Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3 ways to avoid a punch

The other day, Zacky Chan asked me to elaborate on a post I made a while back about a certain kind of evasion motion in aikido.  I think I need to put it into context a little.
Suppose you are standing, facing north in a natural, upright posture and someone is throwing some sort of relatively straight-ish punch directly southward toward your face.  Further suppose you 'decide' that you are going to evade toward your attacker but offline roughly 45degrees forward to your right.  Got it?
In this sort of situation there are three basic ways of evading...
  • stepping - when you decide to pull the trigger on the evasion you lean your center of balance over your left leg, pick up your right leg, put your right foot back down somewhere over there, lean your center over your right leg, pick up your left leg, and put it back under you.  You have moved out of the way (off the line of attack), but it took you 2-3 weight shifts to do it and you passed through the plane of the attack twice -once when you leaned left and once when you stepped right.  Japanese teachers call this ayumiashi.
  • dropping - This is a more favored technique for getting out of the way.  here, without leaning your center of mass to the left, you pick up your right leg, your center starts falling to the right, then you put your right leg back down under your center and bring your left leg with you.  Here your weight shifts are minimized and you only pass the plane of the attack once as you fall to the right.  Japanese teachers call this tsugiashi.
  • stepping over the hill - But, there is a situation where ayumiashi can actually be faster than tsugiashi.  Suppose you are walking along and you just put your right foot down when they attack and you have to evade right then.  Your right foot is stuck and it's hard to pick it up to drop to the right.  So, you have no choice but to pick your left foot up and step forward and to the right, past your right foot to get off line.
When you are in a natural, upright balanced posture you can (sort of) choose whether you want to step or drop out of the way (but dropping is usually better). But when you are already in motion, you may not have a choice but to step over the hill because it's easier and faster than dropping in some situations.
Did that make sense?  I promised you a better description, Zacky, but this might just be more verbose.  I will try to film a short video sometime soon to augment this descriptive text.
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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