Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rolling the ball and brushing off

Dave over at Formosa Neijia posted an article on this guy's teachings the other day. Good article. Spot on. Some of the practice methods in this video may look a little wierd if you are coming from an aikido background rather than from a Chinese IMA background (bendable arm, uke static with locked arms, etc...) but hopefully this stuff will look a lot like the aikido that you are doing. If not, it's worth studying this guy's movement. There's a lot of value there.
In my classes we've been working on this stuff more explicitly and more frequently for about a year now, calling it by different names, including the aiki brush-off, kokyunage, and 'rolling the ball.' I'm always practicing the 'pushing the wall' exercise shown here. You can play that in different situations - wherever you are. In corners, walking through doorways, etc...
After you watch the following, check out all of this guy's videos...


  1. I really don’t understand why you are saying that these guys’ videos are worth studying. First of all, the elbow attack would always be a short range attack within the range of motion of that bend elbow. One would never step forward to do elbow punch, (like the guy on the video) and use that “robotic movement”, as if he was trying to push someone. If you see some Myay Thai or MMA elbow attacks you would never see someone attacking straight forward with both hips pointing against the opponent. It’s rather the opposite thing. You twist your upper body at the hip, to deliver the attack.

    And one more thing, going too much on the side is wasted motion. You should try to create space by eliminating big steps to the side. If you do small steps to the side, while at the same time try to deflect the opponents arm(s) with the short explosive power, is enough to intercept the attack of the opponent. Also, one more thing, try to avoid going back, because this will inevitably make you losing that “space” you are creating for yourself. That will give the opponent the opportunity to attack you even more aggressively or knock out you.

  2. Almost identical to the second technique in hanasu, the evasion is exactly the same. It's always cool to me to see the same principles pop up in all the different martial arts.

    It was funny to see your "patented" wall push done by someone else. Looks like they've got your dojo bugged.

  3. He's not really defending against an elbow attack. He's showing how we in bagua and taiji would link to the elbow because it's a pivot point. Notice that he spins off of contact with the elbow. The "attacker" here is just using a fixed position to give the demonstrator something to work with.

    This guy comes from a baguazhang background so comparing the assumptions that he's working with to sports like muay thai or MMA isn't really going to work.

    Formosa Neijia

  4. Dave, whatever the fixed position there might be it’ll not teach you how to react when someone really wants to hit you. One should really see the point of using such exercises. If that’s for pivoting sake, then you should do it in more realistic manner (in motion, while someone is really trying to punch you; first moving slower then fast), not in fixed positions. Many internal martial arts (bagua too) have their “stylistic approach” to self-defence which is not practical. Have you ever done sparring with the boxer, karateka, or any other martial artist? Even if you did, you would never pivot on someone’s elbow like that, because you don’t have time to do that. Deflection or repel (like this guy is calling it) has to do only with the reflexes (means reactions) in such situations. Anyway, why don’t you try it against someone who is more experience martial artist? Maybe you’ll find out something that I didn’t

  5. Faik,
    "Many internal martial arts (bagua too) have their “stylistic approach” to self-defence which is not practical. Have you ever done sparring with the boxer, karateka, or any other martial artist?...Anyway, why don’t you try it against someone who is more experience martial artist?"

    Thanks for your reply, but you assume way too much. The way I do bagua and taiji is very realistic. I was raised on a steady diet of full-contact sparring and I can assure you my material has been tested. Not all of us are without experience in this area, as most people would assume.

    I've done material like what is in the clip and it's a first step towards using these types of movements in a fighting situation. There is much more to it that is not shown in the clip.

    As with muay thai, MMA, or anything else, we should never assume that what is shown in a clip is all there is.

    Formosa Neijia

  6. Faik says: "whatever the fixed position’ll not teach you how to react when someone really wants to hit you."

    This is not true. The fixed position is useful for removing less relevant variables from the thing so that you can learn to deal with the real issue here. The real issue is the bad guy stepping to within arm's length - not what he's doing with his arms. So the guys in the videos chose some fixed position for the arms so that the defender could practie evading the attacker's center and deflecting/repulsing/whatever you want to call it.

    Point is, The type of motion the defender is practicing in the video _is_ a very useful type of motion that comes in handy in many situations. We have found that this is one of the only types of motion that can keep you from getting your ass cut off in anything-goes knife randori. (read several posts back on the knife thread on this blog).

    We teach our beginners in much the same way and they rapidly get to the point that it doesnt matter what kind of punch is coming, they can apply a generally beneficial evasion-deflection-offbalance. And many of these people trained this way have been tested in street situations and have come out on top.

    I, like Dave, think you are assuming too much. You are filtering the video I posted thru your presuppositions and deciding that it doesn't match. And it's not just you. It's easy for a trained person to look at a video like this and dismiss it. That's why I posted it. So that maybe someone could think about it for a while and see how it might be useful to them.

    Anyway, I'm glad y'all have found the video interesting. It sure makes this blogging thing a lot more fun when smart, experienced folks like y'all leave comments. It makes me think.

  7. What is interesting is that the same technique is used in Western martial arts. I first learned this technique to cover and pass during cutlass drill.

  8. You're right, LeatherdykeUK, it does look remarkably like a shield pass, doesn't it.


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