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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:49 am 
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Location: Derry, NH, USA
Morning Bill,

Recently doing some research into the Bubishi I ran across a dialogue we had in 2007. Re-reading it I’m convinced this is the most interesting discussion I’ve ever had on the potential meaning of the Bubishi on Grappling and Escapes.

The comments on neck strikes and the use of thumb strikes parallels my own technique studies the past few years, making all of this more poignant than reading an older text.

In my case I use an aikido flow strike into the neck allowing the opponents inward press to be the force multiplier for their reaction, not the same focus as with the Ueichi fingertip strikes. Perhaps a little less ‘damaging’ but yielding interesting results. One student with great former training was impressing other beginners with his jumping spinning crescent kicks. Everyone forgot the drill I was showing 15 minutes before. I used it as an object lesson and approached the group asking them why they were backing away from his kicks. Asking him to attack me with them, when he did so I just stepped forward and used a fingertip flow strike into his neck. His kick didn’t complete instead he ws bouncing into the wall about 15 feet behind him. I’m an old slow man but I made my point.

The same with my work on thumb strikes. I remember the first time I saw Uechin Seisan performed when Tom Chan joined my group about 25 years ago. I stopped him at that point and asked him were these thumb strikes (I had no idea of the existence of use of the boshikan then) and that got his attention that I noticed them. While I have my own variations on that I tend to focus on the use of the thumb on top of the Isshinryu fist for striking effect.

I agree with you about the use of Ueichi’s pointy things, another thing about Uechi that gives me pause.

I’m reposting our discussions for further thought, and I’ve incorporated your comments in the appropriate place for the reader’s ease.

Thanks for providing me the opportunity.

victor

The Bubishi Grappling and Escapes http://forums.uechi-ryu.com/viewtopic.php?t=17850
A dialogue between Victor Smith and Bill Glasheen

It seems a long time ago now I began to look at the Okinawan Bubishi, its translations and possibilities of meaning to its text. I always found its existence interesting, but I also came to the conclusion it is almost universally ignored when it comes to training practice. Perhaps there are people and programs that are trying to utilize this material, but if so I suspect they are very rare.

Of course almost none of us can hope to read/translate the original text. That leaves us to deal with specific translations. It's practices may or may not be reflected in our own studies. Sure the Big `8' for Isshinryu came from there, but which version?

I'm going to take a little time to look at one section of the `Bubishi', Methods of Escape. My source will be the recent translation of Funakoshi Ginchin's `Karate Jutsu', translated by John Teramoto.

I chose this translation solely because it was Funakoshi who was first to share the Bubishi's existence to outsiders, and he included this material both in his original book and later in his Karate Do Koyan, but left it in the original Chinese. One wonders if the emergent JKA from Funakoshi Sensei's teachings ever paid attention to what was shared?

The section is pertinent from the perspective escape from an attack is still as much as an issue today as it was in the past. Most obviously these comments are escape against unarmed attack.

Note: All kata referenced in my analysis are the Isshinryu versions

1. If you want to attack east, first strike west.

This section is an obvious reference to the use of diversion. If your enemy is looking to the east they may not be checking out the west, leaving them vulnerable.

I attended a seminar by a senior Judo-ka, long ago. He presented a technique his Japanese instructors waited 20 years to show him, but he didn't keep the same restriction. While grappling, he would use both hand to really pull the opponent downward to the right.

The opponent would automatically counter pull to the left, and then he fell backwards throwing them over his left shoulder. First East then West.




2. If you want to stamp forward, bring up the rear foot as much as possible.

I interpret this as inching forward on your opponent. Keep your front foot stable as your rear foot inches forward. That means you have to cover less distance when you stamp forward and can do so more quickly.

Kata leads us to standardize our technique, but when facing an opponent subtle shifts and deceptive openings to set up our response are useful, even if not formally seen in the kata.

Of course I may be assuming too much, such that the stamp is with the back foot, it may be the front foot. In that case sliding the rear foot forward actually places your center closer to the attacker allowing the front foot to reach in further.

What does stamp mean? Is it a cross stomp kick?. Stamp might be interpreted just as is says, a stamp to the instep of their foot. Trying to break it and paste them to the floor. That stamp may be
accompanied with upper body technique done at the same time, and becomes a force multiplier among other uses.

Even more simply, the stamp might be nothing but a big owie, creating a distraction to escape (keeping with the section title.

________________________________________
2. If you want to stamp forward, bring up the rear foot as much as possible.
________________________________________

What does "stamp" mean? It could mean nothing more than slide-stepping. What you do after advancing is entirely your choice.

That being the case, there's a little trick that the good sport fighters learn. You can slip that rear leg up a bit before doing your sliding lunge, and do so without showing your hand. It's particularly easy to do if you throw a little "noise" in with the signal. In other words, have a little random bobbing, weaving, and shuffling the way a boxer does in-between flurries. With the signal-to-noise ratio reduced, you can work in that back leg scootch totally undetected. Then you advance on your opponent quicker than they think possible.

There's a corallary to this in going backwards. My left front big toenail is permanently messed up from years of people stepping on it in prearranged and freeform fighting. If someone had taught me that front leg scootch before back slide step, I'd probably have a decent-looking toenail today.

Bill

3. If you want to rotate your body, intensify the soft power.

Keeping your body rigid inhibits your ability to rotate, slows you down and decreases the power that can be emitted from the technique. A great example are the turning techniques in Naifanchi Kata. Keeping the torso soft allows quicker rotation. In fact the turning technique developed in Naifanchi is the same turning technique used with greater rotation in Chinto.

Rotation is much more subtle than the large turns. It also involves the smaller turns used in technique movement. An example are the rotations of the knee during knee release to move a technique into the optimal zone of entry to an attack Reinforcing that soft becomes hard.

Interesting choice of words, intensify the soft power? Sounds like a contradiction doesn't it.

3. If you want to rotate your body, intensify the soft power. ****

Interesting choice of words, intensify the soft power? Sounds like a contradiction doesn't it.
________________________________________
It's that nasty, inexact chi-speak. On the other hand, the whole yin-yang principle is universal. It's all in how you articulate it. In this case, they mean something somewhat complex, IMO.

Turning is something people really need to work on because "it" is where the core power comes from in most movements subsequent to the turn. For the Average Joe doing kata, their idea of a turn is what you do when you run out of space in the dojo and/or want to face another bad guy. To the experienced fighter, the "turn" is where you get off the line of force and/or generate the neuromuscular energy in the core which you deliver to your periphery. You pre-stretch muscles with high dL/dt, and rebound off of the dynamic stretch reflex.

But then again... I know my kinesiology jargon makes the chi-ster eyes glaze over.

We work a lot on breaking movements down and building them back up again in my classes. The last "layer" I will put on a movement is the turn which often preceeds the movement. Only when done in this way - as if "the whole" means something - will a student get it.

Bill

4. If your hair is being pulled, use kyogeki (literally a large halbred. Kyogeki here might mean "Spear Hand". Another suggested reading is "Thumb Attacks".)

Several time's I've been shown how to press both hands on the hand grabbing your hair to neutralize their grab, but putting your hand into their throat works for me Thumb attacks seem too complex when your head is being jerked around, imo.

4. If your hair is being pulled, use kyogeki (literally a large halbred. Kyogeki here might mean "Spear Hand". Another suggested reading is "Thumb Attacks".)

Several time's I've been shown how to press both hands on the hand grabbing your hair to neutralize their grab, but putting your hand into their throat works for me Thumb attacks seem too complex when your head is being jerked around, imo.
________________________________________
I am one of the unapologetic proponents of Uechi Ryu's "pointy" weapons. But FWIW, this wasn't an overnight epiphany for me.

Part of the problem lies in the very shallow "striking" view of what is going on in Okinawan kata. In my opinion, many have a fairly simplistic view of karate as something you do to a punching bag or striking pad. That works for sport karate. But sport karate isn't self defense.

And they don't grab your hair in the sport ring, do they?

As for how to use the boshiken (thumb fist), well I believe we can learn quite a bit from the old school jiujitsu people. And note I did NOT say BJJ. I mean the really old stuff like Rory's style (Sosuishitsu Ryu).

A thumb is best applied in a careful, deliberate manner the way a climber takes his fingers and grabs for crevaces and creases on a climbing wall. Once you train your thumb to work in myriad degrees of freedom of motion with strength, there are all kinds of fun things you can do with it. And it's not something that a striking pad is going to help you understand.

