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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:05 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
The debate over blocking various types of punches is intriguing. I think in combat, blocking remains one of the basic principled shortcomings of the half baked fighter.
Formed blocks should be reserved for bunkai and other forms of predetermined fight patterns and not considered at all as neccessary or recommended for actual combat. This is not to say that blocks should not be taught. They are essential to developing a deeper psychologial understanding of defense. A layer of understanding that becomes acutely apparent to those who enter the fighting arena,and for all of their efforts, are routinely made black and blue.

Over time I have come to believe that an effective defense is mostly due to the postioning of the defender in relation to the attacker, the proper placement of the defenders arms prior to the attack, and as a final consideration, body shifting (sabaki) angularly during the time of an attack. In this environment there is little or no movement of the arms at all - no block effected. And though the arms might often serve to block (verb form) an attack, they are not a block (noun form) per se as instructed in a basic self defense or karate class. Reaction time simply does not permit it.

Beyond this, there is the psychological advantage achieved by attacking the attack and achieving the dominant offensive mindset, which is, as I have stated in the past, the absolute best type of block (verb and noun form)that can be effected. In this regard, seizing the moment diminshes the need for any physical block to ever be present. Now we're talking about combat.
So whether it be boxer, karate-ka or angry man on the street, you show me a punch that can be blocked in the conventional blocking sense and I'll show you a person who has no intent to hit you.

Regards,

Roy


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 1999 9:08 am 
Hello Roy,

Sometimes blocking is necessary, even if only to buy time while you are backing up or to use the contact of your block as a probe or sensor to move the rest of your being out of his way.

------------------
Allen, now at his new website www.ury2k.com


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 1999 2:26 pm 
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Location: Marlboro,MA US
right on the money Roy... *Blocking* is a means of positioning yourself for the hit, in essence another form of attack...


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 1999 10:26 pm 
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I like the theory of Roy and Tracy on blocks!

I also like the theory of the seizing block or “ sticking block” as Animal Mac Young calls it; like
You hit wet clay which then sticks to you and slows you down! Or like you use the limb you have intercepted as a “ bridge” to invade the opponent!

Mac Young tells us of the ancient Picts [Scots], intentionally throwing a spear into some guy’s shield and then jump on the spear. The Pict’s weight would drag the guy’s shield- arm
down, then BLAMO ! That explains the Scots being the only people to hold off the Roman legions! [Mac Young]

Now think of how we program the blocks in our beloved kumites, we block those worthless punches, then we let go of the arm so your opponent can block your next strike and so on!

That is what Tracy Rose-sensei has called “mutual martial masturbation”! Just about right!


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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 1999 1:15 pm 
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Location: Marblehead, MA USA
Van, I like your theory and applicatioin of netting the attack!


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 1999 11:17 pm 
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Is there anything that we as a group can do to influence the requirements for "advancement" in Uechi-Ryu so that we don't practice mistakes? Or is this old business?

David


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 1999 3:12 pm 
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Location: Marlboro,MA US
"Is there anything that we as a group can do to influence the requirements for "advancement" in Uechi-Ryu so that we don't practice mistakes? Or is this old business?

David "

don't know about advancements and really not to concerned. In order to grow, 'not practice mistakes' all you need to do is work out with different groups i.e Regional workouts, dojo visits, visiting teachers etc...


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 1999 3:14 am 
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Hi Tracy,

What I meant is that if we are required to engrain behaviors to exhibit at promotionals that are not productive (valid street self-defense), we are practicing mistakes.

David


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 1999 12:53 pm 
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David,
Perhaps the most important and controversial point of all time is your implied point that some of the things we practice are mistakes! I happen to believe that is the case, because we live in a world in which we really cannot subject most of what we do to a test of practicality. And for good reason, too... I would never advocate for intentionally "field testing" our deadly moves!But it then leaves us in the position of accepting on faith that our kata contain only effective and practical moves, based on the assumptions that our Sensei must know, or his Sensei knew, or his Sensei's Sensei knew the "true secrets". One of the things I value so much about this forum is the willingness of contributors to (politely) question the old authority. We need to continue to do so.
Perhaps it would be helpful if people wrote in their experiences with techniques that did not work... I suppose it's asking alot to have people talk about the beatings they took, but it sure would help us learn some valuable lessons!


