Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Defend Against a Choke with the Seiza Technique

Seiza is the Japanese word for “Proper Sitting”. It is the at rest position which was traditionally assumed by the Samurai class. According to Bushido, a Samurai was expected to be a warrior both able and ready to defend himself and others from attack at all times. But there was a problem. It was considered very rude for a samurai to retain his sword in many friendly indoor situations. To this end a form of self defense martial arts was developed based on Karate, going by the unoriginal name of Samurai Karate. A large part of Samurai Karate was defending oneself while in the Seiza sitting position against unexpected attack. While Samurai Karate included many different defense scenarios, the specific group of moves also going by the name of Seiza, was of particular importance. Here is a guide detailing how to defend against an opponent who is attempting to choke you from behind while you are in the Seiza sitting position.

Defending Against a Choke While in the Seiza Position
Step 1:

Begin by assuming the Seiza sitting position. Drop down onto both knees, keeping them spaced a few inches apart and sit down on the backs of your feet. Place your palms on your upper thighs and keep your back straight.

Step 2:

Allow your sparring partner to approach you from behind, wrapping his/her left arm around your throat and locking it into place by grasping the inside of the right elbow. His right arm should be bent completely at the elbow, fist raised, in order to exert as much pressure on the throat and ensure you are unable to get out of the chokehold. Despite what you may think, as you opponent is standing and you are seated you have an advantage. Because your opponent is forced to bend forward and down to choke you, he is standing in a more unstable position and is holding you less securely than he thinks.

Step 3:

Grasp the wrist of your opponent’s left arm with your right hand. In order to wrap his arm around your throat, your opponent’s left arms should be bent at a right angle. Seat the outward jutting point of your opponent’s elbow into the cup of your left hand.

Step 4:

Push upward with your left hand while keeping your right hand containing his wrist firmly pressed against your right collar bone. As you push upward, also push off with your right leg, rising to place your right foot on the ground. This will give you the necessary leverage to pivot your body using the left side of your body as the axis. Pivot back and to your right to get your head of the choke and simultaneously force your opponent’s twisted arm forward. You should still be grasping his wrist in your right hand, pressed close to your collarbone, as well as his right elbow, which is now bent forward at an uncomfortable, though undamaging angle.

Step 5:

Pull your left hand down and to your left to bring your opponent down, it will help to bring him over your upraised right knee. From this position and the manner in which you are holding his arm, he should be flat on his face and unable to offer any resistance. For sparring purposes this is as far as you should take this technique, but as a method of self defense in a life threatening situation, continue on to step 6 in order to ensure your opponent will not attempt to renew his attack.

Step 6:

Ensure you have a strong hold of your opponent’s elbow in your right hand. It should be placed somewhere over your left hip area. Release the attacker’s wrist from your right hand and hook your elbow underneath your opponent’s lower forearm. From this position you have the leverage to dislocate the attacker’s shoulder by jerking both your arms upward sharply.

Tips & Warnings
While it is unlikely you will find yourself in the Seiza sitting position on a normal basis, the technique described can be easily modified to accommodate defending oneself from a more contemporary sitting position. However martial artists intent on learning and practicing Samurai Karate as a whole will wish to practice the described unmodified technique.

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