Movement Methods

In this article we will discuss some methods by which you might generate movement in yourself or our opponent. This is a relatively mixed group of movement ideas and methods that we hope you find useful. You might consider these to be additional tools you can place in your toolbox.

Instantaneous Stepping

At times when dealing with an aggressive person you want to be solidly rooted. At other times you want to be able to move extremely quickly to a variety of different locations. When you wish or need to move quickly you can accomplish this by never allowing any foot to become rooted. When you take a step you immediately press the ball and toes of that foot into ground and then flex the muscles of that foot to force your body upward, generating the next step. The process is again repeated with the next footfall. Doing this in rapid sequence will allow you to swiftly overcome an opponent’s defenses and/or make you hard to attack solidly.

This is not without its risks. Since you are in constant motion you are very frequently weightless. This would allow an opponent to easily move you somewhere you did not intend to go. So the best use for this skill is when you know you can easily escape an opponent and then keep the opponent guessing as to your next location. You might also use this skill if you have already manipulated and destroyed the opponent’s structure. Moving quickly in this manner will make things more confusing for the opponent and make it extremely difficult for him or her to regain structure.

Moving By Using the Hips

Many movements can be accomplished more quickly if they are initiated by moving your hips first. Most twisting motions are faster if you begin by moving the hips instead of the feet or shoulders. The same applies to many forward or backward linear motions.

It may feel awkward at first when you attempt to move this way. But if you spend some time consciously practicing skills by thinking of using the hips first you will find a great many opportunities for improving the speed, efficiency, an stability of movements.

Here is an example. Assume you are standing in Migi Sochin Dachi and wish to quickly establish Heiko Dachi facing in the same direction. Normally you would move your front leg backward and allow your torso to follow along. This would be a pretty natural way of moving. But if you instead think about briskly rotating your hips in a clockwise manner then your leg will naturally move back into the desired position. But it will move much quicker than before. In fact your entire body will be in the desired position in substantially less time.

This is just one of several unusual ways of moving that you should consider. Thinking of moving backward by moving your shoulder blades or spine back first changes the dynamic of this movement, allowing you to remain more erect and in control of the backward transition. When moving try to consider and focus on different parts of your anatomy moving first. With some self-experimentation you will discover different and quite useful methods of movement.

Ring Finger

Another non-obvious way of thinking about movement is to consider your ring finger. We’re not talking about stepping here, but about manipulation or grasping an opponent in some way. Let’s consider grabbing an opponent’s arm near the elbow. Placing your open hand on top of the opponent’s arm just above the elbow will allow you to pull or manipulate his or her arm in some manner.

Normally you would try to control the arm by using all of the fingers of your hand in unison. But let’s look at things a little differently. If you think about pulling only with the ring finger you will see a much more focused point of force. If the ring finger is placed at the crease of the elbow then it provides a convenient mechanism for simultaneously pulling and creasing the elbow joint. When pulling with an open hand consider focusing your thoughts on pulling primarily with the ring finger.

This works well when you are moving something that does not afford a great deal of resistance. It will obviously be less effective if you are trying to move a tensed and strongly positioned arm. But then, that’s why we have the concept of Abandonment.

Striking Seven Times in One Second

When I first began studying the martial arts I was enamored by stories of people who could strike an object up to seven times in a single second. I thought that this would be an impossible feat. I thought, probably as you are thinking now, that this was little more than martial arts myth and fabrication.

As it turns out this really depends on how you look at things. If you think of strikes as a series of jabs and/or front and back hand strikes then I would argue the human body is not capable to striking at the rate of seven strikes in a second. Someone could prove me wrong, but that would be a truly rare individual. Yet, even you and I can strike seven times in a second (give or take a strike or two) without much difficulty. Again, it depends on your definition of a strike.

If you consider a combination of Onna No Atemi Waza and Otoko No Atemi Waza strikes then it is quite easy to achieve this rate of strike delivery. Here is an example (you can and should easily find others):

  1. Deliver a Tate Ken Tsuki strike to the cheek area of your opponent but do not return your strike
  2. Now open your hand and rotate your wrist so that you strike with Haito Uchi to the opponent’s jaw, but again do not return the strike
  3. Rotate your wrist in the opposite direction and strike down into the opponent’s shoulder with Shuto Uchi while keeping your arm extended
  4. Now press your forearm forward to strike the opponent’s collar bone (clavicle)
  5. Strike with the palm of your open hand into the neck of the opponent
  6. Rotate your wrist again and strike with Soto Shuto Uchi to the base of the opponent’s neck
  7. Invert your wrist and strike to the opponent’s chin with a Kakuto Uchi.

While the above sequence is possible in seven seconds, it might be a little difficult if you have any tension in your arms or hands. This tension will slow you down making the defined strike rate in the above scenario difficult. So we need another example.

  1. Strike toward the opponent’s face but this time allow the inside of your forearm to make contact with the opponent’s chin
  2. Rotate your wrist so that the bottom of your forearm strikes into the opponent’s neck
  3. Rotate the wrist further in the same direction so the outside edge of your forearm strikes the opponent’s shoulder
  4. Press your forearm forward and strike into the opponent’s clavicle
  5. Rotate your forearm and strike the opponent’s chin with the inside of the forearm as you concurrently open your hand
  6. Retract your arm and strike behind the opponent’s ear with the palm of your hand
  7. Rotate your wrist and strike into the base of the opponent’s neck with a Soto Shuto Uchi.

Only a few of the strikes above would be considered to be powerful blows. Yet every blow will impact the structure of the opponent. The rapidity of the blows is also quite disorienting to an opponent as they are jostled in multiple directions in an extremely short period of time. This is an very effective way to dominate and control a person from the very onset of a conflict.

But our goal is not necessarily to deliver a specific number of blows in any given unit of time. That is actually a pointless objective. Our goal is only to appreciate that a very rapid sequence of manipulative flows can be issued in a small span of time such that the opponent is destabilized both structurally and mentally. You will find that with practice you can be quite accomplished at using this methodology for dictating the outcome of a conflict from the start.

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