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 1999 4:02 pm 
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Location: springfield mo, us
Nothing is more dissheartening to practicioners of the martial arts than to hear of a Black Belt who trained years in his or her particular discipline suffer defeat at the hands of a common street thug of lesser skill. Ive seen it happen. What went wrong? It seems to violate every convention in which we ever held faith-practice makes perfect right? Despite all its negative aspects I think that the UFC was the best thing that happened to the martial arts world, or at least individual martial artists in particular. Now at least we no longer have the "my style is better than your style" mentality as we see that an individuals character is much more decisive in combat than the methodology employed. Trust me-I'm old enough to remember when people were bickering about who was the toughest guy on earth Chuck Norris or David Carradine!!!??????? From what I see of the conversational material on this forum you all are headed in the right dirrection. The biggest challenge for a lot of people will be to come to terms with the fact that whatever style they are studying is only a chapter in what is to be a lifelong story; a means to a greater end-not an end in itself. I firmly believe that one should be established in a fighting methodology of some sort but that is only the beginning of their journey. Thats why I dont like the belt system in most martial arts. We westerners have the mentality that once I get to black belt then that makes me some kind of bad ass. Ive seen purple belts wax blacks in Judo tournaments. All in all for a lot of individs. its a false sense of security and one more suited to children who need a constant system of rewards to hold their intrest. I know "can of worms" well enough on that thought... In my opinion as a whole as long as martial arts are a business the problem will never go away scince the majority of the worthless techniques that are in any style are usually the best ones to put on display to get the average idiot into the dojo. Never mind whether the guy with the "iron hand", who can break twelve marble slabs at once, can actually succeed in hitting his opponent with it-it still looks good. Or how about those high flying jumping kicks of tae kwon do that anyone in a wheelchiar could avoid. Check and mate theirs the problem-money. Unfortunately for most of us by the time we find out that a particular technique is no good its so ingrained in our psyche from repetition that it takes an equal amount of time to work it out. Oh well, as I always say"CROSS TRAINING RULES!!!" Sometimes youve just gotta move from the seashore to the mountains to get a better perspective-or at least a diffrent one.
Brat


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 1999 5:46 am 
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This is in response to Paul's request that we share experience with the good/bad/and ugly of our encounters.

This is VERY basic and somewhat embarrasing, but the adducted front foot structure of Sanchin works.

I had occasion to be part of a team restraining a wild 11 year old. This kid lived to hurt other people. The team effort was disorganized, ill focused, and in several aspects just wrong.

We ended up bringing the kid to a seclusion room where everyone (but me) abandoned their restraint, cut bait and ran out of the room. I was concerned that the kid would attack the nearest hind end he could reach if I let him go also.

I must admit I erred in the direction of not taking this kid very seriously. Bad mistake. In the midst of his struggles, he unleashed a well placed and obviously well practiced kick to the groin.

My lax approach to him was fortunately accompanied by a deeply engrained Sanchin structure that caused his kick to glance off my thigh.

I was lucky to have not taken a direct hit given my casual attitude. The Sanchin structure bailed me out.


Brat,

Savate is very cool. I saw Daniel Dube's Savate Boot Fighting video from Straight Blast Gym (Portland, OR) and really liked it. Some of the moves were pretty balletic, however, most were direct, explosive, and vicously effective. Wish there was some in my area....actually wish there was anything in my area Image Enjoy your posts a lot.

Is Kru Tong Trithara still in Springfield, Missouri? I trained with one of his people in Florida in the late '80's.

ps...I thought everyone knew that David Carridine was the baddest dude around at that time!

It's sort of sick in a way how that series corrupted the essence of the arts while attempting to portray exactly that.

One of my biggest regrets martial arts wise is that I passed on an opportunity to study with the legendary Charlie Nelson in N.Y.C. When I met him in his studio he was wearing dirty sweats and told me that he could teach me to fight real good. I thought he must have been a fraud as there was no incense, flute music, or satin robes to be found in his school. He didn't say anything about enlightenment. Shame on me.

David




[This message has been edited by David Elkins (edited 11-07-99).]


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 1999 9:03 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
I began this thread to stimulate conversation and point out what I perceive as a flaw in our approach to the modern martial arts. The thread has expanded and the conversation now focuses on the way to properly practice the martial arts in a non-martial world. I couldn't have hoped for a better opportunity to discuss this issue openly and to focus on my point in bringing up the "blocking?" thread in the first place.

Firstly, why is it that we do what we do? How can we explain the many hours, days, and years of dedicate training we commit to the study and practice of our respective disciplines?
The way I see it, we as martial artists are at a crossroads in defining our discipline. We are all trying to discover what exactly it means to be a martial artist in the 1990's... and it is very confusing.

