Karate bunkai for the kata, Heian/Pinan Godan (or Pyung Ahn Oh Dan for Tang Soo Do). Here we take a look at the sequence near the end of the kata, with of course a look at similar Kung Fu moves which gives us some more possible kata bunkai. We hope you enjoy our video.
A couple of months ago, we did a cross reference of applications from Wing Chun Kung Fu and Karate’s Tekki/Naihanchi kata bunkai, as both are noted for close quarters fighting. This proved to be quite popular so we have done another one. We do actually use part of the same section of the kata, but in a different way (every move has more than one bunkai).
Here we take a look at one of the movements from Hangetsu kata (formally known as Seishan). Karate is usually looked at as being linear and Kung Fu as being predominantly circular. However, the technique that we look at below is performed in a circular manor in the kata, but when we look at similar Kung Fu movements, they are performed in a linear manner. As per usual, there is more in common than there is different.
Here we take a look at the opening sequence of the most basic kata of all, Kihon Kata (TKD/TSD: Il Jang, Chon Ji, Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu). Normally explained as turn to your left and block a front kick followed by stepping and punching; then turn to your rear to block another front kick followed by a step and punch. However, this only works if the kicker aims the kick to stop short. If they actually try to kick you, then the only way you can block their kick with a lower block is to step back (not forward), otherwise the distance is all wrong.
So here we look at some different bunkai (applications) for this sequence.
Note: What I did forget to say in the video is that having taken the opponent off-balance with the first move, you should have the back of their head facing you, which means that you can take advantage of the prime target at the base of the skull on the back of the head. This is one of the prime points for knocking the opponent unconscious. Use this point with caution as it is potentially dangerous.
Most Karate systems that evolved from the Okinawan style of Shuri Te tend to use big steps to capitalise on forward body momentum and inertia to transfer impact into the opponent. As a broad generalisation, this tends to distinguish them from the styles derived from Naha Te and most styles of Kung Fu which prefer the use of circular (or centrifugal) force for generating power.
However, the Tekki kata’s (or Naihanchi in some styles and Chul Gi in Korean) which are still present in many Shuri Te derived styles contradict this forward momentum method in that they are not very mobile and are far more “static”. Another characteristic of the Tekki kata’s is that they punch with the palm facing up as opposed to the usual “cork-screw” punch where the fist ends up facing downwards and the arm is not fully extended.
Tekki is obviously a close quarters fighting kata. As such a number of its movements are quite close to Wing Chun Kung Fu which specialises in close quarters fighting. On the surface, Wing Chun and Tekki look quite different, but as usual Keith and I look below the surface and find some similarities which can be used by practitioners of either system.
Here we take a look at 2 blocks which are very similar. Wing Chun’s Bong Sau (Wing Arm Block) and the Age Uke (Rising Block) used in Karate, Teakwondo and Tang Soo Do. The advantage of comparing techniques between different styles is that sometimes you get clues as to how they originated. Wing Chun is based on Snake Kung Fu and Crane Kung Fu. One of the main influences on Okinawan Karate was White Crane Kung Fu, so there would appear to be some common roots.
Furthermore, by looking at how another style uses its techniques can often give clues as to extra applications for which you can use your own techniques. This is particularly advantageous to Karate, TaeKwonDo and Tang Soo Do practitioners as a lot of our original applications have been lost along the way.
I hope you enjoy this video.
This is a follow up video to my previous one on Sao Choy, which addresses a few of the questions and comments it raised, particularly “Wouldn’t it be safer to do it on the outside of the arm?” and “You can also do Sao Choy after various other blocks or parries”.
The video shows a few more Choy Lee Fut techniques – Pao Choy, (which I believe translates as “cannon fist”) which is a upward strike similar to an uppercut and Poon Kui (which I believe translates as “coiling bridge”), which is a circular block that can be used as a great set up for a lot of Choy Lee Fut techniques since it should help destabilise the attacker.
By Graham Barlow of Bath-Tai Chi and Choy Lee Fut (www.bath-taichi.co.uk)
“Through the back” power in Choy Lee Fut.
In this video I use the technique called Sao Choy from the Choy Lee Fut system. Sao Choy (“Sweeping fist”), can be found in all styles of Choy Lee Fut, but seems to be particularly emphasised in the Buk Sing style I practice, along with Chap Choy.
When using the Sao Choy technique you’ll notice that the Choy Lee Fut practitioner usually performs a clearing or blocking action with the other hand first. Like most techniques in Choy Lee Fut, Sao Choy tends to be used in combination with other techniques in a fluid and circular manner, rather than in isolation. Since more attention is usually paid to the arm doing the Sao Choy when explaining the technique, I thought I’d concentrate on what the other hand is doing in my video, since there can be a lot of subtly to the technique employed, which is easy to miss. It’s also interesting to compare with similar posts on this blog that examine what the non-striking hand is doing in other arts, like Karate.
One of the features of Buk Sing CLF is a kind of “through the back” power, which connects the action of one arm to the action of the other, so that rather than operating separately, they work together to achieve their aims. A discussion of what the “other” hand is doing in the Sao Choy technique naturally leads on to a discussion of how this “through the back” power works in Choy Lee Fut in general.
It should also be noted that you are not limited to the particular clearing technique I’m demonstrating here prior to the Sao Choy – other popular options are Gwa Choy (a backfist) or Poon Kui, a circular block.
I hope you enjoy the video, and feel free to ask questions in the comments section.*
* Apologies for my slightly irreverent presentation style(!)
By Graham Barlow of Bath-Tai Chi and Choy Lee Fut (www.bath-taichi.co.uk)
Following on from my last article on pressure point fighting, I would like to quote from Russell Stutely who is widely regarded as Europe’s number one pressure point expert. He is also highly regarded by Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine of the British Combat Association, who are very much into reality martial arts.
The reason that I wanted to quote from Russell Stutely is that although he highly advocates pressure points and obviously makes a lot of money teaching them and selling DVDs etc; he still very much advocates that you must develop good basic technique first. If he was to promote pressure points in a such a way as to suggest that it is a magic bullet so that you don’t have to bother learning anything else and beginners could use them to defeat experienced black belts, I would be very suspicious. But he doesn’t. He is very methodical in his methods. As with my previous posting, I am wary of how effective pressure points can be under pressure, but I do think that if you do want to learn them you must do it in a structured and methodical manner, which is why I am open to Russell Stutely’s approach.
This is an area that you will see debated from time to time with people for and against it. Some claim that pressure points make your techniques ultra effective, whilst others claim that in the heat of the moment you will not have the accuracy to find the point whilst somebody is trying to hit you at the same time.
So who’s right? Well in my humble opinion, the truth lies somewhere in the middle and it depends on the circumstances.
If you start a fight 6ft apart, close in, then exchanging blows with a capable opponent; I believe that it would be difficult (but not impossible) to find pressure point targets. Just think when you are sparring against somebody of equal skill, it can be difficult landing a blow on their torso (which is a large target), never mind finding a very small pressure point to hit. Furthermore, when you have just had an adrenalin dump, your fine motor skills do not work as efficiently. For this reason, many people advocate concentrating on developing your techniques (regardless of style) so that you are fast and powerful and you will hurt your opponent wherever you hit them.
On the other side of the coin though, very few fights start 6ft apart. They usually start much closer with the antagonist making impolite enquires as to who the fornication are you visually observing! Or something like that.
In this kind of scenario, if you are genuinely convinced that you are going to be attacked and you are not able talk sense into your assailant, at some point you may take the decision that you will have to beat some sense into him instead. I’m not talking about somebody calling you names or jumping a queue, but a real threat of imminent violence. In this scenario a pre-emptive strike to a pressure point will be much more likely to succeed. The opponent is still posturing, still psyching himself up; he’s not actually going for it yet. You don’t step back into a guard as that only warns him that you are a proficient martial artist and tips him off to attack you even more vigorously.
You are better off using what Geoff Thompson calls “the fence”, with hand open and facing down in a universal position of neutrality, feet apart in a solid stance (but not a martial arts stance), engaging his brain with some dialogue (anything at all – isn’t it a shame about the polar bears!), then hit him as fast and hard as you can on a vulnerable point.
Now some traditionalist may get a bit hung up on this, as Funikoshi (founder of Shotokan Karate) stated that in Karate their is no first attack. This has been interpreted by many as you need to stand there and wait for the other person to throw the first punch. This is obviously not very practical. What he really meant was that we should not go looking for a fight. In other places, Funikoshi has described how to deal with an assailant by showing no sign of fighting, using a pre-emptive strike then running away to get help.
And as I’ve heard Kevin O’Hagan say, “you don’t really want a fair fight do you”? After all, he started it not you.
There are of course other considerations. Firstly, if your assailant is drunk or high on drugs, they may not even feel very much as there senses are dulled, yet their aggression can be heightened.
Secondly, if your assailant is fully hyped up and adrenalized, they will feel less. Have you ever cracked you shin against somebody elses in sparring? You think “ouch”, give it a quick rub and carry on. But the next day, it is throbbing like mad.
Why did you not feel it very much in sparring? Its because you were fully warmed up and your adrenalin was flowing. However, if you (or you assailant) are squaring up for a real confrontation, you have an awful lot more adrenaline in your body than when you are sparring. You will absorb a lot more punishment without even thinking about it . . . . . and so will he! Kevin O’Hagan reports of a case in America where a guy attacked a cop with a knife. The cop shot the guy 4 times, yet the assailant still managed to get to the cop and stab him before collapsing. How well do you think your pressure point strikes would work against a knife wielding assailant who keeps going with 4 bullets in him.
Boxers have been known to break bones in their hand early in a fight, yet still finish the fight.
I witnessed an incident in a pub many years ago where a confrontation broke out between two lads. One obviously wanted to fight and the other one did not. Very quickly a friend of mine, Daren, intervened to calm it down. Now Daren is a very large, solidly built guy, who whilst having a very friendly disposition is not the type of guy you would want to get on the wrong side of.
As Daren tried to calm the aggressor down, he was met with a complete lack of reason or logic. Daren lost his temper and went for the lad. It took 3 of us to hold Daren back, swearing and snarling in complete animal rage, with his sister trying to talk him out of it. The lad who had started it all turned white. My friend Keith (who you can see elsewhere on this blog demonstrating bunkai with me) tried applying a pressure point to calm Daren down. Daren in his complete rage did not even seem to notice.
After a while Daren calmed down and the other lad made a hasty (and wise) exit. When Keith met Daren a few days later and asked him what all that had been about, Daren gave a cheeky smile and said, “6 months stress all out in a few minutes”.
Human beings are capable of taking an awful lot punishment when in a rage, adrenalised, or just plain determined enough to finish the job; so it does suggest that pressure points can be limited when against somebody in a rage or fully adrenalised.
That said, there are some points that no matter how drunk, high or adrenalized a person is; cannot be resisted. An attack to the airways so that they cannot breath will always work, be it a strike or a choke. However, much of a rage someone might be in, if they can’t breath, they can’t fight.
Attacking the carotid sinus (side of the neck where you feel the pulse), causes the blood pressure to the brain to drop and hence the assailant passes out. This can be done with strikes (especially knife hand) or strangles.
Also an upward blow to the chin or the side of the lower jaw line causes the brain to “bounce” against the back of skull, causing un-conciousness.
These points (and a few others) should normally work under any conditions, though you are more likely to succeed with a pre-emptive strike than in an all out fight.
Whilst I believe that pressure points are valuable and have there place, they should not be treated as a short cut, or as a replacement for perfecting your technique. Whilst most people recognise that technique may only be 50% efficient when under pressure, 50% of a good technique is still much better than 50% of a bad technique. If you are not able to get in a pre-emptive strike, you may find yourself having to simply hit your assailant as hard as you can, wherever you can, until a good target becomes available. By then however, you may be too adrenalised to spot the opening, because a side effect of adrenalin is that blood goes from your brain to your muscles, slowing up your thought process.
Even if you are lucky enough to get in a good pre-emptive strike, that strike will need to fast and hard, which brings us back to good technique.
Russell Stutely is recognised as Europe’s number one leading expert on pressure point fighting. I recall one of his newsletters where people had been writing in asking him why he spends so much time doing pressure points. However, his response was that he only does a small amount of training on pressure points, with most of his personal training being basics and power development. When you look at Russell’s training program, he deals with balance points, power generation and other aspects before he starts on pressure points. So if Europe’s number one expert on pressure points does not take short cuts and neglect his basics, neither should we.
This is only my opinion and I don’t claim to have gospel knowledge on the subject, but I hope it helps others to form their opinion.