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Thread: My Naihanchi/Tekki Renzoku Bunkai Drill

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    Default My Naihanchi/Tekki Renzoku Bunkai Drill

    Hello everyone,

    I thought I would share a flow drill for Naihanchi Shodan applications that I've been working on. I'm still tweaking it, so it's a bit rough and there are a couple things I would like to change, plus the camera angle isn't the best. It does cover an application for every movement in the kata, and any individual application can be taken out and drilled separately. The drill is really just intended to be a flow drill that covers the entire kata, but it is also semi-live in that there are several sections where the uke can attack with either side or from odd angles, and they can resist or block as they see fit. It isn't a fully live drill, of course, since tori and uke are working specific techniques, but I think it's a decent introduction to the idea. Ideally, I see this drill as being an "entry level" partner drill that can become more and more live as you get more comfortable with the techniques.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU8fwtpc_m0

    The scenario starts with someone grabbing you and threatening you. The first movements of the kata are used a pre-emptive strike in this drill, where you grab your attacker's head and strike it--in the demonstration, I simply punch the face, but you could backfist the nose or use small-surface strikes like ippon-ken on kyusho targets. From there, I lever the head down into a knee strike, and shovel kick the attacker's knee.

    The second part of the drill is when you have failed to pre-empt your attacker, or failed to stop them with your pre-emptive strikes, and they let go of you with one hand to start punching. You deflect and trap the punch beneath your arm and use that hand to slap the back of their head while elbowing them in the face. Just like the first technique, the strike (elbow, in this case) can be thrown as many times as necessary.

    The third part of the drill is when you have done one of the first two parts (I only demonstrate this off of the second part of the drill in the video, though) and your attacker blocks and clinches with you to prevent you from hitting them more. From there, you grapple with your opponent (normally I like doing this randori-style, plus strikes) until they try to make space to start hitting you again, at which point you drag their pushing arm across your body into hiji osae gatame (elbow press lock). That lock can be used to control the attacker, dislocate the joint, or simply bring their head level down, and then you can follow up with hammerfists or punches to the head/neck.

    After that, we have the attacker breaking free of the lock or withstanding the strikes to the head and firing back with a punch from their free hand. Tori responds by blocking, then twisting the arm into hiji dori garami (elbow grip lock--that's what we call it, anyway) and striking kyusho targets in the cervical plexus or side of the neck/head. This is a section where I'm looking into changing the attack, specifically, but it will take some experimentation. Right now, I'm thinking that uke grabbing the punching arm to control it might fit better.

    From there, should uke break free from the lock we transition into a hammerfist across the jaw, which also serves to jam any punch from uke's free hand (whether it's coming or not). I didn't do a very good job of showing that in the video--we've been beating up on Brent (my uke) a lot lately for demonstrations, and I didn't want to keep knocking his head around, so I ended up leaving it out. From there, if there is contact with the uke's punching arm we roll it over into a cross-body armbar (shown in the video). If the uke didn't throw a punch, I do the same motion as a hammerfist to the side of the head/neck in conjunction with a sweep (not shown in the video).

    If uke escapes the lock and stands up, tori pulls them off balance and then grabs or strikes the neck/head to throw uke over tori's leg. The pull to disrupt balance is very judo/jujutsu/aikido-ish, and isn't absolutely necessary to making it work, but I wanted to include the concept. The pulling motion can also be used to deflect a punch or grab downward away from the face. The throw, itself, is really hard to match up precisely with the kata when you're being nice to your partner--the arms end up much lower. When I've done this full-speed it matches up perfectly, but the fall is pretty rough. The arm coming across the body the way it does also serves to jam any punch uke might throw.

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    Hi

    The above the waist your choice of techniques are fine for the drill. But I am not a fan of what is going on below the waist. here and how you drop your rear-end. Your degree of sabaki, etc.... I would have you concentrate on your drivetrain. I would break it down into just one technique at a time. On the leg kicks bring your hips under you. On the hiji shime ... or whatever you call the armbar have sharper and a little more body pivot. The body movement makes that work keeping your elbows in and connected where you are strong. Knees bent, hips under under you centered. Think about whether your lats and hips opposite of the outgoing technique are doing what they are supposed to do.

