Bruises, Indexes, and Halting Grapplers

Discussion in 'Kenpo - (EPAK) Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate S' started by Kembudo-Kai Kempoka, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    Alright. This one's hard for me to write from an ego standpoint, but like a guy who lost a bet and now has to pay the piper, I gotta post my experience with this. It was significant enough, that props need to go where props need to go.

    I was one of the first guys from kenpo to train with the Gracies; I remember when most of the brothers were still in Torrance; when Rickson left; etc.

    I quite happily took challenge matches to people who "gotta big mouth", but who were only willing to take pot-shots at BJJ in the pages of MA mags, and the like. I had some awesome matches in places ranging from my studio, to "their" studios, to parking lots at clubs and gyms; choked the absolute snot outta guys as an outnumbered bouncer; basically, had some real all-around phenomenal experiences as a grappler. Granted, I wrecked my back in the process more than had I not mosied down that road, but all in all, some great experiences.

    Well before the UFC happened, and before you could find BJJ all over the place (literally, there were maybe 3-5 schools in the US, including Gracie Brothers, Machado's, & some other cousins), one of my favorite things was to take up challenges from karate guys with the "woulda-coulda-shoulda" garbage. By this, I mean...pretty much any stand-up fighter with more than a year under their belt was sure they could stop a grappler with what we -- as grapplers -- refferred to as "the magic bullet".

    "...when the guy rushes you, all you have to do is..."

    So I would oblige, and rush them... pull them to the ground, and either arm-bar them or choke 'em till they turned pretty colors. My end observation from all this? If a trained "wrassler" wants to get you to the floor, then to the floor you're going. Or, more specifically, if *I* want to get you to the floor, then to the floor you're going.

    Well, I stopped in at Doc's late Sat. afternoon, and the guy & his motley crew of kenpo super-geeks (and I say that affectionately as I envy their knowledge base) are working on the Index Set. Basically, footwork similar to SF1, but with the stance changes accompanied by braced indexes, transitional indexes, etc. Aka, "how to keep your hands up and out in front of your body, so that if a train hits you, you dent the train".

    "We can even use these tools against grapplers shooting to the lower part of the body", says he.

    "Malarky", says I (in my head...I'm not THAT stoopihd).

    "Reposition the lead hand while maintainnig alignment, and the guy shooting on you will feel like he's got a ton of bricks on his back, and hit the floor short of his mark", he says.

    "Heard it before, and didn't believe it then, either", I says (in my head, mostly). But I'm a little stupid. In previous visits, I've pretty blatantly told Doc, "That's a neat trick and all, but I'm still pretty sure I can shoot those legs and pick one or both of those ankles". Says he, "I know you think that".

    So. To my chagrin, I drop to shoot on a guy I've got at least 40 pounds on, and a lot more years of doing this stuff. He repositions, drops the elbow, maintains the integrity of the index, and I stop. Then, under what feels like embarassingly crusching weight, I go down. I would *like* to continue to pursue...I can usually persist in a scrambling forward momentum to catch the guy if he's successfully sprawled me, and still pull him to the floor (ain't gravity great?), but not this time. I'm pressing forward, he's barely leaning down, and I'm going nowhere.

    Stopped.

    Still not sure I believe it happened, so I pair up with one of my old BJJ buddies (purple belt), and exchange notes with him. This guy is also an old kenpo BB, and we started BJJ at about the same times. We used to do "good guy/bad guy" drills together, where we would pad up, then go solid after each other, with one lpaying the role of "karate guy holding off the grappler", and the other one being the grappler. We worked up the faith that the magic bullet did not exist, because we tried them on each other; the challenge "drop me if you can" -- riskig knockout or serious injury -- always ended up with the stand-up uke on the floor. With our past, I feel OK going harder with him than with someone with no wraslin' experience (seen people do simple things like land wrong, and blow a wrist).

    End result? I stop him with da elbow ting; he stops me with da elbow ting, and I won't rest until I have accomplished 2 things:
    1. Gotten really good at the elbow thing (I have some bad habits...I compromise my upright stances in favor of the old habit of broadening my base by srawling the legs...good practice in grappling, bad practice in kenpo);
    2. Figger'd how to slip that friggin' index. Me no likey bags-o-bricks on by back.

    Very cool stuff, Mr. Chapel. I'm looking forward to the next installation, though my ego's starting to feel about as bruised as my chest (still don't think I needed that silly vest, but I'm glad I had it).

    Regards,

    Dr. Dave
     
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  2. Shortay

    Shortay Yellow Belt

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    When I met Dr Chapel he showed me the power of a simple index. (coupled with proper body alignment)

    My nickname isn't particularly ironic, I am about 5'1'' and don't weigh an awful lot (about 126 pounds). Doc got one of our BKKU instructors to run full tilt at me. I was absolutely petrified as this gentleman outweighed me by, well, enough!!! It was a total no contest.

    But I followed Doc's instructions to the letter and at the point of impact - I didn't budge. In fact it was the guy charging me who bumped right backwards and from his reaction had actually felt the full force of the impact rather than me!

    Looking forward to seeing Doc in May and learning even more!
     
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  3. kevin kilroe

    kevin kilroe Orange Belt

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    This sounds very important. Can you explain it step by step?
     
  4. Old Fat Kenpoka

    Old Fat Kenpoka Master Black Belt

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    Props to you Dr. Dave. No system is invincible, every attack can be countered. It takes actual experience and practice against other systems and attacks to learn how to defend them. You took the time and made the effort to show where Kenpo worked and where it didn't, to make Kenpoists respect grapplers, and to make you Kenpo better against grapplers. :asian:
     
  5. relytjj

    relytjj Guest

    I'm a bit skeptical. It sounds like this technique is a high percentage one. If it is a high percentage technique then why haven't I heard or seen anything like it in MMA competition?

    Can you describe this technique in more detail?
     
  6. relytjj

    relytjj Guest

    This doesn't make any sense. There is no way this is true unless your leaving out some details. You say they you didn't budge and the larger man bounced backwards. There has to be a considerable force applied by you to him to achieve that effect. How did you redirect his momentum? Maybe I would understand if someone described this technique in more detail.
     
  7. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    When Doc is out there, keep him busy. He has some night-owl habits: If you get the chance, see if you can keep him up and get him to "data-dump" for you. Bring a pad of paper, because you'll wish you had if you don't.

    Describing this is a bit tough. Just the braced index position alone, with the alignment mechanisms in place to support it, would take about 5 pages typed, with pics, and you probably still wouldn't get it until you had someone there to put you through the paces with it, make sure the details were in place, and provide you the chance to test it by challenging the various components.

    "Everything matters". Even the act of lowering your chin in concentration -- natural in boxing, grappling, or just balancing your checkbook -- has a net effect of screwing up the stability of your foundation, and robbing strength from pretty much all the limbs of your body. Showing you in person, however, would take about 5-20 minutes.

    As for many of the MMA fighters, I don't have a lot of respect for many of their skill levels (note: "many", not "all"). Most get to about what used to be "seasoned white belt" level in BJJ or some similar system, add kickboxing, then rely on athleticism, strength and steroids for their competitive edge. I've done the grappling with some of the best there are to do the grappling with; I've done the kickboxing with some of the best there are to kickbox with; and I've done the athleticism on 'roids thing for a spell as well. The guys who have my respect as MMA'ers are the technicians who operate at a different level of understanding than the mook-sized white belt roid-ragers. I've rolled with Rickson, Royce, etc., so buffed out guys with attitude problems do not represent to me the top of the "possibility" heap.

    I had (have?) the ego to consider myself within about a 1-3 month reach of brushing off rust and regaining my wind to be able to catch most of those guys (providing I could live the gym-rat lifestyle for that time period, and get back on the juice to be able to match their chemical intensity.). Even cold, old, and outta shape I still occasionally leave some of the new kids sleeping it off on the mat, or walkig away frustrated about not being able to catch the old fat balding guy. So, why have you not seen it in the MMA circles? Alternate question: Why, 16 years ago, did you not see BJJ or MMA gyms on every street corner, videos in every mag, and MMA matches on the telly? Because it was new. Hadn't spread yet. The UFC was either Vale Tudo in Brazil, or the Gracie Challenge in Torrance, CA.

    Kenpo folk run a lot on ego. I consider myself one of the lesser offenders, and it's still hard for me to put my ego aside and explore the idea that Doc might have something to offer that I haven't seen before, and know nothing about. Harder still to think my best tricks in my bag of tricks wouldn't help against skinny little kenpo guys, even if I did buff back out and start rolling again.

