Leg Skill

skribs

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@wab25

In fairness to you, I should have probable read the post I was talking about a little bit more carefully. Now I realize what you said is not what I was thinking of. Rabbit trail: I will disagree that a sweep and a down block share the same movement, as I would do the sweep described and the down block a little differently, but I can at least see where the connection between the two can be made.

What I was thinking (and I've seen in quite a few of these discussions) was when this concept gets stretched further and further. For example, that a lunge punch might be a kick and a punch, or that any step is also a sweep. Those discussions kind of get to the point where I feel if you subscribe to the line of thinking, you could make going for a walk be how to practice your kicks.
 

wab25

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I should have probable read the post I was talking about a little bit more carefully.
That may help. The OP asked why other MA don't teach leg skill. My answer was that sometimes the art does teach leg skill, but the understanding has been lost. In the case of Shotokan, it was lost because too many people trained too little, and stayed on the surface... then set themselves up as being the all knowing authority, whom thou shalt not question. Many things got lost that way.
I will disagree that a sweep and a down block share the same movement, as I would do the sweep described and the down block a little differently, but I can at least see where the connection between the two can be made.
In this case, its sort of not relevant whether you agree with the connection. The founder of one of the more popular traditional arts made that connection, in the art that he created. He taught that connection, as did his students. The fact that that technique is now considered way out there, on the very fringe of possibility, by people studying that same art... shows what happens when students stay surface level... not understanding what they are being taught.

I further think that if the students kept the original application, as taught by Funakoshi, the step forward, down block might look a little different. It was the misunderstanding students, that stayed surface level, that changed the application of that movement, from a throw to a block. Then, years were spent refining that motion as a block. Now, watching Funakoshi demonstrate that move... he looks wrong... He being the founder of the art.


What I was thinking (and I've seen in quite a few of these discussions) was when this concept gets stretched further and further. For example, that a lunge punch might be a kick and a punch, or that any step is also a sweep. Those discussions kind of get to the point where I feel if you subscribe to the line of thinking, you could make going for a walk be how to practice your kicks.
In these discussions, you seem to be a little binary. Either, you copy exactly... or you go way out off the reservation, where a down punch becomes 540 degree spinning up kick. The Japanese Shu-Ha-Ri process is there, to prevent the "rabbit trails" you object to. First Shu, you copy exactly. Then Ha, you divert and explore... under the direct supervision of the master. He is there to say, yes that is an application of the right core movement, or no its not, or use this core movement to make it better. At the beginning of Ha, the divergence should be very little, the kata must still be recognized. In fact, this diverging stage is most important to have the master's over sight, to make sure that the divergence maintains the core fundamentals that are being taught. Only when the student has shown full understanding should he move on to Ri.

A great example of the Ha stage done wrong, and the rabbit trail going over the cliff... is Shotokan, and most Shotokan schools not recognizing Funakoshi's applications of the movements. The divergence was done by people without enough understanding and without the proper over sight. In this case, the founder included the "leg skill" that the OP asked about. However, too much surface study over the years, has effectively removed the "leg skill."
 

skribs

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In this case, its sort of not relevant whether you agree with the connection. The founder of one of the more popular traditional arts made that connection, in the art that he created. He taught that connection, as did his students. The fact that that technique is now considered way out there, on the very fringe of possibility, by people studying that same art... shows what happens when students stay surface level... not understanding what they are being taught.

I further think that if the students kept the original application, as taught by Funakoshi, the step forward, down block might look a little different. It was the misunderstanding students, that stayed surface level, that changed the application of that movement, from a throw to a block. Then, years were spent refining that motion as a block. Now, watching Funakoshi demonstrate that move... he looks wrong... He being the founder of the art.

That's kind of my point.

In these discussions, you seem to be a little binary. Either, you copy exactly... or you go way out off the reservation, where a down punch becomes 540 degree spinning up kick. The Japanese Shu-Ha-Ri process is there, to prevent the "rabbit trails" you object to. First Shu, you copy exactly. Then Ha, you divert and explore... under the direct supervision of the master. He is there to say, yes that is an application of the right core movement, or no its not, or use this core movement to make it better. At the beginning of Ha, the divergence should be very little, the kata must still be recognized. In fact, this diverging stage is most important to have the master's over sight, to make sure that the divergence maintains the core fundamentals that are being taught. Only when the student has shown full understanding should he move on to Ri.

A great example of the Ha stage done wrong, and the rabbit trail going over the cliff... is Shotokan, and most Shotokan schools not recognizing Funakoshi's applications of the movements. The divergence was done by people without enough understanding and without the proper over sight. In this case, the founder included the "leg skill" that the OP asked about. However, too much surface study over the years, has effectively removed the "leg skill."

That's also kind of my point. In a lot of those discussions, what is in the form, and what becomes the application, are so loosely connected it might as well be abstract. When I go way off reservation, it's because I feel the discussion has already gone over a cliff.

