Karate is a mostly Japanese fighting system. As a Japanese martial art it is not that old having originated in the 1800's. Asian martial arts itself started in India. A monk named Buddha went to northern China. He taught Shaolin monks exercises and self defense. They called it "Kung Fu" and other names. This is the Northern style of kungfu and uses flying kicks. Kung Fu traveled south. Southern Kung Fu uses powerful punches.
Chinese ambassadors went to Okinawa and Japan. For now let's focus on Okinawa. In the 1800's Okinawa was a separate country from Japan. They had their own king and royal family. The royals were taught Kung Fu by the Chinese ambassadors. The royal family hired body guards and they learned Kung Fu. This was a big deal. Japan had a way on attacking the island nations around them and taking over. Once they did they banned swords and martial arts. Even swords and martial arts was banned in japan unless you were a cop or worked for government. They didn't want people to defend themselves from the government killing them and raping them and stealing their land, and changing the laws, and not letting them vote.
The Okinawans were allowed to keep some control of their land but were governed and constantly threatened by the Japanese and their samurai. The royal family lived in the village of Shuri at Shuri Castle. The bodyguards trained in secret at night to learn martial arts so they could protect their king. It illegal for them to defend themselves so it was illegal for them to train. If they were found training to protect their families, they and their king they would have been beheaded. They were like ninja. Japanese people deny the existence of ninja for some reason. Maybe it is to cover up the bad things they did to conquer the surrounding islands and make Japan a nation.
In Okinawa there were three towns where karate was being practiced. The towns were Shuri, Tomi, and Naha. Tomi was close to Shuri being a little north east of it. Before they called it karate it was called te. Te means hand in Japanese. Every town had it's own style because they had been taught and trained differently. They different styles were known as Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomi-te. Shuri was to the north and Naha was to the south. These were the two main styles. Tomi-te was pretty much like Shuri-te since the towns were so close but it has a few kata that are unique to it, mostly from mispractice. Shuri-te had punching from it's kata. Naha had kicking from it's kata. The movie karate kid is based on this area and the scene where he is standing on one leg is from the white crane kata. Kata's are series of punching and kicking that show different fighting moves. It is used both to train, teach, and remember karate so it can be passed down to future generations.
There is a kata called Chinte. It means China hand but was the name of one of the ambassador's who taught them karate. It probably was a nickname or codename like spies. Chin-te means china hand. In Chinese karate means Chinese hand" and is written in Japanese using Chinese kanji or letters. The Japanese did not have an alphabet. In 1453 the Japanese emperor created the Japanese language based of the Chinese alphabet but used less characters. He changed some sounds, meanings, and spellings. The language evolved many times over time. The Japanification of karate in the 1900's changed it from an Okinawan meaning to a Japanese meaning. The new meaning became “empty hand". Kara means empty in Japanese, te means hand. This change was said to be for Buddhist concepts of Zen or minimalism, emptiness. In reality it was in keeping with their practice of disarming citizens who did not serve their immediate and militaristic goals. Karate as a do or “way of life" is simply a ban on learning to be militant and how to form regiments to allow complete domination by a government over the lower classes. There is nothing spiritual about it.
The history of karate is well documented although there are missing entries concerning all parties involved. To fully research the history of Japan then and now to include all cultural and political movements and influences would span many volumes. In short the Okinawans were conquered peasants who used Chinese fighting methods against Japanese Samurai who were training only in kenjitsu and jujitsu, the only official fighting styles of the Japanese Shogunate. Kata was used to hide the training of weapons from the Japanese. Farm tools had to be used in times of village raids.
In 1867 Matthew Perry arrived in Japan to open trade on behalf of the United States government. He came with ships full of marines. He marched on Shuri castle talking softly and carrying a big stick. The frightened Okinawans complied for fear of life and limb. Afterward the royal bodyguards in their naiveite changed their training to face the challenge posed by platoons of US marines. Matsumura is credited with creating the Bassai kata of which there are at least five. This deal with fighting inside hidden tunnels in Shuri castle to protect the king, allegedly. Two main theories arise from this. The first and most accepted is that in order for karate to be effective against marines armed with rifles karate must be able to kill at will using one technique to quickly assault troops one after the other. The other is that the kata contains hidden sword techniques to disarm samurai and brandish these weapons to kill intruders. This leads to many interpretations of kata and those who say only one meaning is the true one to which it is argued what the true one is. Nobody knows what Matsumura was thinking and so it's meaning it not entirely clear.
It is impossible to train in karate without training in kata. It is impossible to train in kata unless you know the meaning. It is impossible to know the meaning. This is paradoxical.
There are different styles of karate. Some styles use attacks that look different. Some styles have attacks that others don't. I am going to list some attacks that I have found from the different styles. As I learn more I will update this list. I will use Japanese names as closely as I can with English translations. The hope is to bridge language barriers to avoid confusion between the two different cultures. Americans have ideas about karate that are inaccurate due to culture and media. To present karate in it's purest form it must be understood with a certain mathematical clarity. There are cultural discrepancies between the two nations of America and Japan and the only way I can bridge this gap is to leave cultural inflections of the two in there proper context and put the mechanics of the fighting methods into a scientific approach. After listing the moves in a generic sense there will be a section on training and intended application, a section on the different styles of karate and their lineage, and a section on the different cultural aspects and how geography affects the development of karate in different world areas. If there is not a corresponding Japanese name it is either something I made up or I don't know the Japanese name.
Oi tsuki/Chasing Punch- You step forward and punch with hand that is in front. Step forward and jab
Gyaku tsuki/Reverse Punch- You punch with hand that is in back. A rear cross.
Kizami tsuki/Snapping Jab- You punch with front hand. A jab.
Uraken uchi/Backfist- You hit face with back of hand.
Tettsui uchi/Hammerfist- Typically you hit side of jaw with bottom of a closed fist.
Shuto uchi/knifehand strike- You hit with an open hand and fingers held tight. A karate chop.
Kumade uchi/Bear hand strike- Make knife hand with fingers curled.
Teisho/Palm hand strike- Bent wrist until fingers loosely curl.
Haito uchi/Ridgehand strike- Reverse knifehand. You hit with area between thumb and index finger.
Empi uchi/Elbow strike- Bent arm and strike with various areas of elbow except funny bone.
Ippon ken/One knuckle fist- Punch with index knuckle sticking out.
Nakadaka ken/middle finger knuckle fist- Middle finger knuckle sticks out and used to hit.
Hiraken/fore knuckle fist- Make kumade and strike with knuckles.
Kama tsuki/Mountain punch- Lean forward and double punch making shape like kanji for mountain.
Nukite/Spearhand- Make knifehand and stab with fingers.
Seiryuto/Ox jaw hand- Basically a knifehand. This is more about application than configuration.
Kakuto/Bent wrist- Bend wrist forward and hit with wrist bone like Anan kata.
Keito/chicken head wrist- Bent wrist ridgehand.
Washide/eagle hand- Pigeon hand. Squeeze fingers and peck at opponents pressure points. Kyokai karate uses attacks like this for pressure points.
Wan/arm- The arm itself.
Wanto/Arm sword- Knife hand attack
Tegatana/Arm sword- Vertical knife hand held pointing up like sword.
Shubo/Arm stick- Clubbing with arm most likely to knock down.
Nai wan/Inner arm- Hard part to block with.
Gai wan/Outer arm- Hard part to block with.
Hai wan/Back arm- Strong part of arm to absorb hits.
Shu wan/Palm arm- Soft part of arm to block with.
Age uke/Up block- Shield face by raising arm and hold at an angle.
Soto uke/Outside block- With arm bent, arm swings from ribs to outside body ending with arm bent pointing up.
Uchi uke/Inside block- Arm comes from a pulled back and flared elbow position fist pointing up to swing inward.
Shuto uke/Knife hand block- You block diagonally away from face with an open hand fingers held tightly.
Gedan barai/Low block- Swing arm down with fist closed hitting like hammerfist with either fist or forearm.
Mawashi uke/Whirlwind block- Combination block of uchiuke, sotouke, and gedan barai. Two hand blocking.
Steeple block- Vertical knifehand block maybe used back to back to block multiple strikes quickly.
Manji uke/Swastika block- Okinawan back stance. Lean backwards standing sideways with a soto uke and gedan barai.
Juji uke/Cross block- Cross arms in front of face.
Fudo uke/Rooted block- Outside block and down block. Used in the three temple kata Jion, Jiin, and Jitte.
Zenkutsu dachi/Front stance- Like boxing stance except front leg more forward and stance is deeper.
Shiko dachi/Side stance- This is almost squat but wider with back straight. Knees 90° looks very square.
Neko ashi dachi/Cat stance- Standing with back leg bent almost 90°. Front foot is arched barely putting weight on it.
Shizen dachi/Shoulder stance- Regular standing with hands at sides.
Kamae/fighting stance- Any fight stance. Most of the time meant to refer to boxing stance.
Sanchin/Three battles stance- One foot slightly in front of other with knees bent inward.
Fudo dachi/Mountain stance- Rooted stance. Used to transition to zenkutsu when using hip rotation for gyakutsuki.
Tekki dachi/Iron horse stance- Like shiko except knees at 135°. More trapesoidal.
Hanmi/Half stance- Higher kenkutsu than normal.
Kokutsu dachi/Back stance- Lower wider cat stance.
Hangetsu/Half moon stance- Wider longer sanchin stance.
B. If he taller come in close and off to his left to affect his mai. Hold front left hand in age uke and throw repeated gyakutsuki to his solar plexus or more likely just below floating left ribs. Hold ageuke so that their is no way he can hit you in face with out changing mai. He would have to circle step to right not just rotate towards you. Prevent this by mirroring the mai using small incremental footwork if he does. His longer arms are at a disadvantage at this position. At his comfortable striking range he can use them to jab keeping you at bay and setup kicks or gyakutsuki. Closing in and cutting him of at an angle makes him feel threatened and want to lean away to correct his flaring elbow punches. He does this because it is quicker than stepping back and he does not realize how to use and maintain good mai nor is he used to fighting opponents at this height, distance and angle. This is too close to chamber lead hand to hikite for assisting your gyakutsuki so keep it up. Leave left hand up continuously while right hand uses deep hikite as it repeats hits. Pulling hikite deeper makes punch stronger. Depending on urgency some hikite might be shallower as need to hit takes precedence but you should be able to pull deeply and hold punch while his punches miss focusing on keeping a strong guard. Holding your block he misses while your gyakutsuki is pulled. You keep it pulled so that you throw nicest punches since you have the liberty of a strong guard protecting you. You do not and to throw a bunch of weak ones so only throw nice ones whether it's a deep hikite or not just don't get slopping and just start wailing with punches off line of guard not strict. The idea is if he punches a bunch throw a quick gyakutsuki from your ribs to distract stun and hurt him and throw deeper ones when countering his misses. Throw a few fast and some stronger making sure you line it up nicely. The more confident in your block wait and attack later for stronger attack. The less confident throw quick ones so he can not gain momentum and start correcting his attacks. This is sen no sen and go no sen. His first few retaliatory punches are going to be bad aim and miscalculated but watch for his corrections and keep scoring on his side. Throw like 5 gyakutsuki with no real answer from him. This is money in the bank and will sap his energy, hurt him and slow him down in real combat. Better technique coming in would make punch to floating ribs to break a good option or might be available. If more squared in front of him then solar plexus then face shot to quickly dominate would be much more effective. This is more defense trying to hit without being hit by exploiting his frame. If we were directly in front of him we would have to finish quickly because he could hit us. This way he can't. We are timing short hikite to beat him with speed to prevent him from squaring up with us, we are timing deep ones for power when we know he can't. This is with limits so we must find a break in opponents focus and find an opening, tsuki. The tsuki appears when we have sufficiently timed our opponent and manipulated him with are ageuke, angle, and chudan gyakutsuki. Basically we hurt him and his punch is off we are outside of his right and now his left hand is vulnerable. Ageuke slips over his left guard or retracted jab changing into kakiwake uke holding or hooking it while we change height standing up and deliver jodan gyakutsuki to his head. This is mostly up upright bringing ourselves closer to opponent with slight forward lean and close foot pattern. Takedowns from this are possible.
C. Punch his arms so hard they turn red and he drops them. Hit him in the forearms deliberately until them tire from exhaust or pain or he gets mad and frustrated. Punching into his soft biceps till they drop from redness and gassing out. If he is flexing a hard block his biceps are susceptible to a pressure point in them. He will not be able to keeps his hands up. Either he will drop them or try to counter which creates our opening or tsuki.
D. Front kick to groin or stomach or face. Left jab, right cross , then snap kick to face. Be close so he can not see kick rising between his arms straight to his chin. Knock his head back with kick to set up more punches.
E. Grapple him so his arms can be put in armbar or other joint lock. From joint lock break arm then throw him down. Low kick him while he is down if you wish.
F. Startle opponent with big technique. This works on less serious contenders. From right hanmi kamae swing right tegatana clockwise as you step deeply forward with right foot. Aim for face with seiryuto, either bridge of nose, eye socket, or cheekbone. This will directly bypass his guard and drop down over and through it breaking one of his faces bones in real fight. In sparring probably illegal but who cares just stop technique short of clobbering kumite partner. Think shomenuchi in aikido and stop without touching his head. Technically this makes it a feint...hmm. Throw strike and get him to react and spin into back kick. This is used to set up back kick from far away with out telegraphing. Think far distance in kumite or a slightly farther starting range of aikido when doing shomenuchi. The backwards winding of the arm hides intent and sudden burst forward is very unexpected and their is not much defense to it. Add strong kiai to further chaos. Time strike so that when it is straight up you can spin back kick and hit opponent squarely in stomach. Kick him in stomach and pivot facing forward him to throw gyakutsuki. They may try to back up when you are at the point of decision. When you get to this point and your hand is straight up look to see if they still in same spot, moved back, or off line of attack. If in same spot back kick. If they move back continue seiryuto knowing it will be short. When seiryuto is down and directly about height of age uke halt seiryuto and dash forward with gyakutsuki for hit or oitsuki if more distance is needed. This should work as they can not repeat backwards in a straight line faster than you sliding forward and rushing them. Gyakutsuki is all that is really needed but it is nice to get practical use of oitsuki, or even sanbon tsuki. Whatever the case you are charging forward throwing perfect kumite and they are retreating with their kamae broken unable to defend or attack. Just take bigger steps and get them. If at the point of decision they go offline track them and throw gyakutsuki. Kicking from this change in direction is NOT RECOMMENDED. It is too slow defeating the point of using forward motion and makes kicks off center and weak or missing all together leaving you exposed to counter. If you kick you gave up all your many advantages for nothing and put yourself in a state of tsuki. It is a huge mistake. Even if you could land a kick the mechanics would be off. You need your feet working solely on chasing the person down. They can not be tasked with the dual purpose of also kicking. It may seem flashy or more advanced but it is simply not sound. You may be able at most to get of a front kick (mostly reactionary kick to groin to avoid high kick) but you still give attacker a chance to block or counter. Done correctly with zanshin these are your only real options with the first being the perfect setup for and otherwise risky and easily telegraphed kick. When they change off the line of attack we are in effect ready and planned for this so the idea is to lure them to run right into punch. By kicking we can no longer cut them off and achieve this. Most kicks come straight at them and thats why they get off line to avoid getting sore blocking. This attack is fast and scary they are getting off line out of panic and unpreparedness. Let's not spoil this by playing back to their strengths. When most people go offline they expect to be somewhat able to counter so we must use fastest and straightest moves to counter their counter. They go from running scared from an inconceivable attack to somewhere they are unsure of or how to counter which causes hesitation. They don't have a plan to counter and expect training or instinct to kick in but it is just not there. We do have a plan and it is superior. If they back up and seiryuto is short they might try to counter. Chop seiryuto down and then bring it back up to deflect or block any punches. Seiryuto has an important role in this combination. Coming down it can break one of three bony areas of the face. If person takes one step back seiryuto is at distance to knock down their guard breaking it allowing us to make an easy follow up strike. If they take two steps back our seiryuto falls short of their guard and falls harmlessly in front of it allowing us to simply step forward safely to use additional strikes, or they might try counter but our seiryuto is in good position to deflect and protect us allowing the additional strike. Use seiryuto to hit them, use it to break their guard, or use it to setup a powerful kick that is usually avoided because it is improperly used. Because of the different options we take at various ranges it's important to control how much we can enter forward at will and know how much to enter each time this is performed by judging not our distance from opponent but much what he is going to do and how he might retreat. We allows initiate the attack from the same distance because we know our kicking and striking range. When the person retreats we sometimes must use larger forward steps to reach them compromising our initiatory stance but compensating by making sure that when we land hit our stance is suitable on contact. We must intuitively sense how far our opponent can retreat and how large steps must be in order to catch and hit him before we even attack. Simply chasing him back punching and kicking is no good we must cut him off before he can stop our momentum and charge forward.
G. Assume a low zenkutsu with both arms out further than normal and in knife hand. Control distance between opponent by schooching forward and if needed back. Encroach opponent with arms threatening his and ready to slip inside his guard if necessary. Keep his arms bent and weak and your arms strong and in tegatana. If he strikes root stance by planting back leg and turn knifehand to teisho, blocking all strikes that could be thrown incessantly. You are positioning to keep his strikes short and his techniques too small. Straighten back leg more if more rooting is needed but do no fully straighten leg making yourself unable to retain mobility to schooch forward. Scooting back is better because you have allowed him to be dominant with his strikes more straightened. Scooting back forces him to get closer and losing mai by entering into your control zone and losing his. This means to stepped too close and now his arms are bent again and unable to deliver full speed and strength, you can now jam his punch with teisho. Control his strikes with teisho and use the mechanical advantage of you arms to promote arm strength superiority over his. His punches must be kept too weak to defeat your guard or block. Keep slight bend in arm so you can sense and intercept incoming punches by tensing arms straight then immediately relaxing. This is the way to check his punches. Do not overly straighten arms or lock then out as this causes immobility and balance problems. Do not overly relaxed or you with pull arms back to much allowing him to dominate and come into his control range. Arms must go from slight curve, to tensed, back to slight curve. Bending allows you form to break and all control of opponent is lost. Use circular wrist movements to cut around or inside his wrists when he is holding arms in kamae. Circling outside places your hands on his, circling inside makes the hook pulling blocks from mawashi uke. Against larger opponents we want to go inside their guard because typically easier since they have wider shoulder and slipping inside is better than trying to control them from outside. We want to slip hands in and shuto to face with front hand then gyakutsuki with rear hand. This stance is effective against tall attackers since we are in kicking range but they are not. Low stealth mae geri can be delivered if we feel threatened and not able to shuto face and then gyakutsuki. Mae geri opens opponent up to jodan gyakutsuki to face.
These attack patterns are based on the strategy of defeating larger opponents quickly one after another with minimal delay. The focus is closing the gap, penetrating a stronger opponents guard, using mai to neutralize his attacks and promote yours, and using lead hand to set up rear hand gyakutsuki with concussive knockout power. Get in, do the job, and get out. This is combat orientated for disabling attacker and then taking him down for finishing moves. Application of sticky hands is used extensively in this as we are close inside their guard and using it to control them. Structured in this way lethality and Japanese tradition is maintained but we are able to train safely and spar at high speed with little to no risk of hurting training partner.
This is juji kumite or free sparring where any techniques are allowed as long as they are controlled and can be halted or with drawn at anytime. A very high level of proficiency is needed for this level of control and is recommended for black belt and higher or those that have natural ability. Do not throw techniques you can not pull. Do not throw techniques you can not stop at anytime. If you launch an attack and partner suddenly leans forward or is in different position then you expected can you brake your punch so you do not break his face? Can you launch mae geri to gyakutsuki and at moment of decision see he slipping and is falling, can you instead of kicking step forward, instead of punching grab him so he does not get hurt? This is the level of refinement needed.
This is not two man working self defense kata so prudence is required. Only practice takedowns, true grappling, neck holds, in safe two man kata at slow speed. Some trapping is allowable in this but goal is enter and breach guard scoring with gyakutsuki and being in position for takedown so that gyakutsuki to temple or stomp to head can occur if needed. In real battle weapons may present themselves so all empty handed exercise from stances to breath to stretching must reflect this. Whatever technique we use must in line with hand to hand, melee weapons, improvised weapons, and firearms. We do not modify techniques to conform. We use good principles based on science that guides our decision on how best to apply martial technique and tactics. Since this is karate establishing good hand to hand combat is only the beginning in training. We are building a pyramid with hand skills as the foundation and weapons at top. This is an aggressive combat system that engages and defeats the enemy recognizing the need for severity in application.
Basic combination work is needed to promote striking ability. In sparring more of an attacking role is required so no more stepping to the side and single countering. We must learn to hit consecutively like a boxer while maintaining good karate scientific principles as well as moral code. We can not just simply “slug it out". When form breaks and style is no longer distinct we have lost control of our body and losing control of our opponent will result. Fatigue has set in and now we are hitting sloppy and stiffly which weakens and slows attacks. Techniques always must remain exacting in their appearance and role. Kyokushin styles have a hard knock down approach that allows for full contact since head strikes are avoided. This training is to deliberately fight on though tired using clinching and circular body strikes. This builds stamina and improves athleticism.
The sparring I discuss is based on Shitoryu styles and has different approach focusing on controlling breath use to conserve power and pace yourself so as not to prematurely fatigue. Cross training in different sparring styles is allowable and if desired may be done however conflicts with certain strategical goals that are unique to this system may arise so it is to be noted when appropriate. Ideally you would have only one style but the need and benefits of crosstraining due to limited availability of quality instruction combined with insight gained from comparing your style to others leads to this inevitability.
Stay true to this as your main style and spar as many practitioners of different styles limiting yourself to whatever rules they have. Sparring takes on a sport aspect and since this "ryu" is combat minded you will easily dominate them no matter what handicaps you allow them in the form of abiding within their rules. Use this as an opportunity to learn their styles to see through them rather than to tout yours as better. If asked to follow some silly tradition they have either politely accept or decline always stating your honest intentions. This helps with spycraft and is known as transparency. They will only know what they see not what you show them.
Instead of concealing some "okuden", or secret teaching of the style, everything is in plain sight but without mastery of the core principles will see like less than it is or some type of magic. No magic just honest training. This style does not need obscurity to obtain security but rather secures freedom through the dissemination of freely exchanged information in hopes of finding better methods and science to help further the art. There is not the paranoid delusion that our students are immoral and power hungry and will use the techniques we teach against us. Nor that our enemies are listening to find secret weaknesses to use against us. Simply put we are better because we train better. Anyone who looks for easy cheats lacks discipline and therefore are not worthy of concern. We train to understand the moral shortcomings in others and learn from it to better ourselves so that we may always act in a manner and accordance free of guilt and ethical dilemma.
We must be aggressive in our dueling. To achieve this we will use multiple striking lest a single technique is blocked rendering us countered. Every technique thrown will have it's origins in karate and every technique will be decisive. This is difficult so anything less than perfection has to been seen as studying traits of potential attackers or our technique should be lethal but it isn't developed enough and further research is necessary. If this is unachievable we will have to admit our hubris and start over reconsidering our needs and the practicality of our training methods. We must define what decisive means and what level of power, accuracy or other criteria is needed for each technique to be used only once to achieve this effect. Herein lies an inconsistency that not all techniques can be trusted to end a fight instantly but nonetheless are extremely useful in the acquisition of victory or other desirable outcome. What is decisive in one conflict may not be in another even though the same physical result was produced. In this sense being decisive changes depending on the context.
Traditionally decisive meant that a technique would kill or knockout. Can we add to this maim or eliminate opponent from combat? How far can we stretch the definition of decisive? I'm hoping to ask all these philosophical questions man has been pondering so that some clarity can be achieved moving martial arts from esoteric forms without hard and fast rules into a scientific method founded on rigorous proofs. I want training to have a clear purpose that can be readily explainable.
In truth some techniques are meant to less than lethal and this blurs practical and ethical lines. What is excessive force? What is the power of this technique and do I prowess the ability to use it? We need to know the limits of each technique then find was to train our bodies to be able to use it from varying degrees of power. Finally we need a way to train in realistic battle finding ways to apply these techniques against non complying sparring partners who put up the resistance of actual attackers using actual attacks.
Some sparring is too sports orientated and doesn't tie in to worst case scenario’s. There are discrepancies in the training, intended application, and the reality of the programs that have failed and continue to fail today. We can do better and offer a more reasonable system that doesn't make compromises causing time, money and effort to be wasted. Truth is there is no one method of fighting so synthesis of different methods and threats faced must be examined. There are many things to learn so the important thing is waste less time and get proficiency faster. We are going to train many things to gain insight on how to defeat it rather than do it. We will document our successes and continually refine and evaluate whether what we are doing is right by asking ourselves if it makes sense.
The most common punch combo is left jab and right cross. This is not particularly lethal. But we are going to train it to gain perspective and understand realistic fighting.
Most attacks originate from unskilled fighters. They will use this. Their weapon must be our weapon. Attacks follow one of two methodologies. A person will throw a few punches and stop or will attack continuously. Neither is worrisome but it shows what people do and why. They either don't know how to punch properly and threw a few and stop because they lack skill and strategy either leaving them confused as how to proceed since they lack any real plan having never given the subject much thought or because they are scared since they don't know their own skill level and lack confidence in their abilities. Don't be like this ever in sparring or real fight. They might through a bunch of punches based on whoever attacks first wins. They hope that a bunch of punches will cause person to be either intimidated or overwhelmed. Fighting is really not that complicated and those that do attack with no training are often successful because of luck combined with their target has equally less practical training than them. Key to their success lives in their ability to initiate and be aggressive. An aggressor by definition is one who aggresses. Keep this in mind.
Let's learn to make endless punch combinations that are practical to our study of karate that not only we can spar with but use in real fights.
This is basically sanbon practiced twice in a row. Why would we need to throw 6 punches if karate teaches us to use one hit one kill? Because we want him dead 6 times before he hits ground. Because he may be extraordinarily built and we want fighting prowess to fear no man. Because sometimes they don't die from one punch. Because sometimes they block or step back out of range. Maybe their karate is better than ours and we need to bring our “A" game instead of assuming fighting is throwing one punch and we are done. In Japanese komitsuki or rentsuki is continuously attacking. Being able to throw punches without interruption is a refinement a lot of karate practitioners lack. Training kata endlessly but can not spar. Sparring constantly but never learning the strategies of kata and applying it to sparring. This is bad and not helpful in real fight. Worse in performing kata with no real understanding then not being able to apply it in sparring or fighting.
Slugging it out means you are street fighting instead of boxing or doing karate. Only luck and your level of aggression will determine if your are victorious. Any training you have done becomes superfluous. What are the skills you honed and where are they now that you need them? How someone trains is supposed to influence how they fight. In real fight it becomes apparent that your training is insufficient and did not train you for the attacks you are experiencing. Whatever the outcome you will have to go to your training manuals and find why you were inept. The answer is you did not check to see if what you were doing had any real applicable value. It might work in a dojo against friendly competition but will it not work against a brute. Are you training for real attacks or playing a game that has very little similarities to street violence. Most martial arts have bad training where half the people taking it do so for recreation and self confidence but have intention of ever really using it. And they know it. They take sport karate because it's fun. Any real training is grueling and unpleasant and they would not enjoy it so they take the easy way out. They lack discipline. Anyone serious to study martial arts is then at a loss since they will find the clubs around then to be more social clubs rather than serious warrior training halls. Quite frankly the only school I know with any credible authenticity is the military and their forte is firearms. So people either waste time never progressing because they train with insincerity or are sincere but become turned off by the bad level of instruction they receive. There are a lot of obstacles to training where it seems there just should not be.
In sparring we train to be aggressive and attack first and dominate the opposition. Following the mantra there is no first attack in karate and aikido must be a mistranslation or some other confusion. Never be mentally weak or train with uncertainty.
So are combo has a lot of punches but there are several things wrong with it. For this to work we need to be at a certain range to land all these punches. If we are landing all these punches then in reality the defender should be knocked out or our technique is too weak. If our technique is too weak then we should be sweeping them using kuzushi to take them down so that we are not caught in a prolonged exchange of punches with the defender. This is the type of mentality we need to remember to constantly separate the difference between kata,kumite, and real fighting so that our training stays honest and real world applicable. It develops maturity to see things for how they really are. That is how a mature black belt should view things and in my definition of one. A child has trouble sorting what is real and fake and does not understand the implications of what they are doing nor the ramifications. Neither do some adults or ranked black belts for that matter. Children see fighting simply as technique and do not realize the severity of their actions. Adults who pride themselves on technique but train wrong build on mistakes that will cost them in real fights. Less taking and more training.
1. Practice throwing multiple punches insuccession so that you can unload a barrage of techniques on a defender/attacker so your punching increases in case it is currently less than one hit one kill, literally the guy is dead.
2. Use this in sparring so that you are not just standing there when you should be hitting.
3. Do not just throw punches wildly or with bad form. Practice good form where you left jab is now your kizami tsuki and your right cross is now your gyaku tsuki. Use you kizami tsuki to set up you gyaku tsuki like you would use left jab to set up right cross.
4. Good karate looks very different from boxing. While powerful and effective means of defense boxing is not karate and does not accurately represent the style. If you are throwing boxing punches you are training to be a boxer and are not learning karate so you will not be able to understand it's use of weapons later because you do not move think and respond correctly. I have seen crap karate that was improvised boxing coming from people with bad instruction so what they were passing off as karate was not even true boxing but made up. The problem is that it may work since you are building aggression but would get creamed by trained fighters and self taught street fighters. This requires discussion later.
5. Good karate uses principles of punch and pull to throw longer punches than boxing. Aside from generating power differently your entire body moves differently and in a certain coordination to link punches with kicks. Boxers don't kick so their stances and legwork doesn't reflect this. If training in fake boxing but calling it karate your entire range of weapons from punches to kicks with be ineffective slowly you down making your strikes weaker and just looking bad. You will not progress and any training you do will be wasted effort. Without training you are just as capable so what's the point.
6. Do not clinch and start throwing body blows and break form. Karate deals with the medium to long range striking distance. If you are too close you did something wrong. Use movement to circle opponent and attack him from angles. This is distinctive in Shitoryu and I'm sure some unlisted styles will say it's the secret of real karate. Whatever.
7. To maintain proper striking range hit as soon as you enter striking range. Do not hesitate or stall. If you are close enough to hit then hit. This is not a game of patience where multiple fakes and feints or looking for a break in his concentration occur. This is not psyching him out or taunting him. This is not playful jousting. Learn when is the soonest you can strike and take the shot because you may not get a second chance in real life. This teaches reflex. This is important and cornerstone key point.
8. If you do not strike once he is in your strike zone he may strike you first. If you didn't already hit him you are inexperienced and lack proper skills. If this is case he probably does too and you are both beginners. This is a common mistake in beginners.
9. If he strikes you first he may either have to be closer to you or he is beginner and hesitates like you do. This is a problem. People who hesitate just stand there not knowing what to do. Then they instinctively creep closer and closer till they are in a close quarter boxing match not medium distance karate match.
10. When in close quarters karate really no longer exists as it is too long range utilizing linear strikes. If you are that close it is because movies and culture you are accustomed to western fighting that uses closer ranges than karate. You are now boxing instead of doing karate. This is problem. Karate principles don't work at this range but boxing principles do. The entire point of the exercise is lost.
11. If opponent is too close or clinching breakaway and find what you are doing wrong and correct it. Use more lateral moves to attack from deceptive angles.
12. Learn to use correct footwork for setting correct distance at all times to get right maai.
13. Learn to be the aggressor always and hit first to prevent three thing from happening: Him getting to close and causing your punches being too weak, him causing you to retreat and fight overly defensively, him hitting you.
14. If he hits you immediately counter with gyaku tsuki to face or body no matter what. This should become instinctive. Hitting immediately breeds aggression. If hit be aggressive and hit back. Go from the aggressed to the aggressor and take back control of fight.
15. Learn to vary punches to suit task at hand. This means usually whether its a fast attack or a strong attack. Learn to build concussive knock out power in power arms.
16. Learn to use all variations of combo 1 to develop your on style. Change it around as needed. From any distance be able to combine different parts of different combos to be able to attack nonstop executing beautiful techniques.
17. Techniques should look beautiful. I mean drop dead gorgeous. Throw with power, precision, and speed karate looks impressive. This requires athletic ability and technical skill.
18. Every part of every training should hone skill so techniques look as good as they work. The highly stylized fighting forms should be able to be performed in real life as intended. You should not be kickboxing after learning kata and doing sparring. You should be able to fight in the style so it is at once seen as a distinctive ryu and not a lesser more generic style. Good karateka can hit nonstop. Being good at combos lets you juggle your opponent and keep him from countering. He is forced to do three things: block, retreat, or get hit. Learning combos let's you begin sparring in a gentle way. Although many finishing moves are performed with opponent on ground high speed sparring is going to focus on hitting without getting hit and controlling your opponent using Japanese concepts of combat. The terminology of karate is Japanese and ties into all their fighting techniques. Without understanding battle strategy we are simply punching and kicking. Tactics matter so we can better defend ourselves. Themes usually center around fighting multiple attackers when we are unarmed. Sparring a single person is simple intention of the system. If we can not handle a single opponent we can not handle groups of 6 coming in waves at us. Try to understand the 100 man kumite aspect.
During sparring strike first using best techniques that would end fight instantly. As training progresses simple attacks start becoming very apparent in their ability to knock out and then engage multiple assailants. If sparring one person consider thinking in terms that they represent many people. Attack first with no delay. What ever combo you used should have been able to eliminate him from battle. When you break away think not of engaging the first attacker again but this is a second attacker. Dart in, strike three times, dart out. You just killed him. Dart in, strike three times, dart out. You just killed the second guy.Train this mindset. With this understanding it is not good enough to come in for sloppy attacks and not score. In real life the guy behind you would have killed you. Think come in and kill the guy. Break off because he is dead. Engage again using different attack and kill that guy. Learn all the various strikes of karate and use them during half speed sparring under control but think murderous intent. Kiai is typically associated with death blow concept and is used during final strike.
