Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Transitions and their importance in martial arts for realistic Self Defense

Many may not be aware but in reality all traditional martial arts that were designed for war or self protection were well rounded and inclusive of everything. For example - Karate is not restricted to only kicks, punches and strikes but also has a fair number of throws like in Judo, various locks and chokes like in Aikido and so on. Sadly these traditional ways have been watered down over the last decade or so. More emphasis is given to make martial arts a sport event which is causing the dilution of old school or traditional training. Focusing on what is needed to excel at competitions and eliminating what helps with a real street fight.

When one prepares for battle one needs to approach training in a very holistic or well rounded manner, covering every facet or probability.  For in battle or on the road there is no point system nor a referee. A realistic self defense situation is like the Spartans use to say - A spartan either returns with his shield or on it. You get a few seconds to get the best chance at immobilizing the attacker and walking away safely. One needs to prepare for these situations. Day in and out you train in realistic scenarios. You program the body to respond with different combinations such that over time it becomes your reflex.

Transition literally means the change from one movement to another. However here I don't only imply the change from one movement to another but also from one kind or type of movement to a completely different type. Example - moving from a kick, block, punch or strike to a throw or a joint lock and vice versa. These transitions have multiple benefits. The most important benefit is it surprises the attacker and he or she can never access or predict if you would strike or throw or lock. This confusion can give you an added advantage. Combinations of different techniques further increases your arsenal of attacks. It makes you a more versatile warrior. In a street fight you may be cramped up in a corner with limited place. Having a variety o transitions in your arsenal enables you to defend with virtually no place to move. It also can help you make some space for you or reverse the situation for your attacker. Regularly practicing such transitions will improve your hand and leg co - ordination as well improve the speed in your movements.   

The above video is just one of the simple transitions that our students were practicing at class. Where one transitions from an open hand stomach level block (kake Uke) to an one arm shoulder throw (Ippon Seoi Nage).

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