Sunday, March 30, 2008

Japan versus Philippines

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One of the biggest differences I notice in the two types of training is the level of emphasis placed on the decisive ending "kime" in Japanese. For Japanese martial artists, the strategic idea is to draw out a committed attack from uke. That means an attack where uke really has their UPA (unified power of attack, read aikido and the dynamic sphere, thanks guys!) . Once this committed attack comes, it can be redirected and neutralized. This is achieved by taking/breaking uke's cranial and spinal balance, which leads to controls/projections and pins. Great emphasis is placed on centering your spirit and reaching zanshin, where techniques dynamically manifest. Done correctly, it is a one shot stop.

In FMA (Filipino Martial Arts), the concept of "chaining" together techniques in a flowing combination seems far more important. Once a weapon enters my sphere of control, I want to triangle into my attacker and remove it - having done so, next I want to enter and finish. A chain in FMA can be any number of techniques, but usually 5 or more. Great care is made to immobilize the opponent's weapons as they enter the sphere, and to adapt the chain as needed.

Perhaps this difference seems esoteric, but the change in attitude is enormous. For the Japanese stylist, lack of a committed attack can be problematic. Thus, fighting an opponent who likes to jab and kick low to the legs can frustrate a traditionalist, especially when the opponent has enough mobility to avoid shite driving in to secure the center of balance. For the Filipino stylist, this doesn't present the same problem. Jabs and low kicks are just weapons to be taken away, and many of the technique chains begin specifically with "attacking the attack" in order to damage uke's arms and legs before closing distance.

Plenty to think about as I explore the new surroundings at (

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