In reality you engage by punching a few times busting the guy up and breaking his balance then punching him in the thin bones on the side of head with gyaku strike. This is the JKA Shotokan tournament fighting kumite where they score point for takedown and another for punching a downed opponent. In sparring you do not have to take him down. The implication is he is knocked out. From punching him with gyaku tsuki and knocking him out you can easily kill him while he is on ground unconscious. Person knocked out in real life is unconscious for 30 seconds. If they are unconscious for longer they have suffered serious permanent brain damage or is drunk and sleeping it off.
Movies show knockout scenes where the guy is knocked out and gets up hours later like nothing happened. They also have military scenes where guards are knocked out so an intruder can sneak around or break in. In real life they would be conscious within minutes and the whole base would be on alert. Tactically if you knocked them out you would then have to stab them to death to prevent them from waking and making your presence known. Movies are so fake. I'm sure they do not show the severity of martial arts because it's unpleasant but the point is when they took the guard out of battle by knocking him out in reality they would have stabbed him or still his throat. Shooting a gun would be to loud even if silenced. The movies where they sneak up on the guard and cut his throat are more realistic. I watched John Wick 2 and remember the scene where he sneaks up on the guy smoking a cigarette then cups his mouth so he cant yell but has cigarette trapped in his mouth. I forget the next part but the whole movie is him killing people. I think it shows him just drag the guy off scene and then return with the guy gone. We are to imagine he killed him somehow and covering his mouth was to prevent warning others. This most likely means he stabbed the guy. I think to slice him before he realizes you are there instead of warn him by covering his mouth. If someone sneaks up on you and covers your mouth, kill them. I was told by multiple sources that streets fights last less than 30 seconds. I've seen longer. Compare being knocked out only lasts 30 seconds or less. The implication is that being knocked out is certain death because you are helpless in that 30 seconds. Find trusted medical and law enforcement resources to find what the statistics are of various attacks and what their results are so you have strong medical and police data to draw conclusions from.
When sparring someone don't just attack punch punch punch and break away. Exchange blows in heated exchanges using sticky hands and parrying to control your opponent and hit him. Practice striking at this range to simulate being boxed in and having to fight your way out. Fighting in place teaches you to hold your ground and not retreat but intimidate your opponent and make him retreat. If he retreats you are sparring harder then him. You should not be just standing there not hitting, running in and out, nor cordially exchanging playful taps. You need to be executing pristine technique using strict form, kiaing when appropriate. One of you should be retreating or eating a ton of pulled punches. If This doesn't happen you reach ai, or harmony, fair exchanging while looking for a weakness or opening. During ai stepping and shuffling can occur to create little gaps and pockets for advanced attacks suck as kicks or taking advantage of a misbalanced opponent who leaning and also stepping in and out for longer punching. This is intense sparring and helps focus skills..
This level of jiju kumite closely matches a real fight but builds skill that can not be built in actual fighting. An example of real fighting is someone punching or kicking at you real attacks while only retreating because your are close to hitting them and they need to not because of a rhythm developed by matching a sparring partner. Some sparring styles use a dueling approach or bounce up and down for lightly advancing to hit with maybe on person a little more intent on throwing more techniques to score and the other obliging by not trying to make actual contact. This is more grounded and each person is trying to land solid techniques. Sparring can last indefinitely and builds stamina.
I have sparred 30-60 minutes non stop in this hit for hit style and it was the most beneficial to me. Things practiced in other forms of sparring suddenly don't work and you are left with best techniques that would work in reality. Kicks to the head must be blocked and countered with punches or other kicks since floor might be to hard for takedowns. Techniques get refined and through spontaneity start resembling different branches of White crane based karate or even kung fu simply due to the need to seize an opening. Low stances become higher, high stances get lowered. Punches get chambered and cocked at weird angles to block exposed areas and then released to subdue an ambitious attack.
To spur competition strike as soon as you are near you opponent with gyaku tsuki. This is the main attack in karate so it must be used often to perfect it. It can be used in all manner of stances with different modifications to allow it to become second nature from any angle or placement. There are many different variations on tsuki when it is used in sparring. If you opponent retreats chase him down with relentless gyakutsuki or mae geri until he stops or he runs out of room by being backed into a wall or exiting a bordered area serving as a ring. Be relentless in looking for opening to attack while being certain you will not be countered.
Always know that the real goal is centered on using punches to gain an advantage to topple opponent and finish him if needed. Know that if opponent is just standing there you need to be punching always very fast, building speed and using good hikite. If you are to close hands will be up like boxer, from this distance hit with a shortened gyakutsuki out of necessity but due not make habit of it. After landing short gyakutsuki correct distance quickly and continue assault. Order goes like punch,punch, step back, full punch.
Sometimes it is helpful to use front hand like boxer and jab while pulling rear hand back completely for full gyakutsuki. Use gyaku tsuki pulled anywhere on body as long as it is far back. Throw it in straight line and it is still gyakutsuki. In sparring zenkutsu is not used as it is too low and slow. Stand in modified zenkutsu and rotate hips and torso pulling gyakutsuki back but bring it and a straight but to chest or shoulder instead of hips. This lets you hit correctly at close range. Turning torso 45° allows for proper technique as it helps chamber fist. At close range you need to be able to block everything with your lead hand while having gyakutsuki ready to punch. Gyakutsuki must be chambered at shoulder by turning torso but it must be done very intelligently. Having gyakutsuki at hip only works at long punching ranges. If opponent is say boxer and can punch you in face block with left hand or forearm and learn to chamber gyakutsuki to shoulder keeping fist pointed forward and close to body to help guard if needed. Learn to turn torso to shoot punch forward instead of hips. This is actually correct but rarely seen. Most peoples kumite practice is not very good outside of Japan. They spar to slow with guards down too much and use training stances instead of fighting stances./p>
Placement and torso rotation might change at different intermediary ranges. Learn how much to turn torso at what distance and how to adjust right height level depending on what level of body needs to be protected. Also this is different for everybody so find where gyakutsuki is comfortable for you through hard sparring. Learn how to modify stance and switch stance during kumite. Remember to keep pressure on opponent and punch at him always anytime gyakutsuki is possible. If he is not guarding and you can punch him in face gyakutsuki then do it instantly before you lose chance. If your are sparring a much easier opponent see if you can target parts of his face and think how that would affect him in a real fight. Would those bones break? Would his head turn sideways or would it tilt back? How would affecting his head affect his stance or balance? Mop homeboy up. Use mostly gyakutsuki on easier opponents but go slower giving them chances to hit. Block their punches and make them work for it and then counter to face as soon as you do pulling punches so they don't get hurt and discouraged. If they are just standing there and in range hit them and tell them of their mistakes. Correct any mistakes you see them do especially if you can do so without stopping sparring. Get them to be more aggressive and teach them to control their techniques to they can pull them. Teach them different combos so they know what to do because sparring doesn't come easy for some people. Sparring is very different then line drills or kata or one step sparring so they with often not have a clue.
It's obvious that sparring breaks down into kickboxing for most karateka. This is only acceptable in Kyokushin since it the inventor Mas Oyama is Singaporean who through geographical influences made a highly eclectic art fusing exotic arts together. The only credibility it has is the fact of Mas Oyama's legendary breaking skills. That alone is a testament to his styles power and therefore worth to be considered true budo. In reality it's Muay Thai performed by foreigner with kata thrown in. It's very in line with western philosophies it seems but it does emphasize body conditioning and that it almost exclusively Asian. During UFC fights the commentators remark about a fighters conditioning referring to his stamina and cardio levels. I practice kicking and punching combos in the air to increase fluidity, Asian kick banana tress and makiwara to deaden bone causing little cracks to form that eventually fill in with liquid calcium making them harder and heavier thus less likely to break.
I will make sparring feasible and resemble the kata and the drills and the fighting will not be kickboxing and it will not be kickboxing in real fights. If we already have boxing and street boxing with low kicks thrown in where is the validity of performing the same fighting style as this and calling it karate? Why would we think Asian martial arts are exotic and then train in them just to do the same fighting we did before? And why then we would say karate doesn’t work or kata doesn’t work or fights are dirty and it doesn't look like that in a real fight? Because we are not learning or practicing real karate or at least not training correctly. We have the resources but not the correct understanding. Definitely there is a language gap and we changed everything around. They are probably mad because we dropped a bomb on them. That’s karma I guess.
Traditional karate doesn't explain kata in context of sparring but I use kata in sparring. Once demystified and broken down into science or just simply gross motor function the moves come out naturally. I studied kata to make my sparring better and I took karate just to spar. I think I can add something new that others can benefit from. I try to ask all the questions that come up a lot but no one seems to want to explain. There needs to be a collection of works written on karate and it's methods fully documented so that we don't go down the same road generation after generation hampering it's understanding.
Take these combos and make them look and work like karate. If it looks right then it probably is. If it wins fights then it definitely is.
Boxers are going to attack us so we must understand street boxing better than them. White crane kata has circular movements that mimic boxing as does Hungar kung fu and their kata were the basis of Okinawan karate. Kata have their boxing in them, sochin for example.
Combo #1 is a good starting combo because it is higher than five punches. Lets see what we can do to make it more Okinawan or Japanese. I'll use stuff from attack pattern G to mix it up. I picked this randomly. I know way to many variations, I have been doing this a long time.
This uses knife hand parry blocks and mawashi uke from temple kata like Jion, the funny looking up block/down block and some higher level control tactics based on chi sao.
1. Someone is throwing straight punches.
2. Check his punches.
3. A left jab comes.
4. Use a right vertical knife hand rising block like tegatana from Aikido. Block inside his guard and hook his wrist.
5. This is easy. Jabs from his forward are weak and easy to catch. Even if they pull back their hand is still close.*
6. He leaves hand there we'll assume. Control his arm and make his hand lowered completely exposing his face.
7. If he pulls back (doubtful) turn grasping block into face punch using his energy.
8. He throws right cross.
9. Catch it with left front hand from outside his wrist. Hook it with your hand on top.
10. We now have mawashi uke or two hooking blocks. *
11. This takes a lot of skill from sparring hard.
12. Whatever hand he pulls back we hit him in face with the hand controlling it
13. He pulled a hand back so we hit him with the hand that was sticking to it. This is chi sao. Pretty cool.
14. We throw two more punches depending on what hand delivered the sticky punch.
15. Also what foot we have forward making use open stance or closed stance plays a role how any punches.
16. Maybe we throw only more. Maybe we throw two more.
17. We want a total of three ending with gyakutsuki.
18. We assume he leaves left out because it's really stuck and slightly angled down. This makes imbalance.
19. With his left hand out and down there are ten things wrong with him. He has big problems doesn't even know.
20. To many things wrong with him to list right here.
21. He doesn't care about his left hand because it's in a mechanically weak position and he doesn't want to free it.
22. Our right hand on his left hand feels heavy. It pulls him forward and imbalance, turns him crooked.
23. Consciously he is unaware his left is compromises him so bad.
24. Subconsciously he is aware and wants to free his right hand.
25. He pulls right hand back. Good. We backfist him with our left.
26. Our hand is hooked so we can not jab and must use backfist since our hand is placed that way.
27. When he pulls back, our left hand is horizontal with back of hand facing his face.
28. We must back hand him. We have no choice. He is making us.
29. We simply close fist to make backhand.
30. It smacks him.
31. This gives us forward moving feeling towards him. We use this momentum energy.
32. We rush right hand forward hitting him with gyakutsuki.
33. It a shorter than usual gyakutsuki because we are in grappling range.
34. Doesn't matter punch is short because pulling us towards him gives us speed and punch is twice at strong.
35. I hit him with hard punch maybe want to stop and sweep him while he is stunned.
36. If I punch again it will be kizamitsuki. Technique too small. I can not end with this.
37. If I punch kizamitsuki and then gyakutsuki both are too small. This is grappling range.
38. I lost forward feeling. I can not strike at this range without forward feeling.
39. After punches sweep leg. Grappling must use grappling throw.
40. Grappling throw from mawashi uke is jujinage from aikido. I made a mistake and punched instead of grappling,oops.
41. With no grapple I will get beat up I just stand here. I must sweep. I have no choice.
42. When he is swept stomp on head. No fancy gyakutsuki to temple. Thats for aesthetics.
43. I must not do this though because this is murder.
44. In karate kid they swept Daniel's leg. They acted like it was big deal. It was hidden meaning or okuden.
45. Kid says but sensei no! That is wrong I must not do that. Sensei evil man. Even Cobra Kai students not that evil.
46. Gyakutsuki is used in tournament signify death and restraint from being cruel.
47. After gyakutsuki attacker step back and use low block to show self restraint.
48. This means he only stun not kill. He not bad. Hes moral and has ethics.
49. This means martial arts is serious must respect life so they don't teach all the techniques because people bad.
#30 was jab to setup #32 right cross. We modified if to be backfist and gyakutsuki. Now it looks and feels more authentic. Shotokan and Kyokushin do not train this way. This is softer styles using sensitivity. It's more for weak people. This is Shitoryu. It has hard and soft styles so everybody can use it. Shotokan is sports like boxing because boxing is fast and Shotokan uses lots of sprinting and hitting with momentum. It was criticized as being a “sportdo". The inventor Gichin Funokoshi changed it to make it more safe for practice. Originally there was no sparring because it was to dangerous. You had to learn from kata only.
The inventor of Shitoryu also made a way to spar. He used sports pads from other sports like Tae Kwon Do. He was one of the first men of karate to do so. Sparring safely is harder than people think. It does not reproduce the original gore so people forget or never learn the killing moves.
Kyokushin is Japanese kickboxing from Singapore. It does full contact sparring with no protective gear and uses high head kicks but no punching to head. They spar in very close throwing hooking punches to chest and body to toughen themselves up. They do not spar to head with hands and this problem. When I spar them a simple flinch with intimidate them as they have not enough training to learn head defense against punch. That is the main attack if not the only one in north America. How does Kyokushin a very hard sparring style train you for street fights if they can not cope with head punches. They like to pummel each other with punching but that isn't sparring more like two man body conditioning drills. In a real fight they would get head punched before they could use their close in punching techniques. Some karate uses two man drills where they practice down blocking by hitting their forearms to make them stronger against kicks. I blocked kicks in sparring getting kicked harder and harder as my arms got tougher. But at least I was sparring at real distances with valid attacks.
Shitoryu uses more grounded punches then Shotokan. Grounded punches making the stance more stable giving punches more power. This is old fashioned and thought to be stronger fighting method than “sportdo" where sprinting like a boxer dashing forward uses momentum to knock opponent over. Both have their uses. Sometimes you need to cover large distances quickly. Sometimes you need to punch through the wooden bamboo armor of a samurai to kill him with on punch to make him bleed on the insides of his body.
That last example of jab cross was to short and did not promote continuous punching so I need to try something else.
There were two blocks in this sequence and six punches.
This is combo #1. All I did was change the first to jabs to backfist and uppercut. If made in smaller circles will look circular like boxing/karate hybrid. This speeds the combo up but it takes away power from strikes since pulling doesn't to to hips. This is really simple combo. It shows how right hand is always reverse punch and left hand just sets it up with circular jabs disguising them as something else. If you are to much jab cross you get predictable and and easy to block. Mix it up and use the left to annoy and distract just to set gyakutsuki up. The best way to use this would be to keep gyakutsuki the same but shorten the uratsuki to start in front of chest at chudan instead of hip for better chin contact and quickness in delivery. Then shorten kizamitsuki and then rotate it like yamatsuki or overhand right but from the left side. So this is perplexing. Performing it is slow when used traditionally but adding circular movements from boxing makes it closer to it's original Chinese roots. Do Asians know how to punch? Are boxers best all around fighters? Hmm.
In karate you have the snap punch which is considered a self defense punch. It is not long slow and linear. It's short and fast but not strong. Karate sparring trains to always use long linear techniques for good form but these are not considered self defense rather sport. How can the stronger punches be appropriate for sparring but not self defense? This is where understanding street application and dojo training blurs. If short punches are used in sparring they are too fast to block and someone gets hurt. When limited to overly formal stances and blocks you are too slow to block. Dojo trains in long punching because it's faster. It assumes a weaker person fighting a stronger boxer. The smaller person has to punch like karate to even the chances of victory. A strong person using quicker circular movements that generate power from the torso instead of hip would be fast and strong, they would probably win. Boxing then becomes more offensive will karate is more defensive. Unless hojo undo is performed to make your karate strong enough to break it is superficial at best and will lose to traditional western boxing. It's recommended to cross train in karate and boxing to get a feel of realistic attacks and learn when to use circular punching and when to use karate strategies in a fight. If the application of maai can be applied and used correctly then long karate gyakutsuki would be a better choice. You use this to potentially chase down opponents, finish them, and then fight other targets.
If you see opening and overwhelm opponent by charging in at him causing him to retreat he can not launch a counter offensive. Get close enough to hit him instead of punching air multiple times. This wastes to much energy, time, and opportunity. You must make contact within three strikes or else you are incompetent. This in particular is a deciding factor in who wins. If you are missing then the fight goes longer and you will be jumped by other combatants. Boxing is then better as it allows for mitigating misses better and dealing with distancing multiple opponents away from you better. Karate=short fight, don't miss, many targets. Boxing= longer fight, less targets, missing more acceptable.
A jab can be jab, backfist, uppercut, falling hammerfist and so on. Mixing it up shortening hikite and using more shoulder muscle and rotation makes you a better fighter quicker. It lets you punch from deceptive angles and the power is there to knockout with either hand. The technique is not too small. It is shortened but if lengthening the hikite makes velocity go up but force drop overall then it's taking away instead of adding. Some things are maybe built for Asian physique better. In sparring or streets I can survive with my boxing alone. Adding karate cross training helped use Asian principle to hit faster and harder when needed. Doing kata didn't give me the grappling I needed and aikido was a better resource. Aikido it's self has issues to I had to modify it for violence and make it more like jujitsu. Some things that people say just seen to be too exploitative I guess. If I use boxing in aikido or karate I dominate but they say I cheating and can't win with pure this or that. If cheating makes me stronger...thats all I care about. What about my technique is affected and is not good enough unless I use only perfect karate? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Kyokushin is karate but I don't care that is boxing and they let them get away with the same things they criticize me for. Either it works or it doesn't so why do I get chastised for not having good techniques only because I make then look bad? Oh they are jealous.
They say muscle slows down the punch and weakens it. It takes a lot to make all the karate things work and sometimes its not worth it. I need as much muscle as I can get to punch hard. I think they are lying to keep people weak. What a bunch of jerks.
I sparred people in karate but who cares nobody is going to attack me we karate. I need to spar some boxers because thats what I'm likely to see. Fuck it any style anywhere I don't care even if it's street. People will get hurt but I need realistic input. I need better research.
Stand in hanmi with left hand out in 45° tilt palm down. Keep right hand at hip for reverse punch. Punch at jodan level as you bring left hand back to neck like preparation movement for shutouke. Take left hand and throw a horizontal shutouchi slightly diagonal like gedan barai. Vary angles and use the to block stuff. Throw nonstop reverse punches like this. Move around and use mobile stances shuffling side to side and front and back. Pause and alter timing of punches to throw off opponents.
Turn left hand into hammer fist and attack left jaw.
Shuffle in and reverse punch or use left foot to sweep their left foot.
If they retreat chase then down reverse punching and using sweep sporadically to catch them off guard threatening then and keeping them always guessing and distracted.
Chase them down alternating between left and right reverse punches.
If you can sweep of mae geri take it.
Stop and assume upright kumite stance.
Throw right cross, left jab, and left roundhouse kick of front kick to score to face. Hard but practice timing and flexibility.
Practice chasing people down and attacking taking big ass steps to catch them to avoid striking just out of their range.
If they are retreating to fast fuck it run after them and jump kick or start dash punching.
Beat their ass.
These are things I do when I am frustrated and get mad and lose control. Its almost dangerous.
Jab jab cross
Cross jab cross
Jab cross jab
Hook to body hook to head right cross
Left uppercut right uppercut
Left backfist left uppercut right cross
Left backfist right cross left uppercut right cross
Skip to left left inside block left snap jab right cross left uppercut right cross
Left jab right cross right kick right cross left jab left snap kick
Shiko left back fist left uppercut right cross
Right jab left cross left sweep left roundhouse
Right jab left cross left low roundhouse left roundhouse high
Left knee to ribs left jab right cross
Left stepping jab right cross left jab
Left uppercut right cross left jab right cross left leg back left roundhouse
Right cross left jab right cross left snap roundhouse
left sweep right shuto to temple
Left sweep spinning left hammerfist
left sweep right back kick
Left knife hand block right cross left knife hand block right cross left knife hand block right cross
Sparring can get boring. Defender just stands there not worried about getting hurt because excessive protective equipment is used or punches are pulled so as to not cause harm. There are three scenarios when dealing with a bored sparring partner.
1. Ideally you punch and they step back in which you pursue chasing them out of ring.
2. They just stand there blocking but not countering.
3. They spar unrealistically by countering hard after you pull clean punches.
1. Ideally you want to punch first causing them to rout from battle. Charging after them with alternating gyakutsuki. With controlled technique as not to cause harm you can punch just in front of face or pull it when it lands so they don't get busted up. Sweeps to their front leg are available and you realize this without looking down or taking them. Front kicks are available but you save them for a last final move when they have nowhere to run. In a fight you would sweep the leg early to stop their retreat. In a fight you would lengthen your punches so they would contact fully and knockout them out or down. Punches should be pulled so that they are intimidating enough to elicit retreat. This means they must be close enough to hit without hitting. The person retreats safely. In reality you could have hit them if you wanted to because you were in range and close enough. They think it was a bare miss but instead you saved them. This trains you to maintain perfect distance to punch guy plenty of times in head while he is running backwards to get away. You are practicing hitting every time. This will drop him. Boxing misses more. You have option to sweep but ignore it so that opponent is focused on your punching and does not pay attention to the danger he is in of being swept. Instead he is worried about getting head punched. Keep his focus on that to train intimidation of your punching power in a real fight. In a real fight you want your opponent to fear your punching but if he doesn't sweep him. Do not expect real fighter to be scared. Expect real fighter to be overconfident and underestimating you. They do that.
In sparring any foot attack such as sweep or front kick will be short allowing a gap between you and partner. This is to be avoided. You can only maintain maai by chasing faster than he can retreat and kicking interferes with this. Save a kick for the last move when he is forced to stop. When he stops you can safely gauge distance to kick without hurting him. In real fight kicking means you stopped him from retreating and now must combo him to ground or fight in place. Practicing line drills and 5 step kumite gives sense that defender will always retreat which he won't. This builds overconfidence in you and is mistake. In reality they can stop at anytime and hold their ground. Instead of a complaint partner who retreats simulating a scared opponent a real one will reposition and then counter. If you are lazy in your approach you will get countered. Chasing people is like feeling tough so actual punching may be less than what it should be. In essence you are fighting a scared opponent so just chasing him to terrorize and taunt him. You are not really throwing best technique with understanding of importance of finishing him. If he is scared you feel very strong. If you feel strong you may fight or punch weaker than you realize. When they fleeing you are punching to topple them but this is weak against rooted opponent. When they are rooted you must be also. Use sports for gaining on a fleeing enemy then switch to rooted stances to finish him once he is caught. When you use front kick it must be abdomen or solar plexus and stop any retreat. Stick them hard and stop them. Now that they are not running away you can pummel them quickly and take them down with k.o. or sweep.
2. Pulling punches makes a lazy partners blocking faster and stronger. Your weak pulled punch is inferior to his fast strong block. He may be blocking with more muscle than he should. If this was a real fight you would be punching harder and faster and his blocks would fail. This unrealistic training is building bad habits in the defender. He is not learning or training anything. It gives a false impression that he is the better fighter when he is actually weaker. When he does this practice gyakutsuki by fully chambering punches and quickly pulling back to be able to punch again. Use controlled punches to develop speed and accuracy as well as timing. He is practicing curling up into fetal position and is not a skill of karate. Take rooted stance and aim at head making sure heel does not come up. Chamber punch as fast as you can. Time it to throw off his rhythm and then punch to head again. This gives feeling of throwing slower timed punches that are longer and more powerful due to the luxury afforded by an opponent who is allowing you time to punch your hardest. You are not being forced to throw weak speedy punches from a compromised hikite. In reality you would defeat or topple his guard with first punch and then second punch would clean his clock. By pulling punches in sparring or sparring for contact this is obscured. Many people try to play sparring as sport or “cheat" by hitting harder to exploit your training. This is nonsense and does not give them better proficiency at actual combat but they do it for fun. They are idiots and their actual fighting abilities are dubious. Chamber then POW to face. Chamber then POW to face again. This would knockout in real life or have then woozy. Punch twice to face and then once to side of body. Punch twice to face again looking for slightly different area to alternate hitting. This makes your accuracy soar. You are not punching blindly at face but targeting cheekbone and chin back and forth. Use different angles and timing. You should be able to pinpoint bones that can easily break or manipulate head to make bruises on brain.
Punch to head more than body. Punch to break guard then punch to break face bones. If guard does not break punch to body then quickly punch to face. Punch face, face, body, face. When doing combos don't end on body and don't end with front hand to body. Punching to head keeps hands in position to better guard face even when pulling to hip. There are considerations that happen to allow this that are complicated to explain here. Punch his cheekbone then chin then under ribs then between cheek and nose. Hitting different angles helps fracture a damaged area and spreads the damage. You are hitting the same area but with slightly different angles of attack and this helps compromise bone structure better.
If you are punching a always blocking opponent and not “scoring" you tend to get frustrated and give up just standing there waiting for them to attack so you can sidestep and counter from tenshin. This is gay. You are making several mistakes that will forge you into an inferior fighter and that is unforgivable.
First never get frustrated when sparring. Fighting frustrated is like fighting confused. Your mind is cluttered will chaos and your attacks will stop making sense and become emotional instead of logical. Defense and offense must always be logical whether it's the mental strategy or the physical act. Second mistake you are not hitting at the range you must always be hitting at. For whatever reason you happen to be standing at the point your every thought must be hit, hit, hit, until your opponent is not standing there. He falls. He retreats. You retreat. If he is there hit. If he falls finish him. If he retreats regain that maai and repeat hitting. Do not retreat. Third mistake is you stop to allow him to hit. Never giver opponent chance to hit! This is stupid and means you are too weak. You are either scared or confused and lacking what to do. Read above to know what to do. Always hit at that distance and dominate. If you allow him to hit he will hit you and dominate causing you to run scared. You must always be mentally strong and never let opponent lure you into giving him an advantage. He is tricking you. Do not be fooled. Tenshin is for defense. Defense is for weak scared fighters and almost worthless. Unless you are fighting the most skilled of opponents and they have defeated your offense and are now countering tenshin must not be used. If it is used step to side and forward rather then backward. Use this angle to hit repeatedly causing him to turn towards you and the original spot is regained. If he is attacked at an angle he cannot defend and will be exploited and probably finished. If he is able to turn and just block you can continue training gyakutsuki.
The point is that people block in sparring to get you to stop hitting so they can easy attack forcing you into choreographed one step movements. A real fight might involve prolonged engagements where running up and socking them fails, stepping to side to takedown fails, and any holding or restraining fails. You might be forced to beat their ass. You might be forced to reverse punch them into submission. You might be hurt, tired, and fighting a more aggressive opponent. This forces you to hit them in the manner described. This manner compensates for pain or injury and focusing the most strength into punches aimed with the most precision and the the vital points needed to survive and end encounter. This mimics reality more than a fight is one hit and it's over, or just running and clobbering them takes them down, or three punches closes distance and now you can sweep and finish. Some people are tough customers and will fight toe to toe throwing hard punches that are hard to deal with. Instead of form breaking down and wildly flailing at opponent punching is direct and targeted. If actually injured breath control might be needed to block pain and regain strength. You might have to move a little bit back and sideways to protect yourself and still be able to throw timed counter reverse punches from hip. This is like tenshin but not quite tenshin. Fighting injured implies defense.
3. If they are blocking hard to shove your punches off then you need to pull punches quicker and punch again before they can block. You need to find a gap to score. This is hard since they are cheating in a rigged match against you. You will find a few gaps and score but they will score easier and with less effort against you. This will train you in speed. They will have gained nothing but prestige and looking fancy. The point of their training is worthless. It is hard to find good sparring partners so this is ignorable. Instead of being upset that they are playing by crooked rules just develop skills from this while they do not. You will be a better fighter and they won't. You will be able to best their ass in a real fight and they won't. They overestimate their ability and are more concerned with ego then results. Training is brutal and tedious. Don’t waste it by training incorrectly and not getting any real benefit. Ideally hard blocks should only be used if harder sparring is occurring so they should not be blocking that hard, it doesn't serve the purpose of protecting them and is rude by saying they don't trust you to be able to control your techniques even though you are. It's almost a form of lying and does not contribute to honest training.
Know how far you are from opponent and what steps are needed to close gap. Know what stance you will be in after closing gap and what techniques or combinations you can launched from that stance. Different stances allow different combinations. Have a battle strategy but rely more on gross motor skills and experience in attacking first and dominating ingrained from previous sparring. Think of ending fight almost instantly leaving yourself to attack someone else or conserve strength and energy. In sparring enter in and dominate your opponent by using precise attacks nonstop. Attack more times then them leaving them open are vulnerable.
Your attacks should be unreadable. Attacks should be above their understanding of how blocking them risks exposing vital points that can instantly be exploited. By blocking one attack they are manipulated into exposing something more valuable. Attacks should be showy in the sense that they are not generic or random but carefully linked to enable one attack to flow into the next. All attacks should have street applications and be designed to cause real hurt if used with authority lessening the opponents chances for victory. They should end the fight with one technique if possible or stun to setup a technique that does. They should not be used form excessive feigning or drawing out. Feign then punch, not feight then feight.
Step punch punch kick punch punch punch kick punch sweep punch punch. Left jab right cross right roundhouse left jab right cross left jab left kick right cross left/right sweep left jab right cross. 11 hits effortlessly.
Hit continuously without tiring. Dominate and control opponent. Stick to attack plan regardless of what opponent is doing. Don't give them chance to hit. Attack straight down center line keeping all vitals exposed and easily reached. Stepping at angle implies defense so avoid that. This is offensive drill. If you get kicked in groin grapple and break his arm then neck. Attacking from center line makes them wobble when blocking keeping them tilted when trying to avoid punches. Being in the pocket like this allows for more striking. Sidestepping is better for using leg behind knee style takedowns. When sparring on hard surfaces like dance floors or basketball courts takedowns are not permissible in jiju kumite. Practicing non random hitting is good for building stronger offense and aggression. It helps with conditioning. You are able to throw punches and kicks seamlessly without fatiguing. You will spar better using this approach and you will fight how you train.
Never enter in stupidly exposing your head. Countering to the head is harder when you are using tegantana or ageuke. If you are entering slowly use a tighter double fisted boxing guard and move straight in without stopping until you can start punching and setup rooted stances for more karatesque kicks and punches. If coming in faster with a set stance in mind age uke is more reliable as a defense than tegatana but impedes gyakutsuki. Tegatana allows for gyakutsuki but due to it's heritage makes a feeling of grappling present in mind. If you use ageuke they will hesitate but coordination from pulling blocking hand to hikite is troublesome while leaving it up makes gyakutsuki weak. Training is needed to find what balance is missing and correct to allow smoother striking.
Hold age uke up like shield and favor zenkutsu or hanmi so that you have a mobile moving forward stance that is like boxing stance but lower. It may be that you are in an upright sparring stance with hands at chudan slightly relaxed then step in raising to ageuke and follow with gyakutsuki for scoring point. Be careful that you are using ageuke to guard rather than deflect. Deflecting means you want them to punch and you use ageuke to move it away. This allows them to punch as you face is exposed coming in. I do not like the feeling of this as it is a bit sport like and funny. Raise ageuke sooner and then come in fully guarded. This keeps face from being a valid target making partner look for openings in body instead.
While he is looking for body targets use gyakutsuki to his face. Ageuke is blocking your punching hand so chamber it by bringing elbow to ribs with arm crooked. Almost like sanchin but chambered deeper. Chambering to hip throws body mechanics off and looks funny. It's not natural and goes against gross motor function. Chambering to elbow is more natural and readies it for kizamitsuki or ageuke. Chamber gyakutsuki fully. Only fully chamber ageuke if not holding it up. In that case use oitsuki instead of ageuke to beat attacker to punch or use ageuke as deflecting block and face strike. In kamae take one step forward. Block right cross with left ageuke and hold it up. Use ageuke to do falling hammerfist, mawashi shuto uchi, or pull back and do shuto uchi to neck. Use left leg to sweep and use ageuke horizontal hammerfist to takedown.
Turn ageuke into shuto and distract opponent by putting in his face. Hit him with kakuto or scratch eye blinding him. Gyakutsuki to the head. Gyaku uraken to chin. Gyakutsuki to the head. Chinese punch to chin to k.o. Should be out after 8-11 punches at most. The short Chinese punches are crooked are and ungrappleable because they resemble unbendable arm from aikido. They work in grappling range and feel like chi sao. If opponent tries to grapple you they are playing sticky hands but have to contend with you hitting punchers button repeatedly while they are trying to get an advantage plus your arms are constantly moving in a twisting pattern making them to slippery for him to “stick" to you.
Kata originally had weapons. Practice kata with sai and then knife. Sai was originally blade with guards and then changed to prong in middle. This was imported from China. It was based off a hand held pitch fork with very wide curved shape holing the tines. Incidentally covering your throat during shutouke protects carotid from knife. The knife cuts back of hand or arm instead of slicing wrist severing tendons making hand unusable and bleeding you out. Knife fights are very short. Cut throat or stab liver. Liver is on right side of body below ribs. Avoid bones as they protect the organs. Use knife long enough to reach vital organs. A thick wide long blade is best with a curved ergonomic handle. Use like sai for slashing, stabbing with blade and hammer fisting to temple with pommel.
Anytime someone has a knife it is important to get wrist control and disarm them with wrist lock. If knife is long this becomes a problem.
