Sunday, March 25, 2018

16: Yoo-Sin/Chul-Gi waving kicks

Source: Shotokankataman
Recently I came across the kata interpretations of a Mr. Nathan J. Johnson. Johnson holds that most karate kata were originally for weapons, not unarmed fighting. While I don't agree with this perspective, Johnson makes an exception for Naihanchi, also called Tekki Shodan or (in Korean) Chul-Gi. He claims this pattern is a series of police control/arrest drills, originally meant for Ming dynasty Chinese police. In his view, the point of Naihanchi is to wrestle a suspect to the ground, meaning that you are behind your opponent for most of the kata. I've analyzed Naihanchi using this theory and it works surprisingly well.

One of the sets from Naihanchi appears in the ITF pattern Yoo-Sin. In this post I will provide a police arrest interpretation of the set.

We start with the front backfist strike, which represents a control tactic demonstrated by George Vranos in the gif below.
Source: George Vranos
The "primary" vertical arm underhooks one of the opponent's arms (getting a half nelson), whereas the "secondary" horizontal arm overhooks their other