|Uchi-Mata (Inner Thigh Throw)|
Before class last night Brandon and I worked more on the throw I taught him after our knife defense class–the side-step uchi-mata (inner thigh throw). Since Brandon has only ever worked striking arts (he is a brown belt in another style, but I can’t remember what that style was) and considering how easy it was to throw him I felt it was important to teach him how to do the throws I used on him so that he can develop a feel for how a throw is performed and how to defend against it. He picked up the concept very quickly and he must have practiced at home after I originally taught him last Wednesday because he remembered how to do it last night. Within a few tries he was throwing me smoothly and quickly, and we even moved on to working uchi-mata as a defense against a foot sweep.
After working the throw for a while we still had some extra time before class began so we did a bit of sparring–no sparring gear and about half-power contact with nearly full-power leg kicks. It was a fun exercise but I found that I was being a bit too nice with my mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick) because Brandon was able to catch it once, so I must have been slowing it down to cut the power instead of pulling the strike. I did make sure to get a throw in on Brandon while we were sparring and he almost defended against it, but he was too off-balance (both mentally and physically) from having me rush in and grab him to actually stop the throw.
During class Sensei Poage had us working almost entirely on Yakusoku Kumite endings. In Shorin-Ryu there are 7 Yakusoku Kumite (prearranged sparring) sets that end with one person dispatching the other. These are similar to working Ippon Kumite Kata, Taezu Naru Waza or Kihon Kumite Kata with a partner for those in Shuri-Ryu. What Sensei Poage has done is taken the last sequence of techniques out of those Yakusoku Kumite and turned them into quick sets that can be worked for self defense purposes. For example:
Yakusoku Kumite 3 consists of the defender stepping back with their right foot and blocking a right punch to the face with a right high block, then dropping the block to catch a left punch to the body, then catching a right punch to the body with the left hand, then dropping back into a deep zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) while applying a double wrist lock and finished with a kick to the groin.
The Yakusoku Kumite ending that Sensei Poage works for that is having someone reach in to grab your shirt or neck and you step back and perform a double oyugo-uke (swim block) and grab onto their arms and hold them down by the arms while you kick through their groin.
What this basically accomplishes is it takes part of a drill that you work the same way all the time and works it in a realistic manner. Sure, you might actually have to use Yakusoku Kumite 3 in its entirety in self defense, but it isn’t very likely. In comparison, how likely is it for someone to grab your shirt and shake you in a threatening manner? It is important to work these sets in their entirety because there can be multiple sections you can utilize in self defense even if the entire scenario of the drill is not going to happen. I think that people often get frustrated at kata and prearranged sparring drills because they say that they are never going to have someone attack them the way they are being attacked in those situations, but they are looking at them with too general of an outlook. In both you must look at individual techniques and sets to find the true application and effectiveness of your art, otherwise you will never be able to apply all of the things that kata and drills have to teach you.
After class to wrap things up I worked with Brandon on his groundwork, since that is also a very new concept for him. He seems to be naturally very good at keeping his weight on his opponent, but he doesn’t have the library of techniques that I have available to me so he was working for a couple pins I showed him (kata gatama, the shoulder hold, and kesa gatame, the scarf hold) and the joint locks we work in karate. At one point he applied a joint lock on me but was not isolating my body so I simply rolled out of it, and at another point he tried to apply a neck crank but again did not isolate my body so I twisted out of it. The next time we are at class I think I will work with him more on controlling his opponent and giving him some more options of what he can do from different positions on the ground.