Thursday, May 5, 2011

Course Correction (and direct entry)

“Spidey Sense” ever experience it?  That feeling that something isn’t quite right but you can’t put your finger on it.  It keeps bugging you until you figure it out. 

I’ve had it twice lately.  I’m glad I had it.  It allowed for course correction, one themes of this blog.  On the other hand I’m mad at myself for needing / causing the “Spidey Sense” in the first place

The most recent example, I was teaching Ura Otoshi (rear drop).  The technique is very similar to Irimi Nage (entering throw).  The key difference being with Ura Otoshi you have one of the attacker’s arms tied up and you Kuzushi (off balance) using a linear drive to the neck or a palm heal drive to the chin (Ago Ate).  With Irimi Nage you don’t have a hold of anything so you control the head.

I realized that even though I was teaching Ura Otoshi I was demonstrating Irimi Nage.
Why did that set of my Spidey Sense?  Well, because I was following and breaking some of the basic tenants of Keishoukan Budo at the same time.

Anyone remember this gem from the 80’s?  It was about nerds square pegs don’t fit, no matter how hard you try its awkward

Basic tenant 1 – Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole.

What does that mean?  If you have to do an extra motion to “set up” a technique that is inefficient.  Square peg / round hole.  Don’t do it.  Instead just do a technique that works from the situation you are in.

Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique

My Spidey Sense going off because my best counter ambush technique is IrimiUke (entering block) or “salt over the shoulder”.  We were training against linear strikes (jab / cross).  Because of the nature of Irimi Uke against a linear strike I didn’t have an arm to entangle as in Ura Otoshi so I naturally transitioned into Irimi Nage (Basic tenant 1 – Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole.).  However in doing so I was demonstrating to my students something in violation of Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique.

This has been very technique specific.  So for teachers of any style.  If you want your students to do a specific technique, demonstrate the technique you want them to do?  If you say one thing and demonstrate another, don't be suprise when your students do what you demonstrate, not what you say.  Humans belive what they see more than what they hear.

Which leads me to…

Shomen Irimi (direct entering). 

I’ve discussed direct entering previously when I was writing about Kenjutsu….
When Uke raises his sword to attack you are going to go hey diddle diddle right up the middle and put your sword on his wrists or in his throat. Now I can hear you saying "Egon, didn't you say crossing the streams is bad?" Yes I have railed against staying in zero several times on this blog. But hear me out. You can step and pivot in one motion. Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven. You can step (up the middle) and pivot (open or enter) getting you out of zero in one motion. That fits with empty hand counter ambush fundamentals no matter what attack I perceive I'm going to do (what ever) trained to reflex speed. No matter what uke does with his sword I'm going to put my tip in his face (that sounded way straighter in my head). That forces Uke into the observe and orient phase and allows me to get ahead and open or enter.

Shomen Irimi Uke (direct entering block) counter ambush. 

Jodan Kamae with out a sword, or Hiriki no yosei ichi (elbow power #1) from Yoshinkan Aikido is the basis of this technique.  When you observe / perceive an attack from the front you raise you hands and enter uke’s space directly up the middle (between uke’s legs).  Lead foot lands weight transfer to lead hand which is palm heal strike (ago ate).  The ago ate arm also protects that side of your head.  The rear arm protects the other side of your head.  Like the two horns of a Rhino

The raising motion (like raising a sword) of your arms protects your lower body on the way up to protecting your head.

Again, all counter ambushes need to be trained to reflex speed.  Violence happens closer, faster, harder, and by surprise.  Counter ambush training allows you react at the speed of nerve catching up with  / getting ahead of the attacker in the O.O.D.A. loop.  Allowing you to get in one technique before stress hormones affect your performance. 

Going right up the middle isn’t my favorite but it is important to have it as a tool because you don’t always get what you want.

Which brings me back to the course correction.
Irimi Uke is my go to counter ambush.  However Ura Otoshi doesn’t not flow from it naturally against a linear strike.  That gives me an opportunity to practice Shomen Irimi Uke (Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique - Shomen Irimi Uke is both).

This blog started as what I was going to tell my students tonight at class and I thought it might be interesting to other folks too.  I made a mistake.  I’m not going to hide it because its discovery was useful to me and will help me teach better.

So, tonight when I perceive a linear strike I will make my Rhino horns and stampede right through the attack (sen sen no sen).  Wrap up the arm, linear drive the brachial plexus step behind and throw.  Ura Otoshi ends the conflict in 3 motions or less.  We can do Irimi Nage in a few weeks, when it is time to do Irimi Nage

No educational value I just thought this pic was funny

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

1 comment:

  1. As a teacher, one of the most frustrating things is when students don't "attack right" for the response or technique you're demonstrating. Whether it's that they aren't committing, are using a different strike, whatever... it can easily trigger an unplanned response. Sounds like what happened here... and you've done a great job rolling with it and using the teaching moment.