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Old 02-23-2004, 10:19 AM   #16
Mark Jakabcsin
Dojo: Charlotte Systema, Charlotte, NC
Location: Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 207
Don M. wrote: "(As to planting, karate folk do root rather well. A snappy backfist to their nose would loosen them up, of course, indeed prevent them from planting in the first place. But this makes for a pretty inhospitable training environment and thus an aikido dilemma: How to calibrate the effect of this smacking of UKE (ATEMI) without actually smacking him (also analyzed as "aikido demands cooperation and thus is fake")? On the one hand your technique isn't working, on the other, you don't want to brutalize your training partner. A certain faith is called for. I've seen more than one karate player--who was unwilling to extend this faith--leave aikido in frustration because aikido "didn't work".)"

Is heavy rooting of the feet/stance realistic or is it more of a 'dojo reality'? Does such a solid stance happen in real life or is it a dojo fabrication? Would those that attack in such a manner in the dojo really attack the same way in real life?

From my experience in tournements and real situations I can't say I have ever really seen the heavy set rooting that is common in practice of many striking arts. While it is taught continuously with students moving back and forth across the dojo floor it seems that when the floor changes to pavement (reality) it doesn't really work that way. Check out Peyton Quinn's BulletMan program. He has tons of video of high ranking striking art people getting confronted by the Bullet Man. I'm not sure if he has a single video of one that does a rooted foot motion. Heck most of them spaz out from the adrenaline dump and throw some really wild punches.

The point is if uke is attacking in that strong, flat footed striking motion it probably isn't an honest or real attack. If you disagree check out boxing and see how many of them assume anything like a traditional karate stance and throw punches from that stance on a continuous basis. When it is appropriate they will very quickly plant and throw a punch, but that is only when everything is perfect for such an attack. The majority of the punches in a boxing match are far more fluid.

Suggestion: If/when your uke is planting in a solid stance to throw a punch simply move away. Do not reach for them or attempt a specific technique. Simply move out of their limited range and make them chase you. In order to move they can't stay in a traditional karate stance, there is no mobility in such a stance. If they can't reach you they aren't a threat, hence you have no need to defend yourself.

Drill: For those that believe in the solid karate stance and feel that they have mobility I offer the following drill. #1 assumes the karate stance and must stay in said stance as he/she attacks #2, i.e. all motions must be in accordance with the solid karate movement philosophy as demonstrated in the katas. #2 begins the drill about 8 or 9 feet away from #1 and has a whip.

#1 moves in to attack #2 while trying to avoid the whip, but must stay in a solid stance/motion like in their training.

Most folks learn fairly quickly that they have extremely limited mobility while in their solid stance. Very quickly they will break their stance to avoid the whip, yell at them to stay in their stance and shuffle forward like they have been taught. I have found this generally causes a light bulb to turn on, although some folks need more than one demonstration. Note to #2, you are not limited in your range of motion, i.e. move around freely to avoid #1 but stay in whipping range. If/when you get a hard headed #1 that simply thinks he can ignore the whip, hit as hard as necessary to help #1 understand the danger in such a foolhardy approach.

After #1's light bulb goes off repeat the drill but allow #1 to move however they like to avoid the whip. Note how much more fluid and natural they move. Note how much harder #2 has to work to stay away from #1. Enjoy.

Truth is found in motion.


Take care,

Mark J.
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