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Class Notes – More Gyaku

February 4, 2013

We warmed up with the same Sanshin exercises from last week.

  1. Stepping forward with the san-shitan ken (3-finger strike). Remember to keep your heels in line, knees in line with your feet and spine straightened!
  2. Stepping back with the right foot while striking with the san-shitan ken with the left hand. And vice versa.  Make sure your back heel does not go beyond and that your hand and foot arrive at the same time.
  3. Jodan uke – in class we started from shizen no kamae (feet about shoulder width apart), then stepped back 45 degrees while bringing the leading hand up in a slight arc, fist closed. Remember, the back heel should not go beyond, and your hand and foot should arrive at the same time.

We spent a while drilling the Jodan uke. If you are a newer student, practice it against a lunging strike/attack, while if you are more experienced practice it against a leading arm jab. Because the attack is less committed your movement will be smaller. But remember to watch the coordination of your back foot with your blocking hand. And don’t mindlessly shift your head back into the line of attack after your block. There could be a second punch heading there, don’t hit it with your face!

Ura Gyaku

Again we took some time to work on ura gyaku. As I said before, this took me at least a year to really get it right, so unless you are a martial arts genius expect that it might take a few lessons at least.

Remember, we want the opponent’s shoulder down and elbow straightened. Unless your opponent is very much larger than you, twisting the wrist together with controlling the elbow WILL bring your opponent’s shoulder down. And even if he manages to recover and counter your move somehow, you will have bought yourself more time. And that is always a good thing!

Omote Gyaku

Omote Gyaku is

  1. Opponent grabs your lapel, you move offline in the other direction while using your elbow to straighten his elbow.
  2. Both thumbs on the back of his grabbing hand as you push up.
  3. Draw the base of the triangle as move his hand up and away from his hip.
  4. Complete the triangle to stop his foot from bringing his hip back to his hand. Continue to bring his hand away from his hip in an arc until he falls.

Key Point:

There is one thing I want you to get for omote gyaku. You are using both hands to control one of your opponent’s hands. Therefore it is essential that you keep your opponent from hitting you from the other hand. That means you need to keep the hand up high as you twist.

If you let the hand go down, you can exert a lot of pressure on the opponent’s wrist, shatter the bones, tear the ligaments and all that kind of nasty stuff. And if you try that on me I’m gonna do my best to shatter your jaw and knock you out for even trying. So I believe you will be safer keeping the hand up for as long as you can to keep my other shoulder from turning in to hit you.

Also, because I teach omote gyaku as moving the hand away from the hip, your opponent may step or turn or try various ways to move the hip back to the hand. Completing the triangle (with your foot next to his) is a simple way to stop that from happening.

Another thing your opponent can do when you are using omote gyaku is to bend the elbow to bring the hand closer to the wrist. When that happens your technique has been messed up and your opponent can attack you again. So if he tries to do that, you can hit with ura shuto to straighten out the arm again, or you can attack the bent elbow (draw a circle with the elbow).

Final Point:

The ura gyaku and omote gyaku are not easy to learn. We will spend more time on them the next lesson to give you time to familiarize yourself with them more, but they are not easy. Then why are we starting our training in grappling with these two tricky techniques? Because they are done from further away from the opponent, and if you mess them up somehow, you are safer than if you were close-in and entangled with your opponent.

The close-in techniques work better, and we will start working on them over the next few lessons. But in order to make them work safely for you, you NEED your kamae to be good. So work on your kamae in the meantime. Spend time just standing in them, heels in line, knees over toes and straighten your spine. And the first two sanshin exercises will help you prepare too.

Okay, that’s it for now. See you next lesson!


俊傑 (Shunketsu)

From → bujinkan

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