Since about WWII, there has been a tremendous mental movement by the masses away from starting, participating in or ending conflicts of any type and for any reason. No one needs to be reminded of the tremendous energy our young people put into protesting conflict at the national or international level; and everyone has been instructed what to do if they suffer a conflict in their own personal lives. As you all know, if there is a problem, you should call the police or if it is a civil matter you should sue. Whatever you do, " don't take the law into your own hands - you take them to court." Our system is designed to let someone else take care of the problem for us. In fact, you are encouraged by our own government to blame others when things don't go your way. You are told that you are not responsible for any misfortune, and you are quickly remedied for any discomfort that this imperfect life may bring.

As a society, we have been conditioned to despise conflict.

On the contrary, as martial artists, we train in what the ancients have called the "path of the warrior". Warriors are defined by conflict - which in today's world makes us a terribly unpopular lot.

Remember, no matter how authentic we think we are in "the way of the warrior", the hard truth is that the popularization of the eastern martial arts worldwide had occured in the middle of this century and can be mostly credited to foreign servicemen who by chance discovered the arts as they served in post war Japan/Okinawa.

By that time however, the martial arts had already undergone a transformation from about nine hundred years of combat/ battlefield oriented tactics (justsu) to less than 100 years of (Do), a spiritual, traditional, posterity based martial system. In other words the martial artist had evolved and developed a new layer of consciousness that was far less martial and far more art based than many of us care to admit. Everything we know about combat/battle field eastern martial arts was already documented, fabled and rumoured in ancient texts by the time we got hold of it.

The change began in 1867, when the Shogun surrendered their governing authority to the emperor. Symbolically, the Japanese declared the end of the 'feudal era' and in doing so, unwittingly created a new precedence by which the martial arts would be continued to be taught and practiced within Japan.
The transformation from 'Jutsu' to 'DO' was a survival mechanism brought about by the combat teachers of that era . In an attempt to preserve their martial tradition, teachers formalized their battlefield arts into stylistic philosophies that would become the 'new' martial arts.

The purpose of practicing karate today is different than it was for the people who lived in a feudal society. Today we practice the martial arts for its own sake. Everything else - fitness, fighting skill, ego, comraderie - these are all by-products of practicing karate - not reasons. Most of us believe in the promise that if we do this karate thing, we will achieve better conditioning, greater aptitude in fighting, lasting relationships with our training partners, respect from our peers and all of the other great thing that come with being a "martial artist". But regardless, we must be content to train simply for the sake of training or we wil undoubtedly quit.It is too demanding a discipline, too time consuming, too much aggravation to be done for any lessor reason except the pure love of doing it for its own sake.

Then along come forums such as this where we sit and pontificate about combat and getting in touch with our ancient martial heritage. The questions pop up about how we should punch, or block or kick to be more effective fighters. All of these are great questions and deserve insightful answers but in order to properly address them, we must change gears and mentally operate within the proper context. Fighting is a different thing all together than Karate, Judo, Aikido, boxing etc. Though fighting is within our respective styles,it is not our style. Fighting must to be discussed as something unto itself - which is self contained. Our styles are merely the vehicles which brings us to the table to discuss these things with some level of intelligence and intuition.

I am for instance less inclined to discuss a Uechi block or a Shotokan block or a Goju block as being better or worse in regards to each other. These issues form the very top layer,and are independently important to their respective styles. They should all be taught and learned for their own sake to practitioners of their respective styles.As a stylist you never fear that your styles techniques are not applicable or are outdated. They are part of a much greater puzzle. Determining applicability is fundamentally based on the context of the discussion. In all styles even the smallest techniques have their purpose.

If we are to discuss combat, as Van Cannas forum is inclined to encourage, then the context changes and we have to look at a more esoteric approach to winning martial conflicts. Generalizations rather than stylistic argument is a more profound method of figuring out how to prevail in martial conflicts. We have to move beyond style and discuss stress, attitude, body positioning, posturing, submitting, and running away. We have to know about the bodies reaction to a "real encounter", the realistic parameters of human potential, the great "chemical cocktail" that you so often talk about. We have to discuss health, diet and coditioning.We have to include ethics, morals and faith. These are all part and parcel of what makes a warrior - one seeks out and thrives on conflict and stays ever mindful that above all else his/her lot in life is death.

Then,if we care to look at these things stylistically we have to rediscover the combat tactics implicit in our styles that are battle tested and historically proven. They are there if we look; but they are not obvious. In light of our world history, our empty hand tactics have been virtually obsolete for over one hundred years and they are buried under a century of reform.

By finding the atemi waza, the grappling, the shifting, the various strikes and other combat related com[ponents, we connect with pre-Meiji (1868)Japan and discover the deeper layer of our martial arts. We are brought back to the battlefield where all of these questions are answered in respect to the environment from which they were born

Best regards,

Roy


[This message has been edited by Roy Bedard (edited 11-07-99).]


