Thursday, March 15, 2012

There is no first strike in Isshinryu

A private interpretation Karate Ni Sente Nashi restating the initial technique studies from 1933 “Karate Kenpo’ of Mutsu Mizuho.

I’ve commented on this section of Karate Kempo before:

http://isshin-concentration.blogspot.com/2011/07/there-is-no-first-strike-in-karate.html

Mustu’s initial analysis for karate technique application always struck me as a direct application study for the upper body combinations found in Isshinryu. Mutau used Reactive Defense and Pre-emptive Striking to explain his opening uses for karate.

The classic study of karate seemed to be mostly focused on the study of kata. It was in the 20’s and 30’s she study of kihon (basics) started to be part of karate study.

Shimabuku Tausuo, having been trained in the older Okinawan practices, worked up his own practice set of technique studies (the Upper and Lower Body Combinations) and when he began Isshinryu they followed along as the way he taught beginners. Different versions of the Upper Body Combinations exist but for our purposes we’re only going to address the first four. [note: we’re only going to address one side for each of these techniques. Of course each reciprocal technique is valid too.

The techniques we will use are:

1. Right Foot Forward and Right Lead Punch

2. Left Foot Forward and Right Reverse Punch

3. Right Foot Forward and Right Lead Uppercut Strike

4. Left Foot Forward and Right Reverse Uppercut Strike

Mutsu first looked to passive defense the attacker initiates at attack. The defender responds with a passive defense. This allows them time to

Passive Defense, or the art of not being there when attacked uses the following six methods.

I. Evade the attack by opening the defensive stance to the side

II. Leaning the upper body out of the way.

III. Slipping the attack

IV. Ducking under the attack

V. Jumping back

VI. Jumping to the side

I. Evade the attack by opening the defensive stance to the side. This response is just to step away. Not every attack requires a response.

1. Attacker steps in with their left foot and leads with a left punches or strikes to the head.

a. Defender steps back with the right foot, away from the punch. This motion turns their body away from the strike. (the motion is the same for a right or left strike). As this has been an un-prepared strike, rereplacement stepping is not in play.

1. Attacker kicks with their left foot

b. . Defender steps back with the right foot, away from the kick. This motion turns their body away from the strike.

(the motion is the same for a right or left kick). ). As this has been an un-prepared kick, replacement stepping is not in play.

II. Leaning the upper body out of the way.

2. Attacker steps in with their left foot and leads with a left punches or strikes to the head.

a. Defender leans slightly back moving the head just beyond the punch. (The most important thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to the distance, so one can immediately counter after the opponent’s attack has missed it’s intended target.

2 Attacker kicks with their left foot

b. Defender leans slightly back moving just beyond the kick.

III. Slipping the attack

Leaving the feet in their original position, twist the head and upper body to the side just before the opponent’s attack hits, and immediately counter. It is necessary to make accurate, quick and calm observations of the opponent’s timing and distance, and to be careful of further attacks by him.

3. Attacker steps in with their left foot and leads with a left punches or strikes to the head.

a. Defender steps forward with the left, slipping inside the strike and striking upward into the attacker’s chest with a reverse punch. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch)

IV. Ducking under the attack

Pulling in the chin, lowering the head, bending the knees and ducking to the center (left or right) before coutering. Always be wary of the opponent’s next attack.

4. Attacker steps in with their left foot and leads with a left punches or strikes to the head.

a. Defender steps forward with the left, slipping under the strike and then rising striking to the solar plexus with a left lead punch. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 1 the Lead Punch)

V. Jumping back

This is the method of avoiding a sharp attack by jumping back while keeping a good posture. It is necessary to keep the body posture in order to launch an attack when one sees an opening. The counter is delivered either from a static or retreating position.

5. Attacker steps with the right and throws a left reverse punch to the head

a. Before the Attackers punch reaches the face, the Defender jumps right foot forward slipping the attackers punch to the outside. As the right foot moves the left foot follows along. The rising right hand swee;s the attack away and the left strike is to the attackers side (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch).

