Monday, November 10, 2008

How to Perform Hicho Nokara in Ninjutsu

Ninpo or ninjutsu is more commonly referred to as the art of the ninja. Funnily enough, the term ninja is not commonly used in Japan. The word shinobi is preferred. Though many people think training to be a shinobi involves learning how to fight, this is not the case. Much of ninjutsu involves psychological warfare, navigation, stealth techniques and other arts of deception. Remember that the shinobi was a spy; he would only fight if his presence was discovered. And even then his combat style would be reactive, a quick dodge followed by a counter intended to floor an opponent long enough to give the shinobi time to escape. This technique is known as "hicho nokara." It involves defending against an attacker attempting an uppercut by assuming a “kicking bird stance.”

Performing Hicho Nokara
Step 1:

Begin standing at least three, preferably four feet from your opponent. Your opponent will assume an aggressive combat stance known as ichimonji. He will drop down low on his knees. His left hand will form a vertical blade pointed at you, his arm at full extension. The right fist will be balled and held horizontally at waist level.

Step 2:
Stand with your legs close together. Keep your weight on your back right foot which is turned sideways so that the inner flat and ankle are facing your opponent. Plant the ball of your left foot down directly next to the right foot, with the toes facing your opponent. The back of your heel should be raised so high it presses into the side of your right ankle. This should look a bit like the way a heron or egret will stand in open water. Cross your right arm over your chest, fist pressing against your left pectoral muscle. Your left hand should be extended in a manner mirroring your opponent, but keep your elbow bent slightly.

Step 3:
Wait for your opponent, who will lunge forward. The uppercut from an ichimonji is a bit different than a Western uppercut. Instead of being aimed at the chin, the under swinging punch is aimed at the solar plexus near the top of the abdomen. Immediately push off with your left foot, keeping the heel raised, and take a half step backward with your right foot to get outside your opponent’s optimum range of attack. Keep your weight on your back foot and immediately pull your left foot backward to resume your bird stance. As the uppercut is driven forward, turn your left hand palm downward and cross your body with the lower forearm. Drive the hand down at the appropriate moment to catch your opponent’s upturned right fist. Hold onto your opponent’s fist to immobilize his right arm.

Step 4:
Push off with your rear foot and raise your left foot at the knee, swinging it forward to kick with the heel into your opponent’s upper right leg or midsection.

Step 5:
Continue the kick by stepping forward with the same foot and placing it behind your opponent’s right heel. Extend your right fist from its coiled position across your chest to backhand your opponent across the side of the cheek or neck. This is meant to wrong foot and disorient your opponent.

Step 6:
Step forward with your right foot so you are straddling his right leg, with one foot in front and one foot behind. Place your right hand on the front of your opponent’s right shoulder. Twist your upper body counterclockwise, pulling your opponent’s right arm back while pushing his upper body backward using his shoulder as the contact point. Your opponent will trip over your rear foot and topple backward to land on his rump or back, finishing the technique.

No comments: