Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black Belt Class 10-04-2002

Another look at a past class.

Black Belt Class 10.04.2002

I focused on lower body development today, especially as a tool in application analysis.


First we ran Fukyugata Sho, concentrating on the lower body, compressing our step into the centerline and then exploding out from same.


Then, to force one to concentrate on that, I overloaded the upper body response.

In that we changed the techniques being executed on each movement as follows.


1.      The low block became a multiple combination, Left Low Block, Right punch, Left Low Block.

2.      The lunge punch became a multiple combination. Right Lunge Punch. Left High Block, Right Lunge Punch.

3.      The high block became a multiple combination. Right high block, Left Punch, Right High Block.

4.      The reverse punch became a multiple combination, Right Reverse Punch, Left Outer Block, Right Reverse Punch

5.      The rising punch became a multiple combination, Right Rising Punch, Left Inner Block, Right Rising Punch


Substituting each Sho technique with a combination movement.


This became very complex for the trainees, yet as time passes, the use of the lower body to explode into each series becomes more evident.


Then we worked on SunNuSu kata.


Keeping the use of the lower body an underlying theme, I then undertook a training concept of reverse stepping (a name which I change from time to time, I really haven’t figured out the best handle for this yet) shared by a friend with a Kishiba Juku background.


The reverse stepping allows you begin a step into the centerline, and finish it with the reverse step of the other foot away from the centerline.

Hence for Left Foot Forward, left side block (beginning Seisan) instead your left foot steps into the centerline (first ½ of the crescent step) but your right foot steps back from the centerline, ending in left foot forward Seisan.


When you apply this to all of a kata’s movements, your kata tends to be done in one spot, but you’re still selling each technique with traditional focus.


In application, its very easy to get mixed up, as you’re crossing the spheres of dominance of the brain hemisphere, yet it gives one great tactical advantage.


Most applications we either move in, or we move away. This allows us to shift to the center, and choose which is most expeditious, yet be somewhat confusing for the attacker.


To apply this I took the 3rd Elbow strike from SunNuSu kata, where you shuffle forward with the inner horizontal elbow strike.


Here is how I used this stepping for application.


The attacker is grabbing your right arm (around the biceps) with their left arm as they begin to punch to your head with their right.  A good grab and punch attack.


  1. As they’re punching with their right, as in the kata movement, I’m drawing my right foot alongside my left, as my left hand slaps across, moving their punch across my center away from me. My left hand then grasps their grabbing wrist, while my right hand just slightly touches their lower abdomen.
  2. The lower abdomen touch is to draw their thought away from you, so they ask why am I being touched down there (a concept which originated in my studies with Sherman Harrill).
  3. Using the reverse stepping I explode back with my left foot into right foot forward Seisan stance.
  4. As that happens, my left hand locks on their wrist/hand and pulls back to chamber. [This movement will explode their wrist over (counter-clockwise) and yank them forward and is the primary counter.
  5. My right elbow strike actually just lays across their forearm, the touch helping pin the lock.
  6. This is not a finishing technique, but simply opens the attacker up for the appropriate strike or kick to complete their finish.


The above is much easier to say than to do. It’s not easy (at first) to step in and then step away. Easier to do running Seisan, much more difficult against the pressure of a partner.


But this provides strategic  advantages.  Depending on the left hand of the person, is it empty or holding a weapon for a 2nd strike. Does their hand slide back when I parry the punch, or is it ready for a 2nd punch.
Strategically sometimes I want to go in, sometimes I want to pull back, and sometimes I want to use the reverse step capability to give myself maximum choice in technique.


Drawing on a different attack, say an opponent grabbing your left hand (or arm) with their left hand and still preparing to strike your head with your right. I employ the opening of Seisan as follows:


1.      Step into my centerline with my left foot.

2.      Explode back with my right foot (often pivoting on my left to cross their grab with a 20 degree angle by my centerline) and finish in left seisan stance with a left side block. This turns their arm over.

3.      a. One version is to immediately strike the best target, ribs, triceps or the side of their left leg

4.      b. Another version is my left hand opens and turns over counter-clockwise, grabs their arm and pulls quickly back to chamber as you strike, drawing them forward.


I also explored options for the opening double rising blocks in Seiunchin Kata, and the closing Mawashi Uke from Sanchin (which is already using  some of this movment, but which we normally practice moving inward against an attack.


It isn’t necessary (IMO) to master this with every technique. But say taking your best 3 or 4 applications and add this layer of choice, you can then offer more strategic application of these techniques. Your response then isn’t as patterned, but more three-dimensional.


Mike Cassidy and I then worked a number of basic sai drills, we’re preparing the adult group for a futures sai focus in our training.


Mike and Tom Chan continued their work on the Eagle Claw principles.  I was then re-enforcing how Eagle Claw grips applied to the applications we already practiced in Seisan kata, were evidencing synergy in our full Bushi No Te Development.


But from start to finish, I focused on the underlying use of the lower body behind all of today’s studies.

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