By Karen Haydock
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Extra info for From Bone to Stone
Two civilians brawling in an Okinawan street would employ similar methods to two civilians fighting in a modern city. In order to understand and apply the methods contained within the katas, it is necessary to understand the nature of civilian combat. How fights start What we will be looking at in this section is what happens at the start of fights, not so much what caused the fight to begin in the first place. Why fights start is beyond the scope of this text. However I feel this aspect deserves a brief mention, as it is very important when discussing self-defence.
As an example, certain arm-locks will cause the opponent to involuntarily bend their knees and waist in an attempt to protect the joints of the arm from further damage. This will result in the opponent’s head coming down. The following technique in the kata will be directed opposite the performer’s chest such that it is at the head height of the opponent. This involuntary action is a predictable response and as such it is recognised by the kata. After all, it would make little sense to strike high if you know that there is a good chance that the opponent’s head will now be low.
Hence, the technique will not be as pretty in appearance. What is a graceful movement when performed in the kata, or against a compliant practice partner, will become ugly when applied in an all out situation. A technique that is very easy to apply on a compliant practice partner may become next to impossible on a live opponent. In particular, the accurate placement of blows becomes much more difficult. The more complex a technique, the greater the chance of it failing in a real situation. It is also important to understand that the huge adrenaline surge that you will experience in a live situation will greatly reduce your ability to perform complex tasks.