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 Post subject: Okinawan Karate Secret?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 2:48 pm 
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Bill,

What do you make of this article?


http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=334

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Just out of curiosity_ where do we find an 'ulnar block' against a front kick in the Uechi system? I.E. the three katas?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:26 pm 
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Thanks for the link, Van! I read it at work Friday, but couldn't respond from there. Big Brother doesn't like me using the company systems for such things. ;)

Where do I start?

Part of this is a no-brainer. You have the ulna (the bone on the pinkie side of arm) and the radius (the bone on the thumb side of the arm). If you whack the bones in line rather than both at the same time, then one or both of the bones are more likely to break. In the "both bones break" scenario, it's a bit like stacking up boards with a pencil in-between each one. Break the first, and the others follow.

And my next thought is "So what??"

You and I now see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, Van. By now you probably know how calling an "uke" a "block" is kind of like scratching your fingernails on a chalk board in my presence. The word "uke" means to receive. There are many ways to receive an attack. You can "block" it if you practice Karate 101. Have to start somewhere, right? Or... you can attack the attack. Or you can go with the attack. Or even more advanced... you can tap into the energy and use it against the attacker the way the jujutsu style (and judo and aikido) does in its most pure form. That in fact is what is implied by "ju" (soft or yin or some metaphor equivalent) which is the opposite of "go" (hard or yang or some metaphor equivalent).

I once accidentally broke my partner's arm in a Goju class. I was doing a front kick and he was doing a gedan barai. The way I kick is inspired by years of doing squats; the way he received my kick... wasn't very smart. Both his forearm bones snapped. He did his gedan barai by leading with the ulnar bone. He tried to attack my shin bone rather than deflect the force or get off the line of force. You get the picture. It was an accident, but... It felt like nothing on my end, and I'm sure horrible on his end.

If he instead had done harai sukui uke (the lower part of "hawk chases sparrow" in Seichin), he would have contacted with both bones. The likelihood of him snapping his bones would have been reduced. And... he could have subsequently caught my kick. That's what we Uechika do.

If you want to know my opinion, the biggest problem isn't how you "block". Rather I think it's a question of mindset before receiving the technique. Blocking is crawling before we learn to walk before we learn to run like the wind.

Obsessing over how to "block" is perhaps obsessing about the wrong thing. In my opinion... I go back to one of the precepts of Okinawan Kobudo as articulated in Japanese by Inoue. To paraphrase the Japanese, a "block" (with a weapon) should be more about contacting the force; the focus should be getting off the line of force.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:15 am 
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Nice post Van and Bill. I was just starting to learn the receiving from Potrekus sensei when I moved up here to the sticks.

Steve


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Good points Bill, and good to see you on the thread, Steve.

The "hawk chases sparrow" you mention is indeed the way to go against front kicks, and it has always been my favorite. I used it quite frequently in tournaments, and in the '68 _All American' at Madison Square Garden, run by Henry Cho…it was the move that made me survive vicious low front flying kick attacks by a giant fighter from the "Texas Blood and guts karate" of that era. The match was finally stopped when I scooped up his right leg …lifting him high off the ground causing him to crash back down on his back and unable to get back up.

Strictly survival with no intent to hurt him.

Thinking about it now…I know why it 'came to me' _ it was because I did under stress what I practiced 'mostly of' in those days…free sparring using that move.

I think that it is worthwhile pointing out that the 'canonical' katas do not teach a 'gedan' block [ulnar block] of the front kick. There is no such intended application in the 'big three' moves.

The 'gedan' we do in Sanseiryu is a blow to the knee area of the opponent's right leg you are now holding with the left hand after the take down_ with the 'gedan' at this follow up moment…we are trying to either break the knee or dislodge the patella etc. _ this should be easier on the ulnar…though no guarantee.

Then we have the argument of 'proper conditioning' of the ulna …in that…if we are properly conditioned, then the ulna should not break so easily.

~~
Then there is the 'encoding' argument…

Here I will post snippets from what I received from a good friend:
Quote:
As lads, many of us thought we should perform the block with just the ulnar. In fact, in conditioning, do we not use it to provide a bit of extra pain/testosterone to impress our partner in the dominance game that conditioning often becomes? Works on all of those new students! They cry in pain! Ha!

~~

So you perform your first punch in Dan kumite. Then he kicks you. You perform the down block like you thought it was right on a shin. You then realize why you do not block with just your ulnar in that situation. If you are especially lucky, you not only have quite the painful welt on your ulnar side of your forearm which makes practice a torture for the next week, you get the pleasure of having your partner bury his toe into your gut because you did not actually block/deflect his front kick.


Most, I think, learn this. Some do not and learn to hate Dan kumite. They then claim one should only block with the shins. Not a bad idea unless someone kicks your higher in the flanks--like that kick is designed. So you stop doing Dan kumite altogether.

Then you work with a 25ish Mastodon who learned shin conditioning from Yonamine and Shinjo and a few head injuries, and you realize that if you do not redirect the kick from you--on an opponent of that size--your are going to "eat" the kick every time unless your opponent is "merciful" and kicks away from you.

