Category Archives: Epic Martial Arts Academy

Physiological Arousal and Mushin


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mushin1 Physiological Arousal and Mushin

mushin

Often in UFC fights the commentators mention the class of fighters post fight. When the match is over they tend show each other respect. For a sport that is so brutal at times, this is always good to see, in terms of sportsmanship. This post-fight show of respect also highlights another concept, namely control of physiological arousal, as often a fighter can switch from a highly aroused state to a much calmer state, just like that. From a Sport Psychology perspective physiological arousal can, hypothetically, be thought of as on a continuum ranging from comatose to raging, or something along those lines anyway. Meditation or chess would be firmly placed toward the comatose end, while sprinting would be toward the raging end. It’s interesting to speculate what the optimal arousal for fighting or MMA would be.

In Japanese arts they talk about mushin, that state of no mindedness in combat when the mind is unconcerned with thoughts or emotions and so open to everything. In Wikipedia mushin is described thus

“There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation. At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intentions, plans or direction.”

Clearly, this would be desirable to a fighter, mind absent of thoughts of failure, fear etc and free to tactically respond to the opponent while being sufficiently aroused to strike effectively. Often in Japanese arts they also strive for mushin during kata performance, again from Wiki

“Many martial artists, particularly those practising Japanese martial arts such as aikido or aikijutsu, train to achieve this state of mind during Kata so that a flawless execution of moves is accomplished — that they may be achieved during combat or at any other time”

All very good in theory, but there is potential for trouble when the mushin is achieved in kata but not applied to fighting. The mindset required for kata performance is fundamentally different to that required in a fight or MMA match. During kata performance an open mind while the striving for perfection allows the practitioner to concentrate on the execution of technique, or, preferably, the underlying principles (see Kinaesthesis and Proprioception 2). During a fight or MMA match a person’s physiological arousal has to be further toward the raging end than if he were practising kata. That’s pretty obvious, but the point is that the state of mushin derived from kata practice is not synonymous with a state of mind required for fighting. It may very well be better than a fearful, anxiety ridden state but it is not optimal. Although, while a highly aroused state is desirable, it is possible to be overly aroused. The following clip shows examples of highly aroused MMA fighters, many of whom show none of the class I refer to at the start of this post but definitely plenty of arousal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZQQnFejH_I&hl=en&fs=1]

A couple of things spring to mind, firstly a kata mushin would be of limited value if faced with any of the fighters in the clip, most of whom seem to be close to the raging extreme of the arousal continuum. Secondly, these fighters seem over-aroused, they are so close to raging that they are unable to stop once the fight is clearly over. This may very well seem like an appropriate mindset for fighting or MMA, although successful in the examples in the clip, there is a danger of a fighter gassing if the opponent survives the storm. Alternatively, the raging fighter might end up losing quickly as in the following clip.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7BWp9ARB7I&hl=en&fs=1]

To me it’s obvious that Thompson was overly aroused, while Fedor’s brother Alex had a more appropriate mindset. The Emelianenko brothers and Cro Cop amongst others have a calm exterior which belies vicious explosive action when required. These highlights of Fedor and Cro Cop clearly illustrate this. Sure they are highly aroused, you can’t strike like those fighters without being so, but, importantly, they are not overly aroused. This state of highly aroused yet calm seems to me to be very close to that described in the first Wiki quote, which while being toward the raging end of the continuum its not too close.

To reiterate, the ideal state would be highly aroused but not too close to raging, free from thought and emotion allowing intuitive action; feeling not thinking. Mushin, if you like, but fight mushin NOT kata mushin! I’m not suggesting that a mushin man would always beat a raging bull in a China shop (to quote the commentator in the last clip), that would be absurd. Rather, I’m suggesting that raging is not optimal, a calmer yet highly aroused state, possibly synonymous with mushin, would be more appropriate both during the fight, so strikes can be delivered with optimal power, but also afterwards, so an opponent can be shown respect, unlike some of the fighters in the first clip.

Originally posted 2009-04-10 08:39:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot


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There’s only so many ways to skin a cat is a phrase that springs to mind when discussing power punching in martial arts. As such the same stuff crops up time after time. The relationship between the floor and the punch, involving ground reaction force, is often misunderstood but can only play a part if the parts between the foot and the fist are connected.