Block with left ageuke and grab arm using kakewaki. Stab in center of throat make quarter turn if right handed. If left handed use right hand to wrist lock using ude osae. Slash throat from left to right. If unarmed ageuke with left then ude osae with right. Take elbow with left hand and straighten into arm bar. Control with ude osae only and loosen grip on knife. Take knife with left and stab in neck at carotid artery. Pull knife down 1" following vein then quarter turn and pull out. Maybe tell guy you won't call police on him and to hold his neck while you call ambulance. This stops him from struggling and calms him down. Let him hold neck while ambulance comes. Snitch on him anyways.
If using advanced underhand grip use like sai. This is very advanced fighting style and I don't care to elaborate. Too militant and flashy. Think marines. This shortens your range for poking and stabbing. Use the above recommendations for better luck as the range is longer and the applications are straight forward and no nonsense. If you know to use this grip then you have trained a long time and there is nothing I can tell you.
Use gedan barai to knock his hand away and step up and stab him. His left side is instantly available But this is not immediately lethal. Do you run or want to continue? Find a better first target so you are not exchanging wounds. You really need one hit kills. Sidestep to your right and use gedan barai with a hammerfist and hit his fist or wrist from the inside. Step forward and slash his throat then back away sideways from him in a straight line. This should put you 90° from him in left stance.
If left handed this is dangerous open stance. Be very careful. This is almost suicidal. Left leg forward. Block with hand holding knife. Attack first and slice throat left to right. Or attack second by hammerfist blocking and quickly slashing throat left to right then retreating. Or block then counter stab in solar plexus and retreat.
If unarmed pull stomach away from attack and lean forward then grab wrists with both hands. Step sideways and armbar and break arm. Wristlock and disarm and then stab side of neck.
Inside or outside block then grab wrist if possible. Cut throat. Sidestep off line of attack while blocking. If unarmed use 5 and 6 from tenshin. Grabbing arm is hard because knife might cut you especially if long. Inside knifehand block then use other arm to grab arm/wrist. Grab elbow preferably right above elbow joint. Palms turn over from Tai Chi.
So Inside block to outside block then your outside block becomes grasping block on wrist. Grab elbow with free hand and turn over to armbar. Break arm and then drive person into ground and pin. If they still hand knife disarm.
Dogs usually bite pant leg or forearm.
Take shikodachi and use hammerfist sideways to hit dog in head. Yell “BACK...BACK" at dog after hitting or when stepping forward. Step forward and stomp foot and yell ”BACK!” at dog. This startles medium sized mixed breeds but big dogs and aggressive breeds like pitbulls are immune. Keep front arm bent like dog trainer and lure dog in. If dog trained he will aim for biting forearm. When he close smack him with hammerfist to side of head and yell at him. Inch forward stomping to intimidate and show no fear. Be angry and scare dog. Keep back hand in hikite. If dog leaps hammerfist or front snap kick to throat if throat exposed. If have knife put in front hand in underhand grip and hammerfist to stab dog in neck side of face. Yell at dog back and keep encroaching and stomping. If dog large take low zenkutsu and use punches to knock dogs teeth out. Use back leg to kick sneaky and hit dog in neck or bottom of snout. If dog sees kick will evade, maybe you can get dog to run away.
If dog does bite you beat his ass. If he bites and does not let go there are options.
You can only be hit by four attackers at once. Front, back, and side to side. Break mobs up into groups of three and four. With a group of four get three in front of you in a semi circle with one in the back of you. If you can get all four in front of you better with them single line in front of you the best.
Goal is to reduce number of enemy combatants in the least amount of time. If you can quickly eliminate someone from battle right away then you have less people attacking you overall and battle will be easier. To eliminate someone from battle means they can no longer continue. This takes many forms.
Use striking to disable enemy and spend no more then six seconds on each attacker. Find the attacker that poses greatest threat or enemy you can eliminate from battle first. If you can attack a weak enemy and defeat him before others get a chance at you, you only have to worry about the remaining enemies instead of the whole group. Example is take out three weak opponents quickly who may be armed with melee weapons and then deal will the toughest guy last. They can be defeated before the strongest fighter can assist them. This is good because then you are not stuck fighting a long battle with a strong opponent who has his buddies jumping in. Alternately if you can take out the strongest fighter first that is better. With him out of the picture the others will flee or be defeated easily. Example is enemy has gun. Take this guy out first and then use his gun on his buddies. If you are armed and they are not you will be victorious. If the guy with the gun sees you wasting time on his weaker friends he will shoot you and you will be loser. Strategy is make fight easier by eliminating biggest threat first. Biggest threat is either the best fighter or the best attack formation they can use as a group. This is a decision call.
Distance your enemies so you can fight them one on one and take them out in a specific order according to your capabilities. Do not try to fight blindly or randomly. They out number you so you have to be smarter in your approach and use every strategic advantage. Just going heads up is bad plan of action.
Aim for knockout, throws, or broken bones. Attack first and knockout first enemy. If he is not knocked out and you can not throw him change your position so the others can not encroach. Do not back yourself into wall or confined area. You need plenty of space to move freely to avoid capture and getting beat down.
Any punch or grab issued towards you respond with joint lock and break arm. This is best method. They can not continue with broken arm as their punches will be ineffective. In extreme cases they might still be able to use weapons so make sure to keep access from them. A broken arm counts as maiming and now they are out of combat.
Step in circles to keep they distanced and confused as to how to attack. Once they corner you or have you moving away in fear or too slowly they will start to form a battle plan and begin working as a group. Do not let them naturally get close and swarm you. Break up their formations by attacking in zigzagging patterns and then circling away to always keep them in front of you and in a straightish line.
When attacking quickly use effective strikes that cause most damage. Punch in nose to break it then quickly armbar and break their arm. You have to be absolutely ruthless in your resolve. Use compromised enemies as human shields or throw them into other enemies or out of combat. Throws to eliminate them from battle can include:
Throws to damage them involve using the environment around you. Grab them and throw them into the hardest wall or floors around, something metal or cement. Metal posts, concrete walls, raised areas on ground liking parking curbs and large landscape boulders are good choices. At some strip malls the outer facade of walls and posts look solid like cement but are really painted Styrofoam so try to avoid these. Smash their face into hard objects and attempt shoulder or elbow dislocation them dispose of body or hurl into enemies to cause gaps in their attack formation. This keeps them backed up. If they are not backing up then they are attacking as a unit and this increases their ability to cause harm. It limits the amount of time you have to fight them one on one. Keeping them isolated and distracted gives you more time for each one. As you take enemies out you have less people to watch and distract you.
If you damage someone badly warn others and give them chance to flee. Example is you smash someones face into object but it is softer than you realize so you chicken wing and dislocate their shoulder while proceeding to throw them into your enemies. The body comes hurling towards them and they split apart to avoid impact. Tell his buddies that his shoulder is dislocated and that you are going to do that to them or worse. Then tell them to ask their friend how it feels and how bad is he hurt. Wait for guy to respond, if the do not ask him ask him yourself. Tell them their friend is hurt and ask them if they care about him and that they need to take him to hospital or that they will get hurt that much as well. The idea is to scare them into questioning their own fighting abilities and the ethics of their choices. If they do not comply or show no regard for human life not even that of their friend then kill them but leave the wounded enemy alive and probably maimed for life.
When they refuse to seek medical treatment for their friend try to have had them split into groups left and right of him when you threw him at them. Attack one of the groups from the outside keeping them all in front of you. You down the line maiming and destroying them without hesitation. At this point you have no choice. Hurt them as bad as possible. Fracture bones and skulls and dislocate elbow, shoulders and neck vertebrae. Mop them up.
You must train everyday to condition the body or you will be soft. In the beginning is mindless repetitions but in time you begin to think more about what you are doing, it's deeper meaning, and ways to train better. Without thought you will not advance nor selectively make training more challenging. Training everyday is to produce harder legs, arms, and trunk as goal. Body should be tough to endure pain, blocks should be strong to cause damage to receiver, and attacks should be deadly. Training should give this type of strength as opposed to weight loss or greater flexibility or balance. It should make you tougher and more formidable as a fighter.
Training starts with basic stretches before each training session. Then basic blocks, punches, and kicks are practiced followed by one step sparring. This takes up to 45 minutes. For another 45 minutes kata or line drills are performed to tie all stances with upper and lower body movements together. Kata is easier after warming up using the first part of training.
Asians take leg strength seriously by holding stances and increasing strength through static isometric exercises. Stretch legs and back before training so low stances can be held and shifting from one stance to another is possible without breaking form. The most trained stances should be a low zenkutsu and a solid fudo dachi. You must be able to do fudo dachi correctly and then be able to turn into zenkutsu without hips tilting or wobbling. Turning from fudo to zenkutsu makes hips tilt if hip flexibility is not good. If hips tilt reverse punch is weak as it is not generating power from hip rotation. Power is lost rather than transmitted when hips tilt, power is not directed in a straight line. This is bad. Training shikodachi increases leg and hip flexibility. By squatting low without leaning forward we are stretching hips. Keeping shiko square and training it daily will make fudodachi easier and then zenkutsu will become more natural.
Start in shiko and transition into fudodachi by sliding front foot sideways. Stretch ligaments attaching legs to pelvis. Keep back heel down. One problem with turning into zenkutsu is rear heel pops up. The Achilles is to short. We must keep heel down and stretch it longer so that when punching heel can stay rooted and improve punching power. We punch by making body solid with strong connection to ground and this is one of the purposes of sanchin kata, building strong ground connection with stance. If we punch and stance is not solid we are pushing away from target not through it.
Turn from fudodachi into zenkutsu dachi by rotating hips. Keep feet planted. Make sure zenkutsu is not too narrow. Turning into zenkutsu pulls rear inner connective tissue of hip and leg. This is a stretch. We are trying to make this stronger and longer. Do not hurt yourself but realize this is happening so you know to boost this area. If this area is too tight it impedes stance transitions. We want this area to obey us. If we feel pain we will shy area from training this area to obey us and waste countless sessions doing what is easy instead of doing what is correct. Slight discomfort is normal. Go gentle at first. Gradually we should be able to pull on this area harder, deeper, and stronger without fear of causing tears and damage. When this area is sufficiently improves we will have greater hip mobility and the proper training of stances and punches can begin. If we lack this mobility our stance is weak and our punches will suffer. Our karate will look like crap and perform like crap.
When in fudodachi turn into zenkutsu but do not allow front knee to wobble outward. This takes pressure off rear inside hip joint. We want that pressure there so it gets stretched properly. Keep front knee pointing straight forward by pulling it inward to counteract the tendency for it to move out. You can do this by turning back hip forward for inner stretch while pulling front hip joint in to hold front leg straight. You are almost squeezing thighs together. In right stance you left leg is forward and stays that way because you are tightening you left hip joint abductors inward while allowing you back right hip abductors to stretch. Practice both left and right stances for equal strength and flexibility on both sides.
Turn from fudo to zenkutsu and straighten back leg keeping heel down. If stance is to wide heel will come up. If stance is too narrow pain in back hip will be greater than it should be. You do not want too low a zenkutsu when beginning. Low stances typical of Shotokan take years to achieve. It is the difference between their white and black belts. Focus on having a correct zenkutsu with knee at 90° not pointing forward. Knee pointing forward is bad for knee joint and can cause really bad damage to cartilage, ACL and meniscus from repeated twisting. Knee pointing forward results in a low sprinters stance, it means your zenkutsu is to narrow. That is the only reason to are achieving a low stance not because you have the actual flexibility in legs and hips. The hips are a weak point and training in stances is going to make it stronger if we understand what we are training and why.
To wide a stance will cause our zenkutsu to be to high and a different type of pain in hips. Pain in hips results from pulling muscles past where they are comfortable. We want to increase the range of movement these muscles can extend but can not do so instantly. We have to condition them to slowly adapt through gradual change incrementally going lower and wider. Stretching must be done everyday or else them will not adapt. If training at a class 3 times a week practice these stance stretches everyday or you will not progress. Without stance further training in the martial arts becomes moot. Learn the differences of your own unique composition and the difference of pain to let you know whether stance is too wide or too narrow. The pain will tell you the difference. Be able to transition from a fudo to a zenkutsu without tilting hips and no pain to getting better and go lower and wider. Eventually your stances can become exaggerated past the point used in actual fighting. This is good and will help high roundhouse kicks to face and also the keeping down of the heel. Once maximum flexibility is achieved the focus becomes making the muscles harder through holding poses for extended periods. Get flexible first and then add muscle and strength. Training strength first leaves muscles tight and rigid not allowing for the dynamic movements used in karate. The body will be to static.
Rotate from fudo to zenkutsu allowing rear hand to come forward in a reverse punch. Coordination the movements so they are smooth and fist is extended same time as hip rotation stops. Fist hits same time stance is set. Turn hip back into fudodachi as you pull punching hand back to hip. Practice these movements slowly so they are fluid without tilting of hips. If hips tilt adjust your stance so they don't. Once you can turn from fudo to zenkutsu to fudo with hand punching then returning you have completed one full technique. Punch should slide along body keeping elbow in and brushing against ribs. Elbows flaring out results in loss of power.
This is basic and we are training for form so that the body develops muscle memory. We want the body to be conditioned to perform the best body mechanics so every time we train we reinforce moving in a correct way. If we practice wrong we ingrain small mistakes that become compounded by repeated training. This makes us train to hit weak and inaccurately. Keeping the arm close to body and moving in a straight line to target tells the body the right thing to do. If we do not train this way we are telling our body to make mistakes. These mistakes will have to be unlearned later or else we are doomed. We have wasted our years of training making superficial movements that mimic karate but do not represent the physics or science that makes karate effective. Our training will be superficial and in looks only.
Start from fudodachi front hand down block rear hand hikite at hip. Turn into zenkutsu and punch straight aiming in front of your navel. The low angle is easiest to train in the beginning, it keeps biomechanics correct. Punching high uses different muscles and slows technique and impedes training, weird things can happen. Punch low for now. Kiai once punch reaches target and stance is set. This is strongest method of generating power for punch that I know of in karate and is called gyakutsuki or reverse punch. This is main punch and stance and these must be practiced from beginning karate all the way through highest levels. This is the technique you want to harness to use in self defense. You will use this for training, for breaking boards, for breaking bones, for improving speed, for pretty much everything.
When you turn and punch, bring front blocking arm back to hip. This is called hikite or pulling hand. You pull your hand back using your back muscles similar to the way back muscles are used to row a boat. Pulling the opposite hand helps turn the body from angle to more square in front of your opponent. This adds speed and helps tighten more muscles of the body upon impact. Two things here. First karate develops it's power through speed. Force equals mass times velocity. Speed is velocity so the faster we punch the more force or damage we do to target.
Second when we hit something we will wobble and bounce off it unless we are solid. We flex every muscle in our body as much as we can to make our stance strong enough to not be pushed back from what we are hitting. Hikite makes us twist hip faster adding power plus when we pull it back we are flexing our back to hold it there while flexing our chest to make our punching arm solid like a metal pole. Back pulls hikite and holds it, hip rotates punch awhile chest holds it. This gets more complicated but is the gist. You hit something and now arm is straight, stance is set with hips locked in body leg muscles tensed, the muscles of upper body flexed making posture erect. This is just a start. Through practice there are many things to improve.
There are two main drills for this setup. They are fudodachi to zenkustu and shikodachi to zenkutsu. When using fudodachi we focus on offense more. When using shiko we are focusing on defense more. Assume we are right handed and using a right leg back stance. We will always be punching with the right but what the left hand does can vary. Typically the left hand is block and right hand is block. Sequence follows like this: Start in a blocking posture, punch and pull block into hikite, then block and pull punch into hikite ending in the starting posture. Whether fighting or training there are a multitude of coordinations between foot and hand that can occur. What stance with what hand gesture should we train? Some stances are intended for the single use of a specific technique though any random combinations can be hypothesized. We keep training basic and then add on for whatever special application we feel we need to take our training further.
I will say that fudodachi is more like continuous monk punching being faster and more upfront dealing with an opponent where multiple blows are exchanged. This resembles original Chinese more. Shikodachi is more footwork to set stance and is larger moves concerning itself with form and the application of a single technique more. This seems more modern an Japanese.
Stepping into zenkutsu this way makes it hard to hold knee from wobbling outward. The tension for stretching hips is somewhat lost. You also stretch inner thigh when doing shikodachi but in a different way. This is more combative application rather for health and fitness. You kiai on punch. You are stepping away from chudan level attack and blocking. If done in a two count method a kiai on block is done. This is one of many ways to practice. Kiaing fosters militantness. From ready step into stance, punch with kiai, hold stance with arm straight and flex to train body to be strong and rigid in this position, Then step back into shiko and block setting a deep strong stance with kiai. Hard stance punch. Hard stance block. This is a two count method since we count punch and kiai as one and then block and kiai as two. It's important to know the benefits and when to use different counting methods as we are training different things when we vary count and timing. One count does not hold punching pose immediately returns to starting position.
We could move back foot to right when we step into zenkutsu to give a sense of offense instead of defense as we are punching more on the spot. This depends on what we are thinking is response to an enemy. Are we stepping with front foot to avoid and attack and then countering by stepping with front foot to get back in front of enemy so we can hit him? Or are we stepping with back foot to stay on line of attack to jam his forward movement and then move back foot to punch more on spot and hit an enemy that is already directly in front of us? Both are valid but the mental comprehension is required before we practice either one. This determines are attitude in battle which in turn determines are style and strategy. Techniques without training are worse and training without strategy is little better. Who are we fighting and how are we going to fight him. What are we going to use and how are going to use it? This is what determines how we train and fight. We train how we fight. Without knowing these answers we are not really training and therefore can not really fight. With training in a gym we can beat less trained unskilled opponents but we would not fight an opponent in real life. People had need to defeat a real life opponent that was bigger and stronger than them. This is what influenced their training.
We could back into shikodachi and use outside block or up block instead of down block.
We could practice only stance by using two blocks and no punch. This is good for working up to adding punch.
We could practice punching without holding and immediately returning as a one count method.
We could move forward and make it a line drill practicing both sides at once.
This is important for actual fighting. The fudodachi is your kamae or fighting stance. Being able to transition in and out of it is critical. The zenkutsu is merely to add power to the gyakutsuki. Turning into zenkutsu makes blocks like gedan barai and soto uke stronger but then you can not use the hip rotation to drive gyaku tsuki which is unacceptable. Use zenkutsu for turning into punch. Your blocks should be able to do rakka from fudodachi. Rakka means that you injure attacker with your blocks. When doing outside block think hitting the side of their wrist with yours and hurting them. As their punch is met with your block it should hurt them as a form of punishment for daring to strike at you. You then follow up immediately with gyakutsuki to solar plexus or chin.
In actual use you may step into fudodachi from a shoulder stance. Inside, outside or up blocks are appropriate. The inside block is softer then the outside block and is use more to guide punch away from body and you turn torso 45° to avoid punch and get into kamae. Turning moves body out of way so that you can guide their punch to near where you were. Turning torso in this direction adds strength to the block since it is assisted with hip rotation. Although possible to use rakka with inside block you probably don't want to as it can cause over blocking and make follow up counter punches too slow and miss openings created when you blocked.
Only use rakka with inside block if you do not intend to counter with gyakutsuki immediately. If you are not going to counter punch then your block must be strong enough to damage their wrist to discourage further attacking with that arm. They still will but instead of swinging wildly with uncontrolled power they will pull punches and baby that arm because it is hurt. Usually a sucker punch through full power unexpectedly takes to by surprise and you react by over blocking not leaving you to really counter. Hit their wrist very hard with block and back up to create better maai. Now that you have better maai and kamae you will find them to be more conscious of their punching tending to pull it back rather than swing for the bleachers and get blocked that hard again. Ideally you would always counter or even strike first but things happen.
Since people have poor training sometimes in sport you see people with a form of zenkutsu as their kamae. Zenkutsu looks like traditional boxing stance so some try to use it that way. In sport this may be acceptable but a fully locked out zenkutsu is immovable while a partial one limits power generated from hip. If using a variation of zenkutsu as your kamae you will either generate power from the shoulder and use more torso rotation as opposed to hip. This is called western boxing. Training in this style makes for better boxing but not necessarily better karate. Boxers typically ban not focus power and break things directly like karateka can. The training and intent is too different.
Sport zenkutsu has you squared up to your opponent. You rush forward then turn torso back to 45° bringing hand to hip before you square chest again to punch. This is weird. It is fast and sporty but not really correct. It does not belong outside of sports. Sports are good for other things but not fighting. This sport zenkutsu lacks solid connection with ground and power generated properly from hip. These two things are hardest to build in karate so training to exclude them is a bad idea. Your kamae should be more like fudodachi. Fudodachi is actually more like a boxing stance in that you have your body turned slightly to opponent. The only difference is stance is lower and fist rests at hip making it always ready to execute gyakutsuki. When you transition from fudodachi into zenkutsu and back into fudodachi there are two ways to perform gedan barai. Done fast the gedan barai looks like a punch similar to Bassai Dai or Kosukun Dai. The blocking arm can shoot off hip in a low angle following a straight line. This is mostly soft block and for guarding rather than blocking with contact. Aimed higher becomes a punch and this is how to alternate punches using fudodachi/zenkutsu with kizamitsuki/gyakutsuki. This is said to be more Chinese like because you are throwing a flurry of punches rather than one decisive technique. Japanese prefer ippon hiasattsu or “one hit one victory” by far. You can also do gedan barai by crossing arm to shoulder and then punching arm down as usual. Because the shift from zenkutsu to fudodachi is so brief there is not enough time for the usual preparation movements to perform the long version of Gedan barai however. When you cross arm to shoulder you are already in fudodachi. Lowering the arm into gedan barai is almost as weak as shooting it of hip to use solely as guard. For these reasons as well as aesthetic outside or up block is recommended instead. You can use down block as a guard or to assist with body mechanics but it is not as effective as a hard block in this stance and transition. Down block is used when transitioning from shoulder stance back into zenkutsu or held in place as a guard from any stance. The bigger the movement of footwork the stronger the block. Simply rotating hips from zenkutsu to fudodachi may not be strong enough.
As for the blocks themselves they represent not only responses to specific threats but also the distance in with you are fighting. Down block is said to be defense to kicks. If so then you would be using that at a long or kicking distance. If you are fighting at a long distance at which kicking is occurring then fast shifting of hips for punching makes no sense. You would not be alternating the fastest left right punches while standing stationary from an opponent that can kick you but you can not punch. Fudodachi is halfway between zenkutsu and shikodachi. Think of zenkutsu as hips fully square or 0° away from opponent, fudodachi as hips 45°, and shikodachi as hips 90°.
For these reasons you would in battle hold a down block at distance from opponent to guard against or discourage kicks. It makes little sense for him to directly attack a guarded target. If he kicks low it will be blocked. If he kicks high you will change stance or do a higher block. If he pulls leg back your arm may return to gedan barai. If he steps in you will counter with gyakutsuki and then use chudan sotouke or use your gedan barai as a punch instead. If he steps in you are no longer at kicking rang and now your front hand is either using outside block to prevent his gyakutsuki or your front hand is punching like a hybrid kizamitsuki/gedan barai. This is a normal example of a block being a blow.
Let us say that they are in right kamae and kick stepping forward with right mae geri following with right oitsuki. They kick. We scoot or slide forward and block their leg with gedan barai, dropping our weight and keeping a low stance. We were already in fudodachi with our arm held in gedan barai. We are taking a fast step up to ram our straightened and stiff arm into their shin. We may have budged our arm back a little and then straightened it but mostly we are straight arming their shin. With their kick having made contact* they follow through with their attack using the momentum of the kick to power their oitsuki. Seeing their oitsuki and it's reach and power potential we scoot or slide back and use ageuke or sotouke to block it. Our block has defeated their punch and now they are in our punching range immediately counter with gyakutsuki to solar plexus and then when we are stronger and more proficient we target the chin.
*Note: improper use of gedan barai to front kick results in fractured or broken arm. How strong are you and your block relative to your opponent and his kick? Bend arm slightly at elbow making a crooked pattern to deflect kick as it is jammed or the large bones in his leg will snap the small bones on yours. Snapping the arm straight for gedan barai will dislocate the elbow is this happens at moment of impact.
The oitsuki is very fast following a front kick. Less adept karateka must evade kick by getting out of the way. You will maybe block kick but expose your face in the process by lowering your arms. Opponent has created opening by causing us to react to kick leaving our face exposed to a punch powered by body inertia. Beginning karateka are to slow to quickly block the kick with gedan barai and then block the punch with ageuke. To achieve this level of skill takes practice. Once this level is mastered then next rank of proficiency is blocking the kick and immediately countering with gyakutsuki before he can land oitsuki. If we jam his leg and stop his forward movement we cause wobble and unbalance. This makes countering before he can punch easy. Simply punching before he lands his punch gives him a decisive advantage. Correct jamming slows him or stops him altogether evening our chances to hit first. It would be stupid to engage in a punch off otherwise since we know he will always have speed on his side. As illustrated fudodachi is a natural fighting kamae and not a rigid formal stance. It keeps us turned to the opponent allowing all blocks and kicks and the shifting of body into different stances that are more formal. Formal stances have specific applications and are only held for a second to set the stance and provide body rigidity. When training formal stances you hold them for long periods so that you are able to be solid and strong in that stance. Without understanding the purpose of the stances or the reason why they are trained that way you will not use them in fighting. Without using formal stances you are not using their specific applications. This leads to kickboxing. While powerful it is not traditional karate. Some people say that formal stances are bad for mobility and discourage their use or training. They think using them will get you beat up and there is no way in hell you can actually use them. They don't understand karate and are teaching Kyokushin or similar derivative. The most mobile stance is cat stance and I would not want to punch from that given a choice. Being able to switch effortlessly from stance to stance fluidly is key to success in karate.
If you can do the three stances of zenkutsu dachi, shikodachi, and fudodachi and shift between them seamlessly you can practice most of karate. The fourth stance needed is nekodachi. It is considered a retreating stance. You back up and kick them in the groin. You use knife hands to block punches and kicks. It is used in kata often. When used in training it is a very formal stance with many small nuances and details. Flexibility is required to get a low stance without leaning forward. Strength is needed to balance on one leg. Given a choice it is better to practice shikodachi as it is more applicable for fighting and trains both legs and hips simultaneously.
There are not many ways to train neko outside kata and line drills. You train neko mostly so that the kata containing can be trained more efficiently. In beginning your neko is high. Progress is made when you are able to sit lower and lower in it. Goal is to get back leg bent to 90° with back straight and knees pulled in to guard groin. Beginning neko is either too high or back leg is pointed outward exposing groin allowing it to be kicked. When practicing try to sit lower each time. Sitting deeper into the stance is the training. It puts more strain on supporting leg and strengthens hamstring.
Basic neko is one foot in front of other and back leg bent. Front foot is arched only touching ground with ball of foot. Ball of foot is called koshi and used as a weapon when kicking. All stances have approximate weight distribution. For neko 90% of weight is on back leg 10% on front leg. While you can body shift and adjust balance as needed with other stances, this weight distribution is hard to get away from. Only shiko in it's rigid 50/50 ratio is more strict.
Typically kata has you in shutouke when using neko. This turns torso to match hand and foot. Your back hand helps turn your torso back. Your front hand hand extends in shuto uchi pulling that side of torso forward. Shuto uchi is usually at chudan though in reality it can be at gedan, jodan or even directly above head. There are many realistic and ceremonial variations.
When training just the stance ignore arms. Let them dangle at sides. Slide foot forward from shoulder stance into neko by arching foot and sitting into neko. Try turning so hips are pushed forward and chest is square exposing your front. This is macho and considered a taunt. Further degrees of insult can be added by raising arms up and out to sides encouraging attack. Squaring your chest exposes your vital organs and holding hands in aggressive or non guarding creates any opening for attacker to pursue. It is like saying you want them to attack you or you don't respect their power to the point you don't feel the need to guard.
Try sitting in neko with hips forward. This stretches hips. Over time this lowers you to go lower and bring rear leg turned inward so that knee is pointing forward instead of out to side. With hips forward like zenkutsu your chest will be square. Hold this stance while executing shutouke. Keep stance flexed and upper body flexed. The isometric here is to build chest and arm strength to make your body solid in this strike. It should encourage stronger shuto uchi. This is a bit exaggerated but is for training purposes. Make sure you do not lead sideways or wobble when in neko. Loss of balance means weak legs and a stance to deep. Practice higher with no loss until you can hold it lower. It is possible to perform a low stance at first but lose balance after holding it. Practice so you have strong stance that can be held for 10 minutes. Pushing hips forward helps train hips for zenkutsu. Sitting low stretches Achilles heel tendon. This helps zenkutsu making heel stay down when locking it out.
From neko it is possible to transition into zenkutsu. Use neko to adjust distance from an attack and then counter on spot in neko or slide into zenkutsu and reverse punch. Usually shutouke brings rear hand to solar plexus in a palm up teisho block. Instead of practicing for form try a combative approach by pulling rear hand to hikite.
There are two ways to train this. A beginner or white belt version and an advanced or black belt version. When you are learning neko there is a tendency to bounce up and down as you step changing your height level. This is generally not acceptable and looks bad. Do not “bounce" when doing zenkutsu, shiko, or fudodachi moving forward. Moving up and down throws your punching arm out of a straight line to target. Muscular energy is spent moving up instead of forward making you slow and punch weaker. This hurts your gyakutsuki. Since mastery of gyakutsuki we tend to think of it as our baby and as such do not want anything that would hurt our baby. We want to nurture our gyakutsuki to grow up strong and disciplined not lazy and weak. Giving our gyakutsuki proper stimulus and training is therefore an act of love.
The white belt version is used to address timing issues. Hikite is faster than the shutouke. When pulling hikite we have a short linear distance and have already promoted muscle memory so we can do this very fast. Hikite is so easy to train we have already established good behavior by incorporating the mantra of “a fast hikite is a strong hikite" and the practice of pulling hikite in drills harder and faster each time. Shutouke on the other hand is much longer and more circular. When we do shutouke we pull hand to neck from this awkward hip position and then swing it in an arc trying to mimic a straight line. By the time our hand reaches our neck our hikite can be hip already. This loses “same time” mantra. We want coordination so everything is timed for perfect completion of movements resulting in better economy of muscular expenditure. In other words we want hikite to help shuto hit, not finish before shuto has chance to hit. We want to set stance when hand pulls. This is asking a lot given the constraints but we will try our best.
The white belt version uses a sort of “bouncing" to set the stance. Setting a stance is defined by a tensing of the muscles to hold body rigid once final position is achieved thus making body stronger for martial applications. Sometimes when we practice we develops habits some good some bad and some for training reasons that we would not use otherwise. The end goal is mastery of or body so that we may master others. Heres the ugly part. When we step back from zenkutsu we are in high stance. When we set our neko we drop into it. There is a height change from zenkutsu to neko that compounds out habit of sitting into neko to train it to be deeper. In reality we want to move in a line never changing height. Sometimes we just have to start where we are able are gradually improve knowing that better is expected.
Once you have found your neko and can transition into cat stance from front stance without changing level you can practice as black belt. It is not clear when black belt level is officially achieved. It is gradual progression and shades of white to gray to black. You should be able to set cat stance at almost any level now. Keep it at zenkutsu for practicality. That is the training for the first four main stances. The other stances are not as important and show up in kata. The exercises above teach you how to move in and out of that stance into zenkutsu to counter with gyakutsuki. Purpose of the stances is mostly to increase punching power. Being able to move into the different stances from each other and then ultimately into zenkutsu is the most important part of stance training. Other training builds stamina and strength but mobility and understanding fight mechanics matters more so you know how to use the stances and what they are for.
Standing in place build strength and flexibility. This is called stationary drills. It teaches how to be comfortable in the stance. You will be able to go lower, hold it for longer, and have greater balance as a result from this training. Useful for balance and flexibility making all other stances easier when you practice one. Practicing one builds the flexibility to do the others. You will find from practice that you are naturally better at certain stances over other and will practice them more because you are able to train them better. Practice all stances and gain levels of proficiency. Over time fill in the gaps so your weaker stances are as strong as your best.
Moving forward while exercising stance is called line drills. It teaches moving while shifting into stance. It helps teach body correct posture. Posture is maintained when you can move without slipping and sliding. Wobble throws your attacks off and makes speedy attacks or recovery to attack impossible. Moving without wobble means you do not lean off balance and that when you stop after a step you can instantly block or attack. Leaning means after moving and you attempt to stop torso does not obey and you have to take time to correct your posture. However slight this correction is a delay that prevents you from executing correct action at correct time. This is bad so it is important you are able to march forward and backward under control with body obeying so it will block and strike when you command it to, not wait to straighten posture and then strike. Lean while moving forward throws off strike accuracy and makes strikes slow, lean while moving backwards introduces in balance and you will be knocked down since blocks ineffective. You will get mopped up.
Stationary attack drills teach shifting into the right stance with right attack. This teaches how to respond to threats and builds muscle memory. This gives you a set of working techniques to build on. This helps build striking and coordinate movements.
Kata teaches the forms of the style and is used to preserve the fighting methods favored by a given ryu. Kata is infinitely adaptable and it's benefits are numerous. You can tailor kata practice to serve your immediate needs by changing the emphasis on how you perform it. Early kata help you think in a Japanese state of mind to finish attackers as soon as possible. Emphasis is on moving from one target to the next using strongest punches and kicks to juggle opponents constantly changing direction so you do not get boxed in. Later emphasis is on form where you perfect strikes and balance it with stances to serve as a form of isometrics. Then the emphasis increases and you learn when to move fast and what should be done slowly. This increase breath control and helps you relax and pace yourself or deal with pain. It takes a long time to develop a breathing method and is one of the hardest things to master. Going fast to slow teaches body to switch fast twitch muscles on or off at will and improves reflexes and help you further control body. Kata helps improve many things but does not excel at any one thing. Kata is best used for warming up and cooling down after other practice to burn off lactic acid and improve flexibility. It can also be used to polish all other skills once they are built up to improve overall performance and fighting ability, it helps keep abilities polished and promotes well roundedness. It does not improve skills that are sorely deficient and those things need dedicated training to focus on those weak areas. Once weak areas are strong or mastered keep them maintained through kata. In his sense kata is more for maintenance instead of core skill improvement.