As for bad habits, nothing sends me into the stratosphere like people kicking really low in prearranged kumite such that everyone bends over to "block down" the kick. Bad habits all around.

"Spinoff" is the only way to survive some situations. You get a guy a foot taller than you, who can deliver a front kick, you will eat that if you stand in front of him.


The 'encoding' of so many years and thousands of reps. will always rear its ugly head when we least expect it.

'Decoding' is not so easy.

"Spinoff" or sabaki type moves are in Uechi hojo undo and the big three, but they are mostly ignored in application. I focus my teaching on these basics these days.

I know George and you are also teaching and practicing these concepts.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:30 am 
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I came across whis video while searching for something else and thought of this thread
Two WORST Martial Arts Techniques Ever!

But this all begs the question, what about tameshiwari?
Image

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:27 pm 
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Firstly Glenn, to draw a comparison between what Shinjo Sensei is showing and what the gentleman in the tape is showing is sort of misleading.. Sensei is demonstrating the power and effectiveness of a technique called Kote Uchi (Forearm smash) in which he grabs your left attacking arm with a left Mawashi Uke and comes across the back of your neck with a forearm. Breaking your neck at approxiamitly C3 or above.. Needless to say, GAME OVER!!
It's a demonstration of many years of conditionining, waza, atefua, concentration, focus, and courage.. Simply that, no more, no less.. For anyone to attempt this break without 10-15 years of serious training before hand is highly discouraged as the person attempting will most likely break their own forearm first...That's my story, and I'm sticking to it... :D :D :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:40 pm 
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I am well aware of all that Stevie, however what Kiyohide Shinjo is doing to the baseball bat does relate to this thread, and more importantly relates to the mindset development that hard-against-hard blocks/strikes with the ulna or radius are a pinnacle of Uechi training.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:31 pm 
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The technique in the video was meant to actually break a baseball bat.. Has nothing to do with what Sensei's showing.. Anyways, not going to debate it with you, you can read into whatever you wish.. As far as this being the "Pinnicle" of Uechi Ryu, you either are trained to be able to do that, or you have no wish to take on that type of training... All I can say is I would rather have that type of conditioning in a real situation than find reasons not to develop it.. But to each their own..Some people like to condition their fingertips on keyboards, some people condition them on river pebbles... :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
I am well aware of all that Stevie, however what Kiyohide Shinjo is doing to the baseball bat does relate to this thread, and more importantly relates to the mindset development that hard-against-hard blocks/strikes with the ulna or radius are a pinnacle of Uechi training.


Do not confuse the pointing finger with the moon.

- Origin Unknown

The only thing that video has in common with Shinjo's demonstrations is the baseball bat. If you want to understand what Shinjo's original intent is with that demo, then take the time to see this video. It confirms what Stevie is talking about above. Start at 5:00.

Iron Body

George, Van, and I have been on a mission for years to get people to stop confusing demonstrations for martial technique and teaching methods. Yes... I've done this before. I've done Sanchin shime demonstrations at halftimes of college basketball games where I instructed my partner to beat the $%#*!!! out of me. I asked for it, and I got it. It all culminated with someone doing a swinging kick up my groin that literally lifted me off the ground. Hearing the sound of over 10,000 fans moaning in sympathy pain was worth it all.

But don't confuse the demonstration for technique, or for teaching method. I ask someone to beat on me in a demonstration because I can do this and not get hurt. But what I did to get there has nothing to do with someone beating me up. On the contrary... I was in complete control of my learning in this venue, and always was allowed to give what I received.

Shinjo is breaking the baseball bat with his kote uchi (translates literally as forearm strike) because he can. Neither he nor anyone else is suggesting that you face an opponent with a swinging baseball bat and block it before breaking it in half and throttling the bad guy with the fragment. In the words of Chris Rock, that's just ignant. The intended target of the kote uchi is the back of the neck, the side of the head, or the jaw.

Circa 1985, Bobby Campbell taught a wonderful technique for this scenario. It's one he used on someone in the Philippines who threatened him with a baseball bat. (Big mistake!!!) The move uses the principle of getting in the eye of the hurricane, and it applies footwork and technique right out of your Sanseiryu kata. One need not touch either the baseball bat or the arms holding it to make the bat fly away.

Come to camp and I'll show you. ;)

The original discussion was about how to deal with the situation where an impenetrable force meets and immovable object. Conditioned shin smashing into conditioned forearm bone(s) is a whole other kettle of fish. A katana can cut clean through a human body, but would you use a katana to "block" or to break a katana - blade to blade? If you tried this in battle, the swordsmith would probably say you deserve to die.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Bill,

Good post. Uechi _ conditioning or not, you do not 'condition operant' techniques that will have a high percentage of failure in the chaos of combat, such as getting your ulnar broken when meeting a hard, conditioned, fast, sharp, shin blade.

But if 'done right' it won't happen, right?

Again we need to study what happens to our bodies when the SSR kicks in…you will get clumsy and the strength of the chemical cocktail will determine just how clumsy you will get in the grip of gross motor response action.

