Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gross motor skills and Shomenate

A while back I wrote about the importance of building your self defense system out of gross motor skills rather than fine motor skills. Under stress, we lose fine motor coordination to some degree. This is somewhat modifiable through training, but it still happens. I thought I’d pick up on that thread today using shomenate as a concrete example.
I like to think about shomenate as a sort of hierarchy of performance goals. The following is an ordered list of the things you want to happen in shomenate. The list is ordered from most important to least important and it is also ordered from gross motor skill to fine motor skill.
  • Evade to the inside of the attack and get your hands up between you and uke.
  • Push uke’s face straight backward to get him backing away from you.
  • If you can get your feet lined up same-hand-same-foot as you push him, that is good.
  • If you have the presence of mind, bump his attacking arm just as his lead foot comes down. Bump it in the direction of his stance line.
  • If you have the presence of mind, you want the face push to happen right as his second foot comes down.
This is not everything there is to shomenate, but it is enough of the form to make my point. Your main, overriding desire in shomenate should be to evade to the inside and push the face to get uke backing up. During the execution of that gross motor goal there are points that, if you have the slack and the presence of mind, you can improve the mechanical advantage by adding in an element of finesse. Shomenate will often work quite well even if you are only able to do the first one or two of these performance goals But you can potentially turn shomenate into magic (e.g. uke flying eight feet backwards through the air) if you can hit a few of the finesse elements.

1 comment:

  1. My MAA Bram Frank designates the motor skill we gain from training as complex motor skill. So an untrained person and a trained persons body goes from fine too gross when the s... hits the fan. The untrained persons brain follows the same path, but the trained persons brain still has another phase to go through (the complex phase. That is if the trained person practices something borderline gross(or bordline effective). Therefore, if you want to be a professional martial artist teacher/philosopher and fill your students head full of "cool" tricks or techniques then teach something beyond gross motor skill. If not then practice gross motor skill with sequences that run throught the phases of combat, which one thought on phases would be standing striking to trapping to grappling the ground striking to grappling, etc.. SOo arts like aikido, modified wing chun, basic striking like Muay thai..western boxing, postional wrestling like Judo..greco roman, and tactical arts like CSSDSC, louis Krudos snag, INPAX, Kapap, CKM, etc. are very effective. There are other arts I have left out that are effective, and some of them may be even more so if you study with the right teacher of follow the right path in studying the art.
    More on topic, Shomenate is the best entry for any grappling range art period. You have to have a suprising entry to even begin to consider grappling.

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