Sunday, November 23, 2014

Notes on Close Range Combat



While most understand the difference between long range, medium range and close range applications it would be helpful to define what close range applications are.


Close range could include the attacker is on top of you. The moment an attack enters your body; I propose a different definition.


It is not just the application of techniques a close range, but that of when an attacker moves toward you,  and you are moving toward them.


Think back to High School Drivers Education. A car traveling 40 MPH hits a bridge and the damage is that of a 40 MPH collision. But if a car traveling 40 MPH strikes into another car which is traveling toward it also at 40 MPH the resulting collision is tyat of an 80 MPH contact.


There is less time to respond to your encounter, and with the shorter time you don’t have much time to select a technique either.


I was doing a clinic at a nearby Goju school, and an application for  the Seiunchin augmented strike presented itself to me.


Where the punch where you grasp the wrist (the augmented strile), which is present in both the Goju kata and the Isshinryu version.


Using this strike like this, you pull back the augmented punch and then you slide forward with it and strike.


I realized how it might be used against two strikes.


1.      When pulling the arm back before the strike, that motion could parry the initial strike away.

2.     Then the same strike going forward could use the structure of the arms to parry the 2nd strike aside.

3.     Allowing the augmented strike to enter the opponent.


I then demonstrated on a partner against them stepping forward with the initial strike and throwing a 2nd strike.


I moved forward when they were moving forward striking, with a quick deflection, another sliding forward quick deflection and finally a sudden strike with effect.


Parry, parry, hit.


I admit I was surprised at how quick it took place. Before I realized I moved I was striking into their body, and I was trying this at a slow pace.



Over the years I discovered many other examples. When moving in against an attacker, many times (always trying this out the first time, very slow. I ended up striking my partners in the face each time before I knew it was happening.


Each time I moved into the attack and just did the movement from the kata. It made me realize how powerful the lessons in kata are.


One time at the end of the Tai Chi class I ran for 17 years, I asked John Dinger to work with me, I had an idea about how to use Chinto kata’s opening. So John attacked with a right strike.

1.     From the crossed hand position kamae, I shifted forward and I withdrew my right hand in a circular fashion, deflecting the strike as I did so, the right palm, then circling down and preparing striking their groin.

2.     Then I slid further forward in RFF Seisan and I delivered the nukite strike into their groin.

3.     Again I slid forward and delivered a palm strike into his face.


The next thing I knew he was on the ground. Picking him up off the ground and apologizing for striking him, we repeated the attack. I was moving slower and softer.


Again I met his strike, began to move forward as I deflected the strike, continued to move forward striking toward his groin (just getting close) and then delivered the palm strike to his face. Again I picked him off the ground.


It took me a while to figure out what happened. That my moving forward allowed me to assume his centerline, the groin strike finished that, and as I was now his center, even the lightest palm strike would destabilize him.


But at that time even moving slowly, I was too quick for him to respond.


Initial studies need long range or medium range to learn how to enter the space involved. But at close range it required all the physical knowledge (Physical), Experience and practice (Mental) and faith in the movement (Spirit). Without the faith in the movement at less time involved, the student will not trust the movement and do something else.


IMO the close range execution does not require faster movement. Rather the ability to use the same speed that the kata is practiced and allow each other moving towards each other to increase the speed without changing the speed.


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