Power Punching Tips – Ground reaction force

Ground reaction force is derived from pressing into the floor, which being solid fails to give so sends the force back in the opposite direction. This, of course, is in accordance with Newtons third law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If the surface pressed against is not solid at least some of the opposite force returned will be reduced due to the compressing action. This is why running on soft sand is harder work than running on solid ground.

hatton 300x196 Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot

Hattons punching power

In punching when standing, the feet are usually in contact with the ground and so are able to take advantage of ground reaction force. Of course, the body has to be aligned to the target and connected efficiently for the force to be delivered to the target.

If there is a weak spot in the body it is not connected correctly and power is lost at this point. If you imagine the ball of the foot in contact with the ground but there is some give in the foot when you press into the floor to begin the drive from the foot some power is lost, similar to pressing against a surface that is not solid. This should not be confused with a plyometric action at the foot, which helps produce power but has zero floppiness. This very useful action is described in Priming the Muay Thai Stance.

Ali v Frazier 300x225 Power Punching Tips: connecting the fist to the foot

Fraziers power punch evaded by Ali

Floppiness is the enemy of connecting the body parts when punching and will result in the loss of power. Loose is one thing floppiness quite another. Loose is good because stiffness prevents you from moving correctly.

Another part of the body which is often guilty of disconnecting is at the hip, or more accurately where the top and bottom parts of the body join, or connect. If you stick your bum out as you punch power is lost in the direction of your bum. I have witnessed all manner of strange goings on at the hip region, which presumably are intended to help with power but often do the opposite, often because it is floppy.

All the parts involved with a punch should be connected in some way. Some travel the opposite direction to the punch but contribute, the pulling arm opposite to the punching arm for instance, but everything needs to contribute to achieve full punching power potential.

Power Punching Tips – Gaining a good connection
A good way to find out if you are connected or not is to stand next to a wall in your fighting posture with your punching fist pushing into it. As you push the punch out hard maintain your usual position, if you have a disconnect anywhere you will feel the wall pushing back at this point (the equivalent of ground reaction force as there is no give in a wall!). You should feel a very strong connection between the point of contact with the wall and the driving foot, this increases the harder you push.

By learning to keep a similar connection when punching, or kicking for that matter you will improve your power in your punch or kick and be able to deliver that force to the target more effectively.

Originally posted 2011-02-22 03:09:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation


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kata kick Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Static karate stance

The importance allotted to historical tradition by karate, and similar arts, results in something similar to the historical weapons used in battle re-enactments such as those of the sealed knot, i.e. sub-optimal in modern times. This post shows how karate’s emphasis on form over function results in a ‘flat’ inactive ‘fighting’ stance which is in stark contrast to the activated, primed posture of the Muay Thai stance.

The irony is that while traditional karate generally favours historically accurate technique, form, it fails to do so accurately. Karate progressed from the secret training in the back gardens of Okinawan masters to the universities of Japan where training methods were altered. In a nation preparing for war there was an emphasis for militaristic precision in technique.

mt stance Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Dynamic Muay Thai stance

Over time performance of the kata, which supposedly contain the essence of the karate fighting systems, was (and is) emphasised over the useful elements of the movements. The outcome is an emphasis of form over function and a perfection of that form. This is clearly a drifting of purpose from the martial to the art, with effectiveness being compromised for the sake of form.

In contrast the progression of Muay Thai technique reflects the requirements of the contest; damage your opponent or get damaged! These requirements ensure that essential elements, or function, are retained, at least potentially, rather than superseded by the need for perfect form.

Activated Muay Thai Stance

An example of this contrast, form v. function, can be seen in karate stances and Muay Thai fighting postures. While karate stances undoubtedly provide a solid base from which to fire off strikes they tend to hamper rather than support movement, while Muay Thai fighting stances deliver on both counts.

In addition, any decent Muay Thai fighter is activated in his fighting stance whereas the karate fighter in his traditional stance is not. This difference can be thought of as the difference between being ‘on your toes’ and ‘on your heels’. One is actively engaging the muscles while the other is rather flat footed.

cycling good poor Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Pedalling foot position

The traditional karate stances such as zenkutsu dachi and neko ashi dachi are like cycling with the saddle too low and the centre of your feet pressing into the pedals. To optimally transfer the force generated from the whole of the lower limb the saddle should be high enough to allow the leg and foot to extend with the ball of the foot pressing into the pedal. Try this on a bike and you will notice the difference immediately.