    The old "to feel is to believe" is frequently used as a cop-out. But there are also some very real components to it. When I put my ego aside, I get kinda bummed. This stuff is out there, and I don't own it. And now I'm too old and busy to go after it with the gusto I would have 20 years ago.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  8. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    Way.
     
  9. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    Dave,

    I am not sure if this was your intent, but all you are doing here is irritating people, by saying "Doc has the real deal" you need to feel to believe. I am not doubting you, just that you put it in a way that potentially will stir up lots of speculation, scepticism, and controversy.

    Give the guy a break and try to describe it. Not the technical terms necessarily, as I never expect anyone to learn any kinesthetic art via monitor. How about the base that you would be explaining to a college class if doing a demo in their gym ... not martial arts students trying to soak it up via the internet and test on the same.

    Thanks,
    -Michael
     
  10. relytjj

    relytjj Guest

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka,

    I can respect your opinion on MMA fighters. However, mine differs. They are professional atheletes who strive to be the best fighters under a given ruleset. I just find it highly suspect that 'Doc has the real deal' and no one in the MMA world knows about it. If this move is as high percentage as you imply it is then no doubt it would change the fight scene just like BJJ did when the Gracie's starting destroying everybody (not on the same scale obviously). This move sounds like a strikers dream.

    Given, it may be extremely new but what are the chances that 'Doc' has come up with an extremely effective technique for preventing takedowns when others have been studying preventing takedowns for quite a while now. I am not calling you a liar, but it is just too much to swallow with a general knowledge of how the technique works.

    -Tyler
     
  11. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    Still at work on a PC that's in and out, but I'll try.
     
  12. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    PC keeps crapping out, and losing the reply. I'll get it up tonight when I get home.
     
  13. relytjj

    relytjj Guest

    Sorry, I meant with out a general knowledge not with.
     
  14. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    OK. I'm really not being a "Doc is right; everyone else is wrong" weenie. I'm just having problems getting my posts to post. I'm going to save to to a document this time, and use a buddies PC to post them. Anything longer than a sentence or two here gets an error message.

    D.
     
  15. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    yes, the sceptic meter is likely going off for a lot of people. Wrestling has been an international sport for a long time, if a takedown defence that is this effective is possible, then why haven't they come up with it yet?

    Not calling anyone a liar, just an observation.

    Why guess would be that it does work, but it leaves something else open. In other words, yes it will counter that sort of shoot, but at the expense of something else.

    Perhaps someone with a digital camcorder can provide a little clarification for the rest of us?
     
  16. Soulman

    Soulman Guest

    Hi Shortay!
    Great to see you on the forums - it's James from Cheltenham! Yup I think alot of us witnessed that attempted tackle on you after Dr Chapel showed you the correct stance alignments - its mind-alterating stuff alright.

    Seeyou at the seminar in May - can't wait either!!

    Soulman
     
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  17. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    Hokay. There are a couple of concepts that run at the same time, stacked, to make this work. To make it easier to dialogue about them in part or whole, I’m going to break them into separate sections. Out of respect for space on the thread, please only copy the part you wish to challenge or discuss when responding.

    Mr. Billings:

    Thank you for your feedback. I hope this approach is more amenable to public discourse and discussion.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  18. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    History of these concepts and where I’m coming from in posting them:

    It is not my intent to do the “nyahh, nyahh” thing, with “praise Doc” as the call to arms. The techniques apply some very real concepts in some ways different than what one typically sees in kenpo, yet they are kenpo concepts (One of the most important kenpo concepts is the definition of pure kenpo, in light of which all of the mechanical discussions are exercises in futility).

    Some background, from my perspective (the only one from which I am qualified to speak). Doc teaches a small group of people, because he doesn’t teach the general public (accepts few students, and – I suspect – blows more people off than he welcomes); the ideas and applications do not lend themselves well to a large group setting with respect to quality control; and people rarely, if ever, seek him out. Despite his unique take on many items, you rarely hear of him or see him hitting the seminar circuit, camp circuit, etc. He’s a super-nice guy, who is also very firm in his convictions, and this has an effect of people regarding him as unapproachable. The concepts he presents should, in my mind, be present in everyone’s kenpo. But it doesn’t spread through the kenpo community, because nobody comes to learn. And, more influential, folks have a vested ego interest in already having the whole picture. The idea that there might be more to learn, particularly when you’ve been at it for years, assaults the conceptualizations we use to define our sense of self. So, the soil over pirates treasure goes left unturned.