    Naihanchin is ALL about the lower body. The hand techniques just give you something to do. The real training is downstairs. Since it is prearranged execute your basics for maximum effenciency.

    But that is just me, some crazy guy on the internet.
    Ed Boyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Hi

    The above the waist your choice of techniques are fine for the drill. But I am not a fan of what is going on below the waist. here and how you drop your rear-end. Your degree of sabaki, etc.... I would have you concentrate on your drivetrain. I would break it down into just one technique at a time. On the leg kicks bring your hips under you. On the hiji shime ... or whatever you call the armbar have sharper and a little more body pivot. The body movement makes that work keeping your elbows in and connected where you are strong. Knees bent, hips under under you centered. Think about whether your lats and hips opposite of the outgoing technique are doing what they are supposed to do.

    Naihanchin is ALL about the lower body. The hand techniques just give you something to do. The real training is downstairs. Since it is prearranged execute your basics for maximum effenciency.

    But that is just me, some crazy guy on the internet.
    Thank you for the feedback! For this video I wasn't focusing too much on my lower half, since it was the upper half I was trying to make clear, and some of my steps were cut short or exaggerated to try to keep things in view of the camera. I also did not fully apply the locks because then the drill stops, so I kept them rather loose and far from my body to minimize the amount of editing I had to do--my video editing software is terrible :P. I can certainly always use work on my basics, as can we all, so I don't disagree with you on that! My goal in this wasn't to create a formal yakusoku kumite type drill, but rather a drill that can be worked with increasing resistance, so I wasn't too worried about crisp form.

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    We have Renzoku kumite in our system. Every kata has them. I never seen Shorin Ryu do them. I thought we were pretty much the only ones that do them. Classes are fewer and shorter than they were 30-40 years ago so we spend less time on them. IMO they were never the be all end all of bunkai. It is all about the consecutive training aspect. Our bunkai tends to put people on their back or on their face which would end the drill. Renzoku keeps olus on our feet with strict adherence to kihon.

    I sent you a link in a PM. A friend and I were discussing you. We like what you are going for. He is a 6th dan and comes from Nakazato's line of Shorin Ryu. It is at a forum where he moderated for years.
    Ed Boyd

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    We don't use 'terms' much in our little Goju circle, but it is very much like the drills we do. We don't stick to a complete kata...instead we focus on discreet segments/a full technique, and work it both partners. (Personally, I prefer kakie/sticky hands/chi sau drills...more fun! And watching a system's version of two-person drills is very informative....)
    'Leaves fall.'

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    Your Kodokan has the full 2 man versions of all the Goju kata but training is a time allocation problem. We will work Geka Sai maybe Saifa. We teach Geka Sai to the kyus.

    But it is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The dojo used to have 3+ hours classes 4-5 times a week. Now the old guard gets together 2x times a week for 2 hours a night. There just isn't enough time to do everything we used to do and now we are a bunch of old people. Last night I was the youngest one in the dojo. LOL
    Ed Boyd

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    Thanks for sharing this Noah.

    I've learned, and been shown good renzoku stuff..but in the end if you want to do "flow" personally I think there are better ways to do it, spontaneous stuff like variations on the "one step" drill that Rory Miller often teaches. I like the video, and the techniques themselves.. you are a skilled practitioner and I don't consider myself in any position to tell you how to do stuff by any means, so take all this with a grain of salt. I think it's a nice interpretation of Naihanchin. I just question the kind of fake chaining of stuff that goes with flow drills, IME it's possible that they can force you to NOT pay attention to alot of the stuff that makes or breaks Karate techniques. Personally the longer I train the more I move away from acquisition of patterns..outside of actual kata of course. I find that for working bunkai there is generally no need for more than two or maybe three "steps" at a time, outside of that things get artificial-er (cool word huh) quickly.

    It's kind of a fine line, you don't want to practice as if you will always win and your bunkai will always work, on the other hand, you don't want to practice with so much "flow" that you are essentially practicing failure in order to move to the next step...it's not an easy balance I think.

    One thing i've always heard from my teacher and some of his mentors (paraphrasing here)...good Karate actually doesn't look like much of anything to an outside observer because you don't want the opponent to have any idea what's going on, so simple, effective, and maybe even boring looking is often actually more efficacious than anything else.
    Last edited by ZachZinn; 20th September 2013 at 17:18.
    Zachariah Zinn

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    We have Renzoku kumite in our system. Every kata has them. I never seen Shorin Ryu do them. I thought we were pretty much the only ones that do them. Classes are fewer and shorter than they were 30-40 years ago so we spend less time on them. IMO they were never the be all end all of bunkai. It is all about the consecutive training aspect. Our bunkai tends to put people on their back or on their face which would end the drill. Renzoku keeps olus on our feet with strict adherence to kihon.

    I sent you a link in a PM. A friend and I were discussing you. We like what you are going for. He is a 6th dan and comes from Nakazato's line of Shorin Ryu. It is at a forum where he moderated for years.
    I actually got the idea from seeing Masaji Taira Sensei's renzoku bunkai drills, but I've seen a variety of renzoku-type drills and they all seem to have their own focus. The closest things we have to renzoku drills are the Shorinkan standard yakusoku kumite sets, which are really just traditional "block/punch/kick" karate partner drills with one or two practical bits thrown in each. My instructor's Sensei did develop yakusoku kumite sets for all the Naihanchi and Pinan kata, and they are a bit more practical than the Shorinkan sets while still being formal/traditional.

    Thanks for the invitation! I've actually been signed up on that forum for a few years, but I only lurk around there every now and then, and have never posted. I'll check it out when I get home from work today!

    Quote Originally Posted by ZachZinn View Post
    Thanks for sharing this Noah.

    I've learned, and been shown good renzoku stuff..but in the end if you want to do "flow" personally I think there are better ways to do it, spontaneous stuff like variations on the "one step" drill that Rory Miller often teaches. I like the video, and the techniques themselves.. you are a skilled practitioner and I don't consider myself in any position to tell you how to do stuff by any means, so take all this with a grain of salt. I think it's a nice interpretation of Naihanchin. I just question the kind of fake chaining of stuff that goes with flow drills, IME it's possible that they can force you to NOT pay attention to alot of the stuff that makes or breaks Karate techniques. Personally the longer I train the more I move away from acquisition of patterns..outside of actual kata of course. I find that for working bunkai there is generally no need for more than two or maybe three "steps" at a time, outside of that things get artificial-er (cool word huh) quickly.

    It's kind of a fine line, you don't want to practice as if you will always win and your bunkai will always work, on the other hand, you don't want to practice with so much "flow" that you are essentially practicing failure in order to move to the next step...it's not an easy balance I think.

    One thing i've always heard from my teacher and some of his mentors (paraphrasing here)...good Karate actually doesn't look like much of anything to an outside observer because you don't want the opponent to have any idea what's going on, so simple, effective, and maybe even boring looking is often actually more efficacious than anything else.
    I actually agree with you, and have had that very same discussion with several people when it comes to flow drills. This is sort of an "introduction to resisting opponents" drill that lets you work an application for each movement of the kata, and lets you see how the movements of the kata can be worked together if your first technique fails. We work individual application drills all the time, including drills where we have to deal with our application failing and the attacker responding in a totally unscripted fashion, plus we allow standing grappling and groundwork in our sparring, which is done with a medium level of contact. In my mind, drills like this can be valuable, but they are merely a small piece of the puzzle, and to try to use them as your primary method of training application would be a terrible mistake.

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    Some impressions:

    One thing to keep in mind about what Taira is doing...watch him teach it sometime in video clips, and it doesn't seem to be about making a pattern "fit" per se, each individual piece of what he is doing is a simple principle, even if the expression seems somewhat baroque and fit to the kata. I don't know whether this is or isn't true for sure, but I get the impression that his renzoku drills are actually just the expression of something put together using some really solid, fundamental building blocks in terms of the entry for each technique, form those he can do whatever pattern he wants really.

