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Drew
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Location: My other body
Styles: Boxing, Muay Thai, Sub Wrestling, Tai Chi, MMA, Medieval, Extreme Reaction Combat Scenarios (This is not a drill) Judo, formerly Mishima Style Karate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2023 11:10 am    Post subject: Some Tips Reply with quote

Some background first:

I've been studying martial arts for about 16 years. My first lesson though, was about 21 years ago. I punched my Dads hands, jab and and a two out front of our house. Over many years, mittwork like that was the most valuable part of my training, I feel. Good mittwork (like you will get in Thailand or from a professional boxing trainer) alone will turn you into a formidable striker. Other than striking, I got my start just doing jiujitsu in the basement of my church. We put the gloves on and took it to the yard outside too, and attracted a lot of the neighborhood doing mma out in the grass. We met once a week on Wednesday, just like the English kids back in medieval times. Just casually practicing what we saw on tv and the internet proved to be effective when taken to various gyms and dojos. I grew up in a rural town so we were quite far from even bjj gyms, let alone big boxing gyms, mma gyms, what have you.

As I grew up and saw more of the world, I got more formal training. At first I visited anyone who was around in my state, and as time went on I traveled pretty far to get what I wanted, training in Thailand. Like I said, good mittwork will build many good reflexes. Other than that, knowing what you're all about, what you came to do, and what you need to defend, BEING it, amplify these skills.

I've had a good number of fights in various formats. 2 in mma, 1 in muay thai, and 1 in boxing. Two of them were professional, two weren't. As I flexed harder and harder, I found that who I was interfered with what the fights were: that is to say; a good will and peaceful attitude bent the fights out of shape and moreover bent my spirit somewhat. It's odd to say and maybe harder for many younger people to understand. Any enterprise you undertake will effect you as a person differently than that same enterprise will effect someone else. I do believe that good has a plan. Where the martial arts are concerned, I think its good for someone seeking a competitive edge to do these things:

1) If you are studying martial arts in the broadest sense; that is, learning philosophy, and how to fight in many contexts, kata and forms of any martial art are a VAST repository of knowledge, and karate kata in particular can give you reflexes which will help you mount improbable defenses even against overwhelming odds. I will say that karate kata are not the easiest way. The forms of Tai Chi contain much of the metaknowledge you will need to even stand a chance against some one who is trained, taller, etc.

2) If you are trying to fight just one person, there are a few principles which will help you regardless of whether it is in a sporting contest or not.

Put a side towards the opponent and use that side. Use your longest weapons but not to the exclusion of other weapons. If you use you lead front kick, expect to need your sidekick, and if you use you sidekick, be prepared to use your lead thrusting knee. If you use your jab, be prepared to use your lead knee. If you jab, be prepared to use your rear uppercut, if you have the intention of using that uppercut to prevent certain head motions, be prepared to use your rear hook also. From half of the effective stances, you can throw a concealed spinning attack. This can take any form, from long range kicks to short range elbows.

If you have the initiative, you will find your jab coming into contact (maybe.) When a jab touches someone, you should be in a position that is loaded to throw any punch, knee or kick available from your stance. That should add up to a lot of possible attacks. Your lats are a key here, they will feel flexed and very particular, additionally you will feel as if you could shiver from such a position, as if you wanted to sneeze but in your body.

I have to say, when someone is jabbed, there is a million different things they may do in response to it. you have to be structured behind your attack, in such a way as to have a response to any outcome.

These are shapes you will find yourself taking and find favorable in terms of both offensive and defensive options. I didn't mention slipping, but really, you must be read to lean back, to either side, or duck. These movements are connected to the rear uppercut. You have to be ready to raise or lower either elbow also. When an opponent is within your grasp, you have to have all of these actions ready, so that a flaw in your method cannot be exposed. It is like walking a tightrope but it may become a slackline at any moment. You have to be on your guard.

If you are using your lead side, but the opponent is too tall, there are a few more options. Primarily, you can move.

There are a million ways to say this. You can change your position relative to the opponent. You can make sure your stance is pointing towards theirs but theirs is not pointing towards you. You can take an angle. If you have taken an angel, you have to make sure that you are 'wound in.' What I mean is, you have to have that shiver down in your bones. And if you do that, and make sure you are either coming up their center line, or coming up behind them (the outside angle), you will have a chance at even someone who has no business fighting you.