This takes a bit of one-on-one time to teach.

Bill

5. If you want to strike your opponent, destroy his tenchuu (Ch: tianzbu, this is central supporting pillar, ... here the meaning might be to attack the opponent's center line.)

Again sound advice on how to strike. I was shown no matter where you face an opponent find the centerline of their body and strike towards it. At times trunk rotation can spin off attacks to the
bodies outsides, but the center line as a target remains true. You also have a great many targets of opportunity on the centerline.

________________________________________
5. If you want to strike your opponent, destroy his tenchuu (Ch: tianzbu, this is central supporting pillar, ... here the meaning might be to attack the opponent's center line.)

Again sound advice on how to strike. I was shown no matter where you face an opponent find the centerline of their body and strike towards it. At times trunk rotation can spin off attacks to the
bodies outsides, but the center line as a target remains true. You also have a great many targets of opportunity on the centerline.
________________________________________

How about a slightly different interpretation. Instead of centerline, could he mean center?

I talk a lot about "taking the starch out of an opponent." When in Sanchin, we Uechika like to think we're pretty bad. (Except of course against bullets and knives... ) It's that armour we put on with our training. But sometimes either a physical or a mental technique will make the person relax, lose balance, or lose control of the center. When that happens, the body is a LOT more vulnerable to strikes.

This applies to groundwork as well. Even when on the ground, a good martial artist has contact points with mother earth used to maintain control of center and to serve as a reaction to actions. Mess with the foundation, and you take away the ability of the opponent to defend and deliver.

- Bill


6. When the opponent falls to the ground, pin his head face down and you will win.

A common approach in many arts is that an attack isn't countered until the opponent is immobilized on the ground. Face down, kneeling on their arm is a good way to conclude their attack. One of the Sutrisno Aikido concepts is as the individual is going down, utilizing a wrist lock to roll the opponent into that position no matter which way they originally fall.



7. When you fall to the ground, take advantage of your
opponent's sense of superiority.

There are so many variations of the lower body combinations. The one
I began with included kicking from the ground with front thrust
kicks and side thrust kicks. If you've been downed, they have to
reach down to get you, and if they didn't ride you down to remain in
control, their inexperience can be used to counter them.

quote:
________________________________________
7. When you fall to the ground, take advantage of your
opponent's sense of superiority.

There are so many variations of the lower body combinations. The one
I began with included kicking from the ground with front thrust
kicks and side thrust kicks. If you've been downed, they have to
reach down to get you, and if they didn't ride you down to remain in
control, their inexperience can be used to counter them.
________________________________________


This is where BJJ shows its stuff. While I do not recommend anyone stay on the ground when there is ANY risk of a many-on-one encounter, there are a lot of fun things one can do on the ground and on the way back up again. I agree that you can take lemons and make lemonade if you know how.

Bill

8. If grabbed from behind, attack to the rear with your elbow.

All chambering is a rear elbow strike. The double roundhouse strikes in the upper body combinations (from the Lewis lineage) are as much double rear elbow strikes as roundhouse strikes.

________________________________________
quote:
________________________________________
8. If grabbed from behind, attack to the rear with your elbow.

All chambering is a rear elbow strike. The double roundhouse strikes in the upper body combinations (from the Lewis lineage) are as much double rear elbow strikes as roundhouse strikes.
________________________________________


This is hidden in the Seisan bent-over shokens. Why do three when the first one works?

Bill

9. If grabbed from the front, attack his testicles.

Works for me.

quote:
________________________________________
9. If grabbed from the front, attack his testicles.

Works for me.
________________________________________


Yea but you can't stop there. Pain doesn't always work - especially from a drugged opponent. Not only that, but you have a chance to create a raging bull.

It's always best to anticipate the human flinch response here, and be prepared IMMEDIATELY to take advantage of it. The best thing to do next is attack the head/neck area either with grab/chokes or with strikes.

Bill

10. If someone grabs your [head], attack his throat. (victor.smith. - perhaps related to concept 4.)

Note there is a principle here. The throat is extremely unprotected.

quote:
________________________________________
10. If someone grabs your [head], attack his throat. (victor.smith. - perhaps related to concept 4.)

Note there is a principle here. The throat is extremely unprotected.

