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#394985 - 05/15/08 04:43 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Medulanet, I'm not sure why you feel the reaction being grooved in our embu is "bad"...

Presumably you groove your bunkai. By "groove" I mean inculcate or "ingrain" something into your subconscious. If you don't groove something, it cannot be used (you don’t have time in combat for anything other than grooved reactions). Any practice of bunkai is an attempt to groove that bunkai.

Our embu comprise bunkai - and fairly standard bunkai at that (slow them down and you'll see things done in IOGKF, Jundokan etc.). We use the embu to practice and groove bunkai. If the embu ingrain something “bad” then the kata and bunkai must be “bad” (and I don’t think they are).

You might well ask: “Why not do bunkai in isolation?” We do, but we also practice bunkai in the context of embu.

Why?

Standard bunkai practice is done in ippon kumite. The limitations of ippon kumite are obvious. It is a static and highly artificial environment (as noted by Patrick McCarthy in his pdf concerning the development of his HAPV drills). I'm sure you'll agree that no one ever attacks you in ippon kumite fashion. Ippon kumite attacks start from stationary and from a distance. Each attack is either known or highly predictable. It usually involves a committed step (rarely a lunge). The attacker does not react to your counter but remains motionless. From this perspective it is arguable that ippon kumite is of use only as a starting point (to isolate the technique).

Clearly you can develop 2 or 3 step kumite, but these are still very limited, imho. To really inculcate/groove something, you need it to be capable of “circular” repetition. You need a continuum.

The embu were designed to apply essential bunkai in a continuum. Will they groove reactions? Hell yes. That’s the idea. You seem to think any automatic reaction grooved in our embu is "bad", while the reactions grooved in your yaksoku drills are "good" - yet I can't see any reason other than you don't like our drills.

I can emphatically say these drills have improved my sparring. They have not "limited" me. Where before I never used bunkai in sparring, I now can and do. I see many other karateka not doing so - the gap between free-sparring and ippon kumite is too wide for many to breach. And all the standard yaksoku kumite that I've seen and practised over the years have been very basic and unrealistic, with almost no utilisation of taisabaki. That doesn't mean standard yaksoku kumite isn't useful - it has a purpose. But to say this is a better means of "pre-arranged" sparring is, imho, incorrect.

If you're concerned that we are limited only to certain bunkai, think again. We have tried to design each embu so that it contains all of the principle methods of movement inherent in the relevant kata. In determining which bunkai were to comprise the embu we spent many years carefully choosing movements that would enable extrapolation/adaptation into all the bunkai options. The embu are mine and my brother’s major work/thesis. We didn’t think them up overnight.

Moreover you will be aware that we have embu for each kata - each one covers different fundamental taisabaki and techniques. I don’t think we’re ever in danger of “being stuck in one rut”. I'd like to thing the embu cover every movement option available in goju kata (broadly speaking - there are unlimited variations, but only 8 principle angles of tenshin, etc.).

Btw - we still practice kata, and practice bunkai in isolation. However if you think mere "visualisation" while doing kata is, of itself, going to help you apply those moves in kumite I think you're mistaken. I see this as akin to imagining you have an opponent in tennis: you can practice against a ball machine/wall all you like, but it's no substitute for 2 person practice.

The analogy to tennis is, of course, of limited value, mostly because the total number of kinaesthetic variables in a game of tennis is only a fraction of those in hand-to-hand combat. However the analgoy is still valid to a point: even in tennis, a coach will still have you at the net doing volleys or at the baseline practising serves and forehand/backhand strokes before you actually start playing a game.

Fearing you might somehow be "limited" by embu is, to me, akin to fearing that learning backhand strokes will somehow leave you stuck doing backhands for every move. By analogy – we have tried to include "all the strokes". And like tennis players, we mix and match them subconsciously on the “court” - like any other sincere and hardworking “players”.

It is important to note that we have a good precedent for the effectiveness of embu-type drills. We have modelled our embu structure heavily on weapons systems that teach exclusively by this method. Take tenshin shoden katori shinto ryu - the oldest samurai tradition weapons school in existence (my teacher has a direct lineage to the founder). If you think their art is poorer for practising exclusively via 2 person kata, you'd be wrong. Arguably this is the key to their effectiveness.

