Moderator: Van Canna
Why is the push attack so common? Look at the natural progression of most confrontations. Many physical attacks do not occur unexpectedly. There are often at least three stages of confrontation that build upon each other toward physical aggression.
The initial level, posturing, often begins when someone takes offense at another’s words or actions. Posturing can also be instigated when someone feels threatened either physically or socially. Whether the offense or threat is intended makes no difference in the confrontation. The actions taken at this stage may include harsh words and an aggressive physical stance.
If the initial phase is not successfully defused by the martial artist, the second level of pushing or grabbing is reached. But between a grab and a push, the push is more common, probably because it is the least committal of the two attacks. When grabbing the attacker must have his next step planned; not so with a push. A push can establish superiority with minimal commitment on the aggressor’s part and it requires no training or skill.
Often times too, the aggressor is larger and stronger than his victim. A push uses his strength and weight to his advantage. A push makes the attacker appear superior by creating the visually impressive effect of moving the defender across a lot of space. Also, a push makes for an easy surprise attack, with little physical cues such as making a fist or winding up to warn the defender.
Unfortunately, however, few are trained in how to defend against the initial push attack. Reacting incorrectly at this level could prove very detrimental to the defender. At best the result will be the squaring off of the two opponents. At worst, without a proper response, a push can put the victim in a hard-to-defend position such as losing his or her balance and falling, or being pushed back against a wall or other object, into a group of others who might be the aggressor’s cohorts, or further away from an exit.
In this situation the confrontation could quickly escalate to the third, tertiary level, where the confrontation escalates into punching (where the aggressor grabs and strikes with hands or feet) or grappling.
But this third level can be avoided. A martial artist can maneuver himself to an advantageous position if he responds properly. Self-defense training and kata can prepare us to respond to this secondary level attack, preventing the escalation to a tertiary level of confrontation.
Why do aggressive people resort to the push as an attack? (Note that the push is an attack. It is a threat to the victim’s safety and grounds for physical response.) Ultimately, the push is intended to place the attacker in a superior position. If the attacker is among friends, the push may be used to signal the attacker’s superior “social position,” an action designed to show that the attacker is superior (higher in the pecking order).In the case of the unwarranted and unexpected attack of the mugger or rapist, the intention is to establish a “superior physical position” as discussed above.
-The katas were never designed for fighting other karateka; they were intended to be a record of realistic techniques for use in a civilian environment (self-protection). In real situations, people do not assume a stance and then execute an oi-zuki from ten-feet away! -
Once you have gained an understanding of the practical application of the techniques of the kata, you should begin to include variations of those techniques in your training. It should be remembered that a kata is meant to record an entire, stand-alone combative system.
However, it would not be practical to record every single aspect of that system or the kata would become ridiculously long. It would be far better to record techniques that succinctly express the key principles of the system.
I believe that Otsuka is telling us to practise varying the applications of the kata or else we run the risk of being 'stuck' in the form and hence becoming limited fighters. We need to follow Otsuka's advice and practise so that the form can be utilised, without hesitation, in any situation in which we should find ourselves.
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