There are three different modes of intensity here. First is smooth and relaxed to warm up and tell body where to kick and punch and do so correctly in time. When we go slow is for muscle memory. Once the body learns muscle memory we can go faster without throwing body mechanics or accuracy off. First get movement right. Then add speed. Then add strength. Never add speed when compromising accuracy. Maintain good form in all things you do so that the benefits of one thing do not impair the benefits of another. Maintain this, and then add that. Never add if it is significantly taking away from something already built up because then we are actually undoing progress instead of making it.
The second mode is speed and power training. Be careful not to swing you foot low but to chamber kick high. We are training the hip to extend on the kick and this is important and hard to train other ways. Hip extension on mae geri chudan is important and adds power. Going fast gives us assist in shoving kick out forcefully helping our form and balance. The dynamics actually hold us up. We do not want to lean back as this is bad form. We are learning to kick without the need to lean back. Kicking make us lean back so we are straining muscles to keep us as upright as possible. In fighting a kick that is not snapped back quickly will be scooped and leaning back makes it easy to toss us backwards. Do not lean back more than 135° if standing upright is 90°. Try to lean less than that. Being totally upright is not good however as it limits reach of kick and prevents power generation from hip as hip extension can not occur.
To throw the most power from kick we must control it or else we we fall on our ass. To prevent this we bend supporting kick and drop our weight on it creating the strongest mechanical structure we can. This bends the supporting leg more then most are accustomed because we are centering our weight on it. Most people throw weak kicks on a slightly bent supporting leg and is to straight. This compromises balance and the higher or stronger they kick they tend to slip and fall backwards. Leaning back when kicking compounds these errors. Leaning back places weight distribution behind us instead of directly under our center of body near where our support is. Normally our weight is distributed evenly between our two legs holding us up. Standing on one leg compromises this. Leaning back changes our center of gravity away from our center of support making us unstable. Bending the leg more and flexing all the muscles surrounding increases our ability to kick our hardest from the most biomechanically strong position. We are learning to be strong not only in our kicks but the ability to control it without throwing more power than we can handle. We are not exceeding our threshold for power or balance. Punch kick means we punched and opponent backed away out of punching range and we now kick to catch him before he escapes. Emphasis is on kick. Kiai means we killed him with kick.
The punch kick stop part of drill focuses on hip extension more. We really want to train this. We kick and try to extend leg straight attacking with koshi at chudan. We hold this position forcing hip extension as much as possible and gripping floor with toes and curled foot and hamstring and butt flexed. We are balancing on one leg with kick straight out and hips forward. We are trying to reach equilibrium between not leaning back and forcing leg and hips forward. We are trying to find the most ideal striking posture and maintain it and be strong in it through isometric static holds. We stop so that we can rest and do it again as best as possible. Speeding it up will make technique sloppy and become more pure cardio then anything else. This is karate specific movements and training.
Do it slow for complete range and control back and forward one time. Do it as fast as possible without breaking form back and forth one time to increase speed and power. To it one time back and forth in rested intervals to focus on balance and strength.
You can do the speed training as many times as you want as stamina improves. When you can do it 3-6 times without breaking form you are teaching your body to fight past pain and ignore lactic acid build up. It burns. Breathing at right time for kiai and pain blocking become more important. Everybody has their one way of coping and must be learned independently as a personal trait. The speed training is exhausting and trains everything. This first warm up for control should only be practiced once and only exists to ready the body for the speed phase. The last part may be performed as many times as desired once speed phase is completed. It exists as a way to isolate strength and balance once energy levels are depleted from the speed phase. This last phase improves overall body control and serves as a way to train past exhaustion. It trains you to fight past exhaustion in stop in go intervals. Hit, hit, pause. This enables you to fight indefinitely if needed. It makes you biomechanics better and your body function correctly as a karate weapon instead of using principles from other arts say Muay Thai, Savate or Tae Kwon Do. They have balance and mechanics issues that are incompatible with karate training.
This drill also contains bunkai. When you punch opponent has retreated out of your punching range causing your punch to be short of target. Instead of chasing him with punches you kick him in solar plexus to stop his retreat. Using the kick to step forward you are now back in punching range and land gyakutsuki. Gyakutsuki is made stronger from moving forward, you are running up and clobbering them. The speed training phase teaches you to quickly catch up and land kick before he can get away from that as well. If you punch is short automatically kick before he creates to much of gap is the theme. Don't waste energy throwing needless punches that are doomed to be out of range. Don't waste forward leg movement on stepping alone when you could be kicking increasing your changes of connecting with targets and mixing it up so defender has to worry about high and low attacks.
Ideally you set up left jab right cross. He steps back narrowly missing your right cross. In a split second you see that right cross is just shy of contact. While hand is still up you realize you must use right kick. You instantly use right kick and pull hand back. Pulling hand back makes kick harder. Alternately leave hand semi out and pull it back when you land foot on ground punch with left cross same time. There are many variations depending on situation. Punch kick is basic to learn punching and kicking. It's use can be interpreted many ways since it is so simple.
This is a variation and built up off the first one. Dynamics chance and now we are a little more fluid and natural. The first drill was too basic and harsh. This one is less strict but still serves same purposes. Timing of punches to kicks can be varied to allow for nuances in fighting but do not develop a set pattern where you always perform same timing in actual combat. This making your timing predictable and opponents will time gaps in your attacks to counter you. For this drill you can time it as same rhythm or two fast punches and a delayed kick to put more power and control into it. It goes punch punch kick or punch punch, kick. Timing is 1 2 3, or 1 2, 3.
Bunkai is you punch with left right combo and they retreat. You kick them in stomach and step forward landing a right jab left cross. You are right handed and do not like this weird left stance you are now in and need to quickly get back to your dominant stance without taking pressure off opponent or creating avenues for him to counter. While in left stance you did left cross. As your arm rebounds from left cross pull it back and execute left backfist as you slide your right foot and leg back. As you slide your right leg back slide your left leg and foot forward to add power to your backfist and make stance change sneaky and seamless as you don't stop attacking. Hopping up and switching legs is not acceptable since we are too close to opponent. The gap in striking will allow him to counter at this range. Given a choice finish him in left stance before you do something like stop hitting at hitting range. You should allows be hitting at this range or taking down instantly with a sweep or grapple of some sort. Land backfist same time as stance change. Stepping forward for more power in backfist makes you more angled to opponent bringing torso farther back chambering more power for right hand. Either way land left hand backfist and follow with overhand right or right cross. From here finish with left jab, right cross as many times as needed.
Punching on the chin causes knockouts. This is not ippon hiasattsu but at this range and tempo one hit one kill is unlikely anyways. One hit one kill works from different angles and distances from opponent where you can use one technique that is often powered with body inertia. At close range body inertia is eliminated an it is often best to use method prescribed above to quickly finish. Punching to chin is called the puncher's button and will end fight quickly. It will not be a prolonged exchange if you are striking correctly and are “in the box”. At this range one hit kills take the form of lowering your stance and pulling into a hybrid shiko and then punching solar plexus to him opponent throw up, empty bowels, or bleed internally causing death. There are many one hit kills but that is not purpose of this exercise. To develop lethal strikes body conditioning must be performed so that your strikes can break hard objects like rocks of bricks. When aimed at vital points these same attacks cause instant death or paralysis. Building up this martial ability takes extremely long time. Until then you are left with less then lethal options that end fights instantly but do not automatically kill.
At close range punch accordingly when targeting chin. Do not punch overly straight armed so that your punch fly sideways off target. It is good to punch through target by aiming 2 inches into surface but more than that jams your punches and is ineffective. Modify punches for the range you are at so that they are 2 inches into target and no more. Hit continuously when in the box and he is dazed with no guard protecting him. He will be helpless and succumb to multiple chin strikes causing bruising of the brain and unconsciousness.
This is the reverse order of drill #1. Practice following the same ideas. First do one set for control. Then do at least one up to 6 sets for power and speed. On finals sets focusing on punch and breathing. Try to punch and develop breathing method for punch. Think one hit one kill. This single punch must be decisive. Think punching fist is destroying solid object in front of it. Wrist must be strong and not bend. Bones of punch must be lined up in strong mechanical structure so no loss of power. Punch must be extremely linear and follow straight line from body to target. Do not bounce. This may compromise kick reach and height. Work on controlling level of bounce so that when practicing you can control height of body and vary it as needed. High to low stances cause bounce. Low to low stances eliminate bounce and produce stronger punch but weaker kicks. Practice different ways until you can find balance in your training and results are uniform. It is okay to bounce in beginning to exaggerate effects of thrust so you can experience the phenomenon and know what to look for. After a while you want to train in progressively lower and lower stances. Lower stances are harder workout out and makes body travel in straight line. It makes punch travel in exactly one plane with no loss of power. This would make sense for chudan tsuki to solar plexus if used in a literal sense. With poetic license can be translated to jodan oitsuki to face from low stance following straight angle line to chin. Punch in chin tilting head back cause K.O and dropping opponent. Solar plexus punch would probably kill. If chudan misses solar plexus it will hit sternum and break piece of bone that sticks down from it.
Upright fighting resembles modern boxing and is easy and comfortable. It is more sport like using more combinations with speed and tricky footwork. Low stances are more Asian using linear punching from longer distances to close gaps. Lower stances make you smaller and help short fighter about 5'6" 135-165 lbs fight taller opponents. This means use oitsuki to knockout a 6'1" opponent by launching in and attacking chin or kill him by launching in and attacking solar plexus. If you are short leg reach is not going to help against a tall opponent that can punch you at your kicking distance. Dash in and kill him with one technique.
For these drills you can punch at gedan, chudan, or jodan. Start at gedan to make sure arm is close to body brushing against side of ribs. This keeps elbow from flaring and helps you concentrate on moving forward as fast as possible while maintaining good body mechanics and solid stance. If you make it too much about the punch stance and body mechanics as well as accuracy of the punch suffer. Punching high uses more anterior deltoid which will slow speed especially in the beginning. Perfect form using low punching aimed at navel since it is easier to train this way without causing irrevocable mistakes that will screw muscle memory up permanently. All training is lost and you will have to spend time to unlearn the mistakes ingrained in your muscle memory. The body does what we train it to do and we incorporate mistakes without realizing it. It is unfortunate but a fact. This is why karate training is so picky at times. What we think is right or better often is wrong and causes serious problems just because we thought we knew better or wanted to use a shortcut. Often punching at gedan is all that is practiced in most ryu.
Once you feel proficient explore punching at chudan aiming for solar plexus. Then practice aiming at jodan. Slowly work up the ability to train at these three height levels. Training hard in an isometric fashion builds all muscles of the body. Punching at gedan, chudan, and jodan works the upper, middle and lower portions of the body leading to full muscular development. Isometric strength training is difficult for many people because they do not have complete control or understanding of their body. It is much more straight forward for them to lift weights to increase strength. Lifting weights is a wonderful idea and builds bulk and strength. Isometrics increases density to muscles already enlarged through weight training and frees it from becoming overly stiff and inflexible. Use weight training to get bigger and stronger and use isometric static holds in your drills for being strong in karate specific muscle configurations. Use the drills to make the muscles as dense as they are big as well as maintaining the flexibility and control needed for speed in karate. Stiff muscles hit slow and drills are considered speed training. They teach the body to stay relaxed instead of stiff and to flex then instantly relax on demand. To move the muscle it must be relaxed only flexing on impact. To cause maximum impact it must instantly relax and withdraw after making contact. This is the difference between pushing and punching. Impact occurs when striking hand immediately withdraws after contact. This requires well formed connections in the brains nervous system to tell the body to move and have an immediate reaction. The neuron connections made from endless repetitions of karate practice build reflexes. If we make mistakes in what we are telling our body to do that is the reflex that becomes ingrained. Punching sloppy again and again trains the brain to build a reflex that make an instant reaction but an incorrect one. If we see danger our body will respond will an immediate punch, but it will be sloppy. Speed is nothing without correct form. Correct form is the alignment of the body in a way that produces superior results.
This causes a dilemma in our training. Punching at the navel promotes us from using bad form but this is not an area we would target. Areas we would target prevent bad form and often we overpower attacks in an attempt to knockout our opponent. The solution is train for form first and gradually punch higher as our brains make better connections with our nervous system giving us complete control over our bodies to instinctively use the correct posture and mechanics when randomly called upon to do so.
If you can not follow proper punching technique at fast hard intensity at chudan or jodan practice at gedan until you can. Sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone and try new things to challenge yourself. If you get it wrong the first few times is okay. If after some sessions your technique is off evaluate why. Do not mindlessly continue punching wrong. Go back to gedan and perfect it. Then stay at gedan and chudan until chudan is perfected. After chudan is perfected practice at jodan is permissible. This is being very picky but makes better karate. These drills accomplish many things and are very difficult taken to the highest level of effort and concentration. These are not passive drills. Fatigue will set in and hamper performance. Pain will arise. It is important to push through pain while maintaining good form. This is characteristic of karate training. The ability to push past injury pain and anything else and yet still be able to complete perfect execution without break in form or function. There are other ways to teach punching that are more straightforward. These drills are not it. These drills bring multiple things together and are considered advanced. The easiest way to teach punching is stand in fudodachi and shift into zenkutsu while punching at chudan or solar plexus and then jodan or chin area. Without the other technical points to consider in the line drills it is multitudes of order easier to punch in straight line without punch or arm being somewhere it should not. If you practice punching and arm is somewhere it should not be this mistake teaches you to miss opponent instead of hit him accurately.
Practicing moving forward and backward using the main stances with different combinations of attacks to train body to fight. Use low stances and do not bounce. Bouncing is bad but more allowable with the upright kamae drills especially when moving backwards. Do not bounce on these whether going forward or stepping backwards. Staying low increases leg strength and flexibility. Move forward finish attack and rest. Some sets leave attacking arm out and some pull arm back into guard position or do a block such as soto uke, uchi uke, age uke, gedan barai or shuto uke. Mainly these alternate stance allowing for the training of both sides of body to perform techniques from either side. This makes you balanced and equally skilled on both side. Start drill using gedan barai or other block as starting hand position. Drill mostly moving forward. Get to end turn around and rest. Finish drill by going back to starting position. Sometimes move first part slow and controlled then second part for speed and power kiai'ing on last attack. Sometime move forward then without turning around drill stance by moving backwards until you are at starting position. Keep all stances low. Typically front hand is always held in guard when doing drills. Start in guard position. Punch or kick. Step forward. Perform block. Repeat alternating stances as you step forward.
Keep low stance and drill by performing oitsuki in zenkutsu alternating as stance changes.
Start with front hand gedan barai. Stand in place punch with rear hand then step forward and block with front hand.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Step forward with oitsuki. Do gyakutsuki kiai. Repeat changing sides as you go.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Step forward oitsuki. Punch back hand, punch front hand, bring front hand to guard. Repeat changing sides as you go.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Front kick with back leg. Put leg in front as you land. Kick with other leg. Each kick lands in front changing stance. Keep kicking as back leg changes from right to left.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick with back leg and land it in front changing stance. Kick with other leg. Each kick lands in front changing stance. Keep kicking as back leg changes from right to left.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick with back leg and punch with back hand. Repeat other side. Punch and foot land same time.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick back leg and land it in front. Punch rear hand and pull it back. Repeat other side. As you kick back leg bring that side hand up into chudan guard. When you gyakutsuki pull front hand to hikite. When you pull gyakutsuki to hikite (ready position on hip) bring front hand from hip back to chudan guard.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick back leg and punch with back hand. Land foot on ground as fist reaches imaginary target. Punch with back hand other side and chamber front hand. Chamber back hand and bring front hand to guard same time.
Start in gedan barai front hand. Kick with back leg and punch with back hand. Chamber kick and place it on ground same time as punch hits target. Punch with back hand and chamber front hand same time. Leave back hand straight and kick with back leg. Bring back leg back and chamber back hand as you bring front hand from hip to guard. All 3 same time.
Start in gedan barai. Kick back leg then punch back hand. Land foot forward same time as hand. Chamber front hand and punch back hand. Chamber back hand and kick back leg and bring front hand to guard same time. Squeeze front arm in like uchi and flex pecs as kick reaches target same time. This is unique to Malone ryu as is called dynamic spherical rotation. It helps with balance as the forces of mawashi geri and uchi uke counteract each other preventing slipping from occurring. This is not basic all and very rare to see in karate. While I'm sure it exists in other arts I only know of this kicking technique to exist in a few Korean styles such as Hapkido. I don't see it in Tae Kwon Do though it might be there as well. Throwing a high round house will make you slip and fall if you can't control it. The less flexibility you have the more prone you are to go on your koshi as you kick, very common in Tae Kwon Do and Savate. When this happens you can easily rotate but do not have connection to ground as contact of foot is too small. When doing round house spin on heel and keep foot planted. This is harder to do and hurts height of kick but is more stable. When doing other kicking practice always kick on heel driving it into ground as you go. Do not kick like other styles this is forbidden. Koshi may come off ground in training and foot turn outward but we want balance point to be heel not koshi. We also want to be able to bend supporting leg to help distribute balance and drive off heel for more power. This is hard drill the rest are very easy.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick back leg landing it forward to change stance. When kick is chambered start same side punching hand. As foot touches ground finish punch same time. In this stance punch back hand and then front hand. Bend front hand back to guard. Repeat with other side.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick back leg. Punch same side hand. Hand foot same time. Punch other hand. Punch 1st hand again. Kick other leg bring back.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Do triple punch. Leave jab out. Kick other leg. Use dynamic sphereness by bending arm into uchi uke. Straighten arm as you bring leg back into place.
Start in gedan barai with front hand. Kick back leg and chamber blocking hand back to hip. Control hip to stop kick and turn from moving inward to outward to put down in front of you. This is hard and purpose of drill, controlling hip and building strength to reverse hip rotation of kick. Use momentum of hip rotation to power gyakutsuki. This is hard. Gyakutsuki needs level hips to punch in straight line. Mawashi geri uses tilted hips. This makes punch very erratic with strange behavior. We practice to make gyakutsuki behave even under bad conditions. We try to get control and then build speed. From low stance making kick is hard so sometimes we have to just flop it out. Hips are compromised making punch go slow then fast in wavy line. This is weird. We are attempting to make body do something it can not really do correctly. Normally when we want to punch we can but leg and hips are making delay. We are trying to remove that delay and be able to punch sooner and sooner. We never seem satisfied. This hips hips very strong for when we are punching regular gyakutsuki with level hips.
Stand in shiko front hand in gedan barai or soto uke, maybe something else like shuto uke. Step forward into shiko punch with back hand. Repeat other side and continue until reach end of line. Turn head to face previous direction and do block with front hand. Punch while stepping forward into shiko. Continue until back at starting position. Stay low. Trains legs.
Start in gedan. Step into shiko and block. Learn the middle point for chambering block. Finish block and shiko same time.
Start in gedan. Step into shiko and block. Learn the middle point for chambering block. Finish block and shiko same time.
Start in gedan. Step forward block then punch gyakutsuki and kiai. Block. Repeat finishing line then come back.
Start in gedan. Step forward halfway and start bending gedan into hikite at hip. Start hand for uppercut. Finish same time.
Start in gedan. Step forward into shiko and block with sotouke. Learn when to chamber and start hand and foot movements. Learn the proper form and how to coordinate the correct timing. This applies for all shiko drills.
Start in gedan. Step forward and block. Get to end. Stand in place and turn head and block facing previous direction. Use this to turn on all shiko drills.
Start in gedan with hand open. Step forward and shuto uchi palm up like in Jion aiming at enemy temple. Complete drill.
Start in gedan. Step forward into shiko and shuto uke. Bring pulling hand to solar plexus or hip. Complete drill.
Start in gedan. Step forward. Execute gedan barai, then soto uke, then gyakutsuki. Block. Complete drill.
Shikodachi yoko geri gedan barai
Start in gedan. Step forward chamber leg and yoko geri. Chamber leg and cross blocking arm. Step down into shiko and gedan barai same time. Definitely rise to do kick for this as it is pointless not to.
Shikodachi age uke gyakutsuki
Start in shiko. Step forward and age uke then chamber age uke into hikite as you punch back arm. Pull punching arm into hikite as you ageuke front arm. Complete drill.
Assume cat stance with shuto uke block. Kick kiai step forward back leg changing stance and blocking with shutouke as you step. Foot and shuto should stop same time. Do drills like this. Vary this drill by stepping first and doing shutouke same time then kick and kiai. Step block kick or kick step block. Sometimes kiai both block and kick. Do basic version were you move forward straight line. Then do version where you retreat straight line. Then do version where you sidestep and move forward blocking and kicking from left and right sides of opponent. Then do version where you retreat at angle keeping opponent still in front but you are off line of attack, never retreating in a line but zigzagging like a snake.
Same as above. Cat stance knife hand block kick. Kiai on decisive technique. Yell to startle them drop him with jewel kick or plexus kick or deflect and kiai on throat kick or knife hand to grab and bring them down and smash knee in face. Or use shuto to attack vital point neck or Adams apple or temple and kiai.
Drills can use different variations but must make sense and focus on building skills needed in karate. Vary your training to provide the best conditioning possible. What you learn from one thing does not need to be repeated in another if it becomes redundant although working the body from configurations is beneficial. Karate is about repetitions but must be done with care and forethought. You train different things at different times using the same drills. Only the emphasis changes.
There main three drills in the beginning are basic and must be mastered. The next 28 drills are randomly chosen to develop different karate attributes and make sense. The goal is not to extraneously train but to find the best use of time and maximize results. The first three drills deal in a more upright and normal posture and contain actual bunkai. The next 28 drills are done very low to increase leg flexibility and strength and are not the best example of realistic fighting. They are more for conditioning and burn a lot of calories. Try to think in how the drill improves you physically for karate and what parts you can modify or improve on. How is it applicable in fighting and what parts would you use and how will you make yourself stronger to use them? The mawashi gyakutsuki drill is unique in it's emphasis in hip control. It is hard to round house kick and then pull the leg back and deliver gyakutsuki. By training that we are making strong flexible hips. Hips are a hard area to target for training and that drill is particularly effective. All small muscles and kinks get worked on.
Different blocks can be substituted to prevent boredom and monotony. As long as good karate mechanics and principles are adhered to students can mix up the drills to focus on areas they know they need to improve or just want to see improvement in especially if they takes classes or train somewhere and feel they are not able to train fully in the time allotted. It is possible to do just a few of these drills that feel to give the best exercise and practice. I think in an actual class maybe only 6 at most of these would be used with a different set practiced each meeting. Some would be compulsory while others mixed in to round out what the instructor felt the students needed to improve.
Stretching is needed to do higher stronger kicks and lower stable stances. Do a stretching phase to warm up then a hard and real phase after. When kicking start slow and then try going higher and harder stretching the muscles and ignoring pain or exhaustion.
1. Stretch legs by kicking. Stand in high kamae and swing back leg up as if hitting face with it. Practice go faster each time making range of motion longer. Try to kick higher each time. Swinging leg keeps muscle relaxed and allows for lengthening. This increases range of motion. Should be able to swing leg 135° from floor or above head. Practice as much as you like but at least 20 times to warm up. After 10 tries the leg begins to loosen and further attempts have greater ability, so do more then 10 to really capitalize. This is stretch for mae geri.
2. Stretch hips by kicking. Stand with feet side by side normally with shoulder space between them, feet pointing forward. This is shoulder stance or Kaizen dachi. Swing leg out to sides to stretch hips. This is hard. First attempts foot is aimed at knee level. We want at least waist. Higher than waist means very flexible due to gender or lack of muscle or that form has broken and you are leaning forward. You may be able to swing one side higher than the other. After half the set you may progressing swing leg harder and bend forward at waist a little bit. It is best to have back upright but sometimes stretching from a different angle helps improve overall flexibility. Leaning forward takes pressure off and makes higher range possible but not necessarily from the position we want. This is stretch for yoko geri.
3. Improve balance by kicking. Stand in shoulder stance and swing leg behind you. Torso may be upright or lean forward making an angle or 135° or 90° with the floor. Stay upright at first and see how high you can swing leg. Look over the shoulder of kicking leg so you can see what your leg is doing. Next see how leaning slightly forward affects leg and how it let's it go higher. Leaning forward takes pressure off so you are swinging leg higher but the more you lean the more balance is compromised. Bending forward at waist to 90° allows highest swing but we have really compromised or stance integrity. This is why kicks said to be risky, recovery to kamae is hard and we can easily be thrown. This is just stretch so doing it upright is needed. Leaning forward teaches you where to leg could be. When we actually kick we might lean forward different amounts so this is a learning experience to understand your body. Swing leg from mostly upright to get the best stretch. If leaning when swinging leg coordinate lean with foot rising and standing back up with foot lowering. Foot and standing straight up same time. This teaches balance. Overthrown swinging leg is hard to bring back down and is similar to mawashi geri gyakutsuki drill. We have the lean making the leg want to stay up so we have to do a back extension to bring leg back down. Swinging to hard causes wobble creating delays and making it hard for us to return. control your swing and control your body. This is stretch for ushiro geri.
When using these kick stretches use hand for balance by performing block same time. Mae geri hands can be left out although dropping hand on the side of kicking leg may give better balance and dynamic force. You will kick higher. I was told that you never drop your hands when kicking because you can get hit. That was mostly stupid. Is a stretching exercise and the point is greater flexibility to kick better. We do not want to be rigid and hard like actual fighting. If we train to always drop our hand we will in combat. Leave one hand up on the supporting leg side. This should be all the protection you need. Hands both up limits are range and defeats point of exercise so I don't see the need to perform it that way. Honestly it's a mistake to do so and are practice will have become superficial and wasted.
Use hands up for low mae geri stretch since center of gravity is different and in a low stance it is easy to punch your face. In high stance you are just warming up and not stretching very good. Make stretch better by dropping kicking side arm putting more force into kick. In right stance let's say you kick and move forward. You just switched and are now in left stance. You should always block with your front hand. When you started both hands were up or more likely right hand was on hip. Then you kicked. As you kicked you brought the right hand from your hip up into chudan/jodan uke to guard face. Your left hand was up and you brought it down to you hip. So you had left hand up left leg forward, right fist on hip right leg back. Stepping forward you switched stance and also switched hands. As the right hand went from hip to jodan uke the left hand went from jodan uke to hip. You are always guarding with the front hand but you are not always guarding with both hands. Since you stepped forward this is logical and indicative of a white belt and the training at that level. Too basic. What do you do if you kick and pull leg back keeping the same stance?
When you are in right stance and use migi mae geri you left hand is guarding your face. Keep your hand there. Kick with right leg and bring it back. What your right hand does does not matter. Your face is still guarded with your left hand, the front hand. If your right hand was on your hip keep it there. Since it was on your hip it was already “dropped". No one would say this is unacceptable so why the mantra “never drop your hands"? Clarification is needed since there are no infinites is karate. There is a reason for everything and you do not do something just to do it. Actions are based on logical conclusions so thought is given and things are evaluated and investigated rather than merely critiqued. It is “is when to do that" not “you are doing it wrong".
When kicking in place from right stance with fight front kick keep right fist at hip if it is already there or if it is in air such as guard drop it and bring your fist to right hip so that it is ready for gyakutsuki. You drop it deliberatively to that you can ready a punch and make kick harder, more penetration (range), and better balance. This is correct karate anatomy and biomechanics. When stretching from high kamae throw fist longer like gedan barai but to the side of body. Do stretches in controlled safe manner not wild uncontrolled manner. In actual fighting to not bring hand down like this because your kick will be wild and uncontrollable causing your balance to be poor. Tae Kwon Do suffers from this. Muay Thai suffers somewhat from this but mostly the lack of hikite to deliver gyakutsuki. Muay Thai uses more gross motor function than Tae Kwon Do and is able to compensate better but both have balance and stability issues. Karate does not suffer this defect.
We use a swung downward fist only in training and only for stretches to increase lengthening of tissue. To use in fighting is kamikaze like recklessness and equivalent of “swinging for the bleachers". To better understand body mechanics try this: Stand in right kamae with left arm dangling at side doing nothing and right hand extended in straight jodan punch. Chamber right knee for front kick and chamber right arm with elbow at ribs. Extend kick fully as you bright right fist to hip. Chamber knee again to retract leg and bring right fist into chudan uke. Step down putting right leg back into starting position and extend fist straight making jodan tsuki. There at three phases to this: The start, the chamber, the finish.
This is how karate functions and maintains perfect balance. Chambering fist adds power to kick and aid balance. Stepping back into stance adds power to punch and balance. This separates karate from other look alikes.
When doing yoko geri or ushiro geri at first it doesn't matter what arms do as long as you are warming up then getting a good stretch. Eventually you will want to get serious and make it more strict by adding blocking movement with arms to aid balance and learn correct posture for doing actual technique. To not use blocking so hard that it interferes with stretch, this can happen. Throwing blocks full power tightens all muscles making kicks more solid but prevent stretching to occurs since we are contracting muscles rather than dilating them. IPS stretches are hard to do in a dynamic manner and I am not qualified to instruct on that nor modify it specifically for karate. Swing leg sideways extend arm straight over leg and opposite hand to hip for yoko. Swing leg backwards and and extend arm over leg and opposite hand to hip for ushiro.
For ushiro i said that you can bend to 90° during stretch. This is actually wrong. Bending this much makes leg bend at knee causes to to hook upwards. Too much like Tae Kwon Do. This takes all pressure off where we want it and wastes exercise. Karate uses linear kicks and leg must be straight not bent like Chinese hook kick or Korean mule kick. Lean forward at 135° and swing leg to cause a stretching of hamstrings and a contraction of the minimus gluteus, the upper portion of the butt. When standing on one leg bent for support we must flex upper butt and make all muscles surrounding it solid as one. People with larger posteriors benefit from kicking in this regard as long as they are in shape and not overweight. Overweight people tend to be less flexible or lack athleticism for dynamic kicking.
After weeks of practice you go from swinging in upright fighting stance to hanmi making the stretch harder. Staying low without bouncing is hard and requires technique. After months of practice you advance to lowest stance you can and this is you beginning and ending position. You are holding the legs split and stretching while in stance and swinging leg from this position is compromised. This may be considered an active IPS stretch. It is very difficult and most do not train this way. If training is hard and others skip it actively pursue it. They lack discipline and will be weaker than you. Hard things become easy the more you do it. The never really try and give up after a few attempts lacking discipline. They only do what is fun and do not train honestly. They waste every training session they attend and their results are slug slow. They make some improvement but will never really stand out as primes examples. As you are swinging leg body will bounce up. Anticipate this and drop body down to compensate. Now you are kicking with body weight similar to how a boxer punches with his body. This is a remarkable breakthrough discovery for martial arts training.
Mawashi geri does not have a warm stretch drill for it per se. Mawashi geri is done by chambering the hip cocked at an angle. Previous stretches before practice are done to loosen up the hips to be able to practice mawashi geri. Stretches that open the hips are the most useful.
Sit on floor in lotus position with soles of feet touching. Grab sides of feet with hands and lean forward. Stretch and open hips. Find end of range and hold causing slight stretch and using arms to keep tension on working muscle groups. Tug repeatedly to open hips never loosing tension on working groups. Tug deeper and hold. Very carefully ease tension off of where it was deep and return to where there was tension on groups causing stretch but hold was shallower. We want to hold stretch so that we feel it, tug and hold deeper so it is more uncomfortable but bearable, then go back to where we first felt it. We do not want to do so deep that we must relax hold completely loosing stretch. Muscles must stay under tension entire time or we will not gain deformation of tendons giving us permanent flexibility. Deformation means taking a piece of plastic and stretching it so what hen we let go it is permanently longer not returning to original length. Stretching done in a casual way only provides temporary results that only last a session or day. This is why westerners lack flexibility. It is not fun and a priority is not placed on it because the benefits are not clear. Western stretching methods are merely designed to prevent injury during a sporting event. They are not designed to increase mobility of the joint to allow a greater range of motion. The hardest parts of karate are mastering high kicks and staining low stances. With total hip flexibility this becomes rather easy. This stretch is also called the butterfly stretch if used to flap knees up and down. Use elbows placed on inner thighs to hold knees down. Stretch deeper and deeper everyday so you don't lose gains until you are able to completely bend forward touch toes and beyond. This is also good back stretch and helps improve lower body cross. Lower body cross is basically the ratio of lower back muscle tightness to weak abdominals. Have a flexible back and strong abs for good karate.
This is popular with runners. Stand on one leg and bend other behind you. Grab foot of bent leg with both hands. To pull on it as is will stretch the quadriceps. We don't care about that. We are more focused on the hips. Hold with one hand and lean to side stretching inner thigh and hips. Technically all the thighs is quadriceps but that is not what they usually mean or intend when they use this stretch in sports.
Pull bent leg sideways like the chambering of mawashi by holding ankle. Straighten standing leg and stretch hamstring and inner adductors. Abductors are the muscles that bring legs toward center line of body. These are the only that are tight causing much failure in karate. The combination of tight abductors, weak abdominals, and weak lower back is called having a weak lower cross. Poor diet and fitness leads to this. Text book example is sedimentary lifestyle causing symptoms of bad lower back pain and excess fat on stomach. This weakness makes situps hard and squats risk back injury. Abdominals are weakened by having to carry extra belly fat. This strain makes them unable to do their job of keeping spine erect. When a load is placed on the back muscles the abdominals are too weak to assist in holding the spine causing the back muscles to be overloaded and sprain or hernia. A back hernia means the muscle that was supposed to hold a vertebrae disc in place failed and now the disc has slipped out of alignment causing pain or medical attention. This is why the say lift with your legs. The back muscles are too weak. This is how Bruce Lee was injured, he lifted to much weight with his back and hurt himself through over training.
Once you are able to target the muscles you want with this stretch as an added bonus you can lock out standing leg and balance on heel. Rotate on to ball of foot and curl toes off floor. This teaches heel to stay down and how to drive power through heel to ground. It becomes natural.
Doing this also stretches the Achilles keeping heel down during zenkutsu gyakutsuki. Use a wall or a dancer's bar to lean into and hold with free hand if training is hard and you need extra support or need a light day.