You don't become "stuck" in certain ways because of the embu. In my experience you finally feel like you have a frame of reference. Because each embu is so different, your brain adapts, borrows and rearranges the elements subconsciously (just the same as a tennis player doesn’t think: “Time for high back-hand volley” – he/she just does it). However if you have no ingrained techniques to adapt, borrow, rearrange all you can do is make wild stabs at the ball.

Similarly in karate – without grooved techniques you go back to jumping up and down in some kind of "faux boxing" – the kind that is lamentably ubiquitous in karate/taekwondo/kung fu today. Take a look at the thread “No confidence in Traditional Martial Arts” for example.

Are our drills optimum? I can’t say that. Maybe you feel you have something better – and you might. But I can’t see anything in your arguments to support your dislike of our drills other than some kind of personal preference.

I have almost finished writing an article on the anatomy of our embu. This should explain more clearly our design methodology. Perhaps after you’ve read that you might have some specific criticisms and I will be happy to hear them.


Edited by dandjurdjevic (05/15/08 04:54 AM)
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http://www.dandjurdjevic.com/

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#394986 - 05/15/08 12:02 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

Medulanet, I'm not sure why you feel the reaction being grooved in our embu is "bad"...

Presumably you groove your bunkai. By "groove" I mean inculcate or "ingrain" something into your subconscious. If you don't groove something, it cannot be used (you don’t have time in combat for anything other than grooved reactions). Any practice of bunkai is an attempt to groove that bunkai.

Our embu comprise bunkai - and fairly standard bunkai at that (slow them down and you'll see things done in IOGKF, Jundokan etc.). We use the embu to practice and groove bunkai. If the embu ingrain something “bad” then the kata and bunkai must be “bad” (and I don’t think they are).

You might well ask: “Why not do bunkai in isolation?” We do, but we also practice bunkai in the context of embu.

Why?

Standard bunkai practice is done in ippon kumite. The limitations of ippon kumite are obvious. It is a static and highly artificial environment (as noted by Patrick McCarthy in his pdf concerning the development of his HAPV drills). I'm sure you'll agree that no one ever attacks you in ippon kumite fashion. Ippon kumite attacks start from stationary and from a distance. Each attack is either known or highly predictable. It usually involves a committed step (rarely a lunge). The attacker does not react to your counter but remains motionless. From this perspective it is arguable that ippon kumite is of use only as a starting point (to isolate the technique).

Clearly you can develop 2 or 3 step kumite, but these are still very limited, imho. To really inculcate/groove something, you need it to be capable of “circular” repetition. You need a continuum.

The embu were designed to apply essential bunkai in a continuum. Will they groove reactions? Hell yes. That’s the idea. You seem to think any automatic reaction grooved in our embu is "bad", while the reactions grooved in your yaksoku drills are "good" - yet I can't see any reason other than you don't like our drills.

I can emphatically say these drills have improved my sparring. They have not "limited" me. Where before I never used bunkai in sparring, I now can and do. I see many other karateka not doing so - the gap between free-sparring and ippon kumite is too wide for many to breach. And all the standard yaksoku kumite that I've seen and practised over the years have been very basic and unrealistic, with almost no utilisation of taisabaki. That doesn't mean standard yaksoku kumite isn't useful - it has a purpose. But to say this is a better means of "pre-arranged" sparring is, imho, incorrect.

If you're concerned that we are limited only to certain bunkai, think again. We have tried to design each embu so that it contains all of the principle methods of movement inherent in the relevant kata. In determining which bunkai were to comprise the embu we spent many years carefully choosing movements that would enable extrapolation/adaptation into all the bunkai options. The embu are mine and my brother’s major work/thesis. We didn’t think them up overnight.

Moreover you will be aware that we have embu for each kata - each one covers different fundamental taisabaki and techniques. I don’t think we’re ever in danger of “being stuck in one rut”. I'd like to thing the embu cover every movement option available in goju kata (broadly speaking - there are unlimited variations, but only 8 principle angles of tenshin, etc.).

