Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Defend Against and Disarm an Opponent Thrusting with a Spear or Staff using Samurai Karate

Despite what TV and film would lead us to believe, the samurai weapon of choice was not the sword, but the spear. The sword was a back up weapon to be used when the spear was finally splintered or destroyed. Because of this, Samurai Karate, a form a Karate developed by the Samurai class as a last-ditch unarmed self defense, focused a great deal on defending against and disarming a spear wielding opponent. Here is a guide on how to do just that. This technique is primarily practiced by martial artists and proponents of Samurai Karate. But there are modern day circumstances in which this technique can be of use. It is effective against any weapon thrust toward you that can be grasped without cutting oneself. For that reason one can use this method as a defense against attackers using makeshift weapons such as clubs, baseball bats, and pool cues.

Defending Against a Thrusting Attack
Step 1:
Allow your opponent to approach with staff leveled at you. In order to thrust properly your opponent will take a stance which faces you sidelong. Your own stance should appear no different from that of someone casually standing. Try to keep your weight balanced between both your feet.

Step 2:
Push off with your foot and sidestep just as your opponent begins his thrust and turn slightly to face him. When you sidestep, make sure that you step in the direction which keeps your front facing your opponent’s front. In other words if your opponent were turned to the side with his right foot at the front, which is most likely for a right handed person, you would want to step to your immediate right. This places the staff between the two of you.

Step 3:
Grasp the with your left hand out toward the staff’s head and your right hand gripping the staff’s shaft in between your opponent’s hands.

Step 4:
Push your right hand part of the staff down while raising the left hand part of the staff, using your opponent’s right hand as a fulcrum. This will force your opponent to lower his body in order to maintain hold of the back end of the staff.

Step 5:
Take a step back with your right foot, pulling the staff with your as you keep tilting it to wrench the back end of the staff out of your opponent’s right hand. Your opponent should still be holding onto the staff with his other hand.

Step 6:
Raise the right side of the staff and lower the left side of the staff in an opposite of the motion of step 4. Take a step forward with your right foot and bring down the right side of the staff in an overhand diagonal strike against the upper shoulder or lower neck of your opponent. Simultaneously yank back the left hand side of the staff to pull it out of your opponent’s hand. This motion, combined with the strike, should be sufficient to knock your opponent onto his back. In this was you have defended yourself and disarmed your opponent.

Tips & Warnings
This article is written under the assumption that the defender is right handed. If you are left handed then switch the indicated placement of your right and left hands and feet.

To avoid both harm to you and your sparring partner it is important to use a blunted staff or other item in lieu of a spear. Also both you and your partner should move at half speed to help prevent mishaps. A hard strike from even a blunt weapon can result in broken ribs or internal bleeding.

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