    I can’t speak for Doc’s truth. I CAN attempt to re-tell what he’s related to me to the best of my ability. I CAN speak my own truth. My own truth is this: There are some very cool things that Parker did in his kenpo, which he didn’t go out of his way to spread. Much of it was still in the experimental phase in his own head, and hadn’t even been named yet. I watched closely as a performance modeler and saw that he did stuff that others around him were not doing, but couldn’t put my finger on it to isolate and codify it (went by too fast)…subtleties in his “shorthand” that made a big difference on how hard something hit when it landed. Stuff he did to uke’s during a technique – bumps and checks – that messed with the other guys balance, proprioception, coordination, etc., all making it easier for him to pull off his executions. They were hinted at, but never codified. In meeting Doc for the first time, he spoke about some of these same things I had noted; spoke of “conversations” with Parker in which he would do it, have Doc try it, and if Doc asked the ever-prolific Parker “what is this called?”, the reply would be “don’t know yet. Just do it”. Parker passed too soon. Before he got it codified and interjected into the main body of kenpo knowledge. Not super-secret ninja spy decoder ring stuff, just subtleties that make a difference in HOW a technique – whether basics, or SD techs – are performed, and hence the outcome.

    Let me try a piece on perspective…you guys out there who are kenpo black belts: do you have a different understanding of, or perspective on, Lone Kimono than you did when you first learned it? Do you move differently while doing it, as a result of that keener grasp of subtleties of motion you’ve developed over the years? Now, assume you’ve been doing it for 40 years instead of 10…different? Is it unreasonable to assume that the maker of Lone Kimono, after the better part of a lifetime, had developed some deeper understandings of the subtleties of the technique, which in turn affected how he did it? Could these differences in How benefit you as a kenpo practitioner, if you had an awareness of them? As you watch people learn the yellow belt curriculum, do you, as an individual, recognize that there is much more to cleaning up the sequence and bearing down on the execution of it than they, the white belts, are capable of understanding or grasping at this point in their development? If they walk away, and proclaim their understanding of Lone Kimono as THE COMPLETE understanding of Lone Kimono, will you agree, or offer that, “There’s more.” The moment you do that, they have 2 options…disagree with you, and say “Not according to how I learned it”, or to humble their raging ego and say, “There is? What does that look like, and will you show me?”.

    Doc’s challenge (and the part of his stubborn streak I do admire) was to stick to a commitment; a decision to codify this stuff, and plug it in to EPAK. I opted to believe him, because the same odd, “unnecessary” semi-circles I saw Parker doing, Doc was doing. But they were intentional, named, and his small band of kenpo guys were doing it too. Larger circles til they get/got it right, but the same effect. (Stopping for coffee, mentioned later)
     
  19. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    Indexing: Anatomical Alignment vs. Neuro-Physiologic Congruence

    Rudimentarily, an index can be thought of as c-o-c-king a blow for a technique (language filters didn’t like the “C” word). More correctly, it consists of moves that prime the muscles and joints of the body to work together as a cohesive unit. Doc favors “anatomical alignment” as the holy grail of stability & strength (structural integrity). I work with the nervous system all day, seeing effects of treatment modalities aimed at exciting or inhibiting activity levels, so I have a tendency to view the holy grail as “neuro-physiologic congruency”.

    Anatomic alignment – Doc can represent this better than I can, since its application to kenpo is really his baby. Roughly, the body has a bunch of bones in it. These bones all articulate to varying degrees at varying angles with their neighboring bones. When the articulations are maximized, the body is in an optimal physical performance state: This state is what we as kenpoists want to accomplish in the midst of blocks, strikes, etc. It’s a transitional state…starting from an anatomically aligned position, one might throw a blow that, delivered from alignment, remains strong. In the course of bouncing blows off your opponents’ body (or navigating the space around them to jockey for position for the next blow), it is possible to become misaligned. So, SD-techs are re-visited with some “commas” inserted into them…points wherein the kenpoist re-aligns himself or his weapons through “indexing”. When all the joints are NOT correctly aligned, the body becomes weaker, and less able to function optimally: This is a state we as kenpoists should strive to keep our opponents in, and we can do so by adjusting the intent of the angle and direction of our landing blows, bumps, butts, maneuvers, distancing mechanisms, and so on. If they (our opponent) are not aligned, their attempts to attack us – seize us, pick us up, throw us, hit us in the head with fists or objects – will not amount to much, especially if we can see the attack coming, and align ourselves. Net effect of a misaligned person bum-rushing an aligned person who does a very slight push-drag forward into the attackers space = “bouncing off”. (some specific applications include aligning one’s self and/or misaligning the attacker prior to escaping from bear-hugs, arm bars, head-locks, chokes or lapel grabs, and so on. Stuff to do in a technique, before you get on with the technique).

    Neuro-Physiologic Congruency – People walk into my office. I ask them to pick up one knee; they sway and tilt and stumble. We work on them for a bit, I have them pick up their knee; perfect balance & coordination. What’s changed? The traffic on their nervous systems freeway has been cleared, so all the parts of the body can work in congruence towards a single goal. Out of anatomical alignment, the bodies’ parts can’t talk effectively and efficiently with each other, or with the brain (the central processor of the nervous system). When we improve conditions, all the parts can chat freely without distraction or limitation. Brain talking to body; body talking to brain. I liken a state of neuro-physiologic congruence to an orchestra: lotsa different instruments. When they are all in tune, and all playing their part of the same song, you have incredible music. Out of tune & playing different pieces, just noise. So, all parts in communication, working towards a common goal = neuro-physiologic congruency.

    If something like a foot in a stance is going the wrong way in relation to the rest of the body, this state of congruency breaks down, and so does the bodies strength. Since there are good arguments for both, I’ve started noting in my training journal “AC” to refer to the state of either being in Alignment/Congruence, or knocking a guy out of his AC.

    Problem with the written word in communicating this type of thing? I could have told you and shown you in a minute, with only a couple sentences. So bear with me.
     
  20. Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

    Kembudo-Kai Kempoka Senior Master

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    The Braced Index.

    Indexes, as mentioned before, are a sub-movement that sets up AC. “On the way to work, stop by Starbucks to pick up some coffee.” On the way to the inward block, stop by a couple of reference points with your body. The stopping by will recruit some extra energy and stability to the system of moving parts, and make it stronger for the detour.

    But they also refer to some positions that aid you in maintaining AC. In respect to Mr. Billing’s point that I need to say things in terms that people can get and experiment with, I’m going to try to put things simply. Out of respect for the amount of time, thought and hard work Doc Chapel has put into developing these things, please be aware that there is more to it than this alone. But I will try; it’s worth promoting conversation and, hopefully, experimentation. Keep in mind, though: I’m painfully new at these applications, so I may be missing significant pieces.

    The “braced index” position can be thought of, for general purposes, as the SL4 fighting stance. The feet are in a neutral bow, and the hands are in contact with each other. The lead hand is in what looks to be a rising upward block that stopped at about the level of the collarbone. The rear hand is in a palm-heel thrust-like position, with the heel of the palm nestled in the web of the lead hands fist. These hands are pressing into each other. That’s just what the stance looks like. Some other stuff going on…

    The human body goes in and out of AC during various phases of movement. Some things naturally signal the body to attenuate to this state. One of them is the heel striking the ground in gait. During the toe off and swing phase of walking (picking your rear foot off the ground and swinging it out to the front of you), the body is misaligned and comparatively weak: You could not perform a lifting, pushing or pulling strength feat out of AC, because the bones and muscles of the legs, pelvis and spine are not arranged in proper relationship with each other to support such an effort. The moment your heel strikes the ground (called, “heel strike”), a neurological signal “pings” through every joint in your body to stabilize the pelvis, spine and hips…to support the activity of having both feet planted squarely on the ground…sometimes referred to as “platform stabilization”. We are aligned/strong for but a moment, before we transfer weight to the leg we just put down, and start all over again. The act of walking is an amazing balance and gymnastic feat that consists largely of almost falling flat on our face, then pulling off a “save” at the last second. Over, and over, and over.