Humans tend to stand ‘lazily’ with body weight supported by bones rather than anti-gravity muscles. By standing back on the heels with the legs straight the thighs are soft and inactive, analogous to waiting at the bus stop. However, if the bus is in and you need to get on, you shift your body weight, bend the legs and activate the leg muscles to move.

Karate v MT stance Karate Stance or Muay Thai Stance, the Difference is Activation

Karate Stance v Muay Thai stance

Karate stances such as zenkutsu dachi and neko ashi dachi are not active in nature, like you’re waiting for the bus, while Muay Thai fighting stances are active and similar to getting on the bus. The anti gravity muscles in the legs are firm, ‘sprung’ and ready to produce force, as a runners would be at the start of a race, ready for the gun.

The structure of the Muay Thai stance is set up with the muscles activated, or spring loaded and primed for action,  while traditional Karate stances are somewhat flat-footed and static in comparison. This observation is clearly illustrated in the picture from the UFC fight between Machida and Shogun

Originally posted 2010-10-02 00:18:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch


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Following the recent one inch punch post I found a short documentary on the wing chung approach, which, of course, was Bruce Lee’s approach at least initially. I know very little about Wing Chung so I found it an interesting seven minutes or so.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx9iPFMriz0&hl=en_GB&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]

Interestingly, the one bloke in the video said that on it’s own it offers little value, other than a great party trick of course. The value comes in applying the one inch punch movement. He said when you learn it you discover “invaluable lessons”.

If you manage to learn how to one inch punch successfully, that’s all well and good. The value comes in applying the same power movement in other ways. If you can do so in one context you must be able to do so in another.

Furthermore, it surely opens the door to further discoveries regarding the generation and application of short range power, without having to rely on “centering the chi” or whatever. One bloke in the video intimates using the one inch punch from a combat perspective, firing it from a blocking move without pulling the arm back first. Another mentions the importance of getting the mass into the target. Some sensible stuff here.

 Bruce Lees One Inch Punch

Lee's one inch punch

Right at the end of the video the last bloke to speak says that the one inch punch “keeps opening doors”. That’s the take home point, referred to above, learn it and apply it!

When we look at getting power over a short range we try to take what we know to work and condense it. So to get the mass into a short range strike you can use the same, or almost the same, body movement that powers a longer range punch to power a shorter movement. Add the explosive finish and you’ve got something to work with.

That would be one approach that may prove successful or may not depending on the context. Of course, if you manage to develop a new short range power generation movement, it only has value if it can be applied in a fight. If not it’s just a party trick.

Originally posted 2010-05-07 13:39:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

UFC Fight Night 24: 10th Planet Ju Jitsu with the Korean Zombie


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For a while I had a bit of an obsession with the Twister and I do mean the one made famous by Eddie Bravo of 10th Planet Ju jitsu rather than the party game! When we were set the submission challenge at Primal there was a lot of twister stuff going on. I always had trouble with it but it did inspire me to work my way up to the 100 required. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of but forces the other person to tap out if caught in it. The spine is locked and twisted with the head section of the spine (cervical spine) turning in the opposite direction to the hip section (lumbar spine). It’s a pretty tough place to be.

I’m not sure I have ever fully understood this move and haven’t thought about it for some time, until someone was discussing the UFC Fight Night 24 (thanks Rams). The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, managed to finish his contest with Leonard Garcia by Twister. It’s a great fight the highlights of which can be seen online but only on forums, it seems. It’s even mentioned on the Eddie Bravo wiki page! If you go to the second ‘box’ on the mmafv forum page you can watch the full fight. The twister finish itself is up on Youtube and is below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-ELV8PjL6c[/youtube]

You have to say he sets it up very neatly moving from a failed attempt at RNC from back control. The other bloke’s ground game is a lot less sophisticated, enabling the Korean Zombie the opportunity to pull it off. Joe Rogan certainly seemed to enjoy it!

Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu

Bravo bases his entire 10th Planet ‘top game’ around this spectacular move. I’ve watched a peculiar video where Bravo narrates you through many BJJ fights where he continually attempts and generally gets the Twister. The clips are great but the entire video has an odd feel about it as Bravo is pretending to have a luxurious ‘crib’ and presents the clips from there….. I think you need to see it to appreciate the oddness. In a similar vein of oddness Bravo presents a breakdown of the Twister as done by the Korean Zombie and shows how to get past various defensive efforts. It’s pretty good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5KQ948H2ps[/youtube]

And more coverage of him twisting in competition, a real time illustration of some of the previous breakdown

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufmiF5TM46s[/youtube]

To keep up to date with all things Eddie you could subscribe to his Youtube channel or get his book Mastering the Twister: Jiu-Jitsu for Mixed Martial Arts Competition UFC Fight Night 24: 10th Planet Ju Jitsu with the Korean Zombie. It’s great, although I found it a bit difficult to follow initially. However, in conjunction with these videos it’s getting a lot easier, to follow at least. I’m looking forward to seeing more from the Zombie and more of the Twister in MMA!

Originally posted 2011-03-31 02:01:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Speed 2 – Timing, part two


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 Speed 2   Timing, part two

Syncopation

Part one used a highlight clip of Roy Jones Jnr’s exceptional timing as a kind of definition of what timing in fighting is.

At Primal, Morris develops methods for learning the timing skill RJJ exhibits in the clip, which has several components.  This post will describe one drill which helps develop timing, that is the ability to see the opponents’ strikes/kicks/shoots etc coming and get your response in before it arrives. In essence it’s a drill to learn cues by attending to them with peripheral vision. As such a person should avoid staring at the shoulder during a jab feed, with central vision, or tunneling as Steve calls it. Rather the trick is to look at the eyes/face and to let the peripheral vision, which is set up to respond to movement, do its job.

Firstly, it’s important to note that the drill is NOT a fight. It’s easy to get drawn into a bit of competitive ‘argy bargy’, but the idea is to strip the fight down to a level where all anxiety of being hit is removed so that both participants can get to grips with learning the cues preceding their opponents strikes. That is, in order to be able to beat your opponent to the punch, you have to see his/her shot coming. To facilitate this ability, your training partner is required to feed you a cue, on Sunday we started off with a jab, which is thrown in a biomechanically correct manner but the strike is not finished, Steve described it as hitting skin deep. The drill should be considered a flow drill.

The feeder provides a jab which can be exaggerated to ensure that the cue is obvious. The receiver then works off the jab, evading, covering, covering and striking, making angles etc. , the idea is to experiment to see what you can work into the ‘interval of time’, it can be anything. Because the drill is ‘slow’ it’s easy to become floppy or sloppy as the receiver, it’s essential that you do not. You need to stay alert and sharp, and reflect this in your responses to the feed. It’s quite a subtle thing, but brings the drill alive.

 Speed 2   Timing, part two

Syncopation

The feeder can then start experimenting with how the jab is fed, and use other feeds to develop the drill, including kicks. Any kind of strike can be fed, so that the cue preceding it can be learned, as long as the basic rules are applied; slow exaggerated feed, skin deep power, correct biomechanics, alert responses, flowing

action, peripheral vision. It’s a method that begins to give the participants an appreciation of the interval of time.

The drill can then progress across all the ranges of the fight, so that hand fighting, clinching, throws etc. can all be included. As the range closes the cues become rather more kinaesthetic than visual, but the premise is consistent. It is up to the fighters to go through their repertoire of their abilities so that nothing is excluded. For the sake of continuity of the flow drill, rather than performing a throw every time it’s useful to do a ‘touch drill’ within the main drill and only complete the

throw occasionally. That means that the position for the throw or takedown is assumed and the required body part is ‘captured’ or simply touched as appropriate, it saves getting up all the time.

Once a chance to have a go at the various distances has been achieved, the whole thing is put back together, so the feeder feeds anything and the receiver responds as appropriate. At this stage it is then possible to increase the volume somewhat to begin testing the cue responses under a little more pressure. This part must still be regulated as it should not become a fight thereby preventing any anxiety of being hit and/or tunnel vision creeping in. Steve gets us to do this in short duration bursts, something along the lines of; flow-flow-flow-volume up, flow-flow-flow-volume up, etc.

It’s a great drill which brings results.

Originally posted 2009-08-07 08:00:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

BODYPOWER Expo 2009


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 BODYPOWER Expo 2009

Due to a senior moment I attended both days of the Body Power show on the weekend of 9th and 10th May. I only wanted to see Dan fight in the amateur MMA show on the Sunday, but got the day completely wrong! So I had plenty of time to see the stalls and take in the huge bodybuilders in flip flops, smothered in gravy browning.

There were a few demonstrations which were ok if you are new to martial arts; the UTC training demo’s were decent enough. There were a lot of stalls selling expensive equipment and supplements and the opportunity to meet famous bodybuilders and strongmen. Of course, there was the chance to have a go at the Dragon Challenge, in simple terms how many curls and shoulder presses can you do with 20kg dumbbells. I bet it hurts, but it’s a bit samey.

All great if it floats your boat, but I only wanted to see Dan from Primal in his first fight, which wasn’t until Sunday? There were tournaments at four or five weight classes and the standard was pretty good to be fair. It was a ‘grapple and strike’ set up with no head shots allowed, which meant the advantage  favoured the grappler. Dan is not a specialist grappler but did well enough to finish in third spot winning a decision against a grappler to get there.

He did very well as the general grappler tactic was to shoot in on a leg kick with no regard for head shots as they weren’t allowed. Unsurprisingly, first place spots were dominated by grapplers, although one of the UTC stand-up specialist fighters got first place due to excellent escapes and movement.

Dan kept busy and regained his feet enough to get the well deserved decision from UFC referee Mark Goddard. He seemed to like action rather than control and Dan provided this, overall he can be pleased that he did very well in a contest that didn’t play to his strengths at all. Well done Dan!

The show is set up more for the bodybuilder than the martial artist but the tournament was good.

Originally posted 2009-06-30 10:15:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Indoor bike


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 Indoor bike

Tunturi Home Cycle 3 Super

I was given an indoor bike a while ago. It’s not exactly modern, in fact it’s probably 20 years old. The picture is from the user manual and is so cheesy I love it, if only I had a nice white track suit!

There is a speedometer and a pretty hopeless timer, it is similar to the old fashioned kitchen timers, complete with bell!While it is not fit for a regular spinning class it is fine for my purposes.

I downloaded a few spinning workouts, which  are definitely challenging, but they are long and the music is awful, so I don’t bother with these any more. My preferred workout on the thing involves the tabata protocol, 8 sprints of 20 seconds with 10 second rest between sprints. I precede this with two minutes of warm up, then follow the first tabata with a second, after another 2 minute rest. The second tabata is followed by 2 minutes warm down and that’s it. So in all it’s 2 minutes warm-up, 4 minutes tabata, 2 minutes active rest, 4 minutes tabata and 2 minutes cool down, 14 minutes in all. A quick little workout that really does test you.

Obviously, with the tabata protocol it’s up to the performer to really push for all out effort, cheating is easy but pointless. Flat out is the key, and this old machine is fine for that.

The point is that you can fit in quick useful workouts at home using inexpensive equipment. I was given this bike and I am sure there are plenty available at ‘freecycle‘ or similar. The price of gym membership or lack of spare time do not have to be a barrier!

Originally posted 2009-08-30 19:21:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Power Punching with the Waist


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Increasing Punching Power by Opening and Closing

aliforeman 300x222 Power Punching with the WaistThe waist area is packed with muscle and potentially will add substantially to your power punching. In karate Senseis often tell you to use your hips but they should really be interested in the waist. After all the hip is no more than a joint between leg and pelvis. There is a lot of muscle working across and around this joint which can contribute to the power and force produced in a punch if it is applied correctly. And that’s probably what those Senseis actually mean though.

Opening and Closing separates the actions within the whipping punch sequence

When performing a whipping punch a defined sequence is performed; the snapping action at the waist causes the hip to snap toward the target quickly followed by the shoulder and then the arm. At the waist, this action involves a stretch, opening it up, and then a contraction causing it to close again. This opening and closing process is a critical part of the whipping punch and is apparent across other joints too. When learning this punch the most difficult part, or one of them, was ‘leaving the shoulder behind’. Differentiating between the hip and shoulder actions within the sequence is key, doing so will produce the desired whipping action and hugely improve power. Opening and then closing actions at a joint precipitate the next opening and closing actions in the sequence….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyD79cpjdt4[/youtube]

Years of punching in stance had negated this opening and closing action, certainly at the waist. Emphasising pushing the hip and shoulder through, towards the target, left my punches, well frankly substandard. Differentiating the hip and shoulder action was the first step in improving this part of delivering a punch. It took a fair bit of practice but I got it eventually. Pulling back the shoulder to produce a stretch across the pecs, opening the area, causes the shoulder action to follow the hip creating the sequential feel to the whipping action.

