Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Upper Body Chart and the Hook Punch

My first night as a student in Salisbury the green belts I was assigned too covered Charts 1 and 2. This began my Isshinryu education.


I remember myself and other white belts would show up for class an hour before class and practice them together.


For decades I had no idea there were other versions of the charts of the techniques on them. I was content to practice and teach as I had been shown.


Then when I became aware of different versions,

I was already content to continue what I had been shown.

(After all after a quarter century of work,  why not?)


Right now I am thinking of Number 13 as I studied it.


13.  LFF Right Roundhouse Punch, Left (Same)


This is where you step forward and strike to the opponent temple with a roundhouse punch (with the two lead knuckles) and then with a left roundhouse punch.


I saw what I was doing was striking towards someone’s temple with the strike.


Many years later as I was studying the application potential for this strike

I realized it could be a strike to the temple, or a strike to the side of the neck.


Further analysis made me realize the strike could be done with the two knuckles, or could be done with the thumb of the Isshinryu fist.

Of course this would have a different impact for the target.


With further analysis I also came to realize that the same strike could be with the edge of the first knuckle and the thumb of the fist, making a simultaneous double strike with the fist.


I had learned similar ways of striking from other instructors.


Where someone strikes towards you,

and you step outside their strike (to the left)

At the same time you strike into the side of their neck with a right ridgehand strike, alternatively with a ridge hand two finger strike to the side of the neck.


Two different strikes with different impact potentials to the opponents neck.

Of course these days I most often practice this with handheld sticks in my hand.

This newer understanding of what the movement could be used for

Offered new possibilities of choice when striking.


It is even somewhat similar to this drawing from the Bubishi.

Not the same thing, but a similar principle. IMO.



Anither detail to remember in Uchina (Okinawan) Guchi the area being struck could be the the face or Chira or the neck Kubi.


i. Credits- First I need to acknowledge the Isshinryu of Tom Lewis,

ii. The fist used in striking is the inverted vertical standing fist of Isshinryu karate. The striking is done with the two lead knuckles, you are striking with the ridge of knuckles. Other options involve the use of the thumb from the inverted vertical standing fist, and the combination of the lead knuckle and the thumb in a simultaneous strike.

                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.

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 detractor. 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!


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