Monday, June 14, 2010

Shihonage is a chimera

A while back I went to a seminar with a highly-ranked instructor and the seminar topic was the last section of junanahon kata - floating throws. Well, the instructor walks out on the mat and said, "Okay, floating throws... Let's start with shihonage." And immediately my internal alarms went off. See, in the Tomiki scheme of things, shihonage was classified as a wrist throw, not one of the floating throws (maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, hikiotoshi). Of course, we went along for the ride and had a great practice, but I kept wondering why he'd decided to throw shihonage in with the floating throws.
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Of course, you can learn to apply the floating throw principles in any throw...
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And shihonage does share the same distinctive form of offbalance with the other floating throws in Tomiki's kata...
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But I still kept wondering. And I think I have realized that shihonage is a chimera - part one thing and part another. Shihonage shares characteristics with both the wrist techniques and the floating throws.
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In its role as a chimera it points both directions. It suggests that your floating throws can benefit from some greater wrist control and your wrist techniques can become more floaty. You can apply ideas from either set to the other.
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I saw the same thing at the recent Kondo seminar when Dr. Kondo threw me with shihonage. It was a wrist technique - definite wrist control - but he floated me into that wrist control and used the wrist control to maintain and prolong the float. Then the actual turn and throw happened on the next otoshi - just like a floating throw.
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Notice shihonage's position in the kata also suggests its role as chimera. It is the last item in the wrist set and just before the floating set. As an exercise, you might consider how the last technique of each set can be thought of as a chimera. How is ushiroate like an elbow technique? How is wakigatame like a wrist control? How is hikiotoshi similar to the next kata (Owaza Jupon)?

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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: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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