Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to Defend a Two Handed Choke in Shorin-Ryu Karate

Sokon Matsumara pioneered Shorin Ryu Karate in the early 1800s as he played his role as the bodyguard for three successive kings of Okinawa. Okinawa is, as you may know, the birthplace of Karate, many different forms of which have since evolved. As bodyguard to the kings of Okinawa it was Matsumara’s responsibility to train the household troops guarding the Okinawan palace is unarmed combat. He taught them a variation of Karate which included principles and movements typical of Chinese Wushu, given that he’d traveled extensively in China during his youth. The result was a form of Karate which utilized quick, precise, energy efficient movements and attacks as well as a much narrower stance than was traditionally proscribed. The benefit of this stance was greater mobility and quicker response time at the expense of one’s balance. Shorin Ryu Karate has been called a “reactive” martial art, in that it teaches quick and immediate reaction to various attacks. Some people see this as less aggressive, reasoning it gives less opportunity for one to go on the offensive. Actually it simply follows the doctrine of energy conservation. By letting the enemy attack first and commit himself to a specific course of action, you as the defender have a wide array of possible responses without tiring yourself unnecessarily. A good example of this is seen in the defense technique against a two handed choke.

Step 1:
Begin with your opponent wrapping his hands around the side of your throat and pressing inward with his thumbs in the hollows of the neck. This is where the carotid arteries are. If they are compressed for more than 15 seconds you will get very fuzzy and confused. If they are compressed for more than 30 seconds you will pass out. It’s a pretty fair assumption that if you saw this coming your opponent wouldn’t have been able to grab your throat, so changing your stance retroactively is a waste of time.

Step 2:
Immediately tense the muscles in your neck as best you can and drop your chin down atop your opponent’s hands. Turn your neck 45 degrees to the left, attempting to shift the angle of your opponent’s grip.

Step 3:
Turn your body in the same direction that you are facing and take a step forward with your right foot. This will bring you off to your opponent’s right rather than directly in front of him. It will make the angle of his left hand on your neck awkward and loosen his grip even further, it also brings your right shoulder close enough to comfortable get an arm in between his arms.

Step 4:
Pull your right wrist back and curl your fingers inward, leaving the flat ball of your thumb and palm exposed. From below, drive it upward between your opponent’s arms to impact hard against the underside of your opponent’s chin. This will snap his head back.

Step 5:
Do not retract the arm. Instead extend your fingers and arch them into claws. Place them as high on your opponent’s face as you can, above his eyebrows for preference and claw them down in a straight line all the way to your attacker’s upper chest. Your opponent’s natural reaction will be to release you and clutch at his face, particularly his eyes.

Step 6:
Continue the downward motion of the scrape, swinging your right arm back, forming it into a fist and placing it over your heart. Simultaneously take a half step backward with your right foot, bend at the knees, and extend your right fist to enter a Back Stance should your opponent attempt further attack.

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