Btw - we still practice kata, and practice bunkai in isolation. However if you think mere "visualisation" while doing kata is, of itself, going to help you apply those moves in kumite I think you're mistaken. I see this as akin to imagining you have an opponent in tennis: you can practice against a ball machine/wall all you like, but it's no substitute for 2 person practice.

The analogy to tennis is, of course, of limited value, mostly because the total number of kinaesthetic variables in a game of tennis is only a fraction of those in hand-to-hand combat. However the analgoy is still valid to a point: even in tennis, a coach will still have you at the net doing volleys or at the baseline practising serves and forehand/backhand strokes before you actually start playing a game.

Fearing you might somehow be "limited" by embu is, to me, akin to fearing that learning backhand strokes will somehow leave you stuck doing backhands for every move. By analogy – we have tried to include "all the strokes". And like tennis players, we mix and match them subconsciously on the “court” - like any other sincere and hardworking “players”.

It is important to note that we have a good precedent for the effectiveness of embu-type drills. We have modelled our embu structure heavily on weapons systems that teach exclusively by this method. Take tenshin shoden katori shinto ryu - the oldest samurai tradition weapons school in existence (my teacher has a direct lineage to the founder). If you think their art is poorer for practising exclusively via 2 person kata, you'd be wrong. Arguably this is the key to their effectiveness.

You don't become "stuck" in certain ways because of the embu. In my experience you finally feel like you have a frame of reference. Because each embu is so different, your brain adapts, borrows and rearranges the elements subconsciously (just the same as a tennis player doesn’t think: “Time for high back-hand volley” – he/she just does it). However if you have no ingrained techniques to adapt, borrow, rearrange all you can do is make wild stabs at the ball.

Similarly in karate – without grooved techniques you go back to jumping up and down in some kind of "faux boxing" – the kind that is lamentably ubiquitous in karate/taekwondo/kung fu today. Take a look at the thread “No confidence in Traditional Martial Arts” for example.

Are our drills optimum? I can’t say that. Maybe you feel you have something better – and you might. But I can’t see anything in your arguments to support your dislike of our drills other than some kind of personal preference.

I have almost finished writing an article on the anatomy of our embu. This should explain more clearly our design methodology. Perhaps after you’ve read that you might have some specific criticisms and I will be happy to hear them.




Dan, its not that what you do is bad for you, just for me. You talk about ippon kumite being bad for bunkai and kumite, but I don't believe this. The question is, does everyone understand what ippon kumite is supposed to develop. Ippon kumite is not about an attacker throwing one attack and then you countering while your opponent stands there. Ippon kumite is about learning to only allow your opponent one attack. It is first practiced with the attacker just throwing one attack so you can learn how your attack will "fit" into your opponent's. Then, your opponent will throw multiple attacks, as many as they want really, however, you will still stop his attack at least by the time he completes his first. Sometimes you will do it as he is launching his initial attack. It teaches disruption. The distance should not necessarily be long range. It only is if that is how you practice it. What you are describing to me is a very basic performance of ippon kumite and not really combat training. If done right the opponent will not be able to attack you back after his inital attack. He will either be on the ground, in great pain, or trying to defend and disengage. That is why I always tell my students and training partners to "really" attack me. In fact, karate doesn't work well when your partner is not trying to attack you will real energy.

As far as visualization in kata helping in kumite actually it does. It does because it develops the proper mind set. If done right it teaches you to attack in the face of an attack. Many times that is hard for people to do. The want to defend and then attack. Although we do do that, we also attack out opponent's attack and disrupt it. Try it, you might like it.
_________________________
Dulaney Dojo

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#394987 - 05/15/08 12:28 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Marcel,

I sincerly do agree with you re the ippon kumite you describe, I also would really like to see someone, somewhere practice this method?

Surley it can't be just you and your students that work in this way?