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 1999 1:49 am 
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Roy,

I'm in awe of the depth, breadth, and lucidity of your thinking/writing on the arts. I often think I need reexamine my "right" to publish when I read your posts. Incredible stuff.

I have an article coming out in the next issue of Milo that I'd like to ask George if I can post somewhere on the forums as it addresses my personal response to your question -- "Firstly, why is it that we do what we do? How can we explain the many hours, days, and years of dedicate training we commit to the study and practice of our respective disciplines?"

I have given considerable thought to that question since committing to that article. I address two questions that are frequently posed -- "why, at age 54, do you continue to train?", and "does that stuff really work?" I hope if it is placed on the forums that it will prove enjoyable reading and perhaps stimulate further thought.

Re: the societal proscription to conflict -- I think you must have already read "Unintended Consequences" Image

You state "we have to rediscover the combat tactics implicit in our styles that are battle tested and historically proven."

I have two reactions --

First, I wish that I still lived in Tampa. I would drive to Tallahassee to seek tuition with you. Anyone looking in that direction is my kind of Sensei.

Secondly, that's one of the reasons I began and continue in Uechi-Ryu as I think we are much "closer to the bone" than a majority of ryu. Just personal opinion pertaining to the curriculum, not a denigration of anyone or any style. I'm fully aware that a Chinese fist hurts every bit as much as an Okinwan, as a Korean, etc.

------------------
Good training,
David


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 1999 3:14 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL USA
David,

Your kind words are very flattering. I too wish you still lived in Tampa and could make a trip to Tallahassee. It would be my priveledge to host you.
Thank you for your response. I'm looking forward to reading your article.

Roy


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 Post subject: Blocking?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 1999 4:02 am 
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Location: springfield mo, us
David, Idont know of the person you asked about. I have been in Springfield for the past 3 years but havent socialized much with the local MAs.
Roy... man what a post! Made me think on a lot of things. There is one point I would like to challenge you on though. Well first I'll just ask you to clarify the statement in question. While I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of what you had to say Im a little confused about the statement "Today we practice Karate for its own sake." Were you reffering to yourself and your immediate aquaintences or to society as a whole? Because if you were reffering to society, I'm sorry but I find a totally different situation. When I began taking Judo lessons it was about $65.00 a month. Nowadays thats not a whole heck of a lot of cash, but back in 84 it required me to mow a lot of lawns to subsidze as much as possible. When I look at the prices of some local studios Im aghast. Most wont even let you in the door for less than 150.00 a month-and thats cheap. I went to such a studio five days ago with a female friend of mine who wanted me to go with her. She didn't know much about the business and thought that I could help her decide before she committed the money and time to train. Ill have to admit that the place was pretty decked out. Countless punching bags lined the walls, thousands of dollars worth of the finest quality shock mats covered the floor and an army of those worthless "Bob" dummies(the stationary bag shaped like a man who never moves an inch) confronted us. I was approached by an instructor who was physically fit and looked as if he belonged on the cover of GQ magazine rather than here. He smiled at Sarah then his stare narrowed as he sized me up(fighting types have a way of knowing when there in close proximity as Im sure you are well aware.) This place started out with twice a week lessons in two hour long segments for 150.00 a month-additional time going on up to 300.00. Sarah asked him a few questions and he candidly replied. He was pretty knowledgable about his style-I'll give him that. He asked me about myself of which I told him I'd had some martial arts training and that Sarah wanted me to come along with her. He preceded over to a 100lb heavy bag hung from a freestanding unit. He began demonstrating some strikes and kicks all the while explaining his philosophy on fihgting tournaments etc... Then he really screwedup-he asked me to give it a shot. I told him I'd rather not but he insisted so I strapped on a couple of 8oz gloves and gave it a right cross. I knocked the entire bag and stand over on the floor! HE backed up a few steps with wide eyes and shook his head a few times and remarked that maybe he should be training under me for 150.00 a month. He was pretty nice altogather and took Sarah' s number and gave her a few pamphlets as we left. My point in all this before getting off on that tangent?(oh well I just had to get it off my chest) In my view if you were training for the "sake of the style" then 150.00 a month seems a little stiff. I think a more reasonable explanation is that society pays these outlandish prices so that they can be Like Walker(Chuckie) Texas Ranger. I know few people who would dawn the door of a dojo if they thought that the main reason for going was anything other than self defense.If you want a cultural experience there are far cheaper ways to go about it. Your thoughts?


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