The main thing about mawashi geri is being able to stand with leg up and cocked to chamber it. These stretches help with that. IPS stretches are needed to learn side split and front split and are covered earlier in the special skills section but I will elaborate. Side split is for yoko geri and front split is for mae geri and zenkutsu. To train flexibility we are sometimes allowed to cheat a little if supplementing main training as opposed to replacing it. Sprinters stretches help train zenkutsu and mae geri. While they are too narrow for zenkutsu we get greater front stretch out of them. If we are diligent by training everyday we can start long and narrow and slowly go wider. We will find a spot where we are weak. This is when the wider we make our stance the shorter it becomes. As a certain point we gap in our stretching. When we go wider our stance is reasonably long but then we can go no wider without dramatically shortening our stance. We we do this there areas that we can now make our body stretch. These are gray areas.
Think of standing in a square painted on the floor. You are standing on a dot directly in the center. Looking down from ceiling, your kiba dachi stance (wide horse stance, like shiko but 12" wider) can straddle both vertical lines. Starting over your sprinter stance or overly narrow and long zenkutsu reaches both front and back lines. If we used the center dot as a fulcrum point and drew an arc 360° we would touch the square at exactly four points. These points would be where our feet we touching. Everything in this circle is our possible range for foot placement our flexibility will allow. Everything outside this circle are gray areas we can not reach. In a perfect scenario we now have a circle in a square representing our range. For right zenkutsu we can not put left foot on top left corner and our right foot on the bottom right corner. This is understandable. Unfortunately this may not represent accurately the situation. Only the most flexible and balanced individuals would be able to achieve this ideal. In reality we may find that we can touch the top and bottom lines but not the sides. Due to muscular imbalances and flexibility issues people do not rotate the leg bones in their pelvises like the compass example. A more accurate picture might be a slighter longer than wide rectangle with a choppy diamond instead of a circle. The diamond might actually look more concave with curved inward lines instead of straight lines forming a star shape. Now we see a truly different picture.
The square with circle represents full flexibility in 360°. The star in the rectangle shows where we are and of course everyone is different. Overlap the two images and you will have a star in a circle. Everything outside the circle is black and impossible. Everything in the star is possible and what we can do. Where the circle and star overlap and cause a rift and show what is possible but we can not do yet. These possible areas we lack flexibility in now to reach are the gray areas. Through practice we want to expand our range and change gray areas to white.
1. From shoulder stance bend on one leg and slide legs apart sideways. Looks like hamstring stretch from running.
2. Foot may be flat or on heel. Use flat to learn form then heel to train harder.
3. Stretch inner leg that is extended and the hip joint it is connected to.
4. We want higher range of side kick so think in those terms.
5. Swastika block may be performed for stability and notoriety. Arch back erect.
6. While in pose slide foot further away as it is flat.
7. Floor with feet to hold position once comfort range is found. Flex legs to crush floor together with feet.
8. Alternate holding floor with feet and sliding out further. Slide, grip and flex, hold, slide and repeat.
9. Do not lean forward. You still get good stretch but this is bad form and works different angles. Supplemental not core.
10. After you learn form, learn to do it with heel down and toes pointing up. Stretches leg differently.
11. Learn to grip floor with heel like you do with toes and koshi. This is hard since heel does not curl like heel and koshi.
12. Grip floor with heel and use tension to flex abductors. Think you are pulling floor together. This is IPS.
13. Grip floor with heel, flex and hold, slide and repeat. Keep toes pointing up.
14. Need to lean forward increases. Resist or use if you must. Learn best ways to rip legs apart to make gains.
15. Learn how to touch toes with lean. Learn to touch toes no lean. Learn how to hold toes and pull deeper.
16. This leads to full side splits and being able to rotate to front split without getting up.
17. Transitioning from side to front split with getting up means no gray areas. We have full flexibility.
Changing emphasis on this stretch can work bent leg and give results similar to standing stretch. This means mawashi can benefit depending and where we place balance points. Allow stretching occur first before any muscular contractions occur. Stretching a flexed muscle is called a rupture and muscle will pull or rip. It is important to relax into stretches and learn them first before advanced contracting of the muscles can occur. When getting into position the body instinctively protects it's joints by tightening up so that ripping does not occur. This happens more frequent when new to a stretch and are using balance wrong. You overload the joint with bodyweight while the joint has barely stretched. Unstretched it is mechanically strong and will tighten under load. Stretch slowly to get into position first. This takes some finagling. Stretch, then load with bodyweight using balance, then contract muscles pulling yourself deeper. If your feet are not gripping and firmly in place contracting muscles will make you rise instead up going deeper. Spend minutes getting into final position and then spend 5 minutes holding it with flexed or flexing muscles.
Once in position never leave it. It takes time for the body to gradually loosen and stretch tight muscles. Stretching shallow on and off for 25 seconds does not cut it. It takes 1.5 minutes to find a comfortable spot, then 3 minutes to gradually take it further pausing along the way, then 5 minutes to train muscle group in the final position.
The first 1.5 minutes are very casual and mentally we feel stretch has not even begun. We and not focusing or worrying or stressing. This is not the active part. We lazily and slowly putter into place. This frees mind of clutter before actual work begins.
Now that we have we some would think is a suitable stretch changes occur in the body. It senses something is different. The body tells the brain that something it is not used to is happening and tries to get the brains attention by sending signals of pain. Okay so the body doesn't like being in this position since the muscles don't have enough elasticity. We ignore what the body is telling us and force it to cope. Not knowing what to do the body obeys us and copes by agreeing to relax the muscle a little bit giving us more comfort at this range. Once this happens the body has submitted to our demands. We take what ever slack the body releases and stay at the point where the body has to continue giving up slack through relaxing and lengthening the muscle.
This is how the body negotiates. It says it wants to stop being stretched and we say no. It says fine and loosens up just a tiny bit and says there that is all I'm going to compromise. We wait a few seconds and then take whatever rest we can so as not to make stretching a chore but more like a peaceful meditation. The body will not allow us to go deep right away. It will be stubborn and disobey. We must trick it into submission. Rest a few seconds without leaving position then inch deeper and stop. Just because you can go deeper doesn't mean you should. The body will realize what we are up to and allow compromise us to take a deeper stretch for a few seconds but then say no more forcing us to rise due to pain. To avoid this we take little bits at a time. The body will comply as long as we are not greedy and want to much to soon.
Take only as much as you can be able to without have to give up the position or stop. Wait 30-60 if needed to allow lengthening to occur is muscles. It is slow and can not be rushed. There are physiological constraints that prevent the muscles from lengthening sooner. It's science. It will lengthen causing slack. Take exactly the amount of slack given and maintain pose for another 30-60 seconds to allow another interval of lengthening to occur. Wiggling or jostling moves us out of position and throws this lengthening off. Bouncing while effective is some stretches just causes tears that may help up tighter in the long run but provide temporary benefits in the short. When we move out of position the body responds by resetting and returning muscle to a shorter length. We are giving back the slack and it is taking it. We must not compromise in our negotiations we our body. It must comply and obey us. This is when we are actually take care and consideration to what we are doing. It is very boring and that is why meditation is popular. You can kill time by zoning out.
At a certain point we have realize have to be patient go slow and get lower and lower stretches but we are not truly flexible. We are able to gradually achieve a low stretch but can not do full split without warming up. After about 4.5 minutes of slowing getting into position we assume this is about as low as we can go for today. Our muscles are pulled to their longest point. To increase our permanent flexibility we must do something dynamic.
When we are in our lowest stretch and muscles are relaxed to their longest length we have to contract the muscle in a way that does not make us lose our position. If the muscles are relaxed and at their longest they are in a very mechanically weak position. Their strength is compromised and we know it but this is of little concern. We are not going trying to lift something heavy. We are trying to isolate where we are weakest and make it stronger. We find ways to flex the working muscles and tendons to that while it is held in a stretched position it is trying to shrink. This causes a combination of deformity and micro tears. Think stretching a piece of taffy and it stays that way with maybe some little holes in it. Our muscle does that becoming longer and the little holes fill in making it stronger and more resistant to tearing again. Over time we get thicker tree trunk legs that can do splits. Makes for powerful swimming, running, and karate.
There are two parts to this, an upper body and lower body. Stand with your wide legs apart. Lean to side touching toes. If you can not touch toes grab ankle and hold. If touching toes focus on stretching back. If grabbing ankle focus on pulling yourself deeper. Have someone assist you an gently hold you in a pushed down fashion. If someone is pushing you down make sure you are grabbing yourself tightly to stay in place should they let go. You holding tightly teaches the body to do it unassisted. If you do not hold tight enough it teaches the body to use partner every time. This works the upper body obliques and back.
Spread legs further and stretch groin. This works the hips by stretching the connective of pelvis to leg bones. Go deeper by sliding feet sideways. When this becomes ineffective make stance wider by rotating feet outwards. Do this by pointing toes out and leaving them there while you rotate heels out. This makes toes point forward again. Keep rotating toes and heels out to make stretch deeper. Rotating of the feet this way also teaches how to make kibadachi from shikodachi. Get as low as you can. Grip floor with feet and squeeze thighs together. This squeezing activates the muscles of hips but since the floor is preventing the hips to bring legs together lengthening and thickening of hip muscles and ligaments occurs. This improves leg and hip strength and flexibility. Squeezing in stretching is a hard concept to teach and is often missing from non professional sports literature. This squeezing is called IPS and is used in eastern countries more that dominate sports like gymnastics, parkour, ballet, and other activities that require high degrees of flexibility.
This is a basic stretch popular in running. Take a long stance with one leg in front of the other and bending front knee. Drop low into stance and balance yourself by holding front knee. Push on the knee to stretch groin. Keep back leg heel up to stretch Achilles heel more making it better in zenkutsu. While heel must stay down in zenkutsu having it up here creates more room for ankle to bend. Do not place weight on ankle so it is locked in place but so that the toes are bent more to the shin bone. This is what makes it stretch overly tight and short Achilles tendons. Over time combine hybrids of side and front stretch to perform partial and then full splits.
After swing legs to stretch hips do the actual kicks. Practice several weeks at fighting kamae then progress to hanmi and finally very low zenkutsu for mae geri to get stronger fighting form. When doing yoko geri kick at knee level at first and then start kicking at waist and above. Sometimes when kicking higher than waist there is an inclination to lean. Leaning excessively is bad. When returning leg back from yoko use “returning wave" kick to supporting leg to toughen leg and challenge balance. Do not break stance with wobble when attacking your own leg. Control balance and flex muscles of supporting leg harder to hold form. When doing ushiro geri look first as you chamber block and make sure you kick straight behind you at knee and then waist level, and then chest level. Ushiro geri is hard to target traveling wildly off center to left or right. This is a problem. Toes pointing outward indicates kicking to fast or omitting chambering the knee first. Chamber knee to chest and kick straight back. Leaning forward while kicking is necessary this time. Kick straight out while leaning and counter balance to stand back up as you chamber leg then set it back. Chamber fully makes leg more accurate. A straight back kick has toes pointing down letting heel strike target correctly. Mawashi is performed by leaning slightly to side and chambering opposite in hikite while bringing hand on kicking side to chudan uke. When practicing mawashi geri first do ten kicks to side of opponent body hitting with shin, then ten high hitting then in temple with koshi, then ten low hitting them in knee with koshi. After that practice a hybrid of mawashi and front kick by chambering mawashi in usual way to side but then striking more linearly aiming at solar plexus and putting more thrust instead of snap into it. Then practice aiming for their heart with left mawashi being more circle kick. Then practice aiming for chest more linear and circle and put thrust into it to crust ribcage. Certain targets that are circled need a snap back to cause impact and target directly exposed to the front like chest and solar plexus need kick to be thrusted. Think about where you are aiming with each foot and whether a snap or thrust would be more appropriate.
This is where we leave the symmetrical forms of karate and idea of being equal on both sides and think in terms of what differs from opponents left and right side of body. We study and investigate anatomy and pressure points. Our left mawashi can target liver or heart. Our right mawashi can target temple if we are right footed and can kick higher. If opponent is in right stance and we are in left bodies are turned so that a left mawashi would smash into ribcage and disrupt heart. His body is angled so that heart is directly impacted. We must learn to use only the best techniques at right targets and take into consideration our abilities and what vital points and not symmetrical on opponent.
Practice kicks high, middle, and low and also vital points and learn which kicks at which points you would use. Build strategies and combinations around these attacks without being overly exotic. Use a heavy bag for feedback in how strong your kicks are. Heavy bags give a better idea of how well you are kicking and teach when to focus impact, or the timing of applying power. Swing the heavy bag and time your kick so it resembles an opponent charging you. Makes sure you stop the bag and that it does not push you back and that kick is not late and bag jams your technique leaving you with a kick impacting when leg is still bent and not fully straight. Get a very heavy bag over 100 lbs. Mine is 185 lbs. It feels like punching and kicking a sand bag. Use sandbags to body condition knuckles, elbows, shins, knees, knife hands and other striking surfaces of body.
Practice punching by standing in fudodachi and shifting into zenkutsu and hitting heavy bag at least 100 lbs. Learn the right distance that you can punch gyakutsuki without leaning forward. It is shorter than a boxing stance where you are allowed to lean and extend your shoulder. Leaning while in a low karate stance makes your punch angle down. Punch bare handed so that knuckles and wrist develop. Punch with fingers curled and rolled into very tight fist with thumb covering the second phalanges of the first three fingers. Make a fist and bend your arm and look at it. Tilt your wrist so that the knuckles don't stick up above the arm bone. If a ruler were placed on your arm there should be no gap. The knuckles must be in line with arm bones or the wrist will sprain when punching.
Practice all manner of punching on heavy bag and all one step sparring. Side step heavy bag while executing block and then kick or punch or series of kicks and punches. Visualize who you are fighting and visualize beating them to the punch or evading their punch. When practicing any full power striking think about realistic distances and what you would actually need to do to be able to land hits. Make sure hits are powerful and you are not using a weaker attack over a stronger one, or a slower one over a faster one, or one an opponent can block over one he can't. Attacks have to make sense and so does the training.
From high stance practice coordination by punching and moving. Step one leg forward and chamber fist to that side. Step forward other side and punch without hyper flexing elbow. Practice punching one arm to learn repeating striking from one side while pursuing defender. This is correct for right cross /gyakutsuki hybrid. Practice alternating both arms by chambering opposite fist when you punch and then punching with it when you step forward. You are either doing all right crosses, all left crosses, or alternating left and right crosses. Then need to pursue makes you come off your heels and sprint while chambering higher into arm pit. This is more like right cross getting it's power from shoulder propulsion. Fist may be between hip and armpit resting on the floating ribs. The speed at which you step and distance taken affects technique. Purpose of drill is to practice smoothness and motion. It teaches how to step punching with gyakutsuki only and not mess up timing of foot and hand. Punching erratically while pursuing sometimes has the unintended effect of crossing stance or stepping wrong. Your punching becomes out of sync with your feet because you are punching faster than you can step of your gyakutsuki accidentally becomes oitsuki. If you punch with gyakutsuki and foot slides forward it makes gyakutsuki turn into oitsuki. Not as strong as right cross and often your stance is too short compromising your punch. Oitsuki needs full step to work. If you hit with this weak punch and have to stop moving forward your technique is jammed. Further punches from this stance are too small but when fighting wildly this gets obscured. You have to reappropriate stance somehow so you are not so feet have greater distance front to back. Fastest way is pulling back leg back a little bit. If you are in a weak stance and want to switch to your dominant stance pull the missed stepped front leg back. Pulling the front leg back is slower and gives defender chance to counter so it might be better to finish in this stance or be skilled in juggling opponent and switching stance so no gap is given exploit.
Practice moving like this slow chambering at hip first. Then go faster chamber at higher levels as your body dictates. The important part is that foot and hand finish same time. Go back to chamber at hip and punch slightly harder so that your punch pulls you forward making back foot slide. Hand and foot need to finish same time. When going fast do not put power into it and make punches long. You want to reach your opponent and flexing muscles tends to shorten them. Do not extend or roll shoulder. That make punch slower and interferes with coordination. We want long smooth punches centered somewhat and aimed at jodan while moving briskly. This teaches movement preventing defender from escaping. Chambering higher that hip allows for speedy punches and quicker steps. Once we catch opponent we can switch to hanmi and chamber at hip and use large hip rotation for more devastating power. We have light punches, medium punches, and hard punches. All have different tempos, ranges and chambering levels. It is not always one hit one kill, unless you are Matsumura and have to kill 200 armed marines.
You can walk slow around your neighborhood practicing this as a morning ritual or while going to the store. Keeping hands at shoulder level and centered is like Tai Chi or other Chinese health based exercises. It adds to joint and cardiovascular health. At a gym floor with room to move you can focus more on speed and stomping barefoot to build your fighting energy. Breathing comes into play when you are dashing from one end of a room, stopping, and then dashing back. Going faster makes longer paces.
What makes this technique unique is that we are generating power from momentum instead of driving heel into ground and turning from fudodachi into zenkutsu. Note that while ground connection makes more power face striking is harder since we are standing in lower stance. From high stance we can box to face easily but incorporating hara/ki from hip is harder. In other words the farther our arm is from our waist or centerline or body the weaker we are. Hara means energy or ki and is taught to emanate from center of body or just below navel. This is the third chakra in the Hindu tradition.
Karate uses this as well as all other Japanese martial arts. Certain things make this phenomenon true from a scientific point of view. The arms are stronger when closer to the body simply because of greater leverage. We call this a part of biomechanics or body mechanics. Martial arts study the bodies anatomy and look for how it functions specifically in regard to the muscular and skeletal systems. This results mainly in systems referred to as “external martial arts". Further studies delve into the nervous and electrical systems of the body and are referred to more as “internal martial arts". External martial arts deal with breaking bones and hitting hard. Internal martial arts deal with pressure point fighting and exploiting reflexes of the bodies nervous/cardiovascular/electrical systems. When doctor hits your knee with hammer you involuntarily kick. The external martial arts are common and easy to study and straightforward. Internal martial arts are based on Chinese medicine and are not as popular of as well documented in the west.
In karate there are two broad categories. The two categories are “soft" and “hard". This has become the standard nomenclature used to differ from internal and external martial arts. It goes on to generalize slight differences and lump styles into different groups or families based on superficial appearances. Things are said such as “this is based on this kata so it is soft. This ryu contains this kata so it is hard". Originally whoever made or taught the kata did so in way that can be described in those terms but is a bit of a misnomer. Styles are hard or soft in name only. Depending on the practitioner and what they do with kata or their training will greatly impact how how hard or soft their style is. Shitoryu is based on hard and soft styles and contains over 100 kata. Originally karateka would practice only one kata and that would become their method of fighting. Typically however teachers were able to convey information to their students about what and how they interpreted kata dictated their teaching. If the teacher thought that a kata meant one thing or was aimed at a specific skill set or prowess he would assign kata to students based on their personality and physical attributes. If a kata deals with darting in and out with hit and run attacks he would give it to weaker students so they could focus on defense and expected them to have greater speed over a bigger stronger opponent. A kata seemed to warrant strength he gave it to his strongest. This may have not been the best approach.
Differently skilled and built karateka will do the same kata differently and could develop to different fighting styles that are very apart from each other all while being none the less effective than the other. Does kata have to fit a specific type of individual? If it becomes popular or easy to teach a certain body a certain kata then yes due to practicality. If I don't have the resources or methods to teach you one kata so that you can harness it then I will teach you ones that I can. If in kata a move was meant for flashy jump kicking but I as an instructor could not possibly hope to do that move myself I could not really teach that kata or move or I would have to change it to something else. If I change it I could make it worse or better depending on what I can do and what a future student of mine can do with it.
Perform kata and learn the fighting techniques from it. Practice kata slow the way you are taught it so you can preserve the style from whence it came. Over time add power to your strikes. Going slow should have make your stances strong but take it further by going lower and strike harder forcing all muscles in body to contract at moment of impact. Once power and stance is established learn where kata should be fast and where it should be should. Time breathing for the fast and slow parts. This breathing during fast and slow will alter from person to person and dictate your actual use of kata in fighting. Actually changing kata is bad. If you feel desire to change kata then change name of it by putting your name first. Instead of Bassai call it Jim Bassai or whatever. Using the same name is confusing and misrepresents the style. You are doing one thing but calling it another.
These are some movements from tenshin. They can be done hard or soft. I will use them to explain levels of initiation. Initiation is related to sen no sen or go no sen. It implies whether your strategy is based on preemptively striking to prevent attack and being the aggressor or waiting for attack to occur and then using body shifting and blocking to then counter. Black belts are associated with strike first one victory or sen no sen, white belts are associated with defense and go no sen. Personality and mindset are key. Are you a puncher who likes to fight and win or are you a dodger and a ducker hoping to avoid all conflict and maybe unsure of your abilities and scared? Black belts fear no man and are punchers.
Move back and block with back of forearm to do hard block for quickest and safest reaction to front punch to face. Move back then use outside block while moving directly sideways for hard block damaging attackers wrist with your block. Move sideways and use outside block to damage attackers wrist and knock arm away. Counter with gyakutsuki. Move forward using manner of block to either guard against punch or damage attackers wrist.
??, ?, ? soft block
Move back and then diagonal for most space from attacker. Usually this takes you out of range to counter or touch attacker with block. Use block to guard against further attacks. You will probably have to move in to counter with punch.
Move diagonally while intercepting block without side hooking/pulling or grasping block. Cat stance is useful. Counter from cat stance by sliding forward into zenkutsu and using gyakutsuki. The nekodachi zenkutsu dachi gyakutsuki is used to build correct movement and transition of stances to do this bunkai.
Move and diagonal with knife hand block to guard while entering or deflect inner arm of incoming punch guiding it away. Distances vary. If he is very close and uses right cross you might make contact and deflect it. If you initiate movement sooner you are out of his range before he can hit you and knifehand is just guarding since not contact was made. If you initiate very soon and are aggressive your maai (range) is superior and you can and should use knifehand offensively striking his left eye area with left shuto to setup right gyakutsuki to temple or jaw, maybe to cheekbone. If he uses left jab and you move to outside knifehand blends more and turns into grasping block. Block with left hand and grab his wrist. Pull him into knee to groin or solar plexus. Bend him forward and use right hand to armbar and break his arm. Entering on the inside is different and considered initiating attack as opposed to defending from an attack by retreating to outside.
Step with right leg to upper right sliding and turning into left stance. Move with right hand and arm as you move right leg. Pivot into left stance at angle to attacker with right hand extended in shutouke or bent in uchi uke. The movement and block should be one. Turning toward to attacker assists body movement for right hand to perform uchi uke. Kick with back leg and place it forward ending in left jab setting up right cross. Jam knee into attackers left thigh with left leg after you put leg down after the kick and as you slide up for right cross. Use the ramming of your knee into their lower outer thigh just above knee or outer knee to unbalance them then land the right cross. If they are unbalanced, unbalance them further by using linear punches to push them over. If they are not unbalanced take their balance by sliding left leg behind knee. You can always punch while maintaining this leg position on their knee trapping it from escape. Use front hand to throw them while knee is trapped and punch them while they are down. Many thing can be done from this angle of attack.
Quickly move out of left jab or maybe right cross. This is better for left jab as you can blindside them, right cross has gives them ability to counter and face you easier. Move forward at an angle up and beside them turning to face them perpendicularly being at an exact 90° to them. Targets available are temple, jaw, and side of body. Hit in temple with linear closed fist. This is the best chance at temple from upright position you can get. It is directly exposed and reachable. Hitting at weird angle obscures it. Alternate punches to head and use front left leg to sweep his left and drop him him as you continue punching. When he falls on the ground take a modified sumo or shiko stance leaning forward and continue punching him him his temple. He is wicked person and must not be allowed to stand back up again. *Note when standing here kicks from back right leg can be used hitting him in spine with mawashi geri with koshi to spine possibly breaking his back. Hitting him in back with koshi mawashi geri disrupts many bodily functions turning them off or disabling them. Can cause organ damage or failure. It sends vibrations through body that inadvertently attack pressure points.
They punch with left jab. Sidestep or parry with knifehand and step behind them. In aikido this is known as “cutting in" deeply. Stand behind him using one of many complicated basic footworks to get this position. It should take one step and a pivot. From behind him you are now in his blind spot and can kill him. Traditionally a knife to throat from behind was used slicing it up. You may not have knife or desire to end life however. So instead use strikes or flee.
There are different levels of initiation. For brevity we will assume two levels. One is he raises his fist and you step forward and hit first. Second is he does the breathing associated with raising his hand so you step forward and punch him. The best way to fight is to anticipate punch and strike first ending fight with knockout from single blow. Boring but efficient When he starts to punch you see his hand is raised you attack him first maybe with a speedy jab since it can beat his right cross. Over the course of training you may find that you can beat his right cross with your right cross even though he initiated first. In time you sense his preparatory movements that mean he his chambering a fist and begin to react to the sooner and sooner. When blatantly challenged it goes like this:
The sooner you initiate and dominate the easier and better you are fighting. As you progress from a no belt to black belt level fighter it is expected that you initiate sooner and sooner as an indication of you skill. Koreans favor defense whist Japanese favor offense. Karate demands offensive thinking and mindset while Tae Kwon Do doesn't. Religious karate is a hoax where they tell you there is no first attack for ten years then make you a black belt then tell you to forget everything they told you and spend another ten years trying to unlearn the first ten. And all the while they never apologize or make an attempt to reconcile the discrepancies put forth between the two dramatically different viewpoints and mindsets. If you establish aggressive intend in the beginning that is scolded but at black belt level rewarded. If you do not display aggression at black belt level they start chiding you and use nuance to encourage you to betray the teachings of the previous 7 years or so.
You know when to fight and when not to. If you must fight you must win. When attacks says they are going to fight you your job is to instantly drop him. Arguing with him is pointless. His resolve and mindset is set on hurting you. You must avoid talk and instantly drop him. Talking is a stall tactic because they can not fight and are bluffing to punk and humiliate you. If you avoid talk they will feel insulted giving them the emotional stimulus to get angry enough to attack. This makes it easy to get inside their head and manipulate when they attack and that they attack from cowardly anger instead of real anger or using logical strategy.
Your two options really boil down to skill so there really isn’t a choice. Either you are skilled enough to initiate or you aren't. He indicates that he is going to attack and either you beat him to the punch or attempt to but the bastard managed to at least bring his hand up. If he is able to bring his hand up in malice towards you work on skills so that won't happen again. You should be hitting him sooner lest he hit you.
This differs from suck punching an unsuspecting person. He was going to hit you! Catching him off guard before he can initiate prevents him body from being neurologically prepared for pain and will unbalance him knocking him down. Hitting him split seconds later gives his body a chance to coax itself into a state more tolerant to pain and subconsciously sets his body in a more stable position for fighting. This stability gives him greater ability to withstand the first punch making successive punches necessary. This has all been said else where.
The important thing is to understand that initial punch are designed to prevent the attacker from attacking, not sparring or boxing with him. It is to end the fight before it begins. As you start punching there is no need to block since you are fully committed to the attack. He may sense doom and start to raise his hand to beat you to the punch. Your movements must be so deft and precise he doesn't have a chance.
Your punch can have two outcomes if he stumbles and falls. Typically dropping him before he raises his hands can either knock him out or knock him down but still conscious. With his hands up either he is still standing or he falls down and is knocked out. The nuance is that even though he is mentally ready to fight he isn't physically when his hands are down. Punching him at this point leaves him on the ground fully awake but not knowing what happened. He may think he slipped. He will still be awake and probably angry so you should expect to follow up with ground and pound till he is knocked out. He can be knocked down but not out even with a slight blow due to his body not physically prepared. Things happen chemically with adrenaline and hormones to keep you upright. If you let him get up he won't be in a bad stance and will have more tolerance to pain due to adrenaline. When you hit him in this state either he gets woozy but is still upright or you knocked him down and he is out. Hard block to counter, soft block to counter, moving to counter or preempt, preempting or full initiatory response.
Counters are for defense. Defense means you are weak against stronger opponent. The basic counters in Shitoryu are called tenshin. Tenshin is called ippon kumite or one step sparring aka one step in Shotokan. The ten tenshin are self defense maneuvers against a punch or kick. I will list them as accurately as I can then elaborate on their usage.
This is two man kata. You are the defender and are practicing the tenshin. Your attacker starts in hidari gedan barai zenkutsu (left down block, front stance) and uses migi oitsuki (right lunge punch) as attack. He attacks in straight line towards you. You start in kaizen (shoulder stance) with feet pointing forward instead of pointing out. When he steps forward you move away from attack, block, then counter with punch. After countering you wait a second and then return to starting position. Attacker is not allowed to return to starting position until you begin to move. You do each tenshin twice, one for the left and right sides training both sides of you body. Do the right side first and then the left.
Tenshin 1/2- Attacker steps forward into oitsuki. Wait until he is committed to attack before moving. Move to your right with sidestep and do hidari ageuke as you end in hidari zenkutsu. Chamber lead hand and perform migi gyakutsuki to opponent. Snap arm back after punch and end in hidari sotouke zenkutsu. Look at opponent in eyes while guarding and slowly return to starting position by sliding left foot back into place and right foot following. As you step and assume position hands come back down at sides but held in closed making fist. He attacks again once you are ready but this time you sidestep to your left with migi ageuke zenkutsu. Chamber lead hand and perform hidari gyakutsuki. After punch pull it to hikite and and block with front arm with sotouke. Step back into place sliding right foot first and left following as you return to kaizen. The first and second tenshin have been completed. Stand in kaizen and wait for next attack to proceed with next set of tenshin.
Tenshin 3/4- Attacker steps forward into oitsuki. Sidestep right with shutouke nekoashidachi. With front leg do keage geri then step forward into hidari zenkutsu. Set your stance and then chamber front hand and perform migi gyakutsuki. Snap arm back after punch and end in hidari sotouke zenkutsu. Step back into kaizen. He attacks with migi oitsuki again. Sidestep left into migi shutouke nekodachi. With front leg do keage geri then step into migi zenkutsu. Set stance and use hidari gyakutsuki. Pull back back and front arm ends in sotouke. Step back into kaizen and wait for next attack.
Tenshin 5/6- Attacker steps forward into oitsuki. Step and pivot into migi shikodachi. From kaizen pivot in initiated by sliding right foot forward and out then pivot on right foot bringing left leg up behind you ending in shikodachi just offline of attackers punch. As you do the foot work both hands come up to guard face and help deflect attack. *Hand movement is bend both arms at elbow and raise them up with palms facing each other. Arms stop when the bottom of palms is at chin level. This is beginner movement and to teach basic footwork. (Actual movement is more point both arms forward/diagonal to outside attacks line and swing them to soft block as you are turning same time. Footwork to retreat or stand into place is more bring foot behind the other to make renojidachi and then pivot front foot to point sideways and slide forward into shiko.). Pivot and bring arms to face then slide legs apart to make shiko. Front hand assumes guard and back hand comes to hip same time as shiko. You can kagiuchi with backhand or more likely open stance by making it fudodachi giving hips room to make gyakutsuki. Set stance, punch as you pull front hand, bring front hand back to guard and return rear hand to hip. There are takedowns available by attacking their stance with your knee. Step back into kaizen and do other side.
Tenshin 7/8- Attacker steps forward into oitsuki. Slide foot to right, lean torso to right, raise left hand to guard face. Looks like Okinawa backstance with arms switched with up arm down and down arm up. Similar to Bassai and Kanku Dai leaning blocks. Kick attacker with left foot in solar plexus. Chamber leg while still leaning. Balance on one foot. Push off back leg and move forward into kenkutsu keeping front hand up. Chamber lead head and gyakutsuki with back hand. Chamber punch as you return to guard. Return to guard. Watch opponent. Return to starting position. Repeat other side.
Tenshin 9/10- Same as 3/4 except sotouke as block to the right and uchiuke to the left. You do not sidestep. White belts retreat straight back. Middle belts on the spot. Black belts advance. Advancing is to have attacker ram his solar plexus into your keage.
Tenshin 1/2- Attacker starts in hidari gedan barai zenkutsu. He attacks with migi mae geri. Sidestep at 45° angle to right and and block with hidari gedan barai in zenkutsu. Kick with migi mae geri and step forward. Kicking brings rear hand forward to guard and hidari hand to hikite. Kick him in solar plexus. After kick slightly chamber to pull it off him and set it down. You are now in migi zenkutsu. Reverse punch with left hand. Chamber and hold guard. Watch opponent. Step back in starting position while keeping eyes on that beady bastard. In combat never retreat or leave an opponent unfinished. Repeat other side.
Tenshin 3/4- Attacker starts in hidari gedan barai zenkutsu. He attacks with migi mae geri. Sidestep at 45° angle to right. Block kick with hidari gedan barai nekoashidachi. Kick solar plexus with hidari keage. Step into zenkutsu and reverse punch.
Tenshin 5/6- Homeboy kicks. Step into shiko and barai that shit. Elbow to solar plexus. Back fist to nose. Reverse punch to solar plexus. Sweep the leg. Rotate hip and drop punch or elbow into skull. Other side is mawashi barai to throw him or reverse punch and sokomen to throw him.
Tenshin 7/8- Homeboy kicks. Lean and scoop the leg with mawashi barai. He chambers leg and scoop misses. Pivot back into zenkutsu and charge forward with mae geri. Chamber punch with knee. Land kick goose-step and step foot and punch same time. Repeat other side.
Tenshin 9/10- Homeboy kicks. Retreat, on spot, or moving up drop into low cat stance with falling hammer-fist block to jam kick at ankle. Mae geri him in gut and reverse punch in face. Do other side.
If it says homeboy it works if it doesn't then it is probably junk and needs advanced revisions so people don't train wrong. Tenshin works if it makes sense. Some things are shadowed and need to be reversed. The changes would be for the better. There are things in here that simply do not make sense and the working distances for the kata are wrong. I was asked to put this in but honestly wished I didn't. It is a mess and a waste of time for me to spend such space dealing with kihon. I wanted to put in my own notes after practicing through the years and what I do for myself not what others do. I'm not even sure of the counting in this which is why things are numbered 1/2 instead of 1,2. My instructor had us perform these in line against air as a warm up and then later in two man groups admitting you would use this this way in an actual fight. 2 man kata are to perfect distances and find what works. In essence figure it out yourself. What a ripoff. Problem was my training partners were junk and didn't care so nothing really ever came of it. I had to make my own versions and test it against a title dummy grappling heavy bag that weighed 185 lbs. just to find something decent.