Bill

11. If your opponent forces mud into your mouth [as a final insult after your defeat], attack his throat.

An opponent who is using defeat to punish is making a amateur mistake. If they were professional they would just finish you off. If they haven't their hubris might be used against them, and the action described might well leave their throat open for attack.

11. If your opponent forces mud into your mouth [as a final insult after your defeat], attack his throat.

An opponent who is using defeat to punish is making a amateur mistake. If they were professional they would just finish you off. If they haven't their hubris might be used against them, and the action described might well leave their throat open for attack.
________________________________________
Whenever you see things repeated in kata, it's often telling you THIS IS IMPORTANT.


It's worth adding though that there was a discussion about three Uechi black belts who were surprise-attacked behind a bar just around closing time. Of course they were probably all a bit compromised from alcohol, and the 3 attackers had the element of surprise. Like the scenario suggested above, they were mean bastards. They were slamming bodies up against trucks, dislocating shoulders, dragging a person by dislocated arm across a parking lot, etc., etc.

One of the three noted that he "saw" the throat of his attacker during a sustained barrage, but he couldn't pull the trigger.

Can our "safe" training teach good people not to do what they need to do when the poop really hits the rotating blade?

There's a time for everything... This is a time to go for the jugular, so to speak. To me the direction is a metaphor, and meant to tell you to get down and dirty. This is a time not to hold back.
-Bill

12. In close combat, use your elbows.

One wonders if the addition of elbow/forearm strikes in Wansu and SunNuSu were specifically added for this reason.

quote:
________________________________________
12. In close combat, use your elbows.

One wonders if the addition of elbow/forearm strikes in Wansu and SunNuSu were specifically added for this reason.

Bill

13. In distant combat, use a reverse stamping kick.

The reach of the leg being a deciding factor to use the kick. Note the use of stamping, as if the use of the kick is to immobilize the opponent. It really reminds me of the kick being used in the To'on Ryu Seisan Kata. A whole body leg stamp, very different from any other style.

13. In distant combat, use a reverse stamping kick.

The reach of the leg being a deciding factor to use the kick. Note the use of stamping, as if the use of the kick is to immobilize the opponent. It really reminds me of the kick being used in the To'on Ryu Seisan Kata. A whole body leg stamp, very different from any other style.
________________________________________

Taken individually, I see mundane suggestions. Taken as a whole, the two reflect on a concept I talk about to my students. I talk about concentric rings of offense and defense that an individual and their opponent have.

Way back in my early sparring days, I had this hapkido black belt in my Uechi class. I was fresh out of a Japanese dojo where people did a lot of sparring. The two of us sparred lots - like cats and dogs. All for fun and learning, of course...

One thing I learned about my hapkido black belt friend was that I was in the most danger in a ring around him where he could use his legs. While I never got seriously hurt sparring him, several in the class ended up urinating blood days after sparring him. He had this killer side thrust kick.

I knew where I was strong. My Japanese karate training taught me to get inside, hold on, and punch until they dropped. All I needed to do was charge through that danger ring that Lloyd had around him. I did find a way. I would start the charge from a distance, and come flying in with lifted knee. I learned it quite by instinct in my Japanese karate class. It turns out to be a great application of crane-on-rock. Uechi's Seisan has a similar "ramped" lifted front leg in the "jump" posture.

I owned the very dangerous Lloyd because I knew how to get where I was strong and he wasn't.

Going a step further... The problem with "contemporary Uechi Ryu" is that we spend a lot of time with middle-distance sparring. That's great for building confidence and creating a safe jiyu format, but... Unfortunately it's defanged Uechi. We have all these elbow and knee techniques througout the kata, and no jiyu format to use them. I do scenarios where elbows and knees are used. But my students on occasion have been scolded on their dan tests when they break out into elbow techniques and head butts. Oops!

The Thai boxers do this inside game very well.

And the grapplers go in to take you down. You see that in kata as well - if you look for it. The "that's not Uechi" crowd laughs at me when I tell them there are shooting trechniques in Sanseiryu. But if you look, it's right there. It just takes a little imagination.

When teaching throws for sparring in my classes, I constantly have to remind my students that they need ONE MORE STEP to get where they need to be. Throwing involves basic laws of physics. If you want to rotate two bodies around a point in space, it takes less effort if the two bodies are as close as possible. Conservation of angular momentum.

The directions above are simple. But you can go far investigating all the possibilities in these concentric rings of offense and defense.

Bill

14. If you want to damage the opponent to your right, lower your
right arm.

I presume this is tactical thinking. If your opponent is on your right, lowering your right arm might be an invitation for them to attack a perceived weakness. In turn you create that weakness to
counter that attack. More a tactical theory than a tactical lesson.

15. If you want to stamp forward, use the spear hand.

This is similar to the concept shown to me in our version of Wansu. In this case the spear hand would appear to be too short for a scoring stroke, but a following leg underneath the arm has a much longer reach if they go to attack against the spear hand.

16. If you want to kick high, first bring your rear leg up as much as possible.

I think this might be interpreted in the sense where the knee points the foot follows. So to kick higher the higher you first raise your knee, the higher the foot will go.

17. If your hand is twisted, bend your elbow.

This is advice how to counter a grab. Grab's work when they are applied in a very specific angle of attack. Often bending the elbow will remove that line of attack, allowing further counters.

18. If someone grabs your sleeve, use gekisho (literally, tip of halbred).

I would suggest a counter fingertip strike to the throat against an arm grab.

19. If someone grabs your hem, use your knee to escape.
20. If he tries to stomp you, just use a strike.
21. If you want to kick him, by all means use your knee.
22. If he is short, do not use your legs.
23. If he is tall, then slip inside.
24. If grabbed from below, attack him from above.
25. If grabbed from above, lower your body immediately and attack from below.
26. If he pulls your hair, raise both arms as if removing armor (and seize him by his pressure points).
27. If he is choking you, attack with shuto (spear hand).

28. If someone approaches with shoulders swaying, be prepared to block his kick.

I see this as interpreting the swagger as a sign an attack is coming. Professionals work not to give out signs, so there is less chance of counter.

29. Your hands and feet (stance) must never fail to be aligned in the proper direction.

I find this most interesting. This is the crux of the alignment theory we follow, to increase the power of our techniques, to give no sign of weakness for the opponent to support. This doesn't just apply to the hands and the stance, it covers the entire range of motion potential. Even the eyes looking in the wrong direction affect a correct technique.

I don't find this a surprise. My own understanding arose from my tai chi studies and then was applied to my Isshinryu. But the secret is just doing Isshinryu 100% correctly every time.

Each imperfection decreases from your power. Kata then becomes the most important tool to help craft our shape in response. But it still is just a tool and other tools are required, that and never ending work.

I believe one summary you might make of these escape techniques is that they are ways to deal with a less trained attacker. They work with using the attackers focus against them. Lead their mind in one direction and then counter in another.

_________________
Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:33 pm 
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I know most everyone has been lurking on this post, but not responding...

and I'm going to do the same basically...

However, Thanks for finding this thread. I'd saved many of the points made before but that hard-drive crashed and I never got back to them. So... Thanks.

Also, It's nice to step into those jumping spinning reverse virtually-uncontrollable (from the stand-point that the person doing it rarely has the ability or technique to do anything but go all out and woah be to someone who puts their head in the way) kicks and surprise the kicker by doing what they aren't expecting, but is the best thing that works. (Whew... gotta catch my breath from that run-on sentence! I was paired against a guy in a competition once who was pretty famous - or perhaps infamous - for doing just such a kick and winning with it... In fact it was at an Ocean State Championship in the early 80s and George-Sensei was there that day... Anyway, it was an obvious telegraph when he stepped to do the kick and I moved in... I got a warning for dropping him, but he didn't use the kick on me anymore! HA! Ooooold memories... )

Thanks again...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:55 am 
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Panther,

You're welcome. I had forgotten this discussion till I checked out the topic and found it. BTW it's also in my files but to remember to read one's files is a challenge too.

IMO the key to stepping into a jumping spinning kick is faith, or the spiritual aspect of our arts, belief our technique will work and then living it. I find it's the hardest thing to teach.
I can train the technique, I can show the application but each person must in the end have the faith in it to make it work.

I think that's what I find re-reading this Bubishi section, today I would write the same guidelines because of my experience. And not from reading it, but seeing my experience parallels that of the past.

always something to think about.

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Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:36 am 
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Thanks for bringing that back from the dead, Victor. Fun stuff!

Oy! Every once in a while we have a pretty good dialogue, no? ;)

- Bill


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