VI. Jumping to the side

6. Attacker steps with the right and throws a left reverse punch to the head

a. The Defender suddenly jumps their left foot outside the Attacker’s left to evade and counter. This same motion can be used for the left or the right side.

Passive Defense Drills –

When using a passive defense to evade the opponent’s attack, one must look for openings and counter without hesitation to gain victory. The opponent initiates the attack, the Isshinryu response is to strike them first.

1. Attacker leads with a left lunge punch to the head

a. Step back with your right foot and lean your head away from the strike

b. Step in with your left foot and strike their head with your left hand (Isshinryu Basic Combination 1 the Lead Punch)

2. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Step in with your left, and slightly rotate your body and head clockwise and slip inside of their punch

b. (Alternate) Step in with your left and slightly rotate your body and head clockwise and put your power into your right leg and slip inside of their punch and strike their solar plexus with a short left lead punch (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 1 the Lead Punch)

c. (Alternate) As this opened their lower ribcage, rotate right and strike their solar plexus with a right reverse punch (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch)

d. (Alternate) Step in with your left and strike their jaw with a right reverse punch (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch) or the right uppercut (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 4 the Reverse Uppercut)

e. (Alternate-) You can strike their solar plexus liver with a right uppercut

f. (Victor Alternate) the Lead or Reverse Punch (if not conditioned by the makiwawa) can be followed with a backfist strike and also a following descending palm strike.

3. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Defender ducks under right fist and punches the opponent in the solar plexus (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch)

b. (Alternate) Lunge forward with the left foot and left lunge punch their solar plexus (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 1 the Lead Punch)

c. . (Alternate) Lunge forward with the left foot and right reverse punch their solar plexus (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch)

IMO the difference between techniques 2 and 3 is that the 3rd section is done without ducking

Rotation of the body and though the attacker begins their strike the lunge gets the defender there first.

4. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Evade at the last moment and allow their hand to go over the right shoulder. Step forward with the right foot slipping outside of the punch and beginning a right lead punch to the attacker’s jaw. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 1 the Lead Punch) The motion of the counter-stirke becomes a deflection as it strikes.

b. (Alternate) As up step to the right, use an uppercut (under the striking arm) into their chin, (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 5 – the Reverse Uppercut).

c. (Alternate) Step forward with the right foot slipping inside of the punch and throw a right roundhouse punch under and around the striking arm to hit their head. (This roundhouse strike also becomes a simultaneous deflection.)

d. (Alternate) Step forward with the right foot slipping inside of the punch and throw a right uppercut to their solar

plexus (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 3 the Lead Uppercut)

5. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Step forward to your right, rotate your body clockwise slipping their punch on the outside

b. As the opponent’s upper body posture is broken, counter with a left to the solar plexus, or abdomen. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the Reverse Punch)

c. .(Alternate) As the opponent’s upper body posture is broken, counter with a left to the chin. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination 2 the reverse punch).

6. Attacker steps with their right and throws a right punch to the head

d. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left uppercut into their armpit (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 3 the Lead Uppercut)

d. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left uppercut into their face on the inside of their strike (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 3 the Lead Uppercut)

d. (Alternate) Step back with your right, rotate your body clockwise and slip their punch on the outside as you left lunge punch into their face on the inside of their strike (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

7. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the right side of your head

a. Lunge forward with your left as you drop your right knee to drop your center, ducking under the attack, and left lead punch to their solar plexus or lower rib cage. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch) Be sure to draw the chin back to drop the neck and hips when you evade the punch.

b. (Alternate) Lunge forward with your left and throw your right punch to their jaw (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 2 the Reverse Punch).

c. (Alternate- drawing not shown) Lunge forward with your left as you drop your right knee to drop your center and right hook punch their solar plexus, or left side of their ribcage.

8. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Duck under the opponent’s left punch by lowering the head, bending the knees and dropping the body

b. Immediately resume an upright posture and punch the opponent in the liver with the left fist (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

c. (Alternate) one can use a left right straight or hooking punch in the solar plexus in the lower rib cage.

9. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Drop the hips, lower the head and enter forward to evade the attack

b. Lunge forward with your left, rotate your upper body clockwise and slip their strike fist (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

c. (Alternate) Lunge forward with your left, rotate your upper body clockwise and strike their solar plexus with a left uppercut (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 3 the Lead Uppercut)

10. Attacker steps with their right and throws a punch to the head

a. Jump back and evade the attack

b. Taking advantage of the opponent’s overextended posture, counter with a punch to his face (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

c. (Alternate) Step back with your right and strike their solar plexus with a left reverse punch (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 2 the Reverse Punch).

11. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Slide the right foot over and rotate counter-clockwise, outside of their strike, and throw a right hook punch to the rear of their head

c. (Alternate) Slide the right foot over and rotate counter-clockwise, outside of their strike, and throw a right lead punch into their ribcage (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

12. Attacker steps with their left and throws a right reverse punch to the head

a. Leap to the right outside to evade. Do the same for a left punch.

b. Use the right fist to punch the now unbalanced opponent’s face. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch). Use a left hand punch for a left side evasion.

1*. Attacker steps with their left and throws a left lead punch to the head

a. Evade the lead punch by leaping the right foot one large step to the right front

b. Step forward with you left foot alongside the right foot, so your head slips outside their strike and execute a left reverse punch to their solar plexus (under their striking arm) (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

c. (Alternate) Step forward with you left foot so your head slips outside their strike and execute a right punch to their head (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

d. (Alternate) Step forward with you left foot so your head slips outside their strike and execute a left uppercut to their jaw (under their striking arm) (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 4 the Reverse Uppercut)

Mutsu then follows with a section of techniques for Pre-Emptive or Active Defenses Hitting first before the intended attack

Pre-Emptive or Active Defenses

Taking a step forward in regards to the opponent’s attack and taking the initiative in countering is the most effective strategy. Countering means to strongly attack before his attack can land home on one’s vital areas, giving him a finishing blow with that one attack, Alternatively, one can make ust of the consternation caused to an opponent by one’s counter attack to proceed forward and finish him. Some examples:

1. In response to an opponent who attack’s one’s abdomen with his left fist,

a. Twist the body to the right before his fist strikes home, and

b. Counter to his chin with the left fist. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

i. Note the strike also is a deflection.

c. (Alternate) If he attacks with his right fist, counter with your right

2. In response to an opponent who attempts a downward blow or strikes to one’s temple

a. Before his fist strikes home, step forward with the right foot and,

b. Counter with the right fist to the jaw. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)

3. When the opponent strikes to one’s face with his left fist

a. Immediately punch to his jaw from the inside with the left fist. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No.2 the Reverse Punch)

b. (Alternate) If he punches with his right, counter with the right. (This holds true for the following examples

c. (Alternate) You can counter with a left middle level straight punch

d. (Alternate) Or counter with a left uppercut strike to the chin

e. (Alternate) Or counter with a left hooking punch

f. (Alternate) One can counter with a left swinging punch to the opponent’s right jaw or right temple.

4. If the opponent punches to one’s face with his right hand

a. Immediately counter by punching his chin from the inside with the left fist. (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No.2 the Reverse Punch)

b. As he is upset by the counter,

c. Immediately attack by twisting the body and striking his jaw, solar plexut with a right swinging or hooking punch

5. When the opponent comes in and controls one’s hands so one cannot counter immediately with the fists

a. Immediately use the knee of the rear foot to attack his groin and escape from danger.

