Do Shotokan blocks work?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by homer_simps1, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Captain Karate

    Captain Karate New Member

    Yep that's the same with WC forms, the chambering of the hand is in no way meant to be used in actual fighting application. Just used to set the shoulders and keep the other hand idle while you concentrate on the main movement.

    That's what I thought, still I hate how some Karate schools actually expect you to chamber in sparring. McDojos in their purest form. Although I've seen some Kyokushin guys chamber punches when the guy is on the ground.
  2. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    And isn't that what this discussion is all about. Spend lots of time training a certain way and that's what you're likely to do pull out of the bag when acting under pressure.

  3. JSKdan

    JSKdan Valued Member

    I do agree with you some what but it also bepends on how you train ( if you do pressure testing and see what people comes up, we do it alot and are told at do what comes to you )
  4. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Our #5 and #6 punches are the chambered "karate" punches and while we have applications of using these punches to attack the solar plexus, kidneys and spine from a standing position, it is not necessary to strike from a full chamber when targetting these locations. Some might say that the full chamber allows for better penetration with the punch, but that may be more for the fact it pulls back the shoulders and straightens the back which will help with a punch IF you have POOR form/technique otherwise.

    One point about striking from a chambered position, it is perhaps for counter attack more than for direct assault. The position comes somewhat naturally when grappling (e.g. having hold of opponent's arm) and when shifting body (e.g. shifting body weight and position like rowing a boat).

    To my knowledge, much of karate has roots from forms that utilize a lot of body shifting to avoid taking the full power of an attack. It is much less the constant fencing like footwork found in karate tournaments, much less footwork than the triangular footwork found in jiu-jitsu and FMA, and not like the circular footwork found in boxing/MMA/kickboxing. It is more like shift the body and cause the opponent to turn rather than try to move around the opponent yourself.

    The chambered positions aid in shifting the body.

    Yes, it is often said that you fight how you train. There is a lot of truth in that, but other factors also are important. Understanding and experience in the context/environment/situation also can play a key role in how and when things are done also.

    Edit: In what context would body shifting be more useful?

    1. On a boat or dock where there is limited room to maneuver
    2. On a battle field with thousands of others with little room to maneuver
    3. When in armor that restricts movement

    Are these contexts the roots of karate?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2006
  5. Gyaku

    Gyaku Valued Member

    Hmm, an interseting way of looking at it. In teh system I teach I use the chamber as a pre-emptive technique

    To explain

    1. Imagine yourself satanding naturally with hands at your sides

    2. you grab your opponants arm with one hand at the same time your other hand moves THROUGH the chambered postion from the natural position - it does NOT pause in this position

    3. While the second hand is moving past the chambered postion - your grabbing hand sharply pulls your opponant by the arm - essentially pulling him in to the incoming punch

    The grabbing technique has 3 purposes:
    1. Prevent a blocking action
    2. Prevent the opponant from drawing a weapon
    3. Add power to your punch by pulling hm into it.

    I suppose it does assist in keeping shoulders down in some - but many studenta actually find this more difficult

    Interestingly Funakoshi used to teach teh gyaku-zuki as starting with the hands naturally at the sides - not chambered or from a guard - both positions which would telegrapgh a pre-emptive strike.
  6. Gyaku

    Gyaku Valued Member

    I think none of these.

    1. In teh context of kata - very few of them can be practised on a boat
    2. Okinawa never really got involved in any serious wars - if you look at Budo arts like kenjutsu - they hardly use restricted movements
    3. Karate puts too much emphasis on kicks and strikes for it to be used against an armoured opponant

    If you look at the Okinawans who foundered karate they were mainly civilians who wanted an effective form of self defence - some did have some martial connections but it seems karate has always been for civillian use. I believe it was Harry Cook that suggested taht Samurai on Okinawa used Jugen ryu kenjutsu which may have some links to Shotokan stances - like kokutsu dachi - it comes from sword work. However speculation at best!
  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    There is plausable cause that some of the first roots come from Chinese Kenpo introduced around 1392 when a group of 36 experts were naturalized from Fukien Province, China.

    That was a long time ago. Things have changed just in the last 100 years. Going back some 700 years to China, of course lots has changed since then, but for some reason traditions were passed down from generations to generations in families, such it may be that these same martial techniques were passed down for hundreds of years.

    Let's not disregard that for quite some time the use of weapons by Okinawans was prohibited by the invading Japanese forces. During this time, techniques were passed down by families of Okinawan warriors in secret. These weren't ordinary civilians, they came from warrior ancestors.

    These are the roots that I refer to mainly.
  8. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    Sounds reasonable. Sounds like your talking about what is referred to as 'body-change' in some Shorin circles.

    But I don't follow you there. How does it aid in shifting the body. Hikite is not an integral or necessary feature of body-change as I've seen it done.

    Surely, as a pragmatic art, karate developed as a tool you could use in different environments - some which may be restricted in space, others not. Some environments might be slippy underfoot, others not, etc. etc.

    As for the following discussion on possible military origins of karate, I think both sides of the argument have merit. We know that Okinawa had a warrior caste which, even taking into account the restrictions imposed by the Japanese occupation, lasted up until 1869. We also know that the precursors of modern karate were practiced by and handed down within the families of the nobility, ie. the warrior caste. Whilst the martial needs of a 16th century Okinawan warrior on the battlefield are not the same as a 19th century court official it seems inconceivable that the developers of karate completely ignored their hard-earned military know how simply because they were creating an art designed for civilian defense during 'modern' times. On the other hand it must be acknowledged that the two scenarios are quite different and will require different or at least modified tactics. The fact that you or your antagonist may or may not be wearing armour changes things but there is still some common ground between these different scenarios.

    Similarly, there are Japanese systems that arose on the battlefield but were later modified or added to for everyday use (ie. walking down the street with neither your armour or your halberd). Some systems retained the battlefield knowledge along side the 'civilian' skills. I think that Karate is to some degree akin to this. It is chiefly a civilian defense tool, but it does incorporate the use of both overt and covert weapons. It can be used in an enclosed space, or an open field but that doesn't mean it was designed specifically for one of these situations.

  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    To answer the question of how chambering helps to shift the body, it isn't the chambering itself but the movement used to get to chamber that aids in the moving of the body. Like the rowing of a boat, bringing the arms/elbows back can shift the upper body back into a position where one can shift back to counter quickly. But I can't confirm this has anything to do with the original reasons for chambering punches. It think it may have more to do with grabs... see below...


    I watched some footage of people sparring in karate from sixty years ago. They fought with their hands up, although the footwork was similar to the stances in karate, it was mostly one person charging in on the other other and the other trying to evade and counter. I cannot tell you if this is how it was in all cases but it did show me that they fought with their hands up in a guard, covering the high and the low lines.

    They did not punch from the full chamber in sparring in the footage from sixty years ago. In fact, it may be that striking from the chamber was only done later on because of the rules developed for tournament or for reasons of keeping better form (upright instead of leaning forward).

    The chambered position was not used in sparring, however, other footage showed exercises done with one arm out in a guard position and the other hand in chamber. The chambered hand would come out and do many techniques all from chamber while the other hand remained out in guard position. I recognize this exercise as similar to Tensho.

    I can speculate that this exercise has something to do with breathing, posture and applying techniques to grab or counter-grab an opponent's arm.

    Yeah, I admit I was a bit too general in influences from way back. There were many factors of significant and plenty of things have changed during the last 700 years.

    I will say that some techniques found in old pictures from 100-700 years ago do resemble the same techniques taught today. They are drawn with no weapons and no armor on the person, but sometimes the opponent does have weapons and armor. We really, however, don't know if the techniques are the same, we only know they look the same.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that although things have changed a lot, the passing on of techniques is part of the culture of martial arts developed in Okinawa. We are still using some techiniques that were taught hundreds of years ago in theory. We may have lost the true context for these techniques in some cases and come up with other reasons along the way. Going back to the history of the times can help one to figure out the original purpose of techniques.

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