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jonboy
4th November 2003, 10:46
Hi all,

There are two theories regarding the amount of body movemnt required in techniques that I have been exposed to.

The first. Practice moving just enough, because why move anymore than is necessary.

The second. Practice making your body movement as large as you can because if you get attacked for real you are (maybe) likely to shorten your movements. The result being you will probably move just enough.


As far as I can tell, both methods have benefits and pitfalls. I am thinking of junior kenshi here, because I believe that the more senior grades should be aiming for the first option.

I was just wondering which method you prefer. Or do you go for middle ground?

David Dunn
4th November 2003, 12:09
Thanks for the question Jon. You already know my answer, but I'll post it for the discussion.

In single form goho practice (tanen) you should aim to make clear, large movements, the full extent of your motion. For example, mawashi geri should be practiced in as large an arc as possible, choku zuki should be maximum zenkutsu dachi, shoulder turn and extension. For the tanen hokei (tenchiken, ryuoken, ryu no kata etc), the motion should be even larger.

However, I don't think that's what you're asking. For tai sabaki, such as furimi, sorimi, hikimi, ryusui uke etc, the objective is to move the target area, as much as is required to remove it from danger, but no more; i.e. the minimum motion is required. For me, this is one of the distinctive features of Shorinji Kempo. It applies to tenshin style techniques, and even hiraki sagari ashi, or mae yose ashi should leave the head as close to it's original position as possible. The amount of movement of your head in moving from kokutsu dachi to zenkutsu dachi is plenty.

Moreover, I think that you should attempt to learn this from day one of your training. Why? Basically I don't think you can make any technique work properly otherwise. A lot of people's problems with randori are a result of the inability to live in close space. When I watch randori sometimes it looks like: wait for the attack, be preoccupied with avoiding it through a large movement, and miss the opportunity to counter. Large avoiding movements are easy to spot, and easy to adjust to. Moreover too big a movement invites the attacker to continue attacking. The kenshi that waits for you to show an opening of kyo, and is then right on top of you is the one that always 'wins' in randori. Try it with tanto randori. You get cut every time if you move too far, particularly if it is away from the attacker.

I know that showing kyu kenshi more basic methods is part and parcel of Shorinji Kempo. In this case I don't think it applies, because it isn't a basic method that can be refined - it's the opposite of the correct approach. Three or four years of doing it wrong will take a lot of undoing. On the other hand three of four years of being told to make minimum motion might begin to sink in.

So - maximum size form, but with tai sabaki as small as possible.

jonboy
4th November 2003, 12:22
When I watch randori sometimes it looks like: wait for the attack, be preoccupied with avoiding it through a large movement, and miss the opportunity to counter
True, but I would rather this be the case than risk kenshi getting hit because they don't realise they have to move a little further.

David Dunn
4th November 2003, 12:37
Originally posted by jonboy
True, but I would rather this be the case than risk kenshi getting hit because they don't realise they have to move a little further.

Yes, but it's a false economy. Moving too much from the initial attack just sets you up for more. When I was a kyu kenshi, my seniors would use the following method to demonstrate the incorrectness of my randori technique: whack me. Come to think of it they still do :laugh: In my experience moving too far is the beginner's problem rather than not moving far enough. Self-defence is a risky business. Better to make a mistake and get a whack in the dojo.

johan_frendin
4th November 2003, 14:22
Gassho!

Good post, David!

When doing maximum size form you should try to avoid to “push your punches”. This is easily done doing hookei.

When you “pushing your punches” you can see a clear build up in speed and acceleration in body movement. Kenshi that “push their punches” tend to miss (in randori) against a person with movement, even though their punches are fast at full extension.

Best regards

Johan Frendin

jonboy
4th November 2003, 15:33
Dave, I think we can safely say that we agree on what we would like the final outcome to be. I.e. minimal movement. Like I said, the problem lies with beginners and what to tell them.

I believe it is safer to move further. This is again linked to beginners. No matter how many times you tell them to aim for where the head is before the technique, they will always track their partner. This does not work at full speed because you don't have the time to track, but I think you can't practice full speed and minimal movement in case they get it wrong.

However if you tell them to make a huge movement then you can practice full speed and the likely outcome is that they won't have moved as far as you've told them, but far enough to be well out of the way. The important thing is that it's safe and a biproduct is that they will go away with the impression that SK really works and not 'only just'.


So - maximum size form, but with tai sabaki as small as possible.
Sorry, you've lost me there. Surely the size of your form is linked to your tai sabaki?

I also think we've done the usual tendancy to relate the question to goho. Is the same true for juho?

Johan. What do you mean by pushing your punches?

RichD
4th November 2003, 16:27
Having only been training for 3yrs I'm perhaps not qualified to suggest the best way to teach beginners. But my thoughts anyway...

Dave - I'm afraid I really don't understand this:

maximum size form, but with tai sabaki as small as possible aren't the size of your form and body movement are related?

Jon, Dave - I don't think you are disagreeing with each other. Surely both approaches are important - possibly with a changing emphasis as you become more experienced

It is important to teach beginners to think BIG because they need to understand the principles. These are best practised and demonstrated in a BIG way. Once you understand and can implement the principles correctly you can start to optimise your movements. There have been times when I have seen people demonstrating who were not always clear in their body movement. If you know what to look for then more experienced kenshi will spot the movement, but for beginners its not always obvious - and to get across these principles it needs to be (well certainly clearer than an explanation).

Movement for something like tenshin in randoori is only a matter of practise and will develop with time (I hope :)) in a safe training environment (ie. where people feel they can experiment with that in randoori w/out being lamped). Exercises that require people to counterattack (rather than just retreat constantly) also encourage happiness in the "close space".

As you advance (and no doubt a gentle whack from senior kenshi helps you along the way ;) ) your technique and movement will naturally become more refined and subtle and your randoori will doubtlessly benefit (although do those senior kenshi every stop whacking you? :eek: )

However, making beginners aware of the conflict between big movement and counterattacking advantage is important. Learning to do it well takes time, it is useful to be thinking about it along the way.


Try it with tanto randori. You get cut every time if you move too far, particularly if it is away from the attacker
Surely the further from the knife the better :D

johan_frendin
4th November 2003, 19:54
Gassho!

My English/Swedish way to explain things are sometimes really bad. I am sorry.

But anyway I will try to explain what I mean with “pushing your punches”. It is much more easily understood “live” than in theory.
I am looking on the web for a video clip that shows you “live” what I mean.

In Shorinjikempo speed is very important. But it is very important to avoid to build up in speed. By this I mean a discernible buildup in your acceleration when you punch. If you do this your punch will look like you are pushing something in front of your arm/fist instead of really punching. In this way your punch will be easily detected and easily “cured”. If you want to accelerate your punch to very high speed you want the acceleration to occur immediately not in an even pace during the punch.
Therefore you also need to think of bodily quickness and suddenness when you learn form.

Best regards

Johan Frendin

jonboy
5th November 2003, 09:08
My English/Swedish way to explain things are sometimes really bad. I am sorry No need to apologise. I am actually under the impression that often your posts explain things better than most.

Anyway, thanks for the explanation.

tony leith
8th November 2003, 16:13
I realise the last post on this was some time ago, but I hope what I have to say is pertinent. I have to say that regarding approaches to teaching beginners, I tend more towards Jon's thinking than Dave's. This is not so much out of concern for the safety of the beginners. Being of the (very) old Glasgow school, the Nietzchean aphorism about 'that which does not kill you makes you stronger' - I remember as a 4th kyu taking a mawashi geri driven shin to the head, and being very impressed. Not to mention mildly concussed.

No, my perception is that if you teach minimal movement from the outset, more often than not you see no taisabaki whatever from beginners (and frequently from more advanced grades). I'm perfectly prepared to concede this might well be because of the -ahem - imperfect nature of my tuition.

As to the question of dealing with weapons, this will depend very much on the nature of the weapon and the manner in which it is weilded. An overhand bottle you would probably want to get well out of the way of, unless your timing was phenomenally good, and I find this quite helpful when teaching white belts uwa uke geri ("Who's ever going to attack me with a judo chop?" "Imagine they have a bottle in their hand" "Ah" - this seems to concentrate the mind wonderfully on the importance of kokutsu dachi and sorimi). On the other hand, if somebody has a knife you probably want to give them as little freedom to move as possible - an edged weapon on the move is truly alarming.

However, this being said, if I was in Dave's club, whatever my private thoughts I would teach what he wanted taught, the way he wanted taught. There are few things more destructive of the confidence of the students than mixed messages from instructors, especially on something this fundemental.