6. If the opponent suddenly kicks to one’s groin

a. Immediately pull one foot back and open the body to the side

b. Counter by punching into his shin with the fist, to break the shin (Isshinryu Upper Body Combination No. 1 the Lead Punch)


Appendix:

i. Credits- First I need to acknowledge all of the sources I’ve drawn upon for this study. The Isshinryu of Tom Lewis, Charles Murray, Sherman Harrill and John Kerker. The Shotokan and other arts of Tristan Sutrisno. The Northern Chinese studies of Ernest Rothrock. Private translation of part of Mutsu’s “Karate Kenpo” by Charles Joseph Swift , and the translation of Nakasone’s “Karate Do Taiken” by Mario McKenna, and of course the writings of Mutsu Mizhuo and Shiroma Shimpan (the later found in the Nakasone text).

Joe-san’s translation is the driving source of this piece

We all end up a fusion of the individuals who trained us, a fusion that combines with our own efforts. If

get anything wrong the fault is mine.

ii. The fist used in striking is the vertical standing fist of Isshinryu karate. The striking is done with the two lead knuckles, you are striking with the ridge of knuckles. For best results a continuing practice of makiwara is required. The vertical strike may move from 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock, whatever is required for the best impact to the space available on the attacker.

Do not add any tension into the striking arm until the moment of impact. This will allow the arm to move more quickly. The moment of impact, the impacting strike becomes the method to tighten the strike. Immediately upon finishing the strike the hand relaxes on the way out. This provides a secondary strike as the body snaps out to replace where it was struck. In effect this helps the strike become a shaped charge into the attacker’s body. Makiwara training increases this effect.

In lieu of Makiwara training, another force multiplier which can be used is Multiple Striking. Examples are a Strike then followed by a backfist to the face and then followed by a descending palm strike to the body, a Strike followed by a thumb strike under the chin or perhaps a Strike followed by a vertical palm strike to the same area.

iii. The target of opportunity is the entire arc available for the strike, beginning straight down and ending straight up. Any point on that arc may be stuck. The actual choice depends on the desired result.

iv. The manner of stepping is either straight or curved. In my Isshinryu the manner of stepping always uses the crescent step. That is how I was taugjht, but straight stepping is also used by others in Isshinryu. Both methods work. In my tradition the step starts by stepping in alongside the opposite leg, then it steps out from there. A technique may be performed straight forward, straight back, or shifting into a line of defense crossing the attacking limb.

One advantage to the crescent step are found where the step into alongside the other leg, allow you to compress the energy of your movement. Then stepping out is accomplished more explosively conclude the stepping. This adds another force multiplier.

The manner of stepping also uses the knee release to drop the body weight into the movement. This increases speed and power and of course is another force multiplier.

v. Replacement Stepping is used to step away from a line of attack. The stepping leg moves first alongside the other leg, then perhaps because of the attacker moving forward too fast, the other leg steps back to conclude the crescent step. An alternate version has the 2nd leg kick out to form the stance on a different angle, across the line of attack. This can be accomplished by a slide shift if straight stepping is used.

The replacement stepping also moves your centerline from where the opponent desires to strike. This creates a new line to counter-attack. This also works as a force multiplier.

vi. The starting position for the defender in this study is with both hands down at their side. There are strategic studies with different starting positions, but at this time a blind attack is being used.

vii. The reciprocal hand is raised while the lead hand strikes. Not a part of the original upper body drills, it raises for practical reasons. One of which is a possible blocking/jamming function, another is practical placing that hand for secondary usage if the initial strike fails due to serendipity. Raising the other hand also results in better body alignment, another force multiplier.

viii. Force multiplier original definition :”A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.’ In my context a number of technique enhancements which increase the power of the response. The more force multipliers which can be added to a technique the increase of it’s destructive potential. They are a product of the training methodology utilized.

ix. The method of attack used by the attacker is starting from a neutral stance they drive a punch towards the defender with great vigor. A stronger attack might be a boxing lead punch immediately followed by a cross. The stronger attack creates a better training set.

x. Perfect form may not be practical in defense, but in practice work to perform any technique as perfectly as possible. Incorrect technique instead of being a force multiplier might turn into a force dectrcrtor. Also the more perfect your practice, the more you have to draw upon.

xi. What you don’t practice, you will not be able to rely upon!