And to be clear, it's not that I think Ha and Ri are bad. It's that in my training, Ha and Ri are not part of the curriculum, and that I believe that in order to move on to Ha and Ri, the Shu has to make sense first. (Which is what I gather from your post, the Ha has to make sense in order for Ri to work).
 
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sometimes the art does teach leg skill, but the understanding has been lost.
Anybody can learn "inner hook" from the following 2 clips. It's so easy to teach. There is no need to hide information.

It further proves that solo drill = partner drill without partner.


inner-hook-solo-1.gif
\

inner-hook.gif
 

wab25

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Anybody can learn "inner hook" from the following 2 clips. It's so easy to teach. There is no need to hide information.
Unless people forget that clip 1 is teaching "inner hook." In clip 1, the right arm moves down, in front of the leg. If people start to think that the arm is important, then they start thinking this is a down block. Then they try to make the arm block a kick. Now, your leg skill is lost. Especially, if you create a teaching culture where students follow blindly, never look deep, expecting their instructor to hand it to them.

How would that drill, ever be misunderstood? Try a language barrier and add in a very short time to train with the instructor. In Shotokan, leg skill, throwing skill, grappling skill has been removed... These are considered "far reach applications" that are only "loosely connected" to kata. This happened because there were mis-translations, and not much time training. Then these people set themselves up over here as the authorities, not to be questioned. Shotokan got very popular here, along with the mistakes. But, as student, you were not allowed to question... you were only to copy. Therefore, once an instructor gets something wrong... its wrong forever. Now we look at Shotokan and see all the holes, and parts where it is not so good. I suspect most of these are because the people blindy copied their instructor, then later refined the movements to match their misunderstanding.

My teacher told me that clip 1 was down block. I only copy. I only take what my teacher gives me on silver platter. "Inner hook" is kind of a stretch for that down block... better to apply that down block to the thigh instead of the shin... that will make it work better. (the student never realizes that their teacher, was only exposed to the solo drill and didn't fully understand the language... the teacher came to the US, thinking he was doing a down block drill... the "inner hook" is now lost)
 
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In Shotokan, leg skill, throwing skill, grappling skill has been removed...
Agree! From a striking art point of view, sometime those leg skill are ignored.

When my long fist teacher taught me this move, I asked him what's the meaning of kicking back.

my-kick-punch.gif


He then told me the application as the following. IMO, it's the best counter to deal with your opponent tries to hold on your waist and pull you down.

my-spring.gif
 

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Agree! From a striking art point of view, sometime those leg skill are ignored.

When my long fist teacher taught me this move, I asked him what's the meaning of kicking back.

my-kick-punch.gif


He then told me the application as the following. IMO, it's the best counter to deal with your opponent tries to hold on your waist and pull you down.

my-spring.gif


That second video sure shows the leg skill against a small dog...
 

wab25

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Agree! From a striking art point of view, sometime those leg skill are ignored.
I don't believe that Shotokan was supposed to be a "striking art." It had strikes, but it also had grapples, throws, locks, bars, chokes... (I don't think it had a ground game...). The problem was that folks came from another country, with another language and were shown the solo drills. They took those solo drills, and thought they were striking drills only. Then they set up a culture in martial arts where you just copy and never ask or research. Now Shotokan has changed, and many things became lost or hidden. If you go study at your usual "Strip Mall Day Care Shotokan Karate school" they teach the copy only method, because that works for day care. These instructors were taught in the copy it only method, so thats how they teach... even if they are only preserving the mistakes made earlier. The idea of "Don't ask question, just keep copying, until the magic arrives" works great when the instructor doesn't really know the answer. These days, people accept that and just keep copying.

The sad part is that the system used actually encouraged questions and deep exploration. Sure, they started out by having new students copy exactly, so that they would learn the core movements and ideas: strength, speed, balance, body unity, contraction and expansion... Then, they were encouraged to explore those core ideas within the kata structure, under the masters eye. This was a sort of back and forth with the sensei, to make sure that the right core ideas were used, to make sure the understanding was there.

But when you have folks that do not understand that system of transmission, who don't know the language and who only get the first step, of copy the kata, going home as the "Master Karate Expert, who shall not be questioned," They reversed the whole thing, and lost 80-90% of what Shotokan was supposed to be.

Everyone needs to make their own choices. If blindly copying surface level things, does it for you, have at it. Keep going keep training. Enjoy what you do. But, if you find yourself thinking that your art is missing something, or has some huge holes or some of the surface things don't make sense... you either have to accept the holes and the fact that things do not make any sense... or you have to open yourself to the idea that the art goes much deeper than anything you see on the surface. You can be happy to keep copying the proofs off the black board as your teacher writes them, no questions asked. Or, you can learn what the theorems and axioms are, and how to use them... and then start to write your own proofs. Or just continue to hope that your teacher will someday write on the board the proof to your specific set of circumstances... which could take a while for him to get there, especially if he has a lot of students and is even interested solving all their unique problems.
 