Tony leith

Tripitaka of AA
9th November 2003, 10:35
You've gotta love that last paragraph! Nice one Tony. :)

aran
9th November 2003, 11:51
Thinking more about decisive form/minimum movement...

1. You must ensure that your body knows which direction it's going to move in response to a given kind of attack. Maybe you'll go to the attacker's inside, maybe to the outside (occasional thumps will help you understand that doing neither isn't an option :) ). Practising with big movements will get the pattern into your head, and can also build up your ability to accelerate quickly in the chosen direction. (This is basically just what Richard was saying.)

2. Once you find that when an attack comes you automatically head off - decisively - in a useful direction, then you can concentrate on the desirable refinement of keeping this movement to the minimum needed for the actual attack.

But I don't think we need to regard stage 2 as the preserve of experienced kenshi. This is a benefit of training using hokei: even a beginner, after practising exaggerated uchi uke zuki (single or pair form) for a while, can work with a partner to make the response more compact - because of the partner's promise to deliver only the agreed attack.


--
Aran Lunzer

jonboy
10th November 2003, 09:43
whatever my private thoughts I would teach what he wanted taught, the way he wanted taught I agree with the first part of this sentence. Dave and I do a fair bit of training together outside of regular sessions. One of the benefits of this is that we will be consistent in what we teach the beginners. By that I mean making sure we will at least do the techniques in the same manner.

As for the second half of the statement, I almost entirely disagree. I think getting mixed messages from different instructors is irrelevant when the first half of the statement is sorted. By that I mean the message will be the same, just the way it is taught might vary. I believe the variation in the way instructors teach is a huge benefit to students.

David Dunn
10th November 2003, 09:52
Originally posted by David Dunn
So - maximum size form, but with tai sabaki as small as possible.

There isn't a contradiction here. Take uchi uke zuki for example. If you step too far to the side with mae chidori ashi such that the attacker can follow with keri, then that's too far. You should be close enough that you counter before he/she can do anything else. The advice I was given is that you should feel the attackers dogi sleeve brush past your ear :)

On the other hand you should make a big uke, covering the whole jodan area, make a deep zenkutsu dachi position, completely turn your hips and shoulders etc.

Does it make sense? Large (maximum) form, but minimum distance moved?

In terms of beginners and tai sabaki, I think it's fair to say that some move way too far, and some move not at all, and all things in between. The point is that it is hokei, so you should examine if the goal has been achieved, which is firstly have you avoided the attack; have you really limited the attackers opportunity to follow up; can you counter attack?

Rich - the further from the knife the better, like 500 yards, I agree. It's hard to explain what I mean without trying it.

David Dunn
10th November 2003, 10:07
Originally posted by tony leith
However, this being said, if I was in Dave's club, whatever my private thoughts I would teach what he wanted taught, the way he wanted taught. There are few things more destructive of the confidence of the students than mixed messages from instructors, especially on something this fundemental.

To be fair Tony, as Jon mentioned, these discussions have arisen from us trying to establish the ground rules so that we don't contradict each other. However I do agree that mixed messages are really problematic, especially when they actually contradict each other, and more especially on fundamentals. This relates back to the hokei discussion, and what legitimate variations there are on hokei.

Tripitaka of AA
11th November 2003, 03:02
The classic example of "hokei or not hokei" must be Kote Nuki, where after the release some people will be expecting a chudan Zuki, and others won't. The frustrated/shocked look on each others' faces will usually make it obvious that this pair don't do their normal training at the same club. It is usually one of the first things to occur at a grading or a Summer Camp, that throws a Beginner off. Up until then, everything looks the same and sounds the same, then suddenly somebody puts in a move that "we don't normally do that!".

How much Tai Sabaki (Hikimi) is used in that first encounter with an unexpected attack can reveal a lot about how intuitive the movement is. Or not :)

tony leith
11th November 2003, 16:06
I've said this before, but sooner or later we all have to be introduced to the horrible truth that exactly the same manner of executing waza will not work on all partners - or not unless your technical level is truly phenomenal. However, I still maintain that for beginners any obvious discordancies between instructors can be very confusing - I also have seen so much latitude exercised in 'interpretation' of hokei that frankly it ain't Shorinji Kempo anymore, or at least not to my eye. This isn't intended as a comment on the preceding debate, but I do think caution has to be exercised in terms of presenting disparate perspectives on technical matters. Mizuno Sensei did say at hombu that he wanted the BSKF students to benefit from the insights of other senior instructors, but we're talking 6th dan and up.

Tony leith

David Dunn
12th November 2003, 07:50
Originally posted by tony leith
... However, I still maintain that for beginners any obvious discordancies between instructors can be very confusing ... I do think caution has to be exercised in terms of presenting disparate perspectives on technical matters.

I agree Tony. From a naive point of view, if position A and position B contradict each other, then they can't both be right. (They could both be wrong of course). You don't have to have studied Shorinji Kempo to realise that.

On this particular subject, there is the following advice from the Baseball Profound Study Series Goho book:


It is also important not to dodge too far at the time of the block. If your body movement is too big you won't be able to perform an effective shuto giri or ren han ko. One of the causes of this problem is moving the feet incorrectly, stepping far out to the side.

In self-defence you have to take a risk. To make good atemi you need to be at the right distance, and that distance is close. You have to counterattack to openings of kyo, and they disappear if you spend too long avoiding the attack. The focus of hokei is the counterattack not the uke - i.e. uke is not jitsu, but keri kaeshi or whatever is. Is it efficient to learn this by first learning the opposite?

(I also agree about hokei Tony, but that has been done elsewhere).

jonboy
12th November 2003, 09:52
In self-defence you have to take a risk.
Learning a martial art is about increasing your chances. Self defence is risky. But you do not have to take a risk. Surely that's the whole point of learning what we do?

tony leith
12th November 2003, 12:32
Actually I agree with Dave that increasingly the efficacy of goho techniques will usually entail some level of risk - and that against trained, practiced and/or talented opponents this might the kind of minimal movement he describes might well be the only way to survive. There is no way that you can make a situation where somebody seriously means to do you harm risk free, and merely evading the first attack isn't going to help very much if it's only the first attack. I think what Dave is talking about is using your evasive movement to present the best possible opportunity to deliver an effective counter. That fractional instant when an assailants kyo is presented might be the only chance you get to prevent them from pressing home their attack to whatever end they have in mind.

I remember training at Euston once, and hitting a partner because he was waiting just a fraction too long to initiate ren han ko from uke waza. Having done this I realised Sensei was just behind me - 'I'm in trouble' I thought. Sensei's only comment was to him - 'You're dead' - and 'keep doing that' - to me. I think our training can be too polite in terms of people literally waiting to be hit - this may be a necessary part of the learning process at the outset, but it doesn't have a lot to do with effective self defence.

In sum, I'm entirely in agreeement with Dave's aims here - my only quibble/reservation is about means.

Tony leith

jonboy
12th November 2003, 13:24
That fractional instant when an assailants kyo is presented might be the only chance you get to prevent them from pressing home their attack to whatever end they have in mind.
Of course.
There is no way that you can make a situation where somebody seriously means to do you harm risk free

I have not said self defence is risk free? In fact the comment "Self defence is risky" implies I think the opposite. All I am saying is that the aim of practice is not such that you have to take a risk in order to counter attack. Is the reason we practice not such that we can stop the assailant in the safest way possible?

tony leith
12th November 2003, 14:03
Actually, Jon, I'm inclined to the view that you might well have to take a risk in order to counter effectively. This risk can only be weighed against the possible consequences of not doing so (namely that the attacker keeps attacking). Equally obviously, at no point are you going to be making a conscious calculation - all of this is going to be happening in the blink of an eye, so it's basically going to come down to how you've been conditioned to react, where is I suppose where Dave's insistence on teaching mnimal movement from the outset comes in.

As somebody who stands all of 5'4 or thereabouts, moving in on attackers is pretty well an indispensible part of my armoury - if I stand off from them and allow superior reach to tell, I will lose. as somebody who is physically pretty robust, I'm also inclined to accept the possibility of being hit once if it gets me inside their guard. I learned this the hard way doing randori as a kyu grade with basically more talented fighters who were also taller than me. Hanging back allowed them to use me as a moving kick bag. Closing the distance gave me some options. Taller people also tend not to liek it up 'em (for non UK readers and our younger members, I should point out that this is quoting Corp. Jones from Dad's Army).

Tony leith

George Hyde
12th November 2003, 14:34
Originally posted by jonboy
Is the reason we practice not such that we can stop the assailant in the safest way possible?

Indeed - but if you assume that 'safest way possible' implies (in uchi uke zuki for example) anything other than having the oncoming attack whistle past one's ear, you're mistaken.

If you equate 'safety' with the distance between you and the oncoming attack, the safer you are (in terms of not getting hit that is) the less able you are to do what it is you're supposed to be doing, i.e. stopping the attacker. Any schmock can avoid being hit, but to avoid being hit whilst simultaneously delivering a maximally efficient counter attack is the objective of all the hokei.

Luckily we don't have to make any complicated calculations as to ratio of safety/maximally efficient counter - the hokei does that for us.


Later,

jonboy
12th November 2003, 14:58
George sensei,

I couldn't agree more. I haven't (I don't think) at any point said that minimal movement it not what we should aim for. My initial question comes from the fear for safety of new students, inside the dojo as well as outside. I don't want them to take a "mawashi geri driven shin to the head" for instance. Whether it be in practice or not. Concussion does not make you stronger, Tony ;) .

My comments regarding risk are from belief that the hokei have already maximised the efficiency of the counter, as you said. To me, when you can read the attack and can execute hokei effectively, the risk has gone. Admittedly very few people are at this stage in their Shorinji Kempo career, but it is the ideal.

George Hyde
12th November 2003, 15:22
Originally posted by jonboy
My comments regarding risk are from belief that the hokei have already maximised the efficiency of the counter, as you said. To me, when you can read the attack and can execute hokei effectively, the risk has gone. Admittedly very few people are at this stage in their Shorinji Kempo career, but it is the ideal.

Concern for the safety of beginners is of course warranted. However, you should understand that despite the demonstrable efficacy of hokei, beginners will still tend to err on the side of perceived safety - i.e 'safe from that particular strike - but this does not make them safe from the attacker, which is the aim of hokei techniques.

This preconception in the mind of the beginner is only one of many that have to be overcome in the course of practice. It is only by consistently reasserting the efficacy of hokei, as prescribed - from day one - that your beginners will take progressive steps on the road to getting it right. In contrast, affirming their preconceptions as to the aim of hokei techniques will only serve to hamper your efforts and theirs.

Later,

David Dunn
12th November 2003, 16:41
Originally posted by tony leith
... where is I suppose where Dave's insistence on teaching mnimal movement from the outset comes in.

It's not my theory Tony :laugh:

I think George has cut to the chase. Uchi uke zuki is prescribed[\i] to be executed with minimum of head motion. The ideal amount is calculated by putting your arm in the start position, and moving your head past the outside. The arm marks the edge of the danger zone. Move outside and you're safe to exploit the opening of kyo. Same with soto uke. For techniques like uwa/soto uke (or kaishin) zuki, your head should move as little as possible from the original centreline. Moving as little as possible, feeling a fist whistle past your ear, is a [i]fundamental principle in hokei. It took me a long time of having that repeated to me ad infinitum before I started to do it - my instincts simply got in the way.

As an instructor, the best thing you can do is to impress upon the attacker that they should make the correct attack. Then we can safely practice avoiding it efficiently. A phrase that comes to mind is "if you get jodan zuki, absolutely that's your responsibility".

David Dunn
12th November 2003, 19:25
This is how it should have been formatted. You know in Latex the markup instructions begin with a backslash, so that's my excuse.


It's not my theory Tony :laugh:

I think George has cut to the chase. Uchi uke zuki is prescribed to be executed with minimum of head motion. The ideal amount is calculated by putting your arm in the start position, and moving your head past the outside. The arm marks the edge of the danger zone. Move outside and you're safe to exploit the opening of kyo. Same with soto uke. For techniques like uwa/soto uke (or kaishin) zuki, your head should move as little as possible from the original centreline. Moving as little as possible, feeling a fist whistle past your ear, is a fundamental principle in hokei. It took me a long time of having that repeated to me ad infinitum before I started to do it - my instincts simply got in the way.

As an instructor, the best thing you can do is to impress upon the attacker that they should make the correct attack. Then we can safely practice avoiding it efficiently. A phrase that comes to mind is "if you get jodan zuki, absolutely that's your responsibility".