Morally Justified Techniques



If there was a way to instantly bring your opponent to his knees - without hitting him - would you want to learn more about it? What if you were told that this new fighting system was more effective than karate, kung fu and other striking arts, yet was more refined and controlled? Many would say they found the perfect martial art - one too good to be true. However, for 73-year old Seiyu Oyata Head of the RyuTe簧 Renmei, a highly respected authority on Okinawan tuite (grabbing) and vital-point techniques, his art gets the job done in the best possible way.

A veteran of World War II, Oyata fought for the Japanese because he lived on Okinawa when the war began. While in Japanese naval school, he was introduced to several martial arts, and upon returning to Okinawa after the war, he trained in judo, iaido, kendo and other fighting arts.

Shortly after returning to Okinawa, he met a husky old man named Uhugushuku, a revered warrior-class martial artist. Although 93 years old, he began teaching the young Oyata the theories of Okinawan fighting. In fact, Oyata caught on so fast that within three years he learned more than 40 weapons forms. One day Oyata asked his instructor what suite was. Using a simple demonstration, Uhugushuku told Oyata to push him. But the next thing Oyata knew, he was on the ground, bewildered, staring glassy-eyed at his instructor. At another training session, Oyata tried to attack him in a different way, and again, his teacher effortlessly dropped him to the ground. "How can I learn this?" asked Oyata. Uhugushuku's reply was simple: Analyze the kata (forms). "The karate kata contain many secrets," Uhugushuku told his student, "but only those people who analyze them can see their value." They're like treasure maps. Uhugushuku had a friend named Wakinaguri. A man of Chinese descent who was raised on Okinawa, he taught Oyata about the body's vital points. Both instructors made it clear to their student that there's no easy way to learn tuite and vital-point fighting. It's a long, painstaking process that involves a lot of experimentation. In 1951, Oyata began to study with Shigeru Nakamura, who called his fighting system Okinawan kempo - a generic name that refers to fist fighting. (Before the 1950s, says Greg Lindquist, one of Oyata's top students and his spokes- man, the Okinawan martial arts were simply called Okinawa-te.) Continuing to perfect vital-point and other Okina- wan fighting principles, Oyata formed his own system of RyuTe簧 Renmei (formerly known as Ryukyu Kempo) after moving to the U.S. in the late 1960s.

What Are the Vital Points?

Everyone has hit the funny bone of their elbow and felt the numbing, yet shocking, sensation the bump causes. For a few seconds, you can't think or move. The pain overtakes your entire body. And it's this same phenomenon that pervades Okinawan vital-point fighting. Although Oyata hasn't surveyed the hu- man body and listed all of its vital points, there are dozens of them that can be struck or grabbed and used to subdue your opponent. The general public calls these pressure points, but more specifically, they're nerve points on the body that cause pain and shock when force is applied to them. However, for the sake of safety, Oyata chooses not to disclose where these points are.

Why Use Vital Points?

The answer is simple. With vital points you can defend yourself without being overly violent and without causing permanent injury. True, certain ~tal points can be struck or grabbed to cause death, but the moves Oyata teaches and most widely practices are only shocking and stunning techniques. "A martial art must work whether you're 18 or 80," Lindquist says. "Mr. Oyata's technique will work when you're 80, too, because it doesn't require great physical strength - just normal agility and reflexes, coupled with good technique." Furthermore, women can utilize vital-point fighting techniques just as easily as men can. As Lindquist explains, "We have women in our organization who can hurt anybody. If a guy is six-feet five, we have women who can take him down really fast. In our art, the little person is equal to the big person." Such a philosophy puts Oyata's teachings at the core of Okinawan martial arts training.

Tips for Techniques

Oyata issues several warnings about vital-point techniques. The following are some examples:

Fight face to face. "If you fight someone who's more than four feet away, he can pull a weapon out and shoot you," Oyata says. Therefore, close-in fighting is mandatory.
One-second reaction. "React to your opponent in one second," Oyata emphasizes. If you wait any longer, he can pull a weapon. "You don't have to subdue your opponent in one second," Lindquist adds, "but you should have made your move by that time.
You don't have to strike your opponent to drop him to the ground, Oyata says. It's as simple as grabbing vital points at the wrist and laying your adversary down.
Instant pain. "As you apply the technique you're going to use," Lindquist says, "your opponent must be instantly in pain so he can't continue the fight."
Effectiveness. When using vital-point techniques, your counterattacks must physically work, says Oyata. Your move must be a valid technique that works on anyone - no matter how tall, strong or well-built.
Morality. Oyata says you must consider your personal moral standards when using vital-point techniques. For example, if you're squeamish, you'll probably go easy when you fight. On the other hand, if you care little about human life, your technique will probably be more severe.
Is-it legal? Not only must your technique appeal to your own sense of right and wrong, it must comply with the law regarding self-defense. "For instance," Lindquist says, "if you grab me in a double-lapel grab and I break your jaw, I may not have gone against my morals, but when the police come, they will arrest me, not you, because you're the one who's hurt. So the legality of a technique is very important to Mr. Oyata and those of us who practice his system."
Three ways to attack. Oyata says there are only three ways an opponent can attack you: 1) he can strike; 2) he can push; or 3) he can grab. Therefore, Oyata has developed techniques against all of these. "But vital-point techniques must be very natural," Lindquist cautions. "That's why we study the Okinawam kata - they make these moves natural to us."
"Real" Techniques

Throughout his experience in the martial arts, Oyata has seen many fighting techniques that don't work. A small person simply can't do them on a larger one. So what's a so-called real technique? "It's when I can injure my attacker, for example, who is attacking my hand, by striking or grabbing his hand," Oyata says. "I don't touch his face, kick him or do anything like that.
Any pain an attacker feels is only temporary.
"To be a viable, legally safe, morally justified technique, you must get an edge over your opponent so he doesn't know what happened to him; so when he gets up, he doesn't want to fight - and all the while you've been non-violent. "That's a difficult task," Oyata concludes, "but it can be done."


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I like the three simple catgeories of attacks: Strike, push(/pull), or grab. Can you say something about what Renmei literally means, and what it signifies?
I like the three simple catgeories of attacks: Strike, push(/pull), or grab. Can you say something about what Renmei literally means, and what it signifies?

In this case "pull" and "grab" are considered the same instead of a push/pull connection.

Renmei means League or Union.

As in Kokusai Renmei or the forerunner of the UN the League of Nations.

I this particular case it has the same nuance as association.