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I don't believe that Shotokan was supposed to be a "striking art." It had strikes, but it also had grapples, throws, locks, bars, chokes... (I don't think it had a ground game...). The problem was that folks came from another country, with another language and were shown the solo drills. They took those solo drills, and thought they were striking drills only. Then they set up a culture in martial arts where you just copy and never ask or research. Now Shotokan has changed, and many things became lost or hidden. If you go study at your usual "Strip Mall Day Care Shotokan Karate school" they teach the copy only method, because that works for day care. These instructors were taught in the copy it only method, so thats how they teach... even if they are only preserving the mistakes made earlier. The idea of "Don't ask question, just keep copying, until the magic arrives" works great when the instructor doesn't really know the answer. These days, people accept that and just keep copying.

The sad part is that the system used actually encouraged questions and deep exploration. Sure, they started out by having new students copy exactly, so that they would learn the core movements and ideas: strength, speed, balance, body unity, contraction and expansion... Then, they were encouraged to explore those core ideas within the kata structure, under the masters eye. This was a sort of back and forth with the sensei, to make sure that the right core ideas were used, to make sure the understanding was there.

But when you have folks that do not understand that system of transmission, who don't know the language and who only get the first step, of copy the kata, going home as the "Master Karate Expert, who shall not be questioned," They reversed the whole thing, and lost 80-90% of what Shotokan was supposed to be.

Everyone needs to make their own choices. If blindly copying surface level things, does it for you, have at it. Keep going keep training. Enjoy what you do. But, if you find yourself thinking that your art is missing something, or has some huge holes or some of the surface things don't make sense... you either have to accept the holes and the fact that things do not make any sense... or you have to open yourself to the idea that the art goes much deeper than anything you see on the surface. You can be happy to keep copying the proofs off the black board as your teacher writes them, no questions asked. Or, you can learn what the theorems and axioms are, and how to use them... and then start to write your own proofs. Or just continue to hope that your teacher will someday write on the board the proof to your specific set of circumstances... which could take a while for him to get there, especially if he has a lot of students and is even interested solving all their unique problems.

Where was Shotokan created? Your post makes it sound like Shotokan was created by Americans.

This is a similar criticism I have of the TKD forms. Maybe the Japanese just didn't teach foreigners well.
 

wab25

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Where was Shotokan created? Your post makes it sound like Shotokan was created by Americans.
Shotokan was created in Japan by Funakoshi. It was taken by Americans, with very little training back to the states, where it was popularized and changed.
This is a similar criticism I have of the TKD forms. Maybe the Japanese just didn't teach foreigners well.
The Japanese taught foreigners well... when the foreigners stuck around long enough to train. This was what sparked my interest in TKD history. The Americans studied for a couple of years, then came home with only a year or two of training... and no real understanding of what they were doing. The changes they made, were mainly misunderstandings, they never made it past stage 1 in their training. However, many Koreans who developed TKD, studied Shotokan with Funakoshi in Japan. General Choi made second dan in Shotokan, under Funakoshi and opened his own Shotokan school in Japan, before returning to Korea. He was not the only TKD founder who studied Shotokan under Funakoshi, or even other styles of Karate. When TKD started, they taught Shotokan Kata... first changing the names to Korean names, then rearranging moves within the forms. However, this effort was not done with a year or two of study in Shotokan. This was done by black belts in Shotokan, who trained with the founder and at least one also taught Shotokan in Japan. They would have had a very good understanding of what Funakoshi was teaching and how. Sure they changed the names, but that was to make it Korean. Sure, they rearranged the moves, to make it different. But, I didn't think that they forgot or tried to remove what they had learned and found valuable from their previous art. This is where you and I have to agree to disagree... but I feel the founders of TKD kept what they had learned from Funakoshi, even the same teach through kata (Shu-Ha-Ri) method and possibly expanded upon and improved it. Certainly, they had influence from the older Korean arts and Chinese arts as well. (the Chinese seem to teach through forms as well...) I feel that by looking at TKD, you can get a feel for what Funakoshi actually taught... you just have to weed out the Chinese and older Korean influence... or look for how the Chinese and older Korean influenced improved the process... I understand that you don't feel this to be the case, and that TKD is all surface level. Let's just agree to disagree on this.

But at least for Shotokan, the lack of leg skill, is because people didn't really learn, before they taught, which was my point to the OP. When you learn the "inner hook" solo drill, but not the partner drill part and don't speak the language... trying to figure out what that is, once you have returned home to teach people the art you have "mastered," gets to be problematic.
 
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you just copy and never ask or research.
If your goal is to develop tools in your toolbox, you won't have this issue. I prefer partner drill (application) first and drill (or form) later approach. I can see my goal first, I then follow the path to reach to my goal.

I have asked many Taiji guys, "What techniques do you intend to develop?" Their answer are always, "I don't care about technique. I only care about principle." IMO, their goals are too abstract to be realistic.
 
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