As we have previously discussed in an earlier belt, an opponent will try to establish an Optimal Structure whenever they endeavor to strike or grab you. Our goal is to destroy that structure.
We can destroy the opponent’s structure in numerous ways and at various times. It turns out that nearly anything you do to the opponent will impact their structure. After all, they have established an Optimal Structure. Anything you do to change their structure will make it less than optimal.
It is not possible to describe all of the different ways in which you might destroy the structure of an opponent. You will be introduced to a great many methods in classes and seminars. You will also probably discover many on your own. Understand that anything you do to the opponent will impact their structure in some manner.
The goal should be to make this a negative impact for them. We would not want to move them into a position where they will be in an optimal stance for the next sequence of movements we may have planned. Every time we move to affect the opponent’s structure we want the result to be a further degradation of their abilities.
It is possible to impact the structure of an opponent at very different times. Here is a partial list:
- Before the opponent has even contemplated moving
- As the opponent prepares to move
- While the opponent is moving
- As the opponent is settling into their Optimal Structure
- Immediately after the opponent has settled into his or her Optimal Structure
- As the opponent attempts to move from one Optimal Structure to another
- As the opponent attempts to react to anything you have done to them in any of the previous circumstances.
As you can see it is possible to impact a person’s Optimal Structure at any moment – even well before it has ever been adopted.
Let’s explore this last point a little further. If a potential adversary has not yet initiated an attack, but we expect that one will occur, we might initiate but mask a lean, a weight shift, or a repositioning of an arm or a leg so that when the opponent attacks they are attacking us in the wrong location. If we lean to our right they might attack our head further right than its actual location. If the opponent attacks they will establish an Optimal Structure, but for a position we never really occupied. They have the right Optimal Structure at the wrong time and in the wrong place.
If someone attacks us, say with a Migi Gyaku Tsuki, we might move to one side or another and apply gentle pressure under their approaching forearm, lifting it upward slightly and pulling it forward. The opponent will land in a structure other than the one they anticipated. They will not land in their Optimal Structure. Anything we can do to an opponent while they are in transition will help destroy their structure.
We can destroy structure using any of the following means. This is far from a complete list, but perhaps it will provide you with some ideas with which you might experiment.
- Parry or otherwise redirect an attacking arm or leg so it moves off of its intended target
- Prohibit the retraction of an extended side of the opponent’s body
- Exaggerate the retraction of an extended side of the opponent’s body
- Exaggerate the extension of an opponent’s strike
- Change the relative distance between yourself and the opponent
- Impact the side of the body that has begun rotating in your direction
- Change the expected path of the opponent’s returning arm or leg
- Rotate the opponent’s head and/or alter its vertical orientation
- Impact or otherwise move one or more of the opponent’s legs
- Cause the opponent to bend their torso in some manner
- Directly impact the torso or head of the opponent
- Provide an abrupt visual, audible, or other distraction that causes the opponent to change his or her movement while they attempt to adopt their optimal structure
As mentioned, this is only a very small and partial list of what might be done. The key points are that nearly anything you do to an opponent will impact their structure, and you can initiate these actions any time before or after the opponent has initiated their movement.
Destroying Your Opponent’s Base
Destroying an opponent’s base is a key strategy in destroying their structure. If the opponent’s hips or legs are forced out of the Optimal Structure then the opponent has started down a cascading path of doom. That’s probably a little overly dramatic, but once an opponent’s base has been compromised we will not give them any opportunity to regain a viable structure.
To destroy a person’s base we need to attack or compromise the integrity of their weight baring structures. We might do this by moving an opponent’s foot, bending one of their knees, shifting the current position of their hip, twisting their torso (which essential repositions their hip), or cause a structural injury to a leg or hip. Here again is a partial list of things you might do to destroy or at least compromise an opponent’s base.
- Use your foot to slide an opponent’s foot forward, to the back or to the side.
- Use your foot to press into the opponent’s ankle
- Use your shin to press forward into the opponent’s shin.
- Use your calf to press backward into the opponent’s calf.
- Use you shin to press forward into the opponent’s calf.
- Use a hand (or finger) to push the front of the hip backward.
- Use a finger to pull the back of the hip forward.
- Push the opponent’s head back far behind their heels.
- Use your knee to press into the inside of the opponent’s knee
- Use your knee to press into the outside of the opponent’s knee
- Use your foot to press into the back of the opponent’s knee
- Use your foot to break the opponent’s knee
There are many more ways to accomplish this goal. If you can do each of the methods listed above on an Uke (with the obvious exception of the last one), then you be will well-prepared to study other methods later.