Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Uchinaanchu nu Tuudi tu Tegua” and 'Atifa"

I was reading the “Uchinaanchu nu Tuudi tu Tegua” the “Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Handbook” prepared by the University of the Ryukyus  and was most intrigued at the definition given for the term ‘Atifa’.


Atifa is the principle of transferring energy to one's opponent.


It is staying relaxed, then briefly tensing at the point of contact creates a damaging shockwave that travels through the target.


Atifa may be applied using weapon or empty hand techniques.


This is how Tom Lewis described the proper manner of striking when I was a beginner. Then 25 years later this was the manner Sherman Harrill described too.


Actually there are several striking methods. One creating that ‘shockwave’ and one that is just striking with a hard, tight fist.


The strikes at the opening of Seisan kata, SunNuSu kata and Sanchin Kata are good examples of the use of Atifa for striking. Sherman had a way of striking that the shockwave rose up through the body and was felt into the throat. 


They are delivered with a loose fist formation that tightens on the impact to a tight fist and then relaxes after impact on the way out. This strike causes compression into the body that also strikes on the way our after the strike. Done so there would be the initial impact into the body, then a second impact created by the torso returning after the strike. That secondary shock wave is the one that travels up into the throat.


An example of the other strikes with the hard, compact fist would be is Seisan kata where after the side block you deliver two hard strikes to the body then a kick and a strike. These are hard, damaging strikes.


The method of striking hard or soft .so to speak, both hurt.


This brings up a distinction of the manner which a strike creates shockwaves for different effects on the body. Depending on the manner they are delivered one strike might travel through the body into the kidneys, delivered another way that same strike causes the opponents face to move closer.


Likewise open hand strikes into the armpit cause one leg to buckle, yet another direction for the strike causes a different leg to buckle, yet another direction the force enters the torso,


The manner of striking also affects what a ‘block’ can do. It can redirect a blow, pull the striker closes to the defender, or cause an attacker to go down. Which does not describe the ways those strikes can be director into the torso with different use.


Other examples are use of descending knuckle strikes into the chest delivering downward shockwaves.


The main training tool teaching how to strike with the loose fist that tightens on impact and then returns to the loose fist after the strike is the Makiwara.


 This is not an initial study, it comes after skill develops. Nor does it explain every strike or the development required.


Rather it is a reminder of what we have felt, Sharing that strike.

Thanks to Tom Lewis Sensei for sharing this,
Thanks to Sherman Harrill Sensei for sharing the pain that instructs;
Thanks to the University of the Ryukyu's for sharing these concepts.


Charles James said...

Hi, Sensei: can you provide me the kanji for the term, "Atifa?" I cannot find a translation in any source including karate and/or martial arts. Your site and a reference in karate friends Facebook are the only sources I can find. Much Appreciate your help because it provides me a means to grow in my studies! - Respectfully, Charles

Victor Smith said...

Unfortunately I do not have the kanjin, as I do not speak Japanese.
However I did see this on a Facebook discussion.

Bill Hayes - Quast, Sensei: Thank you for your nice, short, flexible, recap of "Atifa", a capability occasionally demonstrated by my Sensei and other seniors on Okinawa and helped along by regular use of the "Atefa" (which, as you know, is the old word for Makiwara). This skillful transmission of force is not seen too often these days.

As the term is Okinawan, that might give you a clue.
Good Luck

Davide Cerullo said...

Great article! Atifa probably does not have a kanji, since it's not official Japanese, but uchinaguchi (Okinawan dialect) therefore, as any other "foreign" language it's written in katana, probably like this
ア (A)
テイ (Te+i =ti)
ファ (Fu+a =fa)

Hope it helps


Charles James said...

Ahhh, found it in the Uchinaaguchi pdf, thanks Atifa [衝撃波]