Angles are very interesting. Conventionally, we say, 'you can take either the inside angle or the outside angle.' The inside angle is also sometimes called the 'pocket,' though this is an ephemeral term, the definition of which often depends on who is speaking about it. The outside angle is extremely dominant, and is associated with southpaws. Many southpaws manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, however, because they use their rear side as a lead instead of using their much nearer weapon, the jab or front kick. The inside angle can also be extremely dominant, and the jab must still be used or the advantage of the angle will be forfeited.


Well, I wrote this knowing I would come to a rambling stop. I've had a few bud lights and I'm starting to sound like Abraham Lincoln, but I do have a few more things to add. Your stance, loading and static form all express power. Honing this can feel still and in mittwork will feel incredibly powerful. You throw combinations which could have a million variations due to your balance. They are the qualities that most fighters focus on, and the qualities you will feel in the stillest spaces during Tai Chi practice. They are very internal in nature, and in fact have a lot to do with the internal rotations of various joints throughout your body. Gaining skill in this has a lot to do with awareness of you own body, and trying to put as many weapons as possible between you and your opponent.

Angles are an explosive additive to the aforementioned. They amplify anything you know with sheer power, if you know how to find them (there are several tricks of footwork which can help you get to these positions) and if you know how to use them (you have to set and maintain a forward pressure into the target). This applies not only to striking but to grappling. If you have a striking angle, and move within reach of a gi sleeve, for example, you will find that any grip you take (with the lead hand) has a far more dramatic effect on the balance of your opponent. If you wrestle, any shot you take or grip you take will be much more effective if you are squared up but your opponent is letting you take that angle, no matter how slight the angle is.

If you are having trouble with an agile opponent who does in fact move laterally, squares off, and attacks such that you have trouble dealing with them at all, there are a couple things you can do. The first is that if they were in range when they move laterally, you can throw a round or spinning attack. These often work. You have to make sure it hurts or you wont be able to regain a position that pressures them out, though. The safer option is to move to cancel the angle even as they are taking their new position. When you do, you need to make sure that your stance still maintains its properties (many attack and defense options) and is pointed towards them. Ideally, you would then take your own angle, but space constraints are going to be at the forefront of your mind.

I mentioned karate kata early on. Kata often have responses which would help against more than one attacker. In instances like these, maintaining good angles becomes a matter of gross movement, and keeping 'squared,' 'faced off,' or 'wound in,' towards the nearest opponent. When this fails, kata often help provide any response at all which might help you find a position that has at least a hope.

-Drew
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Fat Cobra
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 14 Jul 2018
Posts: 378
Location: Watertown, NY
Styles: Ryukyu Kempo

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2023 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew, nice post and very good explanation of tactics used in a one-on-one fight. I love boxing and submission grappling as well (and did lots of that in my time at West Point and in the US Army).

For handling multiple opponents, though, kata is not the answer for everyone. Some karate styles interpret the bunkai of the kata as facing multiple opponents at the same time. Many styles do not. I am in the style of the latter. Kata gives you the tools to fight one person at a time. If you are fighting multiple opponents, the best chance you have is to fight one at a time, trying to isolate them (and yourself) from the others or...fight with a weapon.
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Head of the Shubu Kan Dojo in Watertown, NY
(United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance)
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Drew
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Location: My other body
Styles: Boxing, Muay Thai, Sub Wrestling, Tai Chi, MMA, Medieval, Extreme Reaction Combat Scenarios (This is not a drill) Judo, formerly Mishima Style Karate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fat Cobra wrote:
Drew, nice post and very good explanation of tactics used in a one-on-one fight. I love boxing and submission grappling as well (and did lots of that in my time at West Point and in the US Army).

For handling multiple opponents, though, kata is not the answer for everyone. Some karate styles interpret the bunkai of the kata as facing multiple opponents at the same time. Many styles do not. I am in the style of the latter. Kata gives you the tools to fight one person at a time. If you are fighting multiple opponents, the best chance you have is to fight one at a time, trying to isolate them (and yourself) from the others or...fight with a weapon.


Hey!

I agree that kata give you tools which help against one opponent.

Yes, I can agree with you on most points. However, I would clarify that by my understanding, kata and forms of all kinds are a very non-corporeal expression of martial knowledge. What I mean by that is - any and all forms incorporate turning and changing the focus of the form frequently. You could take that to be a tool for transmitting a change in focus on your own posture, angle data, etcetera, or you could take it to be a literal change of opponent location. *Most* opponents do not teleport, but for them that do, a quick backfist (the kind that comes up the middle like an uppercut) is often present throughout many chinese and japanese styles, at this change of focus. I find that indicative that many forms were built with the intention of transmitting knowledge in general rather than focusing on any given point. So you could take it and apply it in any way you liked.

