You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Photos and Images’ category.

Hotel gyms seem be improving! This is from the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore.

Gym equipment on a wall rack

Advertisements

The VA club has spent the last couple of weekends cleaning out the dojo space to make more room and get rid of  damaged equipment. Among the debris was a cheap old chest protector that had seen better days.  Fraying straps  rendered it a poor fit for some members of the group and the compressed padding really didn’t take anything off of impacts anymore.  But this thing has been around since my college days (a friend broke some of my ribs through it with a well-placed back kick, so there is a sentimental attachment), so I decided to see what some heavy luggage straps,  a sliced up cheap foam mat, a little patience, and plenty of duct tape could do for it:

$7.95 later and…viola. Refurbished chest protector. One of the advantages of the upgrade is that the slide-adjustable straps make it  a tighter fit. Each segment of added padding consists of a strip of heavy 1/2″ foam running in the direction of the musculature and ribs of the front and sides of the torso. There is a quarter inch of space between each strip so that they can move and flex to better distribute impact while retaining a firm shape. Cross-hatched reinforcements protect more of the upper chest area. I’m curious to see whether or not the orientation and structure of the padding makes a significant difference over the original,  a synthetic fluff.

It’s slightly more rigid than before, but does a much better job of dispersing blunt impact forces and keeping smaller weapons (point of the elbow, fists) from compressing single ribs. The side panels are now wide enough to actually cover the kidneys and a wider, heavier belt (visible) helps to keep this protection from shifting around during movement.

 

 

Take a look at here for a large library of artistic representations of the combat sports from ancient Greece and Rome. Just about any technique that you might see in modern boxing, wrestling, Judo or MMA is represented.

The pig-on-a-rope punching bag under “Training Methods” is a particular favorite, but I doubt that I will be running out to the slaughter house any time soon.

As people debate naively on about which style or art is the best, these pieces are a nice reminder that there are only so many ways that one can punch, strike, kick, strangle or throw someone else.  No one art or culture  has any particular claim to any of them. Every culture has developed fighting methods, so a functional  similarity should be expected.

We were extremely fortunate with this year’s demonstrations at the Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Festival: great weather, great crowds, great performances of the material, and two people on hand to film it all in it’s entirety.

Take a look and see for yourself:

TKRI Seizing Drills

Naihanchi/Tekki Application Drills

TKRI Seisan Applications

Bassai Applications

Long Range Knife Defense Scenarios

Close Range Knife Defense Scenarios

Great job folks!

Follow the link for a veritable treasure trove of historical anatomy texts from around the globe. Some of them are amazingly detailed and accurate while others give some insight into how different people in different times and cultures perceived the human body.

Historical Anatomies on the Web

Via the wonders of Google, I came across a Time Magazine piece on parkour while researching hip flexor strains. Go figure. Parkour is a fascinating activity, and obviously one that requires excellent physical conditioning, coordination, agility, strength and mental acuity. Not so different from serious training in a martial art.

There are several fascinating sequential photo montages of  traceurs vaulting from rooftops and landing, or traversing the exterior of a building in a controlled fall. If you’re an appreciator of human movement, give it a look.

Check it out here: An Urban Adventure

Below are two more short sample clips of training with the kakiya. Training with a partner is best, but the kakiya can provide a good tool for skill refinement when a partner isn’t available. Plus, it’s just plain fun. In both drills, the demonstrator’s hands remain in a high guard and punches are thrown from this level instead of a pullback/hikite, a bad habit which karate training often imparts. As an added bonus, training on uneven ground prepares the student to use these skills in a more realistic setting than smooth dojo floors.

Low Kick Entry to Striking Combo

Here the kakiya is used to train basic entry and attack skills. Facing the kakiya at a close engagement distance, the student throws a low kick to the height of an opponent’s knees or groin. Immediately following the kick, he uses his lead hand to pass the “guard” of the kakiya arm to enter and throw a striking combination.
While higher kicks may be more visually impressive they place the kicker at a very high risk for disabling counters; a low kick to the kneecap or groin is far less risky, and will cause an attacker serious pain.

Kakiya Ducking Drill, Varied Response

Here  a punch ducking and counter striking drill is practiced on the kakiya. The aim is to duck under the kakiya arm, which simulates an opponent’s extended arm. Both feet ideally clear the attack line to the outside of the arm, placing the student in a position to attack along the “opponent’s” weak line. Notice that his feet do not stay flat, as is commonly taught in karate. Flat feet reduce mobility, response speed and power. When ducking the arm, notice that his head remains upright enough to see the target.

When returning up from the duck, counter-strikes are thrown in conjunction with the rising and twisting of the body to exploit power generated by the rebound of the legs. The drill starts slowly and then progresses to half speed. The student ‘s responses begin with punching combinations, then progress to knee strikes and low lashing roundhouse kicks followed by strikes to the body and face.

This is some good fun. Each drill is totally unscripted and unrehearsed- the attacker is free to attack how he chooses and the defender is responding intuitively- so there is an element of “aliveness” to it that is often lacking in traditional karate. The drill is an “integration game” that allows both partners to experiment with techniques and strategies learned in other settings in a live fashion. The student in the blue shirt has been training for one year.

On all of these E&R drills, you’ll notice that not every attempt is successful. The defender’s main rule is simple: if a response does not come naturally, disengage, reset, and start over. This encourages him to hone responses that are natural for him, instead of trying to “make” techniques work, fumbling around while the attacker simply lets him. The unsuccessful attacks are included because they are invaluable feedback that lets the defender know when something didn’t work, or could have been done differently. It’s also a good reminder that martial arts demonstrations are polished and rehearsed shows, and usually do not address the realities of dealing with an impact weapon. By leaving them in the clip, the viewer can contrast the successful strategies with the ones that fail.