Assume that there are 10 Tenshin for punches and 10 for kicks with a minimum of 3 variations of footwork and hand-strikes making a total of 60. The first 20 are the Kihon and basic which are crap and don't make any sense and in essence represent fake American karate. The next 20 are intermediate and come from playing around when you are actually given a chance and make some things work and other things break. The last 20 are no nonsense and how you should have been training since day one but they waste your time teaching you wrong and making you have to unlearn mistakes in timing and muscle memory. The last 20 you begin to start doing instinctively at black belt but should have been taught first. Depending on how much you pay and the pedigree of your dojo greatly influences how much usable knowledge you receive.
I don't even like writing this shit if it's not something I would use but gives an idea of what Tenshin is the way I practiced and how Shitoryu uses retreats at angle instead of straight back like Shotokan.
The worst way to defend is retreat in a straight line back. Think of the eight happo from kenjitsu. In karate you have back, back/sideways, sideways, forward/sideways, and circling around so you are behind opponent. You cat stance to retreat back and off-line. With practice in one step learn to retreat facing perpendicular to opponent. Over time you can move off-line and forward then pivot to be behind him. It goes like this:
white belt ??
middle belt ?
black belt ??
When you can do the black belt level movement deep enough and then pivot you are behind then at an angle. When you can move like ? and turn to be behind them then you have superior movement. This is not jousting. This is going off the line of attack and positioning yourself in an advantageous manner to strike opponent from behind so he is helpless and can not defend himself. This isn't running away like a bitch or womens self defense or crap they teach teach to steal their parents money or shit old people do to romanticize martial arts or use it for health benefits. Honestly they were out to get me since day one. Now I understand why there are so many bitter people who have disdain for the martial arts. They are sick and tired of people lying to them and fucking up their training and attempts to better themselves. There was a guy who was teaching in some run down place and spouting about how he didn't like the politics of and how training was done in America. And of course the establishment came down on him and said the usual he had wrong attitude and other player hating dick-head shit. Poor guy. If he is angry it is because he was wronged.
I fell into traps where I was humble because it was the only way I could get my training done. It was less than desirable but it worked. I had better work ethic and gained skills that others didn't. They plodded along wasting the time given them with no real goals except maybe get a black belt. I did not exhibit humility to live up to some mantra or religious nonsense. I was never weak and I was never afraid to speak out against the popular cult like indoctrination being spewed but false prophets who believed they were some guru. I trained quietly unless told something inherently wrong I had to protest.
Basically tenshin teaches counters to oitsuki and mae geri. Countering is gay. If you see trouble walk and beat their ass. Countering requires you to be attacked first. That's fucking stupid. The moment you enter the arena you should be dropping them. Somehow I got offtrack and my notes are corrupted. This is supposed to be more of and outline that grows over time with only the best information not a complete course filled with fluff. It is supposed to take all the shit I was given that was broken and fix it to make it whole again. I'll try again. You begin scared and retreat from attacks. When you get stronger and braver you initiate more because you have more knowledge and desire to hurt the opponent. You might even be angry. Anger is the opposite of fear.
Tenshin uses all the different levels of movement and blocking, thats why I put it in here. Also to to include it since I previously mentioned it many times without properly introducing it. I really did not enjoy the formal tenshin training I received and always found it limiting and restrictive so it is hard to write about it. Basically the process was sabotaged by the head instructor who wanted to produce inferior karateka on purpose. He's a fag. They punches were to too short for safety as were the kicks. The counters didn't make sense. When I found a way that worked I was always told not to do it that way because it was not “kihon". So correct training was forbidden. Then out of the blue we would be told to practice “advanced” versions and make our own. Without any structure it came off goofy instead of repeated drills designed to emphasize core skills until it became second nature. I honestly don't remember the tenshin I was taught and not sure what parts I wrote down are wrong. I will have to go back and rewrite most of it. This really sucks because I don't think it is vital just makes for tedious work.
You use tenshin as a starting place to learn sidestepping with an immediate counterattack. If the guy is charging at you you learn to hit him as he is running into the punch or kick to double the damage.
If you are being blitzed or attacked first there is a punch you need to know how to counter it. Simplest counters are sidestep, perform sandon or other three hit combo, and then take attacker down by placing knee behind there leg and using a throwing maneuver to trip them over your leg. Once down head strikes to finish him are needed to prevent him from continuing to fight. Let's compare each tenshin with the different directional movements and static versus ballistic blocking.
Tenshin #1 has guy standing in left stance throwing a right jab. What is wrong with this is boxers or street fighters don't punch or stand this way. It is pretty much worthless to practice this way. You must train honestly and realistically against real punches and actual stances to be encountered so you can get timing and distance correct. Practicing this way leads to safety in the dojo for white belts who do not know how to fight but unsafely in the streets where attackers do. Practicing in kamae is better or at least migi zenkutsu and then have it end in right stance after the oitsuki so that the defender is defender against a left jab from right stance, a much more likely scenario. By using oitsuki from hidari zenkutsu you are confusing students by telling them that it is a right cross when it is not. Nobody punches that way except Hollywood actors from the 30's or 40's. They call it haymaker or cowboy punch or some other silly shit you would only see in fake wrestling like WWE. It is unlikely to even have a karateka punch you this way! Thus it is a training stance but it is unsure how this adds to martial application or why it is even used. There are excuses but I would step in with a left jab and hold stance to do a right cross. The punching learning from this makes further study difficult because it is really bad punching that doesn't teach proper fighting and how to punch correctly or multiple times. This is why after practicing drills and kata for long periods karateka resort to upright stances and boxing punches or only punch one time often short of target before a hasty retreat. Punching in a fight happens more than once and punching once to retreat is not you killed the guy it is fighting scared. Without Okinawan body conditioning your punches are crap and your drilling is little more than cardio. It is dishonest and superficial training. For tenshin to be effective as a tool it has to teach better skills than leg strength or holding low stances or balance or harmony. It has to teach where the attack is coming from and when it is coming, where you need to move and when, how far exactly from your opponent so your kick is not jammed and you do not have to lean in with your punches to reach them.
In all the tenshin you have oitsuki and you either go right putting you inside his guard or left putting you outside his guard. This is important and decides whether to be more offensive or defensive and what options you have as far at targets and attacks are available.
Unfortunately this is not actual attack but a mere prop to guide your movements. You might as well fight a heavy bag and imagine truer attacks. Either way movement is key is response to punch. Let's view tenshin #1 as response to three different punches
Tenshin #1 right stance left jab- If head level punch is aimed at you inside left block defeats it. You counter with left jab. This is correct. Moving to the left positioning yourself inside their guard and at angle making all vital points visible is unnecessary.
Tenshin #1 right stance right cross- If head level punch is aimed at you left outside block defeats it. You counter with right cross. You stay in front of opponent and face is visible.
This is the right way to use inside and outside blocks. Note it is dependent on the punch being given. Otherwise you have the attacker using little energy to attack and defender wasting large amounts energy circling away from attack but not gaining any advantage in position relative to attacker. He can easily continue his attack while you are forced to body shift all over the place trying to dodge and weave it. Imagine a tennis player standing in the center of the net close to it and his opponent back away from it. Player hits from the center sending tennis ball either far left or right to back court. Other player has to scramble desperately from side to side to keep up only to return to ball back to where the original player has full control and is dominating the court. This represents lopsided maai. No matter what the player close to the net is conserving energy and in a position to score while the player far from the net is wasting energy running back and forth to defend yet never placing himself in a position to score. One has the ability to reach his opponent and score the other doesn't. All blocks can theoretically work but elaborate footwork is needed to put yourself in a different position to the opponent. You can not stand and block from where you are. Energy and time is needed to correct your distance so block is effective. By moving to be in position so that one block works you are moving out of position that makes another one work. You are wasting time and energy and ultimately the attacker will capitalize and connect hits because your strategy is unsound. Because of this tenshin is crap and not good for training. I can not modify it to work. I need something else entirely from scratch that isn't built on faulty framework. The foundation is just to weak.
To counter there are many variations but only one correct course of action. A bunch of stupid shit could work but it is still wrong in the sense that it lacked efficiency. Something else could have been used that was a better tool but we didn't realize it or have that ability. Using the wrong counter because we trained wrong should never be the reason. Tenshin teaches a lot of movements that are wrong and should not be encouraged. They make little sense but provide a good cardio workout. Even then there are much better cardio workouts so it would superficial even for that purpose. The result is weak lazy fat slow karateka.
Instead of working up to attacking from defending it makes more sense to work down from attacking to defending. Learn to attack and cause harm first then downgrade to defense and protective your attacker second. This would be a major breakthrough in curriculum making other training philosophies silly by comparison.
If he jabs inside block with left hand and then hammer fist, knife hand to throat, or punch with body weight forward. This is all done with the left hand to setup right hand. This keeps you in front of opponent, it is more in line with directly dealing with him. Very aggressive. Seems more like Shotokan instead of angling like Shitoryu but hard to tell since actual fighting eliminates things from training that are over stylized.
This is done from a stance that can slide front foot back into semi nekodachi for block then slide forward into kamae for tatetsuki then gyakutsuki. Or can block on stop with ABSOLUTELY NO SHIFTING OF FEET, and stomp forward with kizami tsuki and then right gyakutsuki. Or Stomp forward to block then stomp forward to punch and gyakutsuki.
Blocking with right hand is difficult because it is farther back and can not reach. If it did and was used you are now tying up your strong hand to block his weak hand. This is a bad trade-off. right hand can check punches with open palm or it can block with bottom of hammerfist held in static position. Could possibly inside hook pulling block it. Could use outside block if standing in shoulder stance maybe but unlikely. That would require more body leaning than is sensible.
Could use left outside block if moved to the outside but would probably get punched unless opponent has twigs for arms. This would give you 45° and put you outside his guard, I'm not sure why someone would favor this in unarmed combat. Going off at an angle really only makes sense if you are scared. If opponent is much bigger and more skilled than you or trying to stab you with knife and you need wrist control without fear of being punched by his other hand. Running away and retreating is not my style.
Ageuke makes little sense for a punch. Ageuke means a downward knife attack and you are holding a shield to guard yourself or putting hands up in a defensive motion to guard against being slashed. For ageuke to work against a punch you need a very low stance or to drop your body weight and lowers yourself. To use ageuke at a 45° makes little sense and nagashi uke or similar is probably a better idea. With ageuke or nagashi uke your arm is bent to blend with attack. Ageuke is bent like holding shield while nagashiuke is curved like sori on katana. Using a sword to blend seems better as shield is more hard blocking. With nagashi you can use regular upright stances and this is a major advantage. Being higher means that you might block more with elbow than forearm making it become empi uke or you were in a natural stance like kaizen and hands started at waist and raised to met attack as you stepped off line. Honestly this application of nagashi uke is very good.
From tenshin #1 we can step back as we block, step down and sideways, sideways and up making us sideways, or sideways and very much up and pivot making us either behind them or behind them at an angle. From karate sparring teaches to punch the soft body parts exposed in the front but does not deal with striking to the protected areas of the back. This is weird since being behind an opponent is an advantage. When karateka have this advantage what to they do? They get confused and resort to their training to get back in front of attacker so they know what to do. This is mistake as it gives up the advantage just for comfort or familiarity. Get comfortable manipulating position so you are behind them and can hit them but they can not hit you. I don't think enough karateka know how to continuously strike, attack first, or exploit an enemy from behind. Target liver, low spine, or kidney with reverse punch if sparring. These three vital points represented as dots in a horizontal line. Study these indepth using medical manuals. In real fight punch back of head or use rear naked choke, even front kick to spine or roundhouse kick to side of body.
Use of hard blocking is when attack is imminent to we must use full strength to guard ourselves and harm attacker. It implies a lack of preparation on our part to sense the attack thus facilitating a defense out of hurriedness. Movement is stifled and we are close only moving short distances with simple lines either front, back, or side to side. The best hard block of these is outside block to inner wrist. We must knock arm away using full strength of body to set stance being cautious not to over block putting our arm to far away for speedy countering or somehow stalling punching by moving body out of alignment. Block hard enough to hurt them and cause arm to go flying but do not move arm farther than shoulder since this causes body to turn shortening gyakutsuki making it weaker or taking time to turn torso correct to use punch. It will make us slower or weaker or use incorrect counter out of convenience. Arm held bent in face guard is another good hard block. Bent it more than 90° so it is like flexing bicep. When punched block with forearm bone and flex bicep. Shift forward and use stance to jam their punch. Jamming absorbs impact better and reduces pain. Repeatedly using this tires the arms from flexing. Use this to engage and finish but not prolonged encounter. Back fist off this and use it to setup right cross. Soft blocks need more sensing of the attack and awareness so body movements to assist in block can be ready. Soft blocks use more body movement and are good for conserving energy and reducing pain. It avoids attacks and is more defense. Soft blocks use speed over strength. Hard blocks use strength over speed. Hard blocks can stop force soft blocks can't and will fail if pitted directly against strength. Soft blocks anticipate attack and move with body in circular lines allowing dynamic fighting and encircling the enemy. Hard blocks go straight in for power strikes as more force is used and stances are harder as well. Everything is harder with hard blocks. Soft blocks get around the attack and look for vulnerable areas to strike to setup grabs, chokes, or takedowns.
Tenshin #1 has you respond to punch with ageuke. If it is left punch step sideways and crush his punch with your forearm as it rises.. Contact is your forearm to his wrist before his arm is straightened. You must preempt his punch moving slightly before him. Push his arm cross his body and face causing him to lean. The ability to move in a semicircle from kamae to zenkutsu is required. This is a Shotokan low zenkutsu trait not easily trained in Shitoryu. Shitoryu has more nekodachi from kamae. Special training is required to weaponize this application. It is not an automatic response. Hold him pinned like this and deliver repeated gyakutsuki to side below ribs and floating ribs in rapid fire succession. Seems close for hitting to face without assistance of hikite. Release his arm by bringing ageuke down over his and uses alternating punching if close in. For hikite or longer punches bring ageuke down and slide feet to correct maai. Punch him longer and harder aiming at his left side of face. Punch with authority trying to knock him out.
Try hitting same area over and over harder each time or vary spots and try to cause bruising on brain and facial cuts or bruises to overlap. Imagine a line from his chin to temple and throw linear punches along this line. Cheekbone, mandible joint, upper mandible process, and temple. There are several pressure points on side of face that need to be known prior to fighting. The small hollow above the upper mastoid process right in front of ear can be targeted in conjunction with jaw joint. Make sure to hit this point accurately and not cauliflower the ear. The ear acts as cushion softening the blow. Hitting with right punch hits ear with small knuckles cushioning it somewhat but not a big deal as the large knuckles hit the point dead on. However the right hand should be used for jaw joint to cause more damage. Front hand attacks like kizamitsuki hit the point in front of ear with large knuckles avoiding ear completely while gyakutsuki hits mandible joint. Punching almost overlaps with left going higher to ear point and right going lower to mandible point. This puts weaker punch on softer target and harder punch on harder target and keeps punches linear and straighter. The left wants to hit higher and the right wants to hit lower. Punching in this combination is very effective and enhanced by strong stance.
Him being blocked tilted him away making it hard for him to retreat or counter, he is helpless. Punch until he is toppled or sweep him. If he manages to break off and back away pursue with punches and sweep him before he can recover an upright posture regaining his ability to block.
If he uses left punch and you step to left you are inside his guard and ageuke becomes kizamitsuki with you in left stance. You slide and block, letting your block continue to his chin or philtrum. You punch him as he is moving forward making it him running into punch or you running into him with punch. Use left gyakutsuki his mouth/chin area or slightly the right side of his face the middle of his jaw to chin is so angled to him. Being in his guard places you between directly in front and 45° making more energy from movement go forward into punch allowing you to move and hit same time. It is possible to move in a wider arc but that wastes energy making initial punch weak. The wider the arc the weaker the punch since you can not transfer power forward from stance into punch. This gives good range for striking face. Kicks are limited to groin and back leg gives move power. At this distance he will not be able to see it and it will be unexpected. Punching followed by shin to groin followed by more punching is smooth and effortless. If after 4 or so punches fight is sticky and you are in “the box" he may break away one step back or begin a defense by covering his face. To kick him with mae geri higher than waist you need more room. If he steps back a half step you can step back a half step to create kicking distance. If he steps back more you can instantly kick before he can escape and create room to see and evade kick. Use kick to hit him so he does not create very much room and pull leg back to maintain maai. Maintaining maai allows punching to be better controlled and rhythm is same. Him moving back too much means stepping forward with kick allowing him to absorb damage and it changes your stance throwing punching off. You don't want to change stance after beginning an assault unless you decide to. Being forced to change based on opponent's retreat is less than ideal. It breaks form and fighting is slightly less efficient. From this position other kicks are left roundhouse kick to ribs or side of head, left stomp to his inside knee to dislocate leg, and left sweep low to his font left leg. If he is standing with weight on leg stomp his knee to break his leg. If he is taking weight off his leg but his body is still forward sweep his leg as soon as you see it not supporting his weight. As soon as it begin to move in an attempt to back up sweep it so that it will throe his balance off completely rendering guarding and punching impossible. Too slow and you will just push his leg away since he will be too agile and be able to maintain balance. If you leg sweep is timed wrong and he is able to maintain or regain balance use a double tap kick. Switch from leg sweep to groin or abdomen with hybrid mawashi yoko geri. Go for speed if he is moving away to catch him quickly. If he moved his foot only but stops retreating this gives time to chamber leg more and hit with more power. Chamber leg more and deliver it like side kick. With side kick you can target anything with your heel but edge of foot hits upper thigh and iliotibial band temporarily paralyzing it and ball of foot presses deeper in solar plexus causing more damage. Heel is harder but ball of foot more range. Side kick with ball of foot to solar plexus gives most range and stops retreat from escaping. In this context if attacker steps away and avoids kick you used wrong technique or strategy. It is not that he was lucky or just skilled, you had wrong idea what to do and battle plan was flawed. It happens no one is perfect but idea is you are overwhelming opponent with perfect technique and he can't escape. At every distance you have a fast attack to use so that striking remains uninterrupted and there is a constant barrage of perfectly timed and executed moves one to the next.
Attacks are chosen based on proximity to opponent and his posture, whether he is leaning or standing or moving. Each attack is singular in one hit one kill in that time and moment but linked back to back with out pause. You should be hitting him and he should be dead multiple times before he hits ground. He should be damaged beyond recognition. If one attack misses the next shouldn't. Bombing him with a flurry of pinches and kicks designed to KO is the rule of the day.
Fighter is attacking from boxing stance with right cross. We can block it with 4 left hand blocks to the left, 4 right blocks to the left, 4 left hand blocks to the right, and 4 right hand blocks to the right. There are 16 blocking combinations. 8 with left hand and 8 with right hand. 8 to the left and 8 to the right. There are 8 with the front hand and 8 with the back hand. It is tedious to list them all and confusing to remember and practice. His makes for extremely complicated training and includes things that are less than ideal. Ideally you would have one perfected method or style. If we were to practice one step in this fashion tenshin 1/2 would have 16 blocks to practice. If we expand tenshin to include rear hand punch then it would have 32 blocks.
This makes 160 blocking combinations to practice from tenshin 1-10. Including kicks we would have to practice 320 blocking combinations. If tenshin is your main training tool then is must be thorough and include them all. Instead of boring mindless repetition advance training to be more realistic or freestyle. I'm not sure how applicable learning 16 defenses to oitsuki is but learning to defend from left jab right cross and dashing punches is useful. Make tenshin practice center around reality based boxing attacks or take tenshin practice very serious and learn initiation from the attackers point of view. Use migi zenkutsu instead of hidari and either slide in with left kizami or right gyakutsuki.
I’ve seen one step done different ways as a step up to sparring. It went one step, then 3 step, then 5 step, then light sparring where sparrers are bouncing around light and one attacks one time letting the other counter with defenses from tenshin. After tenshin is completed sparrers switch roles and one initiates with one technique letting the other defend and then hit him. This is to gently introduce sparring to karateka who only did kata or punched air. Some schools only spar and don't have kata or tenshin. Regardless of the training methods I've seen faults that could have been eliminated to make training more complete and give students higher proficiency sooner.
To make tenshin truly effective you would need to train with very serious karateka outside of a formal school with your own devised methods. Standardization of proper training is discouraged by big organizations forcing fighters to go underground. This acts as a bane and makes training harder. It leads to bad karate and political climate in general. I'm sure people can make their own training methods but that is not good enough. Training in isolation leads to lack of equipment, space and qualified training partners. Karate should be practiced with best resources possible. Making up crap and improvising out of necessity sucks and slows learning rate. That's why in old times someone would practice kata for 30 years, they were learning to slowly. That's why always doing kihon or basic applications is lacking. You are never challenging yourself to learn something harder or more difficult. You are stagnated. Often when people plateau in training they are told to go back to the basics. Basics are practiced as a warm up to every training session so that doesn't make any sense. Warm up with basics for 30 minutes and then spend an hour weaponizing and learning more advanced attacks and perfecting them. Practice defending or deal with increasing levels of violence to prepare yourself combat.
Ends in left stance
left outside block
Counter with right cross
Ends in left stance
Right inside block
Counter with left cross
Ends in left stance
Left inside block
Counter with right cross
Ends in left stance
Right outside block
Counter with left cross
Ends in right stance
left outside block
Counter with right cross
Ends in right stance
Left outside block
Move to right
Counter with right cross
Ends in right stance
Right outside block
Move to left
Counter with left cross
This shows 8 possible outcomes in a rather naive viewpoint of combat. Traditional tenshin only uses 2 outcomes randomly chosen across the possible 160 I alluded to. Depending on what school uses what, that system of tenshin training becomes your style and you are expected to be loyal to it. Sadly being loyal doesn't pay here and much time is spent training wrong. The reasons are selfish and deprive students of correct theory and application.
Do you really want to train in tenshin with a right oitsuki? Do you want to train to defeat a right jab instead of a right cross? Do you want to train to fight in a left stance instead of a right one? These are things that boggle the mind sometimes. Only train on how you expect to fight against who you expect to fight. I expect to fight right handed boxers not Asians with devastating oitsuki so I have to include different kata in my tenshin practice or else I don't benefit from it.
Right stance blocks with right cross counter after moving to the left.
1. Step left and use left inside block.
2. Step left and use left knife-hand block.
3. Step left and use left circular falling hammer-fist block.
4. Step left and use left ageuke. Counter him with ageuke if possible.
5-8 you are using back hand to block making you closer to enemy. This is grappling range. You will break his arm and takedown. If grapple fails use striking.
5. Step left and use right outside block.
6. Step left and use right knife-hand block.
7. Step left and use right circular hammer-fist block.
8. Step left and use ageuke.
This is all blocks to the left of his right cross from right stance. Switching stance adds 8 more making a total of 16 to that side. There are 16 for either side for a total of 32. Switching from right cross to left jab adds another 32. In total there 64 defensive block/movement against a right handed boxers cross and jab. Making him left handed adds 64 making a total of 128 block/movement/stance combinations just for tenshin #1-2 alone. All the tenshin from 1-10 would be 640 or 1280 if you add the kicks. And this is basic interpretation of tenshin. I could add multiple punches, add roundhouse kick practice instead of just front kick, I could have tenshin repeated making each once practiced three times with each one moving to three distinct positions afterwards (stay in front, move to side of opponent, move behind opponent). I haven't vetted them all. Even numbering them and putting them into a matrix table is vexing.
In short boxing uses right stances so the above works; karate uses both both stances and has things of interest. You will find one side of your body has more control and one side has more power and that you use different attacks better in one stance over the other.
The main thing to stress from tenshin is how to move to intercept punches and without two man practice getting distance correct is not trained properly. Simply sparing let's you beat on the same partners over and over but tenshin prepares you for unexpected fighting postures that can arise from fighting strangers. In a sense tenshin forces your training partner to attack you in ways that he wouldn't if he was sparring you in a competitive sense but a stranger would in a real fight. I think going through every combination back to back or in stages is beneficial and know that this is not done in most dojo. Most dojo focus on a single set of ten as a magic number and don't see the need for variation but then do silly sets of 10 or impractical line drills.
I don't see it as over-training or even really believe in over training, usually the problem is under training. Doing all of them makes sense since you get accustomed to doing them and it becomes easier every time due to rote memorization and muscle memory. Train in karate for ten years plus and doing the same ten the same way gets boring fast.
Not everyone of this may be practical for all people but doing them all will ensure that no stone is unturned in training and that every possibility has been examined before being arbitrarily ignored. More is better than less and it is better to practice all of these than the same 10 over and over. Training all of these teaches the body to respond in ways it is not accustomed giving you more control of it. You will benefit more and have an advantage over those that don't.
1-8 right stance against right cross (moving left)
9-16 right stance against right cross (moving right)
17-24 right stance against left jab (moving left)
25-32 right stance against left jab (moving right)
33-40 left stance against right cross (moving left)
41-48 left stance against right cross (moving right)
49-56 left stance against left jab (moving left)
57-64 left stance against left jab (moving right)
Have someone punch at you from right stance with right cross. Step to left and use blocks 1-8 from right stance. 1-4 are striking range. In striking range best practices are used to initiate attacks and use forward momentum to force attacker off balance while retreating or knock him out. 5-8 are grappling range. In grappling range block is used to grab arm and secure joint lock to break arm and force attacker down.
Have them punch at you with left jab from right stance. Perform blocks 1-8. If mistakes are made or there is difficulty performing on of the blocks start over and try it again or spend more time working on it practicing it several times. Work on the ones that matter more to you and the ones that give you more trouble. Learn the distance to step and position hand to intercept block. Repeated practice teaches when and where to make contact to block. Sometimes you overstep and are completely out of the way so there is no contact. This is ok because you focus on moving and striking not the block. The block only exists to protect yourself, if you are not in danger of being hit because he missed blocking becomes less relevant. The only time blocking matters other than to guard body is when you are using it to maintain contact with arm so you can get wrist control and joint-lock. There are ways to block statically that make punching to the face impractical. Using dynamic blocking is to make blocks stronger or to employ tactics.
Sometimes you step faster and are able to move and punch first. In this case 1-4 use left jab to right cross omitting the block. Use the left hand to jab rather then block then commence striking sequences. 1-4 gives a upright boxers stance feel and allows more mobility to move to side or around to the back of opponent. 5-8 are harder to do and more advanced. Movement is difficult since you have to move more to block with the right or far side of your body then the left or near side. When you move you end up being closer and more to the front instead of circling them. Your rear hand blocks making it unsuitable to strike with right cross forcing you to left jab. This is a huge disadvantage. The block is best used to grab wrist with left hand catching elbow. This stance goes lower like hanmi. You start practicing the movements and blocks and striking from it then graduate to making it a grappling drill. The block is pulling and so lowering stance maximizes the pulling action unbalancing and trapping enemy. This allows locking to occur. Grappling involves more nuance. Feeling out your opponent is more involved.
More times than not the right cross chambers or snaps back before wrist control can happen from the block. Sometimes it slips. For these reasons striking is introduced first and grappling second. If you use 5-8 to attempt a grapple and there is problem joint lock is not possible and striking must be first nature. Move block then:
A) Instantly strike in succession to pummel foe, or...
B) Grab forearm and slide to wrist control grab above elbow with left hand and turn into armbar, lower stance to provide pushing down on elbow joint while pulling up with right hand holding wrist. Left hand controls upper arm locking it and forcing shoulder up and back throwing opponent by bending him backwards with a forceful slam to ground. Or...
C) Realize that grapple has failed and attempting it is pointless as it slipped and is not held in a controlled and static manner. If blocking is hard and sloppy there is your right hand is still making contact if only for a moment. Contact needed for grapple has disappeared or was never present but you find yourself in this position to grapple. Immediately counter with striking without hesitation nor giving grappling a second thought.
This is the three mindsets
A) block strike
B) block grapple break throw
C) block lose grapple strike
Using ageuke during #8 seems weird but is possible if done with a nagashiuke feel. This is very advanced and beyond dojo karate that is commonly practiced. Blocking in this manner is the synthesis of multiple Chinese/Okinawan/Japanese systems are training one to one or alone for many years building correct responses to real violence. This takes training out of standardized forms and makes it conform to one's own body developing a personalized form of combat. It is a bit out of place in pure striking but has it's roots in jujitsu making it's use in karate more complete and karate-jitsu-esque.
1. Step left use right outside block.
2. Step left use right knifehand block.
3. Step left use right hammerfist block.
4. Step left use right ageuke block.
5. Step left and use left inside block.* (may not work. Stand in place or move back and/or use outside block)
6. Step left and use left knifehand block.
7. Step left and use left hammerfist block.
8. Step left and use left ageuke block.
1-8 outside of attackers left jab (move right)
1-8 inside attackers left jab (move left)
1-8 inside attackers right cross (move right)
1-8 outside attackers right cross (move left)
1-8 outside of attackers left jab (move right)
1-8 inside attackers left jab (move left)
1-8 inside attackers right cross (move right)
1-8 outside attackers right cross (move left)
Most of these don't work or take years to master or there are simpler moves. Basically blocking with front hand works and back hand doesn't and people use ageuke like crap and are totally clueless.* I've been doing this longer. Karate is millions of repetitions. Over time you build up the power to do everything and it makes more sense. Sometimes you abandon things only to come back to it. It becomes less winning a fight and more fucking someone up in style. Fear is non existent and you are hard as fuck.
I want to outline all the possible moves not so much for training but rather due diligence. I don't think that has ever been done. It is a massive undertaking. Putting all the moves in a matrix allows it to be cracked like a code leading to a complete yet streamlined process. It's simply math.
*side note. If you break your front arm or get shot or stabbed in shoulder and arm it may be necessary to use one of these back arm blocks. I take personal security serious and overtrain for every scenario in a overly serious and extreme manner. Assumed parameters is that law is nonexistent and it is a fight to the death with all options on the table and no half measures.
This is all 1280 tenshin I know. It can be done over the course of a year. 1280 divided by 52 weeks divided by 3 times a week is roughly 8.2 tenshin. Practice the tenshin 5-10 times each per training session. Do then in order and map your progress. Making a chart in a notebook is necessary. In spare time or on weekends practice the tenshin around heavy bags, body shaped bags, trees, or other objects. I have even used portable and stationary units like curbside trash canisters since they were big enough and shadow boxed walls and imagined opponents attacking me and moving in the correct response when no training partners were available. I did not only train at a gym. When combined with the eight happo the 1280 becomes 10240 distinct movements.
Out of the eight happo there are three main directional movements that are important to tenshin plus standing in place. Standing in place can have nuance of slightly moving in a direction say backwards to set a retreating stance, forward to intercept or jam attack, or slightly sideways to create space for a block to occur. All the while for the most part you are in front of opponent and he has attacked. In fighting you tend to be in front more and attacker will turn to face you as you sidestep slightly. For tenshin purpose (and later fighting for that matter) standing in place means attacking on the spot even though moving backwards or forwards or sideways does help.
45° Circling to get close to him to close gap and avoid attack by being off the line of it. Not a retreat. Move up.
90° Moving sideways to him so you can punch him straight into his temple. Like 45° but stepping in deeper.
135° standing at 45° behind him. Avoid attack and be in position to rear naked choke. Like 135° but deeper.
So you either execute technique on spot or move one of the main three degrees above. This is proper way to sidestep. This is how to close gap while avoiding an already launched attack. There is more on how to actually move but this is general idea. Practicing sidestepping is important for countering and learning to use go no sen. We do not step back or back at an angle. We pursue opponent and attack from deceptive angles. Intuitively he will track our movements and correct by turning to face us so he can attack. By sidestepping and circling he has to constantly keep turning in circles to target us correctly. It is annoying and wasteful for him. Instead of just plowing ahead unimpeded he has to stop turn, stop turn, stop turn. This makes it ineffective for him to use momentum in an assault. If we just stand there he will plow over us. If we retreat in a straight line back he will just plow straight towards us alternating punches and his momentum is hard to stop. Using momentum is where he is comfortable striking so we must take away from him. Simply circling does nothing by itself so we must also hit him. If we just keep circling in a round arc without attacking he would simply turn and catch us and hit us or start an assault. Once started we would be caught in an exchange and move straight back and now he is in his comfort zone.
We must attack him from a side angle and finish him or take him down, or if after getting him he turns to us we must disengage and start again. If after attacking him with three solid hits and he is some kind of freak and still standing and we have no take downs available we must continue to exploit him from this angle where we can attack him but he can not attack us. Once he starts turning to face us this gives him chance to counter so then we must step back, allow him to strike, and then go off the line of attack again. Depending on which stance he is in and what hand he hits with determines our strategy. If he truly is a freak then countering is our only chance, we must fight outside his guard. Fighting inside his guard is if we are tougher and want to drop him right away. Inside his guard and he is stronger he will beat us.
He throws punch we side step outside his guard and beat his ass but fail to drop him. He has a choice of backing away and facing us or turning on spot and recovering. Him recovery is dangerous and unexpected so if we don't drop him we break away. After breaking away there is some distance, a gap if you will. He comes in again and we sidestep again this time respecting his power and aiming for weaker places to target. We do dart in and out attacks but at angles from sidesteps. We use power strikes not jabs. We try to unbalance him rather than topple or KO. We can not over power him so we must fight smarter than him. If he is wise to our tactics and good fighter he can close a gap, track us, and keep us in his sights. Using his full aggression he will swing wildly with full power trying to caught us in the open and exploit us. If he has sufficient speed this is problem for us. It prevents us from formulating a plan of attack. We must not let him do this! Our life is sacred and he has no right to harm us this way. Point is he will throw many punches very fast preventing us from sidestepping very much and always stay right on top of us. Basic Tenshin doesn't teach this phenomenon very well and leaves karateka wondering what happened when they try to go offline and things fall apart when their one punch isn't strong enough or the guy can and will turn to face us and will throw more than one punch. I don't care for being humiliated and learning fake karate is a good way to learn humility. You will always be weaker and everyone will always be stronger.
