or without hyphens) I went googling and found this site..I like how they describe the four options.

http://www.yamatanidojo.com/karate_terminology.htm
Quote:
# Sen: Initiative
# Sen no sen: Seizing the initiative earlier; attacking at the same moment your opponent attacks.
# Go no sen: Seizing the initiative later; Allowing your opponent to attack first so as to open up target for counter-attacks.
# Sen sen no sen: Seizing the opponent’s sen no sen; Attacking before your opponent attacks-a preemptive attack.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:30 pm 
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Hi, Dana!

Time, experience, and many partners have taught me (personally) that this arm rubbing exercise is just a skeleton of all different kinds of training. As such, there are many interesting ways to practice it, and many benefits from it.

To start with, I'm not so sure that most folks (even I) understand what this exercise is for, and all that can be gotten from it. Yes, we can regurgitate what our elders taught us. But truth be told, most of our elders took the Nike approach (just do it) to this and many other things we do. There wasn't a lot of discussion other than perhaps nagging students to keep good stances and keep their shoulders down.

I don't see the height differential necessarily as a disadvantage, nor do I think we should automatically alter the exercise when encountering it. We won't only face partners our size, will we? That being the case, learning to apply the principles and receive the benefits has to happen in the context of how we intend to apply our art. If you expect to be attacked by small women, then get the big boy to squat for you. If you think only people bigger than you will be attacking you, well... ;) I personally seek out taller partners to work with. Why? Being able to thrust high while pulling the AC joint down is part of the "pan gai noon" thing we work on in Sanchin in many ways. It's the yin and the yang symbol where white goes into black but you have no gray. It's being able to walk and chew gum at the same time. I can't tell you how many students I've worked with who have all kinds of problems doing this. Ask them to pull the shoulder down and the strike goes to the belly. Ask them to strike higher and the shoulder comes up. Only when I get them working against a taller partner and nag/poke them into proper arm rubbing while pulling the shoulder down do they finally get the walk-and-chew-gum thing in that part of their Sanchin. You, Dana, just have a built in advantage in this regard. No wonder your karate is so good! ;)

The "tired arm" syndrome is a function of many things. Some time back, George had someone film he and I doing arm rubbing. It's on this website somewhere. I wasn't wise to some of what George was doing, and it was a bit of a set up - to the benefit of his enlightenment. If you find the clip and watch it, you'll see he outlasts me. How he does it is the interesting part. Basically when George does these demos, he is not extending or flexing his arm at all. None. Zero. All the movement is with his core alone. He's holding the arm in the Sanchin (maximum strength) angles, and just shifting his center back and forth like a tai chi practitioner. The only thing he does with his arm is alternating between supination and pronation. Is it a "trick"? No. It's just waking us up to where we should be deriving most of our power. But it takes us a while to get there. Once you get it though, you're moving just like any "natural" athlete.

There are a number of other issues and benefits involved with doing arm rubbing. One is the conditioning of the skin over top of the ulna and radius. The muscular areas of the forearm respond well to pounding. I find the skin-over-bone areas respond much better to rubbing. As such, I use rolling pins now to develop my boney shins. And if my students are rubbing any parts of their arms other than the boney ulna and radius, I correct them. In my dojo, arm rubbing is not a muscular massage; it is for the boney parts. Joe Lewis, FWIW, got many of his knockouts in full contact karate by using his radial bone as the contact surface in a ridgehand-like strike to the head. It's a brutal weapon. Shin bones work really well against thigh muscles.

There's also a lot of learning in the sense of getting all the parts to work together correctly. Unlocking the Sanchin posture and moving the body with the arm movement helps here. This helps us tap into the principles of SSM (sequential summation of motion, and simultaneous summation of motion).

I also find the rubbing works really well - on the pulling part - to help me get my inflexible students to work on their elbow-in positions. When pulling back, I often have my flexibility challenged students try to pull their elbow into their center line. When they can do that, there are any number of things I can teach them to do with their empty-hand and weapon martial arts. Doing that as a whole-body motion against a resistance is very beneficial.

There's also the issue of what rubbing teaches us about the geometry of inside fighting. At least from the outside, we learn how to feel and respond to an opponent we are in contact with. We learn to play "chicken" with the line of force, thus setting us up to be where our attacker wishes we weren't. We learn how to touch first with our forearms (rather than our vulnerable hands) to reduce the probability of injury and increase the likelihood of a productive first contact.

Turning arm rubbing strictly into a strength pissing contest IMO misses out on a lot of these things. As Robb mentioned above, we're engaged in a cooperative exercise. If all we're trying to do is get strong, I have any number of weight exercises I can teach people that will get them there MUCH faster. But that really isn't the primary goal IMO. The goals are numerous, and the benefits IMO are supposed to compliment and not replace our strength training goals.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:32 am 
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Hi Bill,

There's lots of ideas and concepts in what you posted.

What is also interesting to me is the amount of variation in how folks do the arm rubbing training.

Some I have seen folks who keep the core and body very still, but very strong - using the movement of the rubbing to build the strength and conditioning of the bridging arms while basically keeping the rest of the body in a hard sanchin posture (however still with flexible knees and ankles) which demands quite a bit of work from the core to hold it that still and stable while the forces change throughout the rubbing exercise.

Other folks have moved closer to the style GEM uses in his clip. Fully body coordination, noticeable shifting of the body weight, the rubbing arm in a somewhat fixed position.

My brief encounters with arm rubbing in Okinawa was that arm rubbing was done in a very business like manner and definitely as a prep to arm pounding, not as a stand alone exercise. However I really had very little exposure to it over there.

There is also wide variation in the speed that arm rubbing is done.

Some people rub with tightly closed fists, others with open hands.
Some people mimic exactly the movement of a punch, others keep the elbow more bent.

Then there's the elbow...
Some keep the elbow at or within the body line and still others flare the elbow out - almost as if doing a mawashi tsuki or a movement similar to elbow out bushiken strikes in seisan.

An exercise I see as very close to the arm rubbing is the partner circle blocks from both stationary stances and with stepping (either linear or circular.) What is fun to me in that exercise is that you can explore various planes with the circles you make and observe how your partner moves (or doesn't) in response to the different directions of force.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:45 am 
Arm rubbing is a shearing and sensitivity drill IMHO , force on force is easily countered this drill can teach how to slip the force .

It`s a remnant of push hands work IMHO .

all the other reasons are valid , but strength on strength IMHO sets up the wrong ques .

I also do yeilding drills so it makes more sense in this context to me .


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:52 am 
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I think there is a time to build sensitivity to shearing or what I usually call grinding and a time to just train the grinding so you can do it. So I think you need both aspects of the training.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:57 am 
Interesting Dana , how do you employ brute grinding as a usefull mechanic ?

what attribute is the focus .

In all sincerity , I see such overt force as a opening , is it strictly a strength and dominance issue ? , or excercise ?

I know it sounds a weird question , but really trying to understand in a learning context .

Doesnt there become a point were strength just becomes jamming up ?

am I just coming from to much of a stronger persons perspective ?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:30 pm 
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Stryke wrote:

Arm rubbing is a shearing and sensitivity drill IMHO

I wish I had said that, Marcus. What a wonderfully succinct way to summarize an important aspect of the exercise.
Stryke wrote:

how do you employ brute grinding as a usefull mechanic ?

I won't speak for Dana, Marcus. It's bad form. 8) However I think I can play both sides of this fence.

When I said...
Bill wrote:

Turning arm rubbing strictly into a strength pissing contest IMO misses out on a lot of these things.

... I'm basically giving homage to your concern. Too many Uechika spend too much time standing like statues and beating the &#$% out of each other. Maybe it makes for great demos. Maybe you impress your friends. Maybe you can actually use that stuff. (It's useful to be able to take a hit and keep on with the battle plan.) However it also teaches some very bad habits. As has been stated many times before on these forums, getting into a hard Sanchin stance against an attacker with a knife has to be one of the dumbest things you can do. It can be very bad to teach someone instnctively to resist force when the threat either can slice through you or your attacker is well schooled in the art of getting around force. (Western boxing, wing chun, etc.)

However...

There's a time to be hard and a time to be soft. Take all these Olympic and classic lifts as an example. When you're doing free weights, the force vector against which you operate is always towards earth. When I do a clean and jerk, I'm pushing against the floor and teaching my body to explode towards heaven. Meanwhile in Sanchin you want to learn to push against the floor, and explode towards a horizontal direction. Unless you're using cable weights or something, there isn't a good way to create this type of resistance training motion. A live partner can help you do that in arm rubbing. No expensive weight equipment or gym membership is required.

This is obvious to you, Marcus. However I get students all the time who can't scratch their rear and talk at the same time. It's amazing... These exercises give you an opportunity to teach them natural athletic mechanics so they can "get" what they are supposed to be doing when hitting someone.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:38 pm 
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Quote:
brute grinding as a usefull mechanic


conditions the forearms
builds core mucles and the connection between the arms and core muscles
makes it a technique so ingrained that it is mindless
teaches mental focus and resolve
gets people over some of their initial issues of touching other people (especilaly when sweaty)

I deal with new students almost every month. Arm rubbing is one of the entrees to partner execises, body contact, building confidence, working past when you're tired, not giving up.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:51 pm 
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First of all, Dana, I failed initially to say that I like your initial thoughts about the double-armed motion. I do it now and then. However when I do, I have my support hand palming the extending wrist. The posture ends up being a loose manifestation of the closed temple gate posture of Sanchin. I will do this when I have a big hulking partner to work with (someone I won't overwhelm), and I want to really grind on my bones for conditioning. However I agree with you and Wes that there's serendipity to it. Now and then I catch myself bringing that second hand in on martial motions. It's sort of the equivalent of using a second hand now and then to swing the racket in tennis. You find the women doing that more than the men. Why? Biology. Pound for pound, women's core muscles are pretty close to men's. However testosterone creates an upper body differential. So it makes sense in tennis for a woman to do two-handed swings (moreso than men) to match the strength of the extremity to what the core can maximally deliver.

I happen to be built more like a crane with my long arms. As such, the proportionate strength of my arms to the core isn't what it would be if I had the short arms and legs of the stockey Fedele. I first noted how these kinds of discrepancies worked when observing (7 foot 4 inches) Ralph Sampson (NCAA basketball player of the year in junior and senior years). Ralph's body looked like someone took Gumby and stretched him out. Ralph couldn't bench 200 pounds. However he could curl with 90 pound dumbbells. Take someone like Fedele and he has probably benched far more than 200 in his competition days. However I don't think I'd ever see him getting near 90 pound dumbbell curls. That's just the way all the lever arms work in this kinetics problem.

So as a kid, I could throw a mean fastball from the pitchers mound and throw a runner out at the plate from center field with my lanky build. But I was never a bench press champion. Consequently I learn to "cheat" in ways similar to what you find works for you with your build and balance of strengths through your body. I use my reach to my advantage, and find ways to deliver power that work best for my personal build.

This two-armed technique is something I instinctively do in certain martial situations. Nobody ever taught me to do it; it just seems natural.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:02 pm 
Thanks Dana and Bill , didnt mean to side track the topic , interesting points .

I teach the Arm rubbing only after Ive taught a yeilding pattern becuase I`ve found it easier for folks to get after theyve developed some sensitivity .

It`s as simple as reversing the timing , and yeilding on the thrust and countering the same .

much like Tai chi pushhands , or Koryu tegumi , and using the Sanchin thrust/mechanics of course .

the core muscle usage is the best point IMHO , no matter which version your practicing .

I reserve this kind of drill and shearing far more for an inside strike , very interesting and usefull mechanics in that sense .

Take a look , about half way through he shears over an attack

http://www.taiji-qigong.co.uk/Free_To_D ... /PUSH4.ASF


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:54 am 
http://fileserver.uechi-ryu.com/videos/ ... ds_med.asf


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