Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Karate-do footsweeps

Interesting - a karate-do take on ashiwaza (footsweeps). We studied these two sweeps in karate but only to a small extent - and we were told not to play them in sparring because the guy tends to fall on his own leg and break it or sprain it. These guys seem to have worked it much more than we did.

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  1. pretty nice technique there! He has it down pretty smooth.

    I wonder how well it would work against other styles that don't rely on very straight lunging punches and stances.

  2. Oh, those two sweeps work great on less committed strikes e.g. boxing,etc... The problem for the puncher is that to get his fists within striking distance of you he has to put his feet within kicking distance of you.

    I'd encourage you not to play these things in a free setting. They are dangerous enough in the one-step sparring setting you see here. when you introduce more chaos, ankles get twisted and knees get buckled.

    That is not hypothetical knowledge either. Take it from a guy that broke another guy's knee sparring with these footsweeps. He took it in stride (as it were) and said he didn't blame me because that's the risks of the game. But I felt terrible about it for a long time.

  3. I ended a fight with a footsweep once. A friend of mine was set upon (he's a Koei Kan guy), and he ended it with a footsweep. In his case, he was pretty sure he broke the other guys leg.

    In my case, the other guy was really committed to his attack. In my friend's case, the other guy allowed himself to be too close.

  4. Good little video.

    Had one of my seniors use the technique on me in our grading the night before last.

    I can vouch first hand for it's effectiveness ;)

  5. Hey Pat I have to say I've really enjoyed your Karate posts. They have forced me to look at Shotokan's relation to the style of Taekwondo I studied. Some day I may sort my thoughts and post about it.

    Yet another good find! Those foot sweeps or hooks are very similar to the heel hook and leg trap stuff I've seen the seniors do in Praying Mantis.

    In the Taekwondo curriculum I studied our sweeps were some sort of variation on what I would call an axe kick to the spot just above the heel. Block or redirect a punch, step in, pop the heel, and slam the person hard.

    One technique in particular combined the heel pop with a simultaneous close line. Designed to be a hard slam and best done on mats (we did it on wood!).


  6. I think the sweeper in the clip is doing a nice a job.

    I see sweeps as having two effects.

    The effect we all want is for the one sweeped to crash to the ground. It feels good to the sweeper, it’s psychologically disruptive to the one who hits the deck, and it puts the sweeper in the dominate position. That is, he’s in a dominate position if he knows how to dominate and does so quickly. Some sweepers hesitate by looking down at their good work, a moment in which an effective unhurt downed fighter can strike back. Bottom line: Go for the finish quickly.

    The second effect occurs when the sweep doesn’t dump the opponent, but only causes him to stumble. Except for you grapplers, most people have a fear of falling. This means that even a sweep that doesn’t’ take the opponent all the way to the ground has a brief – half second, maybe a full second – of “Eeek, I’m gonna fall.” And that’s when you hit the guy. Hit him when his mind is on himself and not on you.

    When I teach a sweep, I teach it as just a sweep, meaning if the opponent goes down, great; if he only stumbles and ‘thinks’ he’s going down, great. Either way, you blast him at the brief moment when he is at his weakest.

    One final thought on the clip is that the sweeper does a beautiful sweep then executes a tournament-style punch to the downed man’s body. This type of punch is considerably weaker and thus less destructive than one that is driven into the body in a deep penetrating method.

    Consider that the downed man’s body is braced against the floor, which means there will be no energy bleed from the blow. Hit a guy who is standing and a considerable amount of the punch’s energy is lost because the recipient’s body is unsupported. But hit him in the chest when his back is against a wall, and all of your technique’s energy is absorbed into his body. Likewise when the opponent is on his back. A snapping punch will hurt him, but a deep penetrating one is more likely to keep the guy down.

  7. Thanks for the comments, guys. I really appreciate y'all reading and thinking about and commenting on the things that I post. We all get better when this blog thing is a read-respond-repeat sort of cycle.

    Loren gets the prize for the most detailed comment on this post so far. I think that what he's talking about happens a lot in martial arts with a lot of different kinds of techniques.

    You punch a guy and he doesn't lay down and die so you think you failed

    You do a throw and the guy sits down instead of falling on his shoulders so you think you're a failure.

    You do an armbar and the guy presses out so you feel like your armbars suck.

    You do a sweep and he stumbles but doesn't fall...

    These techniques all have an effect but often it's not the effect that we foresaw in our fantasy minds so we think the techniques have no effect.


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