Don’t circle in a predictable and easy to track manner. Take him by surprise. Build strength enough to hurt him no matter how much stronger he is than you and use alternating left and right evasion maneuvers so he doesn't expect your future position. Attack first darting in and out then break off encouraging him to attack how and when you want and then sidestep and exploit him. Don't just stand there wanting for his attack because you will lose. Once he has momentum you are a goner. Learning how to move just at the right time in just the right way takes a long time to learn. There are things that work and things that don't and knowing the difference comes from experience and a genuine desire to win and not get ass kicked. People lose fights because they fight stupid and don't really care about winning. They train poorly and are unrealistic because they think they will never be attacked and don't really need to learn how to defend themselves.
Sidestep when the right punch is thrown. If he jabs go right, if he crosses go left. If you are close grab his arm and break it. If you are far move so that you always have superior maai. If he punches from distance and you try to grab it you will break or jam your fingers and then not be able to grab or punch. He will kick your ass because you tried something stupid. There is not one technique that will work always. You can not just say you will use a certain technique during the fight. During the fight you have to use what is available and what will work. Once that opening to attack him closes it is gone for good and that might have been the only chance to defeat him or the critical blow in the fight that would have secured victory for you. Training centers around finding opening and taking them immediately because it is the difference between life and death. Fighting is dangerous.
Sometime people like doing a special move. They even practice it and get good results in sparring. In a real fight it fails and they banked all their hopes on it like now was their chance to show off. They waited and waited for the opportunity in the fight to put out their signature move all the while missing opportunities to strike and end the fight in a less than glamorous way. Once they thought they had their opening they used a stupid move that they were found of or thought to highly of but was not fully weaponized nor appropriate for the fight they were in. I can see that happening. Winning a fight means blood sweat and tears and using the best technique available even if it’s hard to do and you don't like it and it is a chore rather than a pleasure. Best stances, best timing, best hip rotation, best effort, best focus, best everything. Sometimes it hurts and means straining and giving it you teeth gnashing best.
A better way of doing tenshin is to get a notebook and write down all the tenshin separating them into whether going outside the guard or staying inside the guard. Then make inside the guard move to 45° and use block as face strike avoiding the attack completely. Then make going outside the guard use 3 happo so the you can practice all three in a row getting a better feel for the attack and work up to stepping deeper each time. This eliminates a lot of tenshin that are purely moving basics and leaves only true fighting applications. I like this approach better as it is less messy. The hardest part I have is listing all the correct true ones and making side notes on the nuances that an occur for each one. It is an exhaustive list and practitioners are usually encouraged just to memorize then from practice but this leads to skipping things and is not very structured. Details are omitted that would be otherwise. Learning to block with back hand is very Okinawan and comes from Chinese trapping and grappling. Most grappling is left in karate kata and is usually omitted making karate striking only with some limited grappling that is very crude. There is a lot to study and organizing the information better makes it easier. Grappling from tenshin would be considered advanced and left in a separate grouping. I listed in a rough way all the tenshin but did not organize it for training and track keeping purposes. I will do that later.
Using 5 is the best, followed by 4. The first two are more traditional. For best traditional practice have attacker stand in shoulder stance to begin and step into zenkutsu with left kizamitsuki mimicking oitsuki and then go back to shoulder stance and step forward into zenkutsu with right gyakutsuki. This gives a better feeling of what to expect in real fighting. It also teaches both practitioners real biomechanics for punching. Dojo that train kids don't do this because they are scared of lawsuits if a kid gets hit accidentally or a kid gets mad and then parents are upset. This type of worrywort mentality is what ruined karate. Punch slow so person can move out of the way and direct your punch so that they have to deal with an attack that would hit them if they did not move. Control attack so that if you are about to hit someone pull hand back so it doesn't. Duh. Without the attack punching to the face or being close enough to hit him purpose of training is lost. The working distance to do the moves is wrong. Years of being responses based on incorrect distances will lead to karateka easily confused in real fight. When fighting he will do the wrong thing at the wrong distance and lose. Seriously this huge mistake can be avoided by ignoring lies that safely in dojo trumps safety in streets. Fake attacks in the gym are nothing. If you can't handle someone trying not to hurt you you are going to get creamed in real life. It bothers me and is reason for concern.
The traditional tenshin is slapped together to give defender a feel of the stances in response to attack. But it implies that this stance with this block. All blocks can be used from any stance and in is weird for most karateka to hear this. They never practiced all blocks from all stances, only tenshin and sparred only zenkutsu overly locked out with weak jab and sport right gyakutsuki. That is garbage. My tenshin teaches how to counter boxing punches from grounded kamea and use one block after the other to build hand skills over stance skills. The most important stance is kamea because that is how you will fight period. Time is spent building each persons own kamae so they have the most power, control, mobility, and blocking at their command to deal with any attack. I build champions that excel in tournament and street. Kamae is used for first sets and then traditional stances are used to teach defense and maai. Stances imply defense. I stress hitting first or defend then take kamae and fight. Traditional stances are used to slide away briefly before assuming kamae at a new location and commencing your attack from that point. Drills to hold traditional stances are used to strengthen leg muscles and improve balance but are not used for commencing an attack because that is not their design or function.
Oddly enough I overuse cat stance a lot to slide around and change position relative to opponent. It is a very agile stance. I also use it a lot like a boxer or to a lesser degree a Muay Thai fighter. In a boxing stance weight is placed over front leg to increase punching power. This is true for karate as well and that is why zenkutsu is used with gyakutsuki. In boxing if you are punched at you reposition yourself by stepping front leg back. This makes it look like the Muay Thai stance or a very high cat stance, back leg is not bent. You then slide forward to counter with strong punch either a jab or cross. Moving forward while hitting makes punch stronger even if it is only a little bit. Stepping in like this allows rear foot to be planted and front foot to stop same time at hand. For strength stance is locked. For mercy or speed stance is slightly locked and then relaxed so quicker weaker punches can occur. At proper distance ideally all stances lock fully upon contact to instantly release and chamber another punch. This flexing then relaxing then flexing of the muscles is a trained reflex and takes years of training to build up. This is best practices and strongest karate. At a closer distance it is imperative that we are hitting and proper karate is hindered as it only works at medium distances. We must sacrifice some power for speed and then take them down or correct maai so that we can return to rooted stance punching. We can use speedy 3/4 locked stances in a jiffy but must not make a bad habit out of it. Turning off to an angle is to get out of a boxing slugging it out distance and increase range just ever so slightly so that full punches can be executed with proper technique. We do not break away and never stop our assault instead we make tiny corrections in our exchanges that are subtle and unnoticed. Breaking away prevents us from hitting because we are too far and the opponent can move where ever he wants giving him too much control over the fight and maai. We do not want this. If we are to close karate punches will be to slow and he will beat us plus are punches will be jammed and weak since they are to short and the technique is too small.
Tenshin is training a lot of thing so how do we organize this into a trackable syllabus? Once ground rules are goals are laid out the moves are categorically listed and named and each practice we check off in our notebook what we did. Similar to a workout plan where we scratch off what exercises we did at the gym. It has to be clear what we are training the how and why so that we can improve. Anytime we can change our training in a scientific manner rather than an arbitrary one.
Tenshin #1- trains zenkutsu or our kamae. Used as pure zenkutsu is inappropriate as a response. It doesn't make sense.
Tenshin #2- trains nekodachi. This is a retreating stance but we used it to adjust our maai not retreat. It corrects distance improving striking power so instead of wasting energy with techniques that are too small we hit them at a longer range.
Tenshin #3- trains shikodachi. Shiko is sumo stance and is used for grappling. We use it for takedowns with various waza.
Tenshin #4- trains manjidachi. Best approximation I can use for this stance. This is ninja stance and is esoteric.
Tenshin #5- trains kokutsudachi. I changed this from they way I was taught. It was previously cat stance with falling hammerfist with a straight back retreat. I was stronger than my peers and sparred harder. During this tenshin you would retest a kick and block with hammerfist or you would retreat a punch and either inside or outside block. Then you would step forward into zenkutsu and punch to solar plexus or kick punch to solar plexus. It was step half step back and fall into cat stance while being close to attacker and then block and then step forward to counter. I do not like retreating. I would drop into stance on spot and block hard like rakka. I have good cat stance from kenjitsu and aikido and have strong blocks with stance and block same time. Their attacks were to weak so I did not fear their power. Instead of retesting I would block on spot and defeat them with block alone. Their stance and balance was nonexistent or “mu”. I progressed from blocking on spot to blocking with more forward feel. More and more I began to transition from attack second to attack first. I would counter before their attack began. I would jam their kicks with my knee or stomach kick them in mid flight with their knee still chambered. Remember you only attack as soon as they more. As soon as they moved I attacked first because their stances were low and they had lack of mobility, I was in shoulder stance. It's not my fault that they had slow oitsuki from low zenkutsu. They should have trained more honestly. I was scolded for this. It's like they thought I was cheating because of the difference in stance mobility. It was not like that. I would attack them from a low zenkutsu training my stance flexing my legs, making sure I did not telegraph by moving front knee or toes. How come they could not preempt me like I could them? How come their blocks could not deal with my oitsuki or mae geri. Sometimes I banged myself up on their mae geri but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. It taught me what worked and what made me go “ow". Typically blocking a kick with hard block with break your arm. You must intercept it before it has gained sufficient strength and speed. I would go slow when attacking and attack progressively harder and with more focus to make a better training partner. I would commit to the attack and attack in straight line with speed knowing they would move to counter it and not change course or trajectory to track them. Maybe that is what they wanted who knows but in my mind commit to the attack idiotically so they have change to sidestep. If you are sidestepping their side step you will hit them. Why the fuck would I want to hit them if they need to learn defense? I can't make it too hard for them. I didn't try to compete or beat them I merely gave them correct distance that attack would hit them if they moved. They trained wrong on purpose always moving the starting point away to far so that even the instructor would say they are too far away. They never listened to me and never improved. They got their black belts from kata alone and stopped showing up anymore to learn the bunkai of the black belt and higher kata.
I was told by another black belt that I was moving to fast and that if I did the attacker would track me. This is true but only when you are sidestepping not moving forward to initiate and beat them to the strike. They were concerned it was too much like fighting. What the hell does that mean?
I changed this to kokutsudachi because my original Shitoryu did not used kokutsudachi and was dismissed as a wide cat stance and therefore interchangeable. “We don't need kokutsudachi because we have nekodachi...”, and crap like that. Whatever. If it is interchangeable then if I interchange it there should be no objection. Both stances help with kicking in different ways and to not have one is a mistake. Speed kicks come from front leg with nekodachi. Kokutsudachi teaches how to lean backwards and extend front leg for more reach and power. Without understanding kokutsudachi some kicking strategies are impaired. There are body postures that arise naturally during sparring that are related to kokutsudachi and not having trained kokutsudachi you are in essence doing it without realizing it or you won't do it at all limiting your kicking options and understanding.
Tenshin #6- Block a front kick punch combo using kamae. Blocking the kick is easy but his punch is too fast and will get you. I don't like running away but everyone gets scared and runs from kicks never learning to block, jam, or deflect them. Part of the reason I train to fight with a broken arm. Breaking your arm is stupid but lets say you are swung at with a bat or skateboard. Ageuke and run forward and jam the attack is sidestepping is not an option. Broken arm beats being dead. And that's the truth. You can't always take the easy way out and sometimes fighting is inconvenient. It's not to be a macho bonehead it's that there really is not viable other options except to take pain and be a man. Women tend to worry more as they doubt themselves more and lack confidence. Two handed blocking helps. Leg checking helps. The only real solution is running through attacker and toppling him and this is hard to practice without injuring uke. In reality hard to picture and a kick would probably be low anyways so leg check and then punching him while off balance makes complete sense. How many high kickers do you fight? They will not be using karate but mma/military and that is all roundhouse kicks. I always wondered how to do variations of tenshin with roundhouse kicks instead of front kicks to better deal with the changing landscape of modern fighting. Is there a feasible way to do this? Instead of using tenshin for this a standing two man drill makes more sense. In a lot of places I overlap tenshin and two man drills but this is a special application that needs its own practice. I would rather create a drill for this to improve both offense and defense than having to learn it the way I did in freesparring.
Tenshin #7- Block a front kick punch combo using cat stance. Typically this teaches downward knife hand block. I use hammerfist for a few reasons. Mostly to protect my hand but also to keep fist closed since open hand to closed hand and back and forth is hard to do. If you are going to fight closed hand it is better to keep it that way so that you don't jam fingers or thumb and so that you can keep adrenaline flowing and fight stronger. *Closed hand means a strong opponent and you need to fight your hardest. It means you might lose. Open hand means you are very very confident in your abilities and don't want to hurt him. Open hand and knife hand is for grappling or pressure point striking. Closed hand is for he does not respond to joint locking, grappling, or pressure points. Closed hand means your secrets weapons just went out the window. Closed hand is almost scary since you actually have to fight instead of topple some easy customers.
Tenshin #8- Block front kick punch combo from shikodachi. This seems easy since grappling beats kicking. He kicks and you tackle him or sweep his leg with sweeping down block. There are countless variations of this but form is emphasized to tie into Japanese forms of jujitsu. Karate has dubious origins but jujitsu doesn't and there for more reliable. Sometimes we throw things out sometimes we blindly adhere. We can add on but once we throw something out it is gone for good. Keep the traditional from this and add on. Learning shiko is rough and this helps make sense of it in an applicable way. Shiko appears constantly in kata in goofy ways with funny arm gestures. This is no nonsense application and shows how to turn body to guard yourself and make a smaller target, how to change levels of height, how to shove or stuff an attack. Turning your body and ramming them is sometimes called a shoulder punch. This is same thing but from a lower lever. This is reminiscent of American football where players squat and ram each other, kinda like Japanese sumo. This should easily be learned by American westerners even if it doesn't seem obvious at first. Some people over stylize their football. With leverage shiko can be viewed as a tackle to the front, at an angle, from the side, or from behind.
Tenshin #9- Block kick and punch from manjidachi. Manji means swastika and implies up block and down block at same time. My old school taught mostly women and children and called this “tilted tree". They did other things in their life like yoga and were a mostly civilian class but had connections to law enforcement and first responders. They brought silly shit from yoga into the practice and that was their contribution. In yoga there are poses such as “warrior 1,2,3...” which are an extrapolation of zenkutsu and manjidachi. In yoga they are derivative and only stretches designed for health and mental well being. They have no fighting value. Yoga is not a martial art. We learn martial arts to fight not to not fight. Not fighting is an eastern Confucius Zen Buddhist commie plot. Don't let that Asian trickster confuse you. He was an ass. How come they make the upblock de-weaponized and have arm bent 90°? You do realize this is ninja pose for holding two sai and originally two sai were two knives? This has a lot of interpretations none of the actual ones will be found in modern karate I'm sure. First the Japanese banned weapons, second America banned martial arts. And that is why Yoga and Tai Chi are king with bastard fitness programs like Taibo and Taicheng. The funnier sounding the name the more made up and bullshit all for marketing and dumbing down purposes. The fighting method is Taijitsu and is based similar to karate striking and jujitsu grappling but without rigid stances. It has more sliding up and down into stance and is in my opinion more natural and freestyle. Without rigid stances movement is more fluid and allows for greater flexibility, a trait acquired from yoga. Fluidity made for slim flexible ninjas while rigidity made for strong bulked up karateka. Hmm this is very in line with the science available at the time but primitive by modern standards.. Ninjitsu of course is related to this and has criminal connotations. The block is low to sweep the leg and allow evasion, a very ninja like attitude. But from multiple texts we see that double blocking means grappling. First block sweeps leg, second block turns knee over dislocating it. In other words you are not evading you are engaging to break leg and mayhap sweep to put them on their ass. You break leg with hands and then sweep with stance. That is why the stance goes low. It reads like a manuscript of what to do but not actually how to do it. With a broken leg maybe then you could make could your escape. Ironically this twisting action when applied to neck will kill. This twisting action will destroy any joint and cause permanent loss of function and main for life. So in effect ninjas are ruthless and evil. Good to know.
Tenshin #10- Block kick and punch from kokutsu. I'm still working on this one. I expect tenshin to be performed at full speed and power. Training should allow for happo and be able to move in distinct placements of and around opponent. How does this translate to kokutsudachi? How to you front kick with front leg while in zenkutsu? Haha you can't because weight is on leg! You must lean back into kokutsudachi to take weight off leg. So simple but most Shitoryu karateka are flummoxed and can't do it because the training is not there. They don't have this kick and therefore don't train it or know how to defend against it. It's a weak kick but does give range and does remind people that it is possible to kick with front leg. All front of body attacks are weaker that back but are quicker and are used to setup stronger attacks. Simple kata would be lean into kokutsudachi and front kick with front leg and then set foot forward and lean forward into zenkutsu and front kick with back leg. This is almost a scissor kick combination. Tae Kwon Do does exclusively kicks and has definitely worked out all the angles and combinations taking this to apex of training and study. We might use kokutsu to lean away to move body away from attack. This is called swaying. Block kick with our gedan barai hammerfist to deflect. Then lean forward and kick with mae geri and punch. Or something like that.
So far in this list we have 10 modified tenshin with the focus on what stance we use to defend. This gives us the training to use stance against common punch or kicking providing maximum training benefits. How else are we to practice stance against attack before kumite? This practice teaches us proper distance to defend and engage so we don't embarrass ourselves in sparring. Stances are for function not aesthetics. Without proper training are purely aesthetic and lack function leading to loss leading to being discredited as having value leading to being unused. Learn to use them in tenshin so you can you them in kumite. If it looks slow and stupid in tenshin it can not be used in kumite and your sparring will look bad. You will be out of position and stuck in halfway zenkutsu or maybe upright neko but you will always be retreating and never whooping ass like you should be.
Attacker can punch or dash and punch. Dashing is not same as stepping. Stepping changes stance with dashing maintains it. Dashing is done wrong in Shotokan because they jump to much and use it for speed. They lack ground connection with foot and don't hit as hard as they should. It is a sport not combat. I can not really teach this style as sport but can spar. There is no point system or competitions. Just endless sparring similar to 100 man kumite but more rooted with very little banned techniques. There are so guidelines to use proper technique but that's it. Gloves are used and techniques are pulled. Pulling techniques prevents injury and builds speed and reflexes for hikite. In actual fight extend punch you hit him harder and flex all muscles simultaneously to cause impact. Time the impact in real fight the same way you do when you hit heavy bag. Dashing can maintain some ground connection if done correctly. It is how you lower weight to stay connected to ground. Typically if heel is on ground when you are hitting them that is connection. Dragging the heel across the ground happens and can be okay or bad depending on surrounding circumstances. It is a compromise of conflicting idiosyncrasies.
Attacker is in fight mode and steps in with left jab and snaps arm back. Think of his arm as straight and then bent in ready position. There are two points of interest. The area of his elbow from where the punch originates and returns and the area of his fist with arm extended. In between these two points is where his punch is weak against any block. Intercept his punch here. Block as a defensive measure first covering head so that if he were to hit at his in tended target the effect is punching your forearm instead of your face. Move out of the way by side stepping to avoid attack and get around his punch so that his face is more visible and not obscured by his arms. Move to set the best distance so your punch can hit him the hardest. To close jams it and to far glances. Set distance and angle so you can punch him directly in a straight linear fashion. Once to the side accurately target the spot on his face that will knock him out or break his facial bones. A short list is jaw, philtrum, cheek bone, orbital bone, temple, and hollow in front of ear. These areas produce death and unconsciousness. Do not punch wildly or blindly.
You moved and raised arm in defensive manner. If you wanted to intercept your arms touched and caught his arm at the halfway point before it could generate speed and power to defeat your block. This keeps you closer. Intercepting it sooner closer sets up the ability to grab his arm and easily break it. At this very close interception you have taken him by surprise and three things may happen: his arm is impeded and no longer a viable weapon for him, or you balanced him and he wants to step somehow to regain it usually by retreating, or your block was superlative and becomes a strike clocking him as he runs into it. The last is preferable and go no sen sen.
You moved and raised arm in defensive manner. You are standing at angle guarding you face. His punch missed you due to movement and didn't make contact with you block. Typically this means you moved to fast and he should have seen your movement and turned as he was punching to hit you. His focus wasn't there and he punched arbitrarily. Whether he leaves his hand out or not is irrelevant since you are off his line of attack. Chamber blocking hand and reverse punch him in head to counter. The beauty of this he is completely exposed to be punch and your position allows for good hikite and punching technique, you can easily punch him with best practices. Using hikite means exposing face since you are dropping your guard plus longer chambering actions make punching slower. Your face is exposed while you are performing a long range and so slower punch. This keeps your face exposed long enough to be countered except that you are standing at an angle where he can't do that. Normally in boxing or street if you drop guard and reach back to slug someone they counter you because you are too slow and exposed for too long. This only can occur however if you are directly facing each other. Since he committed to the attack and missed and you stepped early you have ample time to catch him unguarded and continuously punch him. He is extremely vulnerable like this. In tenshin we practice only one counter but up to three if control is maintained and people are highly skilled. Getting punched at once is okay but three times scares people and makes them uneasy since they are just supposed to stand there and take it. They are not allowed to interrupt training and so must tell themselves not to guard. Having someone hit at you while you are compromised requires high levels trust and simply is not there most of the time. Telling yourself not to block one punch is okay but more than that becomes a bit much to bear.
Moral is ageuke is to grab their arm or sock them in face in addition to simply blocking. It is dual use. Block then use second ability or reverse punch with other hand. Ageuke then acts as jab to set up reverse punch. Lock your stance with ageuke to make blocking stronger but especially if punching with it. Knowing when to lock stance for blocks is tricky because in that moment you are hard and rigid preventing speedy countering. This is a problem will tenshin #10. You can lock your stance through various degrees allowing for both enhanced strength and retaining mobility to move or punch. This makes karate dynamic meaning doing more that one thing at a time. When and how to lock your stance comes from experience and practice. After learning your body and how it responds to various training stimulus you will know what to do and when.
Ageuke to face is like using kizamitsuki. Sanbon flows from this. Kizami,gyakutsuki, and kizami again. After these three punches you have rear hand ready to use gyakutsuki again but you consider what is the best thing to do. A slight pause is inserted after sanbon to pay attention to posture of opponent to check his condition as well as reset breathing. At this point you decide whether to finish with strikes or use a basic takedown. Advanced would be jointlocking him. Jointlocking may give up your advantage and he can counter you if you give him reprieve. Typically once you start an assault closed handed you continue until him is downed. Stopping to grab him allows him to recover. While atemi is used to loosened an opponent up before joint locking him karate focuses on hard striking. This is a karateka's strongest weapon. Using superlative defense,attack, movement, and strategy he is all but helpless. Attempting a joint lock gives up this hard won advantage that years were spent learning how to apply in combat. The only thing necessitating a joint lock would be striking is deemed to be ineffective against a extraordinarily well built fighter and breaking his arm is the only way to end things quickly. Jointlocking a dangerous fighter with intent to disable his arm will end fight however jointlocking an agile and technical fighter might backfire as striking was effective against him but he is able to reverse your sloppy grappling attempts. I would say if he is skinny then beat his ass but if he is big then joint lock him. Joint locking takes bigger fighters and makes them smaller but does not take small fighters and make them smaller.
This how to defeat left jab from outside. He has some protection with his arm being able to bend back and guard his head and he has some protection from his shoulder being large and obtrusive. Punching must be aimed under or over his shoulder since punching him in the shoulder doesn't hurt at all. Snapping his arm back to ready does not cover the side of his head so we hit him there. He can however hunch his shoulder and pull back further than ready to guard his head. This is an appropriate defense. If you are sidestepped then to this and immediately pivot to face attacker. He can also lean head away as he is hunching his shoulder but this is doom. His body will sway and lean sideways forcing him into sideways retreat and compromising his mobility and stance. Stance is weak to the side and you are forcing him to lean and retreat posing danger of his legs crossing and or his stance becoming too narrow. His feet are to close to each other. He can not move away fast enough. Only incompetent striking will save him. If you are missing your strikes and they are glancing him start punching below his shoulder rather than unbalancing him. He will turn to face you prematurely from a compromised stance and guard not fully recovered leaving him open to full frontal punching to face. You will be moving forward and using momentum and this will knock him out. Had he not tilted head away and just stepped forward and pivoted while hunching his shoulder he would have fully recovered and posed danger to you. This is what to be expected. If your striking is incompetent to a high degree and his leaning bullshit is saving him then kick him with back leg and run up and sweep his lower leg. Leg sweeps are used against a retreating opponent or one with a weak stance. He is both. Punching while sweeping is impractical here. Cease punching as is shortens and slows your leg movement and run with hands held in guard protecting your face. Run up and kick his leg violently to injure and twist his legs up or remove them from supporting him so he falls. Running up helps you catch him and sweep him. Sweeps fail because retreating opponent is just shy of range to drop him. This tactic makes dropping him much more likely. Why punch if it is only wasting energy? You are not going to hit him and it is only making it harder for you to kick him. Once he falls you can stomp him out and call it a day.
If you move inside his guard it means standing in place and swatting punch away. He follows up with right cross and you repeat the response to go outside his left jab. Block the left jab by swatting it away and then immediately move right to attack from outside their guard and range. You move before right cross comes into being. He will throw it and be committed but you are already gone. If he doesn't then it doesn't matter you are already attacking him. It is better to not be punched at then to be punched at. So he is going to over commit to the attack even though you are already moving. He will do this out of habit or instinct and will not be able to track you even though he has time to. If he sees you moving he will hesitant to punch and turn to se what you are doing. Not realizing your speed and follow through you will catch him with sanbon before he can react. Speed and accuracy allow better performance than boxing or street fighting unusually expects. He will miss time your attack.
He has guard up and throws right cross. Moving to your right cause problems. If he opens with this his stance impedes options. His left leg is forward so oitsuki defenses fail. He can track you easy since he is not throwing a combo and so not as committed to the attack. Going to right tends to retreat instead of move up and close close with good angle of attack. You can try to move up but he can recover and pivot to face you. Something is lost even though the raw movement is the same. His fighting is more focused and will not allow you to exploit him from outside his guard. You movement is same but his is different. Be aware of this. Going to right works on jab or jab cross combo but not right cross as an opening gambit. It is inconceivable. I have forced going to the right but it is not superlative, it can work though. Standing in place you can hard block and jam his right cross with an ageuke or deflect it. Jamming it is more like sparring instead of tenshin. If you jam it move in forward and use you muscles to shove into his punch to push it back. The stronger he is the closer you want to step forward to block it early. If deflecting it you want to lower your stance and move forward. Maybe you can counter with ageuke is you run close enough. If ageuke is short from hitting them in face up can reverse punch with rear hand. Go forward and low holding front left hand in ageuke and then stand up to reverse punch and then use left right combinations. Being in front of him like this is going head up and “being in the box". Forward momentum and continuous punching to force attacker back or drop him is key. Punches must line up in centerline of his face. Center of chin, philtrum, and nose and main targets. Breaking his nose is considered after punching in his chin or philtrum failed. It is desperation move to hurt him. It may not knock him out but can help secure it. After breaking nose focus must double up and aim better to hit strategically at knockout spots. If he wobbles or moves back or ducks down his face may move out of range. Don’t waste energy and let him break away only to get a second wind. Strike until forced to takedown due to being to close or jointlock him. If he backs up from a standing position then it is easy to chase him down with punches, kicks, and sweeps. Him retreating in a straight back line is the easiest fight you can have because it means he is scared on unable to hit at you plus this adds to your momentum making punching stronger. If he opens with cross either you stand there or step to right. In any case you are going to have to press forward with sense of being right in from of him because he will end up turning and facing you directly.
If you go left of his of his right cross soft inside pulling blocks are required and movement is more necessary. You are attempting to go outside his guard and can move to the main 3 happo. You left leg is in front allowing easier movement this way. Your body goes where you foot points to. This is why going inside his right tends to move you back. Because of the distance he would punch with right cross you move you right leg first and it is in the back. Off the jab it is implied he is leaning or stepping with jab and can reach you with jab but not right hand as his body is turned, his left has more range. Differences in this allow you to circle up and outside his jab but not right cross. Left jab moves you pretty far up and can be sideways to him. Right cross makes to 45° from him but backed up instead of up close. Backed up is defense not offense so in terms of punching he is still in front of you and there was not an advantage in maai.
Going left gives superior maai but it is easily lost. Unless you move very deep and are in his shikaku he can turn. Going to his left allows you more security than charging straight in but after a few strikes he can strike back at you. Going to your left is if you expect him to be dropped with striking easily or have little other choice. He is open but so are you and it can turn into a free for all or slug fest. Being in front is a grudge match trying to get one or the other to back up or submit to knockout.
So he throws a right cross. Inside block defeats it. Inside cutting or pulling block it better. I think that is pax sao like but not quite. Pax sao is slapping his hand down and coming up off it for a weak backfist or jab counter. We need to punch harder and more linear than that. Too kung fu like. We need strength of punches here not quantity. Going up middle or left of cross means we can out muscle him without getting hit. I’m not sure we have any choice but to be braver and stronger than him even if we aren't. We do not have the security of his leg forward making him striking us impractical. We can not exploit him. If we beat him from this posture we are going to have to earn it the hard way. This is where physical strength and muscle building benefits us.
There is not much from strategy we can use to beat him except raw technique. Incidentally since this is kinda bad for us, using ude osae dori from jujitsu would help us here. When he punches left hand inside pulling blocks and we move up and forward to get close and avoid punch. We block as we move blending with the attack. Right hand outside blocks to catch his elbow or forearm letting it slide to his wrist to grab it. Left hand goes to elbow to attack the pressure points there and secure elbow control. We turn palms over and armbar him. We turn our torso to control his upper body and lean him forward. We hold him statically with his wrist above his shoulder locking him. If his wrist is below or at shoulder level he is not controlled and can escape or pull us into his left jab and beat us silly. We perform break as we are shoving down on his elbow and pulling up on his wrist. This actually happens as we turn palms over and twist his arm to straighten and hyper extend elbow and pulling him forward to bend him at waist. As he is bending down we break. Finished position is his arm is broke and he is leaned forward maybe fallen to ground on one knee because of pain.
Going left and inside blocking can help set up a takedown based on tenshin #3. Inside block with left hand and slide forward to get your left leg behind his right knee. Use left hand to grab his shoulder or clothesline him in throat or chest to bend him backwards. This is a basic throw in karate. This is really a tenshin #3 application but we are doing it from kamae only turning shiko'ish when we have proper leg placement. Look for overlap between tenshin so that you fighting is seamless. This is main moves from kamae.
Tenshin #2 is cat stance. He punches with left jab. We can slide to our right and up to be outside his guard. Cat stance is very useful for movement as you will see. We start by moving right leg from boxer or kamae stance up and out the direction we want to move. Foot is barely touching the ground and then we push off with our left foot heading in up and right direction. We reach spot and pivot ending in left foot forward cat stance. Assume being in zenkutsu and moving to end in cat stance. Moving this way is very convenient. We can move from zenkutsu to zenkutsu this way by sliding rear foot up placing it and sliding and pivoting. It is also useful in boxing although most fighters have hard time moving this way and are forced to pivot and swing leg back or move in backward fashion especially when charged. These moments are invaluable and those that do not know them or can not do them lack fighting experience. They may be able to move up to the left but not the right. When we are moving it is useful to always stay in our dominant stance.
When we move offline and block with ageuke and especially knifehand block are arm is jammed with their jab. Shutouke can not fully straighten. Swinging it in arc will knock their arm down. Shooting it out and it is jammed makes good contact to grab them with kakuto uke or grabbing block. Move and block grabbing their arm then pull them into left keage to solar plexus and then pull them into right gyakutsuki. Holding them does allow for kick and makes it stronger but prohibits hikite of left hand for gyakutsuki. Our gyakutsuki will be short. There are mixed opinions about this. It is accepted although not best practices. Punches are weak but repeated and he is helpless because his right punch can reach you and his left punch is held by your left hand. So again you are exploiting him from outside his guard but this time the shots are cheaper. If he pulls away, which he will do if he has any sense, it creates larger gap to gyakutsuki from and holding him prevents his escape. Follow him using kamae and keep holding him so he can not turn to fight you fairly. The combination of him moving away and you using kamae as stance and following him while holding him makes gyakutsuki more in line with best practices. He will get jacked up. A retreating enemy is vulnerable to all sort of problems. Let's say he pulls his arm free. Before he can recover you kick him hard with mae geri. While holding him you can can sweep with right leg to back of his legs to trip him. Still golding him you can ground and pound.
Nekodachi is used to move and kick. After that kamae or zenkutsu is used to attack moving forward.
Moving outside his jab seems to be most advantageous maai. You can hit him but he can't hit you.
We want to move inside his jab. Doesn't make sense but fuck it we will try anyways. From kamae he advances and we slide front foot back and turn to block attack. Move back and a little to left and turn right to knifehand his inner wrist with left hand. Try not to lean to reach. Be closer and cut his wrist down to pull him. At this range keage is not possible unless to groin with shin. Being in like this exposes you to right cross, be careful, be fast. Block at then knife with outward swinging arc to eyes and face hitting with fat lumpy part of edge of palm. Step into kamae as you shuto uchi and use it to set up gyakutsuki. This is close in fighting so be careful and use more short techniques. Start in kamae. He rushes forcing you to correct your stance into nekodachi to absorb his attack and neutralize it with inside cutting knifehand. Come of his jab and attack his face with left shuto blindly left eye. Punch yamatsuki/gyakutsuki hybrid by arcing it, “cowboy punch". Left hand him in chin with uratsuki (uppercut)(at this point he may counter with fight cross so don't uppercut but block instead). If he is at anytime going to punch you with right cross use left hand to block with forearm or shuto uke or chi sao or block and get out if it is too dangerous by left knifehand parry to his outer right wrist and stepping outside his guard by moving to your left. Could substitute backfist to nose instead of shutouchi to eye.