When the defender is successful in controlling the attacker, note that the engagement goes until the attacker is forced to the ground, forced to tap out or is choked.

Evasion and Response Drill: Random Knife Draw

The drill begins with light free sparring and negotiation for position. The student in the attacker role is carrying a training knife at his hip, and is free to draw the weapon whenever he chooses to, ideally when the defender cannot see it. The defender’s goal is to avoid incoming attacks and either control the weapon when possible or execute a response that prevents further attacks.

The instructor draws the knife at :14, and in the second iteration the student draws the knife at :55.

Attacks are done at half speed, and while we are not “knife fighters,” the attacker’s goal is to execute realistic, continuous attacks that also involve grabbing, shoving and kicking in addition to attacking with the knife. The main purpose of this drill is to expose the student to a scenario where a knife is brought into play at random during negotiation/fighting with a violent individual. Too many karate “knife defenses” are just “karate with a knife” which does not allow the defender to develop usable skills.

Evasion and Response Drill: Long Stick

Evasion and Response: Long Stick 2

Evasion and Response Drill: Baseball Bat

The attacker is wielding a plastic baseball bat as a weapon. The defender’s goal is to avoid incoming attacks and either control the weapon when possible or execute a response that prevents further attacks.

Karate people: look for a bit Naihanchi at :40, and Heian Nidan at 1:22 .

Please watch this second video clip to put the drill into a more realistic context for bat fights:

Boy are we on a roll lately. Some more example clips from training at the Virginia dojo last night, including agility, conditioning and SAQ drills.

Medicine Ball Arc Passes

A medicine ball conditioning and agility drill. The student in the center is standing on a wobble board to work on proprioception and balance while catching and returning the medicine ball. The other partner orbits around him in an arc, maintaining a distance of 3-5 feet. This exercise is good for developing explosiveness on the returns, balance and stability, coordination, anaerobic conditioning and agility while moving in the transverse plane. These skills build a strong foundation for free sparring and grappling encounters, as well as conditioning for the knees and ankles when they are required to cut and bound.

Agility Ladder Side Run Into Front Kick

The student begins moving sideways down the ladder towards the pad with his feet pointing straight ahead. At the appropriate distance, he changes directions, pointing both feet forwards towards the pad, and throws a front kick into the pad, attempting to maintain as much momentum as possible. The pad holder then “chases” him back up the ladder as the kicker punches continuously. The drill is intended to simulate an encounter with multiple opponents that requires the kicker to rapidly change directions while moving in order to attack a target to the side.

Kicking is often trained as if it occurs in a “vacuum.” Standing flat footed in static stances negates any momentum or agility that the student may be capable of generating. For lighter students this mobility is a crucial way to add power to the kick, making it an effective entrance and potentially disabling technique.

Agility Ladder Quick Feet Into Front Kick

The student moves down the ladder employing rebound to move as lightly and quickly as possible. At the appropriate distance, the student throws a front kick into the pad without breaking his stride, attempting to maintain as much momentum as possible. The pad holder then “chases” him back up the ladder as the kicker punches continuously. The drill is intended to simulate an encounter with multiple opponents that requires the kicker to rapidly close with an attacker for a pre-emptive strike.

Tetris Tackle Drill

A TKRI Virginia student engaging in a power and agility drill on a tape agility ladder. As the student moves laterally across the ladder, the pad holder mirrors him and follows. When the student reaches the side of the ladder, he shifts directions and moves up one square and aggressively checks the pad as he does so. At the end of the ladder, the students reverse and repeat the drill. This drill allows a student to experience applying full-body power into a target while changing directions and moving forwards. It’s designed to simulate an escape or evasion situation in which the defender needs to break through or stop an opponent from advancing.

We had a lovely night of good, hard training on Tuesday, and I brought along the camera to get some examples of our performance/power phase training on video.

The first clip demonstrates a side plank. To many, “core exercise” is interpreted as doing lots of situps. Situps target the hip flexors more than the abdominal muscles, and are actually counter productive for this purpose.  Side planks strengthen the recruitment of the abdominal obliques and associated core stabilizer muscles. The variations demonstrated here further involve the stabilizer muscles around the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee joints in conjunction with added leverage against the core muscles.

The next few clips demonstrate agility work on a tape “agility ladder.” While moving down the ladder, the student is focusing on exploiting the rebound from stored kinetic energy to move lightly and quickly but powerfully. Hitting the pad at the end of the ladder gives the student an opportunity to experience how momentum and the drop-step can produce fast, powerful punches. As the pad holder advances, the student works on employing the same stability and agility while moving backwards and throwing punches as fast as possible, using the feet to dig in to strike forward powerfully.

Dave Campbell,  shown in two of these clips, underwent complete reconstruction of his left knee two years ago. This type of training, progressing gradually from slow to full speed, has helped him to regain mobility, power and speed.

This last clip is a very short sample  of makiwara work done in a more dynamic fashion. Instead of thrusting with the body as is commonly seen in karate, the student is punching ballistically, initiating with the chest and arm to generate speed. The momentum and drive of the body is linked upon impact. Although the hips are involved as a rotational center, the drive is primarily generated by the active propulsion of the legs. The rear heel is allowed to lift and drive forward, contributing to the forward momentum and allowing stored kinetic energy to rebound into the strike. Keeping the heels flat negates the rebound, lessening the dynamism and power generated, and also encourages excessive strain on the medial aspect of the knee and compression on the posterior lumbar spine.

Thrusting with the body produces a punch that is encumbered by the agonism of the latissiumus dorsi. Although it may feel powerful, such thrusting actually lessens the velocity of the punch, subtracting substantially from the power generated.


"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin

Archives

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Flickr Photos

Top Clicks

  • None

Categories

Blog Stats

  • 106,106 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers

%d bloggers like this: