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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:47 pm 
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I've managed to damage the tendons in one knee so have been thinking about what training I could do that focused more on the upper body and the practice of "Meotode" came to mind. This isn't really explicitly practised a lot (if at all) in Shotokan and I only came across it some six months ago, when one of my friends came back from a seminar held by Sensei Sugasawa.. The word "meotode" translates as "husband and wife hands" - the concept is that both hands are kept relatively close and work together to achieve the desired result and is a technique that is most commonly associated with the teachings of Choki Motobu. In the technique there is no separation between block and attack, the two events happen simultaneously. Jesse Enkamp has an introduction to this subject (Link) although as a demo he focuses on using the same arm to both block and attack which is not how my interpretation goes.

This is probably best illustrated with a little training drill. First you work individually from hidari jyu dachi practicing first hidari jodan nagashi uke and then combining it with a simultaneous migi chudan gyaku tsuki. You then practice hidari chudan yoko teisho uke and then combine it with a simultaneous migi jodan gyaku tsuki. You then partner up, one using the first technique and the other the second, the nagashi uke deflecting the jodan gyaku tsuki and the yoko teisho uke deflecting the chudan gyaku tsuki . I'd advise making sure your distancing is for non-contact in the first instance since you really have to use your peripheral vision to co-ordinate both techniques, focus on just one and you'll get clobbered. As you get better, you half-step to the left with the lead foot so part of the deflection of the attack is taken care of by tai sabaki and also bring the back foot up almost into kosa dachi to add power and length to the gyaku tsuki since tai sabaki and blocking action of the front hand tends to rotate the back hip away. Sounds complicated, but it's a very satisfy technique when you get the hang of it.

Having said we don't practise this much in Shotokan, it is there in the second jodan defence in jyu ippon kumite, and having practised it you begin to see it many of the kata. Enpi for instance has the nagashi uke / otoshi tsuki in kosa dachi combination three times. Anywhere that you have a morote uke you could interpret it as a meotode action and of course tekki, Motobu's favourite kata, is full of augmented moves.

So my questions.
1) How many of you incorporate specific meotode training into your curriculum and if you do, then do you have any other training drills that you'd like to pass on.
2) I suspect that this practice was very much a part of general karate training when it came over from Okinawa, GF in Kyohan when talking about use of karate as self-defence, specifically says "Block-attack combinations are executed simultaneously". If so then was it just dropped from the curriculum because it relates to close-in fighting and sport-based karate is more often than not conducted at long distance.
3) Actually training in meotode makes it much easier to spot it's inclusion and hence application in kata. Is there a case for re-incorporating other dropped techniques such as throws and locks back into the regular curriculum - one throw and one lock per grade as part of kihon for example. IMO this not only brings other practical techniques into the armoury but the learning experience enables the student to spot these much more easily in the kata they learn and thus make the kata a more meaningful experience.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Yes, Tekki is full of these things, and an entry is to really use the hikite in your one-step sparring drills. Further, the description reminds me of the exercises on the Chinese style's wooden dummy - both hands are always engaged.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Elmar wrote:
Yes, Tekki is full of these things, and an entry is to really use the hikite in your one-step sparring drills. Further, the description reminds me of the exercises on the Chinese style's wooden dummy - both hands are always engaged.

Ah, hikite - so much more than it at first seems. GF wrote "The principal objective in all blocking is to maneuver the opponent into a disadvantageous position" and then specifically talks about hikite as a class of block saying "Pulling-in Block (Hiki-te). This technique is a variation of the hooking block. In blocking the opponent's attacking fist, grasp the opponent's fist and attack while pulling him inward. His balance broken, the effectiveness of his attack is lost and that of the counterattack enhanced. A pulling motion coupled with a twist is much more effective here than a straight pulling motion" .

Since we inevitably practice it as what the opposite hand does when we strike, then it most certainly becomes a prime example of meotode - so maybe we Shotokan do train it after all, just not in the way originally intended.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:21 pm 
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GeofS wrote:
3) Actually training in meotode makes it much easier to spot it's inclusion and hence application in kata. Is there a case for re-incorporating other dropped techniques such as throws and locks back into the regular curriculum - one throw and one lock per grade as part of kihon for example. IMO this not only brings other practical techniques into the armoury but the learning experience enables the student to spot these much more easily in the kata they learn and thus make the kata a more meaningful experience.


Yes definitely, in fact this should go without saying. Abandon "traditional" JKAesque kihon and kumite and start developing kihon and kumite based on the kata and the range of skills present for close quarter application. In other words start training in karate.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:02 pm 
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RenegadeMonk wrote:
GeofS wrote:
3) Actually training in meotode makes it much easier to spot it's inclusion and hence application in kata. Is there a case for re-incorporating other dropped techniques such as throws and locks back into the regular curriculum - one throw and one lock per grade as part of kihon for example. IMO this not only brings other practical techniques into the armoury but the learning experience enables the student to spot these much more easily in the kata they learn and thus make the kata a more meaningful experience.


Yes definitely, in fact this should go without saying. Abandon "traditional" JKAesque kihon and kumite and start developing kihon and kumite based on the kata and the range of skills present for close quarter application. In other words start training in karate.

Yes, my thoughts in this area have changed quite a bit over the past 3 or 4 years. If I was still teaching, the syllabus would be somewhat different from that which I previously used which was largely based on the one I was originally taught from - not sure how close that was to JKA. If you're interested, a copy of my old teaching syllabus can be found here. [Link] This basically covered what they would be examined on for each grade, reasonably complex and certainly physically demanding for the higher grades, but at least they would know what to expect and had plenty of opportunity to prepare.

I'd drop a lot of the more complex combination sequence work for the higher grades, and probably work more on refinement/honing of basic techniques - trying to get a proper understanding of why things are done in the way they are. There would be one throw and one wristlock to be learned for each grade (interesting that GF had 9 throws in his original teaching syllabus) and from 6th kyu onwards the kumite would include using combinations for both hands simultaneously (meotode!). I'd probably borrow some kumite gata from the wado syllabus, it focuses a lot more on close quarter techniques than Shotokan and I really like their usage of kuzushi (taking the opponents balance) - subtle but very effective. It also seems to draw the techniques used from kata as you suggest. I probably wouldn't start looking at kata oyo until 6th kyu taking one sequence from one of the kata learned earlier. 3rd kyu to 1st kyu would have to start showing they could find reasonable oyo by themselves. I think in depth analysis of complete kata is probably something for Shodan and above.

I wonder if it would be interesting enough to maintain interest over the 4 to 5 years it'd take to get to Shodan. It'd not be boring tho'. Do you know of many examples of specific kumite developed from kata sequences in the Shotokan sphere.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:35 pm 
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Basics , basics and more basics ... your karate will only be as good as your basics !

Try to think of this art as something for your lifetime.

When 15 ~ 30 your young strong (getting stronger with good training) fast and for the most part recover from injury with ease, sprains , strain even damaged parts heal quick. But early in life we can be hot headed and brash and trouble tends to find us ! Time should be spent learning solid basics.

By middle age one takes on a job, family, does not find themselves out drinking with friends often and with this lifestyle you tend to avoid many altercations. More basics. No longer do we give much concern to competition or winning kata because it " looks " good, we might start to think does this idea in kata really work ?

The classic problems of not mastering basics start to expose themselves, over torquing of the spine in striking, rolling / rocking the hips under to gain distance in kicking, banging of elbow or knee joints, raising the heal up throwing body alignment off... back to more basics :-)

By the mid 60's father time is working on us and then the outside world may see us as easy pickings, we may be slowing down, but years of basics have honed our strike to explosive levels, we might have a tough time healing, strains that went away in three days, linger on two weeks.
But we have the gift of experience, we see core movement starting, we use a small sliding step to attenuate distance, we no longer get tunnel vision and see from head to toe, we have become accomplished with a variety of techniques, these with cumulative accomplished-time training carry us.

So over a lifetime our skills and training must plan for the future, but the essence is basics, effective - " finishing / decisive " techniques.

I recently came across a great article : http://emptyhandway.blogspot.com/2012/10/meat-and-potatoes-first.html.

Train hard , train often,

F A


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:27 pm 
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With a number of quite major caveats, I for one agree with Frank. Basics, basics, basics and more basics.

Basic wrist locks, elbow locks, shoulder and leg locks.
Basic trapping, balance manipulation and throws.
Basic striking, incorporating percussive applications of the core uke techniques, hooks and knee/elbow strikes with emphasis on delivering decisive blows.
Basic blocking, large simple zonal defense that will stay with you in spite of adrenalin, that have multiple functions and create natural positions of structural strength and defensive readiness.

These things are not in any way advanced skills and focusing on them as the core of one's training will create enough flexibility skill and reliable tools to make the best of bad situations.

The article posted in the blog I mostly agree with, except my own research seems to suggest that the finishing blow he describes was most often deployed in Okinawan karate, after tying up an assailant rather than before. The point being to remove their ability to defend against the blow. This does not require complex juiutsu, but rather simple combative control methods like grabbing and pulling a hand. Not saying one is better, clearly finishing a fight with one decisive blow is desirable, just not always realistic. Nor is expecting to be able to defang a hyped up assailant just because it works pretty well in the dojo on Fred the accountant.

As ever the question that this face smashing view of karate conspicuously fails to answer, is what if your attacker is a woman? What if it's a 12 year old with an attitude problem? What if you just don't want to hurt your assailant? All those years of karate wasted.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Hi Frank,
You don’t actually say so, but reading between the lines I infer (correct me if I'm wrong) that in answer to the question / title of the post, you would say no, meotode should not be part of Shotokan standard training looking from your particular perspective, and I have no argument with that since it is your perspective. I fully agree with the fundamental premise that good basic techniques are the foundation for what we do. Where I disagree, is what constitutes a basic technique. In addition to all those that form the core part of the JKA curriculum, I would add the likes of meotode, throws and locks. I really think that there is good evidence that when Gichin Funakoshi first came over to Japan, these techniques were included in the curriculum he taught, and he was as concerned with the usage of karate for self-defence as well as physical well being and personal development. It is quite clear from his writings that he was concerned about the way that karate was evolving and the path that the JKA took in some ways has simplified the curriculum and focused development on different elements from those at the core of GF's philosophy. I would say that you and I both study karate and share a common core, but you follow the way that the JKA went, whereas I'm more interested in pursuing the karate that GF first taught. In no way would I say your approach is wrong, just different in detail to mine.

I view your comments on how ones karate changes as the years go by with some interest, being on the wrong side of 60 now, I'm fully aware of what my body no longer lets me do with impunity. Hence my blocks no longer attempt to smack the opponents arm into the next county, I'm much more in favour of a deflecting nagashi uke aided with a little tai sabaki. My punches rely on coordination and timing not strength. I'm reminded of some comments that Sensei Kanazawa made in an article (SKM I think) where he said something to the effect that Shotokan karate was for young vigorous men in their 20s and 30's. In your 40's you should perhaps consider wado ryu karate that had a more subtle approach than shotokan and in your 50s and onwards then perhaps Tai Chi had a lot to offer. He was a JKA stalwart at one time if I remember correctly, so there is a precedent for change of view point, if it should all get too much Frank ;) .

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:59 pm 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-dRSqJRI_Y

A perfect example.

He's been suspended, probably fired and almost definately will find himself going to jail because he knew no other way to cope with an aggressive individual than a decisive blow. Though I use the clip as illustration I am not saying the bus driver was in a real self defence situation, but he certainly could have been, and unless the woman in front of him had drawn a gun no amount of aggression from her would have made a punch like that garner enough sympathy to guarantee he would be a free man afterwards.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:54 am 
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Take a better look at the full video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t82j4cBwuwM

1- The bus driver has words with her for a full 3:10.

2- The person crosses over the yellow line and grabs at the driver early on and endangers all on the bus as its in motion in traffic.

3 - Driver instructs person to stay behind the yellow line and yet again she becomes aggressive with the driver as the bus is in motion.

4 - The "teen" is actualy a 25 year old woman, who according the police report " strikes the bus driver first " he then tries to make a cell call and she " strikes the phone out of his hand and attempts to choke bus driver ", then " spits on the driver ". All as the bus is in motion.

This is not a " first strike decisive blow " matter , as the woman in fact bounces back onto the bus and passengers had to restrain her. The whole incident came about because she refused to initially pay the bus riding cost. It has NOT been noted that the driver has any " martial arts " training.

When you digest the FACTS a second side of the story is then clear. But the uber liberal UK press took the video out of context and seems to paint the bus driver as the evil person.

Little will happen, no jail term... now the driver clearly escalated the matter, he could have simply asked the lady to pay, when she did not , call the authorities and had her arrested. He will more than likely be assigned sensitivity training and get a desk job or maybe fired, but with union help or that of a judge reviewing the FACTS in my opinion, nothing will become of this, nor should it. If anything this is a prime example of poor upbringing of both parties.

In LA were I reside we have many gangs, rank is obtained by assaulting and or shooting random people, girls 12 ~ 15 knowing that the laws will not sentence them to hard time are recruited to assist in assaults or robbery with weapons. Often young girls place a single edge razor blade in the mouth and carry it there and are quite skilled at slashing an arm or neck. A 90 pound 14 year old girl can cut you such that you will bleed out in 3 minutes.

With all that said EVERY situation revolves around it's own set of circumstances. If at a family party and cousin Joe has a few to many drinks and starts to play grab ass with the ladies, ask him to go home, if he gets crazy , pop him in the solar plexus, blow the wind out of him. Now if he goes in the kitchen and comes out with a knife or returns with a gun .... game on. The old saying stands " better to be judged by 12, then carried by 6 " .

Keep in mind that in the UK were your commenting from my guess is that 1 in every 500 ~ 1000 households may have access to a hand held firearm. In the USA if you stop 20 youth on the street after 12 PM in many urban areas 2 may have a handgun !

In my town EVERY patrolling officer wears a bullet proof vest, they will not stop or approach suspects without a back up police car and 3 more officers.

If you do not train daily with conviction in delivering a finishing blow, don't be shocked when you need this and its simply not there :-( If you personally want to lean more towards control & grappling in the face of serious matter, I am ok with that - but please just discuss with your family and loved ones the cost savings of cremation vs burial in advance.


F A


Last edited by F Ace on Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:04 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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