Another technique I see throughout the arts when some other orientation on the embusen is taken is the beggining of a knife hand, or lifting the arm up alongside the head, exposing the armpit. Whatever it is, it frequently functions in reality as a block against a straight punch from someone who has a slight angle to that side. It allow you to maintain your focus on the other opponent who would be directly alongside the first.

There's a million of these, I feel. I think that when I ponder over forms, my attention is often drawn to the possibility of a second opponent. Kihon should be enough, but it isn't.
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Fat Cobra
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 14 Jul 2018
Posts: 378
Location: Watertown, NY
Styles: Ryukyu Kempo

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2023 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew,

Good post. I agree with you that you kata is always left to one's interpretation (or a style's interpretation). Some styles use kata as simply a doctrinal routine that a student must learn to obtain their next belt, and other styles break down each technique in the style to excruciating detail.

I also believe that kata can be a form of moving meditation, much like yoga or qigong. I, myself, like to get absorbed into kata to where, when I am practicing on my own, I push out everything else in the world to the sole exclusion of the kata.

From my style and interpretation of kata, and applying it to practical application in real situations, it is always about one opponent. The turns and angles in kata are meant to apply to the same opponent, not multiple ones. I have seen interpretations of Naihanchi Shodan no Kata where you are fighting 2 opponents, one on each side of you....that is unrealistic. If you use the bunkai of that kata to try to fight these 2 opponents, you will get crushed, at the least. Now, if you use the bunkai in Naihanchi to fight against one opponent, there are some great techniques there that can help. But to each his own interpretation.

I will throw one more thing out there....and this might cause some controversy There are no fighting styles that help you against multiple opponents, unless you can single out and dispatch one opponent at a time...especially if we are talking about a self defense situation.

I patiently await any responses
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Head of the Shubu Kan Dojo in Watertown, NY
(United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance)
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Drew
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Posts: 192
Location: My other body
Styles: Boxing, Muay Thai, Sub Wrestling, Tai Chi, MMA, Medieval, Extreme Reaction Combat Scenarios (This is not a drill) Judo, formerly Mishima Style Karate

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2023 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm not certain what you mean by turning against one opponent. Unless you are turning in order to use a spinning technique such as a spinning elbow, spinning kick, etc. Typically these attacks depend on a more sidelong stance, rather than the square stances you can throw a good teep or front kick from. To my point, if you are in a cat stance threatening a teep against a person to the 12 o'clock, you will have fairly powerful side kick available to the 2-3 o'clock position, depending on your body. You may need physical therapy. This is one example of martial arts allowing you to defend against more than one person at a time, at the kicking range, on the kihon scale of conflict. A woman could drop a man quite easily with any number of kicks available in such a situation, allowing her to fight the other person quite easily. Not to mention her punches, which can be quite powerful as well.

Oftentimes when a kata changes direction, I interpret that to mean that the topic of 'angle' is being highlighted, and you are now facing your imaginary opponent from a new direction. They haven't moved, you both have. Naihanchi is kind of a bad example, there is a sort of linearity to the change of direction which is fairly unusual. It seems to evoke the difference between a conventional boxing guard against the first opponent, then turns and assumes a sort of philly shell guard against the person behind. I suppose this makes sense if you say that his stance was orthodox to begin with, but then became southpaw when he turned around. (Typically philly shell isnt used against or by southpaws.)

But trying to use kata to reverse engineer a martial art is sort of slow compared to trying to understand martial art all at once. It's not uncommon for me to notice weird things in Tai Chi forms which have nothing to do with a good tactic, but are about some other topic. 'Dust off' is a hand position where the rear hand is held low to the thigh while the lead hand is extended. I take it to be a reference to a pinched nerve in the neck, where the arm may be numb and weak. The thought occurred to me after being injured swimming, and needing physical therapy to fix it.

It is interesting to see forms in a new light when you have discovered new things under pressure.

To your point, yes singling out and dispatching them one at a time is ideal, not easy, and is severely limited by obstacles in the environment. To make matters worse, it becomes impossible to take an angle against the person in front of you if there is a person to either side of them. If there is only a person to one of their sides, then the only angle that can be taken is to the empty side. This limits your force multipliers to body mechanics, etc.
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