    Disclaimer: I have no training with Taira, though I will surely do a seminar if I ever have the chance!

    I didn't figure your training lacked in spontaneity lol, I know you have fought and such, and you probably do alot more "alive" work than I do, so I wasn't trying to say anything like that, I know you got that covered man, and don't need advice there. I think it's worth thinking about finding a balance though in your "flow work" bunkai between training to win too much, and training to lose too much, if you are going to bother with pre arranged flow drills. Just my 2 cents of course.

    Really with kata you can pan all the way out and you get something like a flow drill, a big picture thing, for alot of the stuff though to make it work you have to do the opposite, magnify small portions of it until they are automatic, and personally in that context I have never found much value beyond 2 or 3 movements, but that's just my experience.
    Last edited by ZachZinn; 20th September 2013 at 19:18.
    Zachariah Zinn

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    Wanted to add:

    i've had some pretty in depth conversations with my teacher about this, and one thing I took away was that basically, we all crave complexity, and if we're not careful we start adding layers to things that don't need to be there. Personally, in a few years of teaching this stuff I have observed that to be the truest with "flow" work and Karate-based standing grappling, it's easy in this context to find complicated answers for problems that are answered more easily. That's not really about your video (which again I thought was quite good)..but more a word of caution from my perspective about teaching extended patterns of things, or teaching drills hat involve a level of "contest" there are some ways in which human beings react to patterns that seem almost hardwired. Especially true for kyu level students, IMO.
    Zachariah Zinn

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    I'm the 6th dan that Boyd sensei (CEB) mentioned above, although I haven't been a 6th dan since 2007.
    Anyway, if I may chime in. As I mentioned to CEB I also like what I see, although I agree with him that's there a little disconnect with what you're doing below the waist with what you're doing above the waist.
    Here's my take; Nothing on "top" is going to work well if what's "below" isn't working properly as well.
    Mr. Zinn is also correct in that we must be careful not to make things too complicated. Sometimes the applications that are the most effective are the most simplest when applied.
    To that end though, keep doing what you're doing. From what little I see it appears to me you have good instruction and a better understanding then most people who partake in karate.
    Tony Urena

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    Belated Congratulations!
    Ed Boyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Belated Congratulations!
    Bah, you know me, but thank you.
    Tony Urena

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyU View Post
    I'm the 6th dan that Boyd sensei (CEB) mentioned above, although I haven't been a 6th dan since 2007.
    Anyway, if I may chime in. As I mentioned to CEB I also like what I see, although I agree with him that's there a little disconnect with what you're doing below the waist with what you're doing above the waist.
    Here's my take; Nothing on "top" is going to work well if what's "below" isn't working properly as well.
    Mr. Zinn is also correct in that we must be careful not to make things too complicated. Sometimes the applications that are the most effective are the most simplest when applied.
    To that end though, keep doing what you're doing. From what little I see it appears to me you have good instruction and a better understanding then most people who partake in karate.
    Thank you for the feedback, Urena Sensei! I certainly don't disagree--I wasn't focused on my legs at the time, and it shows. It will definitely be something I pay more attention to in the future. I also agree with you and Mr. Zinn in regard to making things overly complicated, although I don't feel that any of the applications I worked into this drill are all that complicated. There are certainly some complicated techniques out there, though!

    I do try to learn and practice everything I can, although I feel a little stunted due to the fact that I only began training in Shorin-Ryu a few years ago. In that time, I have had to put much effort into relearning how to move, and my first exposure to practical kata application came only after I had trained in another style for two years, so I'm a little behind :P. My current instructor is Richard Poage Sensei, who is a student of Eddie Bethea Sensei.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wastelander View Post
    My current instructor is Richard Poage Sensei, who is a student of Eddie Bethea Sensei.
    Cool!
    I don't know Mr. Poage, but Bethea sensei and my sensei trained together in Okinawa when they were both in the Air Force in the 60's.
    My sensei (Robert Herten), Bethea and Frank Hargrove were the three top American students of Nakazato sensei. They're both coming up next month for a seminar.
    Tony Urena

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