He punches with right cross. If he is at hitting range we can not sidestep to right. If he is advancing then we can. We can always move to right if distance is out of his striking range. Typically he will be in range however. This puts us in a boxing setup with him making sidestep only viable to the left. If we stay inside his guard we have to deal with his punch with block. Moving forward and blocking with bent arm does this and helps jam him. If we are inside push forward, if we are outside attack from angle and use movement to control maai. We can retreat one step back or back and to right but moving to outside his left side to face him at 90° is hard without switching to left stance. So keeping fight stance means being in box with two retreat options. The retreats are to help the block. Block moving forward to jam or back or back and right to cushion and set distance. Pulling blocks can be used with nekodachi and this sets up chi sao. We can control him with chi sao and punch while in nekodachi but we will want to resume zenkutsu or kamae. I think from kamea step back into a short neko an block with ageuke and then hook his wrist and pull his arm down with it as you lower your weight. How much you pull doesn't matter the only thing that matters is maintaining contact so that when he pulls back your arm is on top of his and it gives assist to you punching him in face. Punch him in face and go back to controlling his right wrist but grab it this time and do not let go. Punch him repeatedly with right gyakutsuki shortening it as necessary as you are technically grappling him and in grappling range. Trade your right punches for his left punches bearing his ass. Your right punches will hurt him more than his left punches do you and he will instead focus on freeing his arm. Don't let go of his arm and if he tries to left jab you block it with your rear hand. He might try to throw a few punches with his left but will give up if it is in vain. Holding him like this and exchanging with right punches makes him feel bad and not want to fight this way. It makes left punching hard as well since he can not put weight on leg or balance how he want. His punching will feel strange and awkward. His moral will be low. You could attempt to grab his left hand and grapple both hands but this gives up some advantage. He can't punch but you can with gyakutsuki so why would you change this? Grappling both arms and throwing him is jujinage or something like that, the “X" throw from Jion kata. If you know jujitsu and want to throw it would be better to do a throw with both arms on his right hand instead. Grabbing his left and right arms makes it a wrestling match and he will beat you if he is stronger. Going from striking to wrestling gives him a break and he can regain his strength and come back to win. Keep striking to finish or if something is wrong and you need out throw him. Do not let go of his wrist! Hold him with left hand and pummel him with right hand. Then grab his wrist with right hand and hold his arm straight down at waist level. This can be used for ura shihonage from aikido. I don't know what it is called in jujitsu. If you can't get a hold or control for chi sao or joint lock throws as always just let is slip and continue striking. From this exchange after hitting him and not finishing back up and restart since fighting close for prolonged periods will lead to you getting hit. Fight up the middle and take initiative by pummeling him, only retreating when knockout, throws, or takedowns are not available then begin again in a new exchange looking for one of the three. Restarting allows you a second chance to end fight quick using a better approach instead of fighting close and getting hit. Vary attacks and approach patterns so that he is always on his feet guessing where attack or block is going to come from and where you are going to be. Don't always attack up the middle or from one side but don't over do it bouncing around and spreading yourself thin. You want to find angles he is vulnerable to to and capitalize on them. When you are stuck and sense he is about to counter and gain momentum break away and attack from new battle formation. Switch back to previous angle or pattern to finish exploiting that weak point in his defense. Up the middle then off to side then back to middle if he is weak in the middle. If he is strong in the middle then attack the side until he can recover and face you with his middle and then go off to side again. Strategy varies but you want it to go something like : “here is were he is weak so I am attacking him here and it is hurting him and working. Uh oh! He is blocking and using defense and it stopped working and now he is going to beat me, I must move. I move and do something from a different angle. I don't want to stay here unless it is working. If it is not working I may not be in trouble but I am not hurting him like I was. This is giving him time to rest and heal. I must not let him do this. I must go back to attack his weak angle where his defense is weak. I will attack his weak points until he can counter and evade before he does.” Something like side, to middle, to side again. Or middle then either side back to middle. So really weak point, strong point, weak point. Stay on his weak point until you have to avoid but then go immediately back to it. Fighting at his weak point hurts him and wears him down but he can still counter. The idea is to not get hit at all. You may be able to hit him several times before he counters but if he does counter get out of there. Him countering can turn tide of battle. He can get beat up and then counter and build momentum and beat you. Deal damage as long as you can and then evade, target sides and angles that are deceptive or easy open, and then go back to what was working. It is hard to explain. Sometimes you are hurting somebody but then they counter and win. Or you are hurting them but break away for no reason or prematurely. There are reasons to break away. After breaking away do not use same tactic twice in a row. Use main tactic, break away to avoid his counter, reengage using decoy tactic, then switch back to main tactic. The decoy tactic is to throw him off suspicion so he does not realize your strategy and can build defense to protect against it. If you were banking on that strategy and he gets hip to it and begins guarding then your all but lost.
He throws right cross and we go outside his guard. Moving this way in neko is weird. Normally you would move in zenkutsu and mae geri to his stomach with right leg after blocking with left shutouke since everything is so lined up perfectly. With neko dachi is is like retreating but to the side, very unusual. Retreating would be using left inside block and you are kinda stuck there like a duck. You are to jammed up to move. There are things you can do but is all crap. Unless you are going to switch to shiko and trip him over you knee it is a wasted effort. Sometimes we end up in kooky places in weird stances but this is a bit intentional. I recommend against training in this tenshin unless purely for movement. For movement you would have been well out of range of the attack and moved early but somehow bone head did not track you or throw and another punch and line up with you. Either way step sideways to right and front kick in solar plexus with left foot then slide left foot forward into kamae to punch and then kick him in stomach with right mae geri. This makes sense but working distance has to be right. Blocking with inside block tends to make things very close and grappling or takedowns make more sense. The movement and angles of attack are correct but distance is off leading to wondering why you would chose a stance that was wrong to begin with. Aside from that this would make sense on many other levels. In reality the best choice you have with outside of his right cross is to step left and block with uchiuke to keep him close and then grapple. Grapple with mawashi uke to block and then armbar and then break his arm. Once his arm is broke pull him forward to smash his face in ground and dispose of his body. Having downed him face down stomping him to back of head will end him. Inside block with forearm to area of his elbow and middle of his forearm. Grabbing his wrist from punch it hard so it may help to move more forward and block higher up on his arm. Do inside block and then outside block with right arm seizing his wrist. Put left arm to his elbow and turn his arm to straighten and lock it. Set neko stance first during block then relax it as you are obtaining wrist control, finally set stance again by dropping weight as you break the arm. Set stance higher the first time to block jodan level punch, set stance lower the second time when you need to push down. Cat stance and palm go down, wrist control hand goes up, same time. If moving quick you can be slightly off to left side and keage geri and then zenkutsu tatetsuki mae geri.
Slide into shiko moving feet same time. Up block, hammerfist block, or knifehand block to guard face. Slide left leg behind his left knee giving you hanmi. Throw him over your knee using left arm. Possible but mechanically weak. It is better to be in left stance when going outside his jab.
Slide into shiko and block with ageuke, tettsui uke, or shutouke. Attack his inner thigh with your knee as you set shiko to bump him. Backfist to nose then gyakutsuki to solar plexus or break stance to punch face. Sweep his left heel low with left foot to trip him. If rushed and more to his center inside block then drop down and ram elbow into his solar plexus and backfist face then sweep him. Left uppercuts can be used and or standing up to hanmi or kamae to unleash combos. Groin kick can be used.
Slide into shiko and tense blocking arm like bodybuilder. Hold it tight and guard your head. Back fist,uppercut to chin, sliding elbow to solar plexus with left hand. Hit hard. Groin kick with left leg. Gyakutsuki with right hand. Start punching with curved hook punches keeping them tense and using stance to shove into face as target. Back them up with punches and push forward. Sweep the the leg either one if they are stumbling with either inside outside their leg. Go straight up the middle beating their ass. This is aggressive stance. Sweep them and start punching them from shiko while they are downed to their face or temple if head turns. All shiko is for taking down or combs. This is strongest position for combos.
This protects their face somewhat and shoulder is in our face making striking hard to some areas. Slide into shiko and inside block. Reverse punch to ribs or solar plexus but probably ribs. Stomp outside or behind right knee. This is bad area and grappling may occur when striking option run out. Point of shiko is to get in and take down. If used like hanmi you can go 90° and tackle. Typically when one stance doesn't work use the other and if on outside or inside on is defensive and one is aggressive. This could help you defend but attacking is harder. When striking is hard and you have a stronger guard grappling becomes more suitable letting attacker come to you. If you are guarded from his strikes then you grapple out of strategy not necessity. Necessity implies despair. Use double block to break his arm.
???????????????????????????? It's a secret. Manjidachi is double blocking and armbar to break but I'll write something. Kamae is to rigid to pull this off and you will lean into punch. Works better from shoulder or left stance. Leaning like this from right stance gives weight to back leg like kokutsudachi. Lean out of way of attack and block with front hand and grab wrist . Pull them into front leg mae geri. Step foot down and grab elbow with free arm stepping up to them. Lock their arm straight like projection throw from aikido and force them down forward or circling down. Maybe chicken wing them if arm bends behind back and grab opposite shoulder to hold them or wrap hand around throat. Stomp back of knee or Achilles heel to lower them. If grabbing wrist fails kick them with front leg mae geri and Step step forward into striking or pull back back to switch stance and create space. Try something else.
Lean away from punch and kick with back leg mawashi geri. If closer use rear hand inside pulling block and knee to lower ribs. Grabbing the wrist may be option closer to opponent but not farther. If grabbing block any punches from his right hand with you left and then grab his clothing at right shoulder and pivot to do wheel throw. Is similar to tenshinnage or kaitennage. If not grabbing throw right mawashi geri and stand up leaning to deliver left kizami right gyakutsuki left kizami left front leg mawashi geri to head. Only mawashi geri kicks can work at punching range. If you at to short to punch move in or use mae geri. If you are to close to mae geri scoot back or hit groin.
Lean away from punch and keage with left leg. Step up and gyakutsuki. Fight from inside his guard and drop him. This actually kokutsudachi. Using tenshin against boxing and fixed stances doesn't make sense unless more moving outside the guard and switching stances to left stance is allowed. I have three different manjidachi stances i use and have not codified them yet. Manji dachi is code for armbar to break and can be used with any stance.
Sway away from his punch and block grabbing his arm then kick him with right mawashi geri. Armbar and break his arm. You can use either left inside or right outside block. Throw him after breaking his arm in direction of your choice to disrupt other attackers from rushing you.
See punch coming and shuffle inline with his punch making you slightly of center of being squared up to him. Block and trap punch with ageuke as you lean back. Lean forward applying a yonkyo to his forearm or wrist. Leaning forward puts you in kamae. Gyakutsuki or armbar him. Armbar my be achieved by grabbing hollow of elbow or hollow of upper triceps. Pivot and shove him bending him down.
Lean back and inside block without over blocking. Over blocking exposes face. Hold arm in block position so that it is strong. If your hand slips over his and is on top hammerfisting to jaw may be option unless your arm is to forward and technique will be too small. If technique is too small he will counter with right cross. Use back fist and lean forward kicking with front left leg. In this setup you are putting all your weight forward and unbalanced. The only thing stopping you from falling is hitting him with kick to stomach. Push off with back leg. This is hard kick and requires resistance to learn. Practice on heavy bag leaning forward and putting your weight forward on it. Feel where you are strong and can balance by pushing on bag. Feeling is falling if bag not there. Balance on bag and them push you kick deeper into bag. Learn how to penetrate deeper with this kick. It uses momentum and penetration rather impact. Similar to kickboxing pushing or jab kick but harder. Don't push them back but penetrate them deeper. Kick then jab cross. You will be squared up now and in striking range to punch him with maai better for you.
Lean back and guard while swaying. Use springing action of trunk to lean forward with backfist or jab cross combination. This teaches how to chamber overhand right without telegraphing it. Leaning back also extends front leg for groin kick but only bitches like Paul do shit like that.
Outside is where you would want to move to 3 happo points to exploit. Can not make upward moves with kokutsu however. It is move defensive stance implying retreat. It's like block, sweep with front leg to his front leg, kick with right leg mae geri just to open him up. Happo can be applied if using mawatte footwork to sway into position. In this sense kokutsudachi becomes swaying back from zenkutsu. Circle and sway while moving to the right and you can potentially move all the way behaving him.
This is all the tenshin for punches from right stance. Tenshin is used to teach movement in response to attack and then what attitude to have for blocking and gauging the distance for blocks to be credible. After this preliminary study tenshin is used to not only attack but form battle strategy and know how to attack and fight solidly pushing forward into opponent. Emphasis is on working toward initiating first so after dodging the first attacks you are expected to be able to counter and build momentum to carry domination through to end of fight. In some instances you will be able to beat attacker to punch and then the striking patterns outlined are guides as to how to hit first nonstop until attacked is knocked out. Tenshin as defense happens in reality only when surprised or sucker punched. If being aware of attack and you attack second rather than first your initiative is lacking probably due to having a lack of engaging skills. The better you are at linking basic attacks into a nonstop flurry at full power and correct biomechanics the more natural.
The two main positions are to fight inside his guard or outside his guard. In traditional tenshin you angle away often changing chance to maintain a sort of equilibrium. If moving to right use right stance if moving to left, left stance. In actual fighting you can move any direction using any stance with block or strike combination. Tenshin is done for brevity and to give a good mix of some main fighting combos but is not meant to be exhaustive. The previous list dealt with fighting a right handed boxers jab or cross and blocking only one punch with one block and one step movement. Progression from studying these basic moves advances into blocking 2 and 3 punch combinations and using 2 or more stepping moves. This basic practice is taking steps one at a time. In theory you mix the steps together and link them to deal with multiple hits or you double them up repeating the same one twice to quickly block one attack with first step and circle further with second step. Making one step could involve blocking multiple times after setting stance so being able to control how hard you block affects speed to deal with multiple hits. Blocking to hard can either stop attacks from continuing by disrupting his pattern or it can slow you so that you are countered with the next hit in his pattern if block was not hard enough. Typically there is a hard first block followed by soft secondary blocks or a soft first block followed by secondary hard blocks.
Dealing with multiple hits affects how stance is set and when. There is a lot going on. Depending on variables the choice of how and when to block and set stance differs from standard line drills. There are times when using to much power makes you to slow to respond with a speedy fighter. Your strength will be overcome by his speed. When punching setting stance is for power but when hitting multiple times stance is half set to allow for more speed. Changing tempo of striking allows for setting stance to match speed of your strikes. From tenshin we see a few scenarios. We can step to side and set stance as he is running into punch. How bad hi is hurt determines how fast he will be able to counter. If he is hurt and slow we set stance more. If he is unfazed and fast we set stance less. With weak half set stance we use faster to striking to set up power blow with a full set stance. Maybe light on toe for movement punching with light to medium punches and then dropping and ground heel to floor to push and set stance harder. Using this you can go fast and slow using a flurry on medium strikes to disorientate attacker so that you can set up power strikes from a set rigid stance. Fighting in a rigid stance should happen but not all the time. Hard coming, semi-hard deflecting, semi-hard setup striking, hard finishing finish striking.
With circular movements the four head blocks only change with hand orientation and can to practiced in place alone. Take a stance such as nekodachi and do inside block imagining blow coming into contact with your forearm. Open chest by moving arm out to starting position and bring it back each time using other hand palm as striking surface. Change from striking inside arm arm to bottom fatty part of hand shuto, to bottom of hammerfist, to kakuto. Imagine standing in right stance and blocking right cross with ageuke and what distance it would take to make it effective, when you would have to jam and intercept it. Then imagine how to block with the right cross with uchi uke, shutokue, tettsui uke, and teisho uke. All can be done in inward swing motion from uchi uke by changing grip and hitting surface. Keeping back foot in place and pulling front foot back to drop into nekodachi is useful. Using the stance helps build strength to perform blocks is done strongly and teaches body to be strong in this position. Think how to have to adjust slight minutiae to make each one effective at stopping right cross and how cat stance should be set. Think of how to counter quickly from any block and how to make the block accurate and strong but not impede punching. If countering can not occur then you are doing it wrong and would be forced to retreat to avoid damage.
From these blocks you can make them strikes by stepping forward and making contact with attackers face. Practicing is learning not just to block but rather strike at their arm to hurt or hook and pull it. Circular motion of the wrist is used to add impact and crook the wrist to put bend in it to assist hooking.
1. From kamae do ageuke to block the attack by sliding front foot forward and lowering or dropping into hamni or zenkutsu. From this low and twisted stance imagine how you would be able do counter. From low stance only gyakutsuki straight in to stomach makes sense. For jodan you would be better to turn ageuke into grabbing block and pull their arm down as you stood up into upright kamae. Hit them and back them up or him them and then step back to allow more range for full striking and maybe even mae geri. Punching while holding them is too close. This is defense.
2. Start over and block with ageuke this time moving forward to jam the attack with forearm or deflect it sideways. Hold arm at angle to head so that hitting you in face is impossible. Cross arm directly across face at 45° and do not hold it so close that if hit it will strike you in face. Step forward locking your arm like you are holding shield and use power of moving forward and body weight and stance to push into attacker. When he punches push forward into him and stop or bend his arm back. Hand is correct for hitting him in face with falling hammerfist to setup gyakutsuki.
3. Start over and advance with ageuke to firstly guard if punch gets to close to you but put emphasis in running forward with punch and extending it if it nears his right middle of jaw or chin. If he punches should be deflected or hit you square in forearm stopping you. If he stops you momentarily push off with stance to get him off you and then do above being wary of his left jab. If he left jabs turn to block it with bottom of fist while still holding arm bent like shield. Block jab and immediately counter with hammerfist to his left jaw joint to break it and cause concussion and knockout.
If his first punch is deflected keep moving forward and straighten arm slightly and then tense it again to make contact with his chin. Arm will be slightly bent but hard and locked and power will come from tensing on impact and ramming into hit and the slightly lengthening it. Use this only as setup for gyakutsuki and realize that power doesn’t matter as much as besting him to the punch and setting up right cross aka gyakutsuki. Think of the ageuke punch as stiff stepping jab. This is offense. The 1-3 teaches how to progress from defense, to superior defense, to offense.
Slide to right outside of kick and block with gedan barai. Depending on kicker's ability will determine the emphasis of your block and help pattern it. From outside it is hard for him to punch after kick so countering is easy. Getting out of way of kick and using block as a guard may make more sense or to move sooner and avoid block altogether. Block patterns are catch it and knock it out of way to unbalance and twist him up, scoop his leg and toss him, or jam it with a angle or bent arm to prevent it from being to strong. At kicking range it is easier to counter with a mae geri kick and step forward with gyakutsuki or kizamitsuki gyakutsuki combination than simply punch. But since this is front leg attack rushing him with punches at an angle might make more sense since front leg kicks are weak and he will be close enough to close gap. A weak kick stuffed prevents him from effectively striking so mopping him up is easy. Being outside him left attacks are always the strongest and more comfortable to attack from.
Guard lower extremities with front leg raised to check kick. Block with your shin, bottom of foot, or kick his leg outwards. Use hands to guard high to face to help with balance and prevent him from landing sneaky punches. Using hands like this makes leg check stronger and shifts weight so stance is stronger and more stable making his kick bounce off you disrupting his kamae. If you use arms to block front arm is bent to stuff or use gedan barai but make sure you are slightly off center while stile in front of him so you can stop kick early and not get kicked in elbow with arm hyperextended. His leg already up and you arm at an angle when it meets forces the power or your arm to work against your joint and cause injury to yourself. In essence he is jamming your block and your technique is too small and it fails with dire consequence. Being more in front of his left leg instead of centered in front of his body will take this angle of contact away and make you contact the leg with arm down.
Stay in place and shift a little to right to down block making contact at side of ankle or shin or move forward and stuff it with a downward ageuke making contact with hammerfist bent. Technically “age" means rising but the gedan barai we are doing is angled just like it except we are meeting attack low instead of high. The same arm posture of ageuke can be used at three level, gedan, chudan, or jodan. This is gedan barai but arm is angled and gedan has a snapping straight so I don't want to imply a jammed gedan barai that was not allowed to straight but rather done intentionally to provide structure for downward pressure on shin. Attackers shoes or boots may injure inner arm area so only use on people with twig legs. Block arm bent to stuff kick and then stomp forward into kizami or tatetsuki to set up gyakutsuki. If using gedan barai move forward immediately with gyakutsuki. Depending on strikers ability the usual practice is mae geri to kizamitsuki followed by gyakutsuki but boxers lack this ability and may be slow on punching after kick. They lack hand foot coordination. If they are going to punch blocking with bent arm makes it easier to bring hand up to block or counter. If blocking with straight arm make sure position is right so arm doesn't get broke and counter with gyakutsuki. This is not to counter with kizami. Countering with gyakutsuki is to beat them before they use momentum for right cross. (If you are kicking to right cross be very fast so they can not use this defense on you. This defense is too slow if you are a beginner and requires fast speed.) Step back with left leg to bring yourself out of range of kick and punch and then bounce on koshi to spring forward and land mae geri.
Typically this can be side stepped to any 3 or the happo or you can scoop it with rear hand and throw by karate chopping throat with left hand as you throw.
Shift into neko to the right and downward block with bottom of hammerfist to knock it out of way or scoop it up. If blocking keage to their solar plexus from this angle then put it down in zenkutsu and gyakutsuki. You might slide while blocking and keep hand higher making neko with front hand gedan barai and keep right hand up by head ready to punch. Leave out the kick and run up and punch them with gyakutsuki and then left uratsuki. You can jam knee into their outer thigh or sweep them.
Drop into neko with falling hammerfist block and stop kick by jamming it. Backfist and then reverse punch. Sweep leg and gyakutsuki.
Shift to right or back and neko with downblock. Counter with keage to groin or solar plexus and maybe throat if they are still moving forward. After kick kizamitsuki then gyakutsuki then sweep right foot and gyakutsuki.
Sidestep kick and sweep with rear hand. Sweep leg by moving offline to left and maybe forward same time. Softly blend downblock using tegatana to blend then deflect leg before scooping it. Use left hand to press on knee and dislocate it by pulling up on ankle with right hand. Once down twist ankle or lock it to either break or immobilize.
Slide to shiko so you are outside kick. This is hard and moving back may help. Kick is kinda high so risk of breaking arm is low. Scoop leg with left hand. This can make hold on leg weak so switching to left shiko helps a lot. Chop chest or throat with right hand to take down. After takedown right gyakutsuki is lined up with head and so is right leg for kicks to temple. Kick first then punch would be fastest.
Pull right leg left into shiko and downblock with hammer fist. Back fist to face to break nose, then reverse punch to solar plexus breaking stance slightly if needed to get hips around for more reach. For more powerful blocks against stronger kickers use double fisted block to reinforce block. In any left hand backfist it should be second nature to right gyakutsuki. From shiko break stance more and come up into higher kamea or zenkutsu to hit face. Punching from shiko is short so need to be close, punching from zenkutsu is long and reaches face. Use stance that matches distance to targeted area. An easy fix is backfist from shiko and reverse punch from kamae dropping back into shiko for sliding elbow into solar plexus or sternum. Sweep left leg heel with left leg and takedown or keep hitting. If attacker falls he will be in front of you and going around him will be necessary to attack him further or jump up over his legs and use legs tucked to knee drop on his stomach. Double foot stomp works as well and is safer if he rolls away making knee drop smash your knees on hard surface. Once he is down axe kicks can hit him depending how he fell and what is exposed and near. If he falls straight back then football kick him in the nuts. Go around him and axe kick him in face smashing his head on ground when you are sideways or at top of his head. If you knee drop him this is used to prevent him from kicking you when he is on ground. While on ground his kicks can hit groin, break leg, or sweep you with crab claws or hooking back of your heel with his instep and pushing other foot into shin area. If he hooks heel he can kick and push inside of knee to dislocate it or take you down.
Pull right leg back into shiko and downblock with hammer fist. Kick is strong against this stance so prudence is required. Angle arm and block with bottom of fist to help deflect or knock out of way. Stepping back helps. Shin is strong enough to break arm bones so direct blocks don't work making hard to jam. Stepping in close affects ability to chamber kick stuffing if and arm helps keep it low. Backing up makes contact with ankle stepping up takes away kicking distance preventing leg to get more speed and power. Stepping left foot in allows for scoop and gyakutsuki to throw. If hard blocking kizami to face and gyakutsuki to solar plexus. If hard blocking and then have speedy punches block kick with left arm and use right arm to block punches. After kick block punches and grapple to throw with jujinage or ura tenshinnage. Throw similar to Bassai Dai kata bunkai. To jam kick block left side punch and counter good maai is required do it like this. Stand in ready guard and step forward into shiko blocking with hammerfist. You either want him kicking your kneecap, or your elbow. Contacting his ankle can only happen from retreat and this sucks because his kick is strong and painful and might miss and him arm bone too much or his hard toed shoes might poke arm bone. In between your knee and elbow he can slip it in and hit your ribs. Drop elbow onto shin to prevent this. It is almost like baiting him to kick you there to setup an elbow to break his shin. Elbow to shin keeps his kick at waist level and hard in chudan which is high enough to quickly responding to the right punch quickly following his kick. When kicked and you block low your face is exposed and you get hit high since your arm is too slow to respond, this prevents that. Block kick and right punch and then shuffle in to snap jab face and reverse punch straight in with good zenkutsu and level hip rotation. Shuffling in helps extend punch to solar plexus preventing t from being too short. Hip rotation helps for full power making technique look crisp. If you punch lands as he is exhaling that affects his bodily functions more interfering with his central nervous system. Blocking strong and shuffling to combo punch with weak jab and strong emphasis on your gyakutsuki or blocking right punch with right hand and hooking it or a following left punch for throw are best options. Hooking the right punch gives you jujinage once you take his left wrist with your left hand. Hooking left wrist with right hand after blocking his gyakutsuki give you tenshinnage once you take his right wrist with your left hand.
Sweep and scoop with either arm. If front arm kick with left leg to left leg to unbalance and throw. If back arm use front arm to throw. Using back arm is more stable. Setting shiko stance strong you can manipulate and move forward in stance to shove him diagonally to his off balance point. You can shiko at happo to side of him and attack at angles. You can scoop with back arm and use front arm to throw while you bend him backwards and smash his spine of your knee or raise knee to knee strike to center of his spine attempting to paralyze him. Be careful when slamming someone large over your knee and they are falling erratically. They might attack your knee from inside angle and tear meniscus or acl. A stable set stance and placing him directly on top of knee is required to avoid breaking your leg or messing yourself up. It is safer to knee strike as you throw them back. Having your foot planted on ground means it is trapped and if he falls funny your knee will break same principle and stomp kicking this area to opponent to break their leg.
Use double high low guard for these with front hand high and back hand low. He kicks move to outside and scoop leg with front hand and rear hand goes through motion of barai to palm turns over. Right hand on knee to break his shit, drop stance and pulling him towards you or swoop leg and step up so easier to right hand knee and drop stance pivoting with mawatte. If his leg is scooped and he left punches block with right hand. If he roundhouses to head switch to shiko and double forearm block. If he roundhouses to body use rear crook in arm to catch and stuff use front hand to break leg and takedown.
If he round house to head block with left palm to check it block right punch with elbow as you are guarding with horizontal bent arm. After block throat strike with shuto or hammerfist jaw. If he mae geri's rush and scoop with right hand using momentum to karate chop clavicle with up down stomp for added impact or target face with vertical shuto splitting his mask as you shove and throw him or area on his face or side neck. Hammerfisting to jaw lackluster because of being square to him, it is very basic for knockdown but does not KO as there is no twisting force, technique is smaller than ideal. It clobbers him but you are merely throwing. It is really like forearm smashing instead of true hammerfist Combination strikes with shuto can be used but initial strike in most decisive with secondary ones lacking momentum and stomping forward action. Break clavicle with shuto and then chop to assist throw or chop left side neck then palm up shuto to right temple. There are static and ballistic applications but from a sweep expect a decisive blow to throw since wasting time using combos splits power between the two strikes. You want the first strike to KO and the trow is to dispose of the body. Holding his leg makes him helpless to techniques that are difficult to pull off otherwise and so it is here you are able to apply tricky pressure point attacks that are difficult against a defending opponent. Use best pressure point from this hold thinking in terms of hissatsu no ikken.
Scoop, palm check, or gedan barai with front hand. Punch punch chop to side of neck or head. Scoop kick groin gyakutsuki to the face. Barai to ageuke or gyakutsuki then punch then chop neck or either side temple. Turn to chop throat and then sweep leg with kick and axe kick downed opponent to throat, face, heart, or solar plexus. Try to break ribs or causes hard fractures in bony plates or skull. These are lethal. If he roundhouses to head jam it with ageuke elbow area or outer arm then jab cross or cross jab or cross cross.
Scoop with rear hand chop to throat and drop. Gedan barai with rear hand and left hook to jaw, spin into it, punch short, back them up, punch longer or kick, sweep leg and ridgehand or shuto either side of head. Falling away from strike helps throw them, falling towards strike makes concussion. Brain and head move more from suddenly accelerating different directions.
Nothing really. This is leaned back version of zenkutsu so all moves are same with no special applications but I'll try. Back back into kokutsu slightly outside kick and downblock from side trying to hook ankle.
Set stance with kokutsu and inside block at chudan to deflect or hook kick. Kick either keage or mae geri and Rambo punch him in the middle or change height and Rambo punch him at jodan. Either he retreats or stays. At distance stay low and punch at chudan to faster and not tire as easily rising to hit him in face to finish or increase range. Punching low is in close techniques to batter ram his chest and punching high to chase but guard is weak. Punching low saves energy and keeps guard ready if he counter or push forward. If he push forward block punch with ageuke and change to chuan fa ageuke bent arm punches. With chuan fa maintain right stance, with gyakutsuki take wider steps and try to catch him with straight punches changing stance as you step. Chuan fa is jab cross nonstop and gyakutsuki is left cross right cross nonstop. You can reverse it and left cross right cross with chuan fa and weak front hand strong back hand with karate.
Drop into stance and block kick with hammerfist counter by kicking and leaning forward into zenkutsu and gyakutsuki. Modify this practice to move back switching stance and countering with mae geri catching them running into it. Try sticky feet and try to block kick with leg checks or stop it by putting koshi on shin or above knee thigh. Typically this is mostly junk but I ran out of constructive ways to practice. Nekodachi allows you to counter quickly on the spot or beat them with punch before they can kick. Block from neko and run up and punch or step back with kick missing and counter with kick before their foot touches ground. With foot in air they are momentum for are kicking them with KO them.
Step outside or back with inside block to chudan level with arm out palm up. Counter with right mawashi geri to left side of face, face, heart, solar plexus, or left ribs. If they pull leg back counter with left leg mawashi geri. After mawashi use jab or cross to start combo. Kicking/punching drills teach the required coordination.
When being kicked kicker either steps forward or pulls leg back. Stepping forward changes stance and moves forward one step pulling leg back maintains stance and distance. After moving blocking counter kick with kick so maai is balanced in your favor and countering is faster. Use kick setup punches. At kicking distance either person can strike but by moving one step out of way and having them come forward you can counter with kick. Countering with kick is faster than punching because to punch you have to take time to close gap instead of kicking immediately and using leg placement on ground to shuffle in for linking punches to kick.
Move, block, kick, punch, sweep, takedown, hit or immobilize them on ground. This is the 7 step basic process to counter all kicks. Special applications for countering kick is to kick first and jam there shin when it is below waist level at 45° angle to ground or kick there leg back by jamming kick with placing foot on thigh area. Putting on thigh area and kicking their thigh back makes them fall forward as if leaning forward and dropping. Stepping back and immediately kicking with mae geri is easiest counter and fastest as well as maintaining maai. Using this counter teaches springing technique for mae geri. Without stepping back spring technique is used to jam the thigh and shove the leg back and under them to make them fall forward or wobble. Anytime opponent is on one leg or weight is not properly shifted we want to trip them with kicks to legs or him them before they can recover and guard. If we sweep leg and the fall we want to strike them with shuto uchi, mawashi geri or gyakutsuki. Mawashi can be used to temple as they fall sideways into foot. Sweep with right leg and make them fall to your right and them kick them in the left temple with right leg. Axe kick to head or chest is also strong.
If fighting a balanced martial artist they will punch while kicking so be prepared to block quick twice if not moving out of way. A kicking specialist will kicker harder but over power it and not punch but kick may be to strong to block. A street fighter will kick low and move forward but not punch making it easiest to block his kick and counter with punch. Even some martial artists will be slow to punch and can be exploited by blocking their kick and then countering with punch. Block the kick, punch, do low foot sweep and kick them hard, then punch them as they are falling or unbalanced and wobbling.
Any defense or tenshin can go from being defensive to purely offensive by initiating first. Block kick punch becomes punch kick punch or kick punch punch. Learning to block then counter teaches attacks attacks combos. Learn the combinations and then expand on then. Attacking should be instinctive from training. The more trained you are the better you instincts and reflexes are. Attacking comes sooner and with less delay. Advancing to the point you attack first when sensing danger. Learn the different points between purely defending and purely attacking. When defending the opponent commits to attack and gives offering such as moving forward or punching. This opens his guard so that countering is possible. When he is standing in a guarded position or not committed to an attack there is no obvious opening so you have to create one. When you are attacked you can block and counter and so can he making people hesitant to attack first. To prevent him from countering your attack you must strike correctly without creating big openings for him to use. You must also know how to counter his counters. It is hard to attack and defend at the same time since some portion of the move will favor one over the other making it less than full strength for the one that is not emphasized.
Punch him before he punches you. If he moves to hit hit first. Shoulder and breath movements signal intent of an attack. Read his body posture to find signs of attack soon as possible.
This is the order from weakest to greatest advantage over him. Some people say they like to counter or hit second but that is because of their training. Without being able to initiate you are weak fighter. Counter punching works in sports or against weak fighters but not against dangerous people. Who ever hits first can build momentum making it hard to reverse it and counter them. Often this leads to who hits first wins.
Kyokan - pressure point striking
Shotokan - linear sport momentum based one strike
Shitoryu - circular countering method
Wadoryu - gendai modern style
Gojoryu - body conditioning breathing method style
Shorei - "Shaolin"
Isshinryu - staff weapon kata style
Kenpo- chuan fa
Uechiryu- don't know
Malone Ryu- Founded by Joseph Malone in Tacoma,Wa 2012. It uses circular and linear strikes.