Improving Power Punching requires tension!

If the shoulder is just opened and the muscle is not activated, power potential will not be achieved. The muscle stretched must be done so under tension. It’s awkward even typing that word as the general association when using it is of a stiff puncher relying on arm muscles to produce power by pushing the punch. The feeling of stretching under tension is a little like the following:

pacquiao knockout punch vs hatton 300x240 Power Punching with the WaistImagine someone is pushing against your arm, you stand still and resist but the arm is pushed backward stretching the pec under tension as it is resisting the push. If it wasn’t under tension the arm would just shoot back and you would follow. Probably not the best analogy but it gives you an idea. The opening and closing actions must be performed under tension to optimise your power punching. Of course you have no-one providing the resistance so you need to produce your own tension.

This process can be repeated at the waist by opening and closing it under tension. The action is not as obvious here but it is possible. The opening action involves stretching open the thighs, a kind of drawing back of the rear hip, if punching with the rear hand. This produces a stretch, which can be done under tension, this produces the potential for power. This must then be transferred toward the target by the hip closing rapidly. The front and rear hips perform different actions, one forward the other back to open and stretch the waist.

The interesting thing is that this opening and closing action is present in saifa kata and although I was told to perform this action in the kata it was not emphasised in regular training. It’s a great pity. I always enjoyed that part of the kata, it felt good because it felt like I was power punching!

Originally posted 2011-03-17 15:08:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

On your marks 3


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A comment on the last post, made by John of Massachusetts, indicated that the clip of the elite level Shotokan fighters did show fast Shotokan techniques delivered from traditional stances, that’s the gist anyway. I chose the clip precisely because of the high standard of the fighters. While these fighters are able to deliver fast punches and kicks, the stance they adopt, fudo dachi I think,  fails to support fast positional movement. In order to successfully make ground quickly they need to adjust the starting position before they move.  If you observe the video carefully you will notice this adjustment.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkGP0AM14F0&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

This adjustment, particularly from the bounce, rapidly shifts the fighter through the equivalent of the get set and go phases of the sprint start. Bouncing up and down in the starting posture does not provide the correct lower leg angle to propel the fighter forward with plyometric action at the ankle curtailed.Does that make sense?

If we return to the sprint start analogy, the get set phase positions the sprinter to explode out of the blocks, the bouncing stance does not position the karateka to explode, an adjustment is required. The sanbon kumite of the original grisly clip provides even less opportunity for explosive movement as the plyometric action is completely absent. To illustrate what I mean follow this link to an article analyzing the blocks start of Usain Bolt, notice how the angle at the ankle of the right foot changes as he begins the movement, it goes back before moving forward. This is the plyometric action or the stretch shortening cycle, which greatly increases power. The starting position in the blocks completely supports this; forward posture and lower leg angle.

The Karate fighters in the clip tend to move from a position that is not set up to support explosive movement, of course the blocks position is impossible to attain but nevertheless the fighting stances they adopt have limited forward posture and usually have a less than ideal lower leg angle. This results in them having to make an adjustment before they can explode out of the blocks, as it were. It’s the equivalent of not being in the blocks properly when the gun goes.

zkd comp On your marks 3Despite this drawback the bouncing is clearly more dynamic than the stiff movement of sanbon kumite although the starting stance is not too different to that used in sanbon. Note the centralised weight, supporting stability rather than mobility.

 On your marks 3

To achieve the equivalent of the starting blocks position the fighting posture needs to support rapid positional movement, with the weight forward and a lower leg angle supportive of a plyometric action similar to that in the Usain Bolt link. Clearly, that would be better than adopting a posture that requires a big adjustment before rapid movement can be achieved.

While the fighters in the clip above start in a sub-optimal position they still move quickly, this is achieved through a lot of feinting and minute positional adjustment to draw the opponent into making a half movement against which they can time their strike. While the rules of the tournament are far removed from street fighting there is still plenty of skill on show. The timing and distancing is very good and this is what Machida has successfully taken to MMA, but thats another post.

Originally posted 2009-11-06 15:00:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter