Leg Skill

Kung Fu Wang

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Leg skill is not kicking. Leg skill is to use your leg to deal with your opponent's leg. It's not emphasized in the striking art. It's also not emphasized in some wrestling art (such as western wrestling). We have seen how to use arm to deal with opponent's arm. We don't see much how to use leg to deal with opponent's leg.

Why leg skill is not emphasized in most of the MA system? Your thought?

Example of leg skill - inner hook.

Taiji-An.gif


Example of leg skill - sickle hook.

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skribs

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I personally find these very easy to avoid going down unless I'm just standing there. A quick hop is usually all it takes for me to keep my balance.

When we do these techniques in our school, it's usually when we have hold of the other leg.
 

drop bear

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I personally find these very easy to avoid going down unless I'm just standing there. A quick hop is usually all it takes for me to keep my balance.

When we do these techniques in our school, it's usually when we have hold of the other leg.

Sweeps are voodoo magic if done well. I can't do them well. But have been dumped a few times by guys who can.

It isn't really just a case of hopping out.

 

pdg

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Sweeps are voodoo magic if done well. I can't do them well. But have been dumped a few times by guys who can.

It isn't really just a case of hopping out

Depends on context.

If the instructor says something like "today we're working on these sweeps" then it's easy to hop out, or step out, or let that leg swing with the sweep - because you know it's coming and can keep balance easily.

This may lead you to believe that sweeps are very easy to avoid and/or defend against.

Get two points closer to a live application and the situation changes.

Go against someone who you know is allowed to use hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, feet, legs and it's very different to going against someone who you know is coming in with a specified sweep.


I'm exceptionally mediocre at sweeping, but I can still dump many people with one - and I know full well I can get dumped by someone who is as bad at them as I am ;)
 

CB Jones

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Sweeps are voodoo magic if done well. I can't do them well. But have been dumped a few times by guys who can.

It isn't really just a case of hopping out.


Not to mention sometimes the opponent isn't even swept but that little check in balance creates an opening to strike.

I know a couple pretty good sweepers who often times will use half hearted sweeps to just open up defenses.
 

Buka

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The best sweeper I ever trained with was Chip Wright, Chuck Norris's student, friend and stunt double for Walker Texas Ranger. He swept so well we used to call him The Janitor.

One thing I always remember Chip telling me, "The easiest person to sweep is a person that thinks he can avoid getting swept."
 

pdg

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The best sweeper I ever trained with was Chip Wright, Chuck Norris's student, friend and stunt double for Walker Texas Ranger. He swept so well we used to call him The Janitor.

One thing I always remember Chip telling me, "The easiest person to sweep is a person that thinks he can avoid getting swept."

Yeah, I can avoid being swept by him easy.

All I have to do is maintain a decent distance - the Atlantic should be enough...
 

JowGaWolf

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Why leg skill is not emphasized in most of the MA system? Your thought?
It's all a popularity thing. Where people see punching as a quick means to an end. Punch or kick your opponent really hard and that's all that matters. That's what wins the fight.

For me I'm more practical. Pick the weakest thing on a person and then exploit it. Leg defense and structure are weak points on the majority of people. Even if they have the best boxing skills in the world. Leg defense is still most likely very weak. For me that just makes a good case for training "leg skills" and I'll add footwork since they both go together for office and defense.

While I haven't done it I think it will be very easy for me to hyper extend someone's knee buy using my leg and my stance. I think this ease of application pretty much exists for anyone who spends a good amount of time focusing on things like foot placement, stances, and being satisfied with the possibilities with attacking someone's ability to stand.

The other reason I think is because of the difficulty that comes with this skill set. It sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but I'm not. The techniques are not complex movements. However, timing, awareness, and placement are critical. Much these things aren't brute force techniques, you can't just do one and hope it lands. From what I've seen when I taught kung fu classes during sparring day is that All students would get the timing wrong 99% of the time. It's so high that they probably would have a better success rate by trying to do these techniques when they thought it was a bad time to do it.

I personally find these very easy to avoid going down unless I'm just standing there. A quick hop is usually all it takes for me to keep my balance.
If they are done at the correct moment, while you are in the worst position to recover, then there will be very little ability to just hop and do anything. The only times people have been able to escape from me is either when I screwed up or when I wasn't trying to fully apply the technique. The majority of my training for this type of stuff was probably 30% technique and 70% Timing and foot placement. Because I have know know where your legs are without me having to look at them. So I put a lot of training into that.

Out of everything that you may train. The leg skills that Wang is referring do all happen when you are least expecting it or least able to defend against it.
Find some sticky leg training.

I understand the sticky leg concept, but I don't like the way that are doing it. Hands should be placed on each other. This will teach them how to use their opponents body to stabilize themselves as they are attacking the legs, It will also provide feedback on a person's structure. Do you sweep left or do you sweep right? I just depends on "which way the tree is leaning". The other problem with the videos is that they are looking down at each other's feet, that creates bad posture for the sweep . It also makes the person blind to any punches that are going to come in. They haven't learned how to focus on something without tilting the head to do so. But again the technique itself isn't difficult it's just the timing and everything else that makes the application of it a little more challenging for most.
 

wab25

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Why leg skill is not emphasized in most of the MA system? Your thought?
One reason is that many people don't recognize the "leg skill" already included in their art. They think it is something else.

I really like this article, though many people don't really like it. It shows the Shotokan Karate "step forward, down block" as a throw. Conveniently, its a throw that involves "leg skill." Most people are not taught this application of the down block, and pass this article off, as referencing some odd ball, freak karate instructors that just don't know any better. The Karate instructors referenced here as teaching this very odd and out there application, are Funakoshi and his direct students... the founder of Shotokan Karate and his direct students. In fact, many of those deep stances, and fancy arm work, are the "leg skill" to use your legs to tie up the other guys legs, so you can throw him down. But, then again, thats just that old hack, Funakoshi... what would he know about real Shotokan Karate? Everyone knows that down block is to block the shin bone, of an incoming kick with your wrist bones.

Lyoto Machida: Old-School Karate

I suspect, that in many arts, there is a lot more "leg skill" than there appears to be on the surface. In fact, I am pretty sure that most arts have a lot more "skill" than what you see at the surface levels. But, you will have to study and go beyond merely copying to find it.
 

Flying Crane

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One reason is that many people don't recognize the "leg skill" already included in their art. They think it is something else.

I really like this article, though many people don't really like it. It shows the Shotokan Karate "step forward, down block" as a throw. Conveniently, its a throw that involves "leg skill." Most people are not taught this application of the down block, and pass this article off, as referencing some odd ball, freak karate instructors that just don't know any better. The Karate instructors referenced here as teaching this very odd and out there application, are Funakoshi and his direct students... the founder of Shotokan Karate and his direct students. In fact, many of those deep stances, and fancy arm work, are the "leg skill" to use your legs to tie up the other guys legs, so you can throw him down. But, then again, thats just that old hack, Funakoshi... what would he know about real Shotokan Karate? Everyone knows that down block is to block the shin bone, of an incoming kick with your wrist bones.

Lyoto Machida: Old-School Karate

I suspect, that in many arts, there is a lot more "leg skill" than there appears to be on the surface. In fact, I am pretty sure that most arts have a lot more "skill" than what you see at the surface levels. But, you will have to study and go beyond merely copying to find it.
You mean I shouldnt expect all the answers to be handed to me on a silver platter??

I quit.
 

Danny T

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Leg skill is not kicking. Leg skill is to use your leg to deal with your opponent's leg. It's not emphasized in the striking art. It's also not emphasized in some wrestling art (such as western wrestling). We have seen how to use arm to deal with opponent's arm. We don't see much how to use leg to deal with opponent's leg.

Why leg skill is not emphasized in most of the MA system? Your thought?

Example of leg skill - inner hook.
"It's also not emphasized in some wrestling art (such as western wrestling)."
Yeah...not correct. There are several leg trips, sweeps, leg hook and pulls in western wrestling as well as leg control or leg tie ups.
 

drop bear

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Depends on context.

If the instructor says something like "today we're working on these sweeps" then it's easy to hop out, or step out, or let that leg swing with the sweep - because you know it's coming and can keep balance easily.

This may lead you to believe that sweeps are very easy to avoid and/or defend against.

Get two points closer to a live application and the situation changes.

Go against someone who you know is allowed to use hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, feet, legs and it's very different to going against someone who you know is coming in with a specified sweep.


I'm exceptionally mediocre at sweeping, but I can still dump many people with one - and I know full well I can get dumped by someone who is as bad at them as I am ;)


Notice he traps the leg. Some people also grab their own ankle.
 

pdg

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So I found the video through another route...

Not sure whether it's supposed to challenge or reinforce what I said, or even whether it was directed at my comment or not...
 

skribs

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@wab25 @Flying Crane @pdg

Regarding the idea of techniques being hidden in an art instead of being "handed on a silver platter", I personally think that hiding techniques from students is a horrible way of training. If you expect students to "discover" the techniques, you run into several pitfalls:
  1. You're asking your students to re-invent the wheel, which is an inefficient learning system. When kids go into math(s) class, they are given the equations and then expected to solve them. We don't put kids into their first year of arithmetic and say "here's the numbers, plus, minus, times, and divide, go figure it out."
  2. Any hidden messages that a student doesn't learn are forever lost when that student becomes a teacher. This will continue to decay as the generations get further away from the source.
  3. In today's world, I think it hurts the reputation of the art as well. Nowadays, people make snap reactions about martial arts, and most sites aren't very kind towards arts that aren't in the MMA circle of trust. Personally, I think it's almost a cult for some people, but the fact is that MMA training is obviously effective, and it's very easy for people to rip into martial arts that don't follow the same format. If someone posts in r/martialarts about their school and talks about how the forms have hidden meanings, they'll be laughed off the forum in a heartbeat.
Now, I'm not saying everything should be rote memorized where you just copy forms and 1-steps. But if there's a technique you want your students to know, I think the best way of teaching them is to teach them. Then let them drill it and work on applying it in sparring or rolling. I think hiding the techniques in forms is just a way for someone to feel superior for knowing the hidden secrets of the art, more than to be a good teaching method.
 

wab25

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Regarding the idea of techniques being hidden in an art instead of being "handed on a silver platter", I personally think that hiding techniques from students is a horrible way of training.
You and I agree there, 100%. Those techniques were never meant to be hidden. That is specifically why Funakoshi actually taught those applications. He even wrote books explaining those applications. Even his students taught those applications. However, history happened.

The Karate that we know today, was initially learned by a bunch of American GIs, in 1 or 2 years while they occupied a defeated Japan. Between the lack of actual time to study, the language barrier and the fact that the Japanese teachers may not have wanted to transmit the information to the occupying troops... the students brought back what they thought they learned and filled in the blanks as best they could. Low block must block low attack, kick is low attack, therefore low block, blocks kick. Nevermind that the word used for "block" is also the word used for "guy that gets thrown." We now know that a better interpretation of that word would be "to receive."

Now, we have many people, who go back to learn what was originally taught. And we have others that absolutely refuse to go back and learn what was taught. However, this part of the searching was never intended when creating the art or the method of transmission for that art. It is an artifact of the history, in how the art came to the states, and who actually brought it over. It doesn't help when we elevate the instructor up on some high pedestal, believing that they are all knowing, all wise and all powerful. They are just people doing their best. Some are doing their best to study the art... some are doing their best to get a lot of money... some want fame...

The way the Japanese taught many of their arts, was the Shu-Ha-Ri method. Why would they do that? Because they already used that method to pass on many other skills successfully. The tea ceremonies and calligraphy to name a few. This was a well understood method to them. Why don't the Americans understand it? See above, they only trained a year or two in a foreign land that they didn't really understand. Then they came back here and did their best... but still got a lot wrong.

That Shu-Ha-Ri method is really not that different than the way I was taught Geometry in high school. The teacher taught some axioms and some theorems, many of which we memorized word for word. He then showed on the board how to prove the theorems and how to use the theorems to write proofs. He would show a few examples and walk through them. Then we had homework... where we had to use the same axioms and theorems ourselves, in problems very similar to the ones shown in class. However, as a student, I had to learn how to use the theorems differently than had been done on the board, when I was copying. The next day, the teacher would go over the homework, to see how we had adapted what we had copied. He would correct when we went the wrong way. Many times people would get a correct proof, but took a few extra steps to do it, again the teacher would help the student to find a more efficient way. Then came the test, after many days of homework and study. These problems were many times harder and more removed from the examples we had copied. But, if the student had a good understanding of the core principles, he could then, during the test, use those core ideas in new ways to successfully answer the questions, writing correct proofs. This is the Shu and the Ha. When the student then tries to use the ideas outside of the classroom environment... in the work place, or a home project, it starts to move to the Ri stage.

This method works so well, that they use it for algrebra, geometry, trig, calculus, statistics, physics,.... I have never had a math or physics teacher tell me not to dig deeper into what they were teaching, nor have I had one that expected me to believe that they were the end all and be all of math.
 

pdg

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Regarding the idea of techniques being hidden in an art instead of being "handed on a silver platter", I personally think that hiding techniques from students is a horrible way of training

I've never suggested we have hidden techniques.

I agree it's a far less than ideal form of training.

We don't have anything hidden - we have the surface level techniques, then the slightly more complex (at least, more complex to a beginner, which is why they're not trained at first), then some more complex and finally the "play with it, see how else you can apply it" where there's nothing directly recorded but we're free to bring in ideas.

So not hidden.

But if there's a technique you want your students to know, I think the best way of teaching them is to teach them. Then let them drill it and work on applying it in sparring or rolling.

Which we do.
 

Flying Crane

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@wab25 @Flying Crane @pdg

Regarding the idea of techniques being hidden in an art instead of being "handed on a silver platter", I personally think that hiding techniques from students is a horrible way of training. If you expect students to "discover" the techniques, you run into several pitfalls:
  1. You're asking your students to re-invent the wheel, which is an inefficient learning system. When kids go into math(s) class, they are given the equations and then expected to solve them. We don't put kids into their first year of arithmetic and say "here's the numbers, plus, minus, times, and divide, go figure it out."
  2. Any hidden messages that a student doesn't learn are forever lost when that student becomes a teacher. This will continue to decay as the generations get further away from the source.
  3. In today's world, I think it hurts the reputation of the art as well. Nowadays, people make snap reactions about martial arts, and most sites aren't very kind towards arts that aren't in the MMA circle of trust. Personally, I think it's almost a cult for some people, but the fact is that MMA training is obviously effective, and it's very easy for people to rip into martial arts that don't follow the same format. If someone posts in r/martialarts about their school and talks about how the forms have hidden meanings, they'll be laughed off the forum in a heartbeat.
Now, I'm not saying everything should be rote memorized where you just copy forms and 1-steps. But if there's a technique you want your students to know, I think the best way of teaching them is to teach them. Then let them drill it and work on applying it in sparring or rolling. I think hiding the techniques in forms is just a way for someone to feel superior for knowing the hidden secrets of the art, more than to be a good teaching method.
I do not believe that it is actually hidden, at least not deliberately.

I do believe that some teachers may not have transmitted the info well, either through laziness or miserliness or whatever reason. Im not a fan of that.

I believe that a lot of the stuff in the martial arts has multiple meanings and uses, all of which are correct and useful. In order to understand it with depth and thoroughness, one must be willing to dig into it and not be surprised when you see a differing interpretation. But it does take work.

Even a good teacher cannot teach you everything about it. With some of it, the teacher can lead you there, get you close to it, but you have still got to take the last few steps yourself. That is simply the nature of what we do.
 
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