Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pre-positioning in martial applications

Back in the day, when I was teaching Ergonomics and Work Design classes at college, there was this concept that we talked about - pre-positioning.  If there was a tool that you were going to have to use then you wanted to define a standard location and orientation for that tool so that when you reach for it, you can find it without searching for it and grasp it ready-for-use instead of having to waste time rotating and re-orienting the tool.
The same applies in martial applications in many ways.  For example...
  • With many tactical folding pocket clip knives, you are able to change the pocket clip to hold the knife tip-up or tip-down blade-forward or blade-backward so that you can pre-position the knife in your pocket the same way every time, ready for deployment with your dominant hand (left or right).
  • In aikido, most all of the operations that the aikidoka needs to make with his hands he would prefer to do directly in front of his chest, where he is strongest and most coordinated, and hand actions most often happen in the plane between uke's and tori's centers - where the conflict is happening.  So, when a hand is not otherwise doing something in a technique, it is usually pre-positioned on the plane between tori's centerline and uke's centerline.  This way, the hands usually have the least distance to move to do their next action.
  • In judo, consider the common 3-step turn-in for seoinage.  If tori tries to turn in with his feet in any random position then it will frequently take several tiny steps.  But if tori makes his first step (before he turns his body) by turning his foot inward as far as it will go, then the subsequent steps will be easier and it will almost always take 3 steps (or sometimes just 2) to turn in.  By pre-positioning the foot in preparation for the turn, you make the actual turn more efficient.

I bet y'all could come up with a bunch more examples of pre-positioning in martial arts.

photo courtesy of DVDSHUB

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Patrick Parker 
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