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Thoughts and ideas related to training in
Ninjutsu Alive training, in my opinion just what does that mean. Martial arts training is essentially about learning new skills, some skills you can practice by yourself and for others you may need a training partner or even several training partners to develop the skill being taught by your instructor.
So lets look at a few things we can do by ourselves and then others that we may need a training partner to complete the exercise.
Your training partner should be relaxed and compliant i.e. go with your technique in order to help you learn how to apply a lock for example, it’s partnered so it’s a lot closer to real life . They allow you the time you need to apply the lock or do the throw etc without interfering …..But is that alive.
Sparring is a lot closer to reality, in that instead of being a rehearsed training drill each person is more free with their responses, for example a training drill might start with a lapel grab and strike to the head and then after that the training partner is (in a responsible way) able to continue on with any attack that they see fit to use, it might be more punches or maybe a kick , they might try to throw you to the ground or get around behind you to apply a constriction. With more spirit and conviction, and resistance to your techniques if they choose.
Their goal is still to help you learn what to do, just under more real to life circumstances.
So why not jut train like that from day one I hear you ask.
Good question, the reason is that in order to learn how to apply a technique first you must learn the technique itself. This is best done by repetition on a compliant training partner, the more techniques then the longer it takes you to get your skill set together.
At Ninjutsu Melbourne around half way (2 years ish) to black belt we invite the student to participate
Our style of martial arts has a really unusual punch that in English is called “lunge punching”. It gets a fair amount of criticism from other martial arts styles primarily for being too slow and starting from so far away. I actually think these are it’s greatest strengths so I thought I’d write a little on it from my perspective.
Here’s a clip from the Hon Tai Yoshin Ryu School of Martial Arts, a cousin school of the Takagi Yoshin Ryu School of martial arts that’s found in our training. At point 15 to 17 there’s a reasonable example of what could be considered a lunge punch just in case you’re unsure as to what I’m talking about. Hey, we’re not the only ones that do it …….
In my mind here are the reasons for practicing a lunge punch as the attack (note… as the attack) which is what we do in training, quite rarely in defences do we lunge punch at all. So here it is ….
It is the maximum distance that a person can reach while still keeping one foot on the starting point.
So it teaches maximum distance/range without moving from the starting spot with both feet.
Meaning that if someone wants to hit/cut me I need to be at least the length of the other persons body away in order to force them into taking an initial step forward towards me. i.e. if they’re 180 cm tall i need to be about 190cm away to be just past the maximum range of their reach. This distance allows me some safety; it gives me a little time to see it coming. Obviously you can’t measure it out with a tape measure, you just have to pratice and after time develop a feeling for the right distance.
Now think about a classic untrained fighters haymaker strike, something you see in real life not so much in a dojo. It usually starts from the behind the hip/waist area, travels around using the shoulder as a pivot point in a semi circle while stepping forward with the same side leg, to swing to the maximum reach that the person has available and then continues on past that point in an arc for about 80 cm back near the persons own body somewhere in front of their other shoulder.
Heres the thing, they have a different trajectory but the same distance, the same maximum reach!
Don’t believe me, stand your height from a wall and do a haymaker and then do a lunge punch.
Try it now, I’ll wait while you give it a go……
I’m 180 cm tall roughly, if I stand that distance from a wall and step forward to touch it the only way I can do so is if I turn my body sideways and lean forward with my knee until the knee cap is directly above the toes. It gives me a striking distance of about 180 cm or another way of saying it is that my height is also my reach.
That’s a huge distance to travel and it takes me about .7 of a second to cover that range from a natural standing position. From Ichimonji and having to step thru in takes about 1.2 seconds.
Quite some time in a fight I know, stick with me , it’s going somewhere I promise…
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