What you describe is really good karate IMO, but how do you train it without injury?
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#394988 - 05/15/08 12:59 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: shoshinkan]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
We use controlled power. Meaning we strike hard enough in practice of affect a combative reaction, however, not enought to do serious injury. This method is not without pain, but I have not had one "serious" injury due to this training yet (knock on wood). And, at the same time you realize that you can deliver as powerful a blow as you wish to your target to get the desired reaction anywhere from pain to severe injury. We sometimes use protectors, but usually not. When striking to the head we either use open and strikes and make contact or stop just short with closed fist. Some may think that this is not sufficient to cause a realistic reaction, but I have found that most people are disrupted by a fist flying at their face at a high rate of speed. However, if we are wearing hand protectors then we make contact with closed fists as well. In addition, it really shows the value of low strikes with the legs, especially from naihanchi.


Edited by medulanet (05/15/08 01:07 PM)

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#394989 - 05/15/08 02:12 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
interesting Marcel,

with respect I would have to see what you describe to begin to really digest what you say on this one. Is there any examples online of this kind of work?

If there isn't then I find that a little strange and guess until we meet up (one day I hope) im not going to really get what you describe.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#394990 - 05/15/08 02:43 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: shoshinkan]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
The closest thing I have seen is some of the short clips of what Vince Morris does, however, I have only seen a little and I haven't really seen how they train. But I can tell he is using principles of okinawan karate similar to what my teacher has shown me.
_________________________
Dulaney Dojo

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#394991 - 05/15/08 08:55 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
For what it's worth Marcel, we do this kind of ippon kumite (arguably not enough!)- but I still feel it has its limitations, only because every kind of training does.

And I agree - why do kata *unless* you visualise? Of course we do this. All I meant was that you need to apply bunkai.

Our embu is just a part of what we do. It seems to me that it isn't your chosen methodology and this is understandable. We are all different. Our emphasis on flow reflects a particular approach that might not be everyone's 'cup of tea'.

Btw - the embu (when done hard and fast) can be very dangerous. In our naifunchin embu on the net I actually stop the video at a particular point. What happened after that point is that one of the demonstrators wasn't fast enough with a deflection and got punched square in the face.

There's another "blooper" on the net where a student doing gekisai ni embu doesn't block a kick to the groin... (his partner 'pulled' the strike at the last millisecond so all he got was a bit of pain for his troubles...

Vince Morris? Love his stuff. He is an excellent karateka and I greatly respect his methods. In the late 80s we bought some of his books and applied his strategies. I recall he advocated multiple attacks (what we call renzoku kumite or "responsive" kumite). Very valid training methods. As I said earlier, we've been neglecting this type of training lately.

All in all there are many ways of skinning the proverbial cat and your approach is certainly valid.

Hope to train with you one day - where are you based?

Dan


Edited by dandjurdjevic (05/15/08 09:33 PM)
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http://www.dandjurdjevic.com/

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#394992 - 05/16/08 02:46 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: dandjurdjevic]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Ultimately is about training so that you can respond effectively to an attack (and I mean any attack from a point fighter, to a full contact fighter, to a mugger). The bottom line is if your training produces favorable results then it is good training.

Right now I'm in Phoenix, AZ USA.
_________________________
Dulaney Dojo

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#394993 - 05/16/08 10:05 AM Re: Kata Embu [Re: medulanet]
Barad Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 427
Medulanet,

That is a fair desciption of how we train thanks to Vince's sometimes painful but expert methods , attempting to respond through flinch response (using say the opening movements of Kanku Dai or Nijushiho or Heian Nidan and Yondan)and body positioning to prevent any further attacks, unbalance and then counter and/or control. If I am understanding him correctly, Vince teaches to keep on striking in a flowing manner until it is over and you can get away in contrast to Shotokan-style single hopefully strong strikes in deep stance.

The flinch response and follow up can be practiced using a kind of ippon or jiyu ippon kumite but from close up, sometimes almost nose to nose and against hooks and grabs in the mix, not just oizuki et al...

If this is using Okinawan Shorin principles (which Vince has sometimes alluded to on courses), I am happy with that. Whatever it is, it seems to me to be effective.

B.

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#394994 - 05/16/08 01:21 PM Re: Kata Embu [Re: Barad]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
ok I understand now, Vince Sensei is very well respected for his methods.

Not sure I agree with the description however but we can move on.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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