Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obviously flawed

So, which way do you duck on shizumiotoshi?  Or, put another way, if you were going to knee-clip someone lunging at you, would you rather clip their front knee or their back knee?  I mentioned in a conversation on YouTube that I'd go for the front knee, like my students demoed on their video and like Kyle does here:

...and Sensei Strange replied that this was flawed and obviously not so good - that you want to go for the back leg like Kyle does here...

Well, Strange, you had me doubting myself there for a few minutes.  I was asking myself, "Where in the world did I get such nutty ideas?"  So I went back to my sources.
KG, on his instructional video in which LF and Craig demo the Owaza, explicitly says, and emphasizes it over and over, "Aim for the front, unmoving knee so you don't get kicked in the head."  I want to say I've also heard Henry emphasize this in his seminars at MSU, but I don't have video to prove it.
Of course, KG et al. might not be your ultimate resource, so I went back to Lee Ah Loi's blue kata book and skimmed through it looking for anything roughly like this thing that's in Owaza (anything named sukuinage or senkuinage or tenkai seukui nage, etc...) and found that with the possible exception of one clip in Nikata, all the clips and scoops are done to the front, weightbearing, unmoving leg.
So my ideas are not necessarily all that obviously flawed.   At least if they are flawed, I'm in pretty good company. ;-)
You've got a good point, Strange, about the dangerousness of this technique.  There is the potential for injury to whichever knee you clip, even if you do the back knee.  That is why we take precautions:

  • Don't do this thing in randori - only in kata and only with a partner who knows it's coming
  • Don't go fast - slower is safer
  • Don't deliberately try to lock out his knee - drop in front of his knee, perhaps not even touching his leg, but keep in mind that in a bad spot you could have dropped on the knee.
  • Don't try to make these things look like some imagined conception of "reality."  Trying to make these things look more realistic is a great way to get hurt or hurt someone else.

I think the most surprising thing you said, Strange, in your comment, was that you could cover your head with your hand to keep from getting kicked.  Really?  You'd jump headfirst into a knee strike from a guy who is lunging at you, confident that you could block that knee?  You're a ninja for sure.  I'm slow and I'd sure rather hide my head beside the guy's weightbearing, unmoving leg.
I'm enjoying this conversation with you and Kyle.  I think you and Kyle both have great knowledge and skill and interesting POV's on this thing.  I guess the bottom line is, like Kyle said, you can do it either way, and he didn't say one was right and the other wrong, just that they demonstrate different principles or different degrees of otoshi and guruma.
So, anyone else have an opinion or idea about this sort of movement?  Leave me a comment and share.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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