Your coordination will degrade along with gross degradation skills, tunnel vision and auditory exclusion, to name a few.

This means you will still be able to defend yourself but you will make mistakes in applying the skills you have trained for.

The Bob Campbell technique, against bat or blade, is a classic.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Stevie and Bill,

All good points that I agree with and also have espoused before as you know. However in relation to the topic of this thread, which is hard blocks (and strikes) with the ulnar and radius risking breaking those bones, what are we to make of such demos and the mentality they can generate in practitioners of being able to take hard blocks without risk of breaking their arm? (The same could be said for blocking kicks with shins.) The guy in the video I posted is commenting on people actually recommending blocking a bat with an arm, and it is not difficult to see such a mentality coming out of tameshiwari. As I have stated before I do not agree with this mentality or that demos and techniques/teachings are one and the same, but there more we harden our bodies the more risks we may take, or at the very least the more we may slip into relying on hardness over technique particularly in the heat of the moment. Think football where there has been considerable press about the increase in head injuries being at least partly due to a false sense of security from wearing a helmet causing players to take more risks. And as we have mentioned elsewhere, operant conditioning can play a role in this.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:36 am 
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It's just over thinking a possible situation as many of us do Glenn... It;s like this( as Van was trying to get across, I believe) You simply are NOT going to throw the most perfect Gedan Barai during real conflict (although you certainly want it ingrained into your sub concious so that you may be able to pull out even 70% towards technique!) As Bill stated, we don't always take on the risk or attitude of testing ourselves every week just for the the "MACHO COOL WAY WE ARE"..PS, Bill , I would like tat Copywrited as a Stevie phrase if possible Sir? :lol: :lol: :lol: It's over years, nothing to rush, just a slow build up..And it does come! Then, once in a while you take a chance.. If it feelks good, you take a little more.. Like that.. But the point is that it really has nothing to do with your value as a Martial Artist or more so a Human being.. It's only preserving the best that you can personally attain and cultivating it.. Not wrong, not right.. Only what's for you..But in Van's world, it is absolutely better to have a pretty well trained and conditioned Ulnar and to have the Atefua down a little so that you aren't absorbing the attack rather than accepting and redirecting and refdistributing the force better than the shin on Ulnar force that was described..Put it this way.. Once your force is properly distributed then it's my turn to cut into a bone and nerves.. Sort of difficult to imagine, even harder to feel..No Secret, just lots of practice..And to have 70% chance to get close to right in Van's exteme senarios(sorry Sensei, but they are, and I understand why) is better than having 40% or 0% effecttiveness in both conditioning and technique.. You're just not going to make it out of the "Phonebooth" without at least alittle of both.. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:48 am 
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PS.. If interested i this Topic then check out Bill Sensei's comment concering "Jamming the Distance on TKD spinning reverse kicks" Same situation.. You have to know how to cut the other's power and focus, redirect it, then apply your own power and focus.. Yakusoku Kumite and Bunkai over exaggerated.. :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:49 am 
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Glenn wrote:
what are we to make of such demos and the mentality they can generate in practitioners of being able to take hard blocks without risk of breaking their arm?

I don't do "blocks." I receive techniques - in any manner of ways. That's the translation of "uke."

Van, Stevie, and I have made our views abundantly clear. At the end of the day, we can't protect terminally stupid people from themselves.

Glenn wrote:
The same could be said for blocking kicks with shins.

Again... I don't do "blocks." I receive techniques - in any manner of ways. That's the translation of "uke."

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with receiving a kick with your shin. But when I receive a kick, it doesn't involve orthogonal contact. Check out the Seisan jump posture. The slant of the raised crane leg speaks for itself.

Glenn wrote:
The guy in the video I posted is commenting on people actually recommending blocking a bat with an arm, and it is not difficult to see such a mentality coming out of tameshiwari.

I find it difficult. But what do I know?

I had a new student once tell me that I could reach down the throat, grab the heart, pull it out, and show it to someone before they died. Hmm... I've got dozens more stories just like it. I could write a chapter in a book on it.

Glenn wrote:
As I have stated before I do not agree with this mentality or that demos and techniques/teachings are one and the same, but there more we harden our bodies the more risks we may take, or at the very least the more we may slip into relying on hardness over technique particularly in the heat of the moment. Think football where there has been considerable press about the increase in head injuries being at least partly due to a false sense of security from wearing a helmet causing players to take more risks. And as we have mentioned elsewhere, operant conditioning can play a role in this.

So should I stop sparring with gloves on because I keep punching with seiken fist to the head? Should I stop weight lifting because I might use my strength instead of technique? (Once upon a time that was the prevailing wisdom...) Should I stop reading because I might use my intelligence and overthink a situation? Should I stop inhaling because I might do so when thrusting? Or maybe lose a presidential election?? ;)

Sometimes conditioning is just conditioning. Sometimes a demo is just a demo. And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

If there are good habits you want, then develop exercises where you do them and repeat a thousand or so times. That's the best you can do.

- Bill


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