Friday, June 29, 2007

Attacking the striking limb

I was working with the various moves of kata, and the concept of "Treat your opponent's hands and feet as swords." popped into my mind. I remember reading this exhortation in one of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi's books.

I thought to myself "How possible is it to strike an oncoming punch/ kick?" Man, those things come in pretty darn fast. One would have to have MUCH experience, and be faster than their attacker to succeed.

However, if someone was holding a weapon in their hands, we'd want to anticipate, and catch the arm of the strike before it develops to it's full potential. We'd want to disarm our opponent so that they cannot use that extension to their attack range. We might wait until they have commited to a full extension, and then strike the arm to damage it, but that would be our second choice. I was watching this video documenting the knowledge of Sensei Uehara, a Budo Master:

He would just walk forwards with strong balance, and perfect timing, and deflect the attack before it had a chance to exist in fullness. Watching Sensei Uehara made me aware of how much energy I'm applying in various directions when I spar rather than just handling the moment. I understand that my efforts are necessary learning steps. In time I will develop the timing, proper stance, proper distance, and proper applications of the blocking hand to be able to anticipate, attack, and deflect an oncoming strike at the same time.

Then it dawned on me that Kata was designed with all of that in mind. We are anticipating, stepping forwards, and stopping an attack BEFORE it can develop. This would explain why the majority of "blocks" are done moving forwards in the Heian ( Pinan) Kata instead of stepping back. The only time that I've had to step back in a kata has been in Bassai Dai.

No comments: