Thursday, January 11, 2018

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Last night I did not want to go to sleep, when that occurs I always try at looking at one of the martial studies I have undertaken and attempt to see it a different way.


Last Night I thought about the Mawashi Uke (block) from Sanchin, which is also a Mawashi Uchi (strike) or the older name Tora Guchi (Tiger’s Mouth).

There are many different ways to view the movement.


I had seen it performed, but it was probably not shown to me formally until I learnt Sanchin Kata, which was the last Isshinryu empty hand kata I was shown.



Memory can be a fickle thing, but I believe I had seen an illustration similar to this one in an early karate text by Mas Oyama. It of course shows is own performance of that movement.


The following illustration is closer to the actual version I was shown.


Sanchin, was to me, only a requirement back in those days.


The form came from the version Miyagi Chojun crafted for his students in Goju from the earlier Higaonna Kanryu version (who was his original instructor).


Both versions end with several performances of Mawashi Uke.


Over the years I saw many variant versions of the movement, learning several types from various friends.


Along the way I discovered a variation that appeals to my own studies.


1. The back of the left open hand performs a light parry against an incoming strike.

2. The back of the right hand slides up on the underside of that left parry and when it touches the incoming arm, turns itself over to move that arm further aside., drawing itself back to your side moving the attacker along with that movement.

2.a. As that is occurring the right open hand  rolls down to the hip (fingers held down)

3.Then both hands slide forward in a high low strike pattern.


For quite some time I just focused on the potential of the two palms striking out at the finish of the movement as a strike into the head or neck, and the lower palm as a strike into the lower ribs of the body.



Along the way I began using a variation of the Goju kata Saifa for my students studies, and worked on that kata’s application potential for its movements. And I just used those ending movements just that way.

In time I became aware of an Indonesian variation of that movement.

Where the movements were more compressed, focusing on the parrying and then crossing of the arms to disrupt a striking when delivering a shock into the elbow area. A shock that could disrupt the arm, force someone to the floor, hyper-extend the elbow, or even break their arm under optimal circumstances. And a very quick execution of the movement, focusing on the core actions.


To be honest that appealed to me a great deal.


So I eventually began closer inspection of the Mawashi Uke/Uchi/Tora Guchi

Application Potential defensively and offensively.


And over the years many potentials came to me and where worked out.


One example would be a use to down your opponent.



1. Your left arm parries the original strike.

2.A your right open hand slides up your left arm, the hand rolls over and then slides down the arm to apply pressure to their wrist, the hand must takc care not to grab their arm, just to apply pressure with your palm into their arm at the end. This process is done while the application of pressure against their arm is to roll it over.

3. As your right hand is doing that, your left open hand presses into their arms triceps. The pressure generated from both hands forms a lever with their arm, and in turn the left press becomes a fulcrum for their arm.

This pressure causes their center of gravity to shift towards where your left arm is pressing into their arm.

4. This applied pressure becomes an arm bar to force them over unto the ground.


Another example of this potential is as follow.


1. Your left arm parries the original strike.

2.A your right open hand slides up your left arm, the hand rolls over and then presses the arm down and away from the attackers center.

3, As this occurs your right hand reaches out and slices with the open hand into their neck

4. Your left hand grabs their right wrist, The same time your right open hand rolls behind their neck. Causing them to spin on their own center like a top.

5. Your left hand spins their grabbed wrist out and away, increasing their spinning motion.

6. Continue that spinning motion until they are at your feet on the floor.


So last night I had another thought, a variation based on the generic movement of the arms.


1. Your left arm parries the original strike.

2.A your right open hand slides up your left arm, the hand rolls over and then presses the arm down and away from the attackers center.

3. As that occurs the left hand folds the arm at the elbow, to the inside of the right arm motion, Then it unfolds striking out

  3a. A backfist strike to the side of the head.

  3b. A backhand strike into the side of the neck, at the space were the back of the hand fit.

  3c. A backhand descending strike over the eye orbit of the head.

4. Possible continuations:

  4a The tight hand pulls back and then deliveres a spearhand strike with the fingertips into the throat straight on.

  4b. The right hand pulls back then delivers a thumb side of the spearhand strike into the side of their  throat.

  4c. The right hand pulls back then delivers a fore finger strike with that side of the sprearhand into the side of the throat.

  4d. The right hand pulls back then delivers a bent two knuckle strike with that as the striking area of the spearhand into the side of the throat.


A different version involves tbis motion but uses a small hand held stick as the striking area.


There are certainly other potential uses, and I have only focused on the use of the hands with a forward stepping motion. The motion of stepping in this pattern is yet another potential for another time.


Having done this, I nod off to sleep.

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