    Each time we step forward or backwards, and move a leg in relation to the pelvis, we de-tone the platforms stability, and become misaligned. The really neat trick for re-alignment? Stomp firmly on the floor with the heel of the foot that DID NOT move. Example: Step back into a right neutral bow; after the left/rear foot has settled, stamp the lead/right heel. Challenge it. Get together with a training partner. Step to a right neutral bow, and have them press on you, trying to push you over backwards. Then do it again; this time, add the stamp. It will be decidedly harder for you to be pushed out of your stance the 2nd time. Since you can’t fire a cannon out of a canoe, which one do you want to do before throwing a follow-up punch? The stamping version, or the non-stamping version? More stable stance = more solid punch. Unstable, non-AC stance = weaker punch.

    Stepping into a braced index position has about a half-dozen of these things going on to get the body aligned and strong in this position. With respect to the hands, there is a neuro component that needs to be mentioned. Involves another Doc example, and a test. Standing in your right neutral bow, throw an upward thrusting elbow with the lead hand, ending with the fist somewhere next to the skull, around the ear-ish. Have your training partner pull down on your elbow. It will cave with little encouragement (note: this is the vector of resistance against the line of drive of the strike, usually provided by their chin). Do it again, but this time, grab the back of your head at the top of the strike. Have your partner pull down on it. It will be harder, because now you’ve added the support of your spine and back muscles to it: They have to pull your whole body forward. And if you did the corrective stamp when you stepped, that will be even harder still. Now for the kewl part. Do it again. But this time, just reach out and touch the side of your head with one finger. Have your friend test it. Even though your hand is not wrapped around your skull, he will have as-hard a time moving it. Why? Because the body is electric, and being so, is empowered by closing or chaining circuits. A hand floating in the air isn’t electrically AS connected to the body as one that has some closure, created by simply touching yourself. By merely closing the circuit, you add about another 25-75% of strength/stability to the limb in that position.

    So, the way the hands are placed in front of the body lends strength to the position by completing the loop of the circuit. There are more parts to stepping into and solidifying a braced index position, but space is limited. Again, I could show you in about five minutes, giving you the personal experience of each of the tests, or “challenges”, done to make sure the integrity and alignment are in place. Printed media and pictures don’t really support the experience gained through the activity, but this will hopefully give you an idea. All approx ½ dozen pieces added together, the stance becomes pretty solid. So much so, that a bull-rush at it can be bounced back with little effort; a slight punching of body-weight in the general direction of the guy rushing you will kick him back. Why? Because you are in AC, and he, via the act of compromising his alignment to rush you, is not. Like knocking over a one-legged table with a car. That’s an important piece to remember, because it will play a role in stopping a grappler shooting on you, and leaving a hefty bruise in the process. But note: Stability alone does not address a grappler intent on seizing you or your legs, and pulling them out from under you. We’ll get to that.


    Also, due to the “body electric” effect of this position of the hands, you can whip off some wicked-quick and hard lead-hand strikes (backnuckle, outward handsword, etc.) with a great point of origin/point of contact impulse that “splits heads” instead of “hits heads”. Remember the commas in the sentence I mentioned earlier? You’ll see momentary recoveries to this position (and ones like it) in the SL4 versions of techs like 5-swords and Thundering Hammers to help re-AC the body, and prep the extremities for strikes that land like real hammers. There are some great wrecking balls you can drop on someone from some of these primed positions; substantially more solid than those thrown from the usual suspects.


    Another important point. The alignment between the elbow and shoulder of the lead arm is key to stopping someone in their tracks. Why do I mention this? Because just looking at the stance in passivity from the perspective of either a kenpoka or grappler, you spot what appear to be some significant liabilities immediately. First off, with the lead arm frozen half-way through an upward rising block, forearm and upper arm parallel to the floor, the ribs are wide open to slide in a kick, or peel the elbow out of the way (or even just check it) to drop in a punch to the side or kidneys. As a grappler, it looks like an open invitation to slip that lead hand at the elbow, and shoot to the waist, knees or feet for a take-down. My instinct in reaction to these perceived strategic weaknesses is to drop the elbow to cover my ribs, and get my lead arm in a vertical plane position in front of my body. When the arm is up (in the braced index position), a force coming straight in will bump into compressing the humerus straight back into the shoulder girdle. With the elbow down (bones in vertical plane), that same compressing force now only has to compress the hinge joint of the elbow, and over come the triceps alone, instead of the muscles of the back and shoulders, and the non-compressable bone shaft, lengthwise. So my instinct actually causes a weakening of the structure built around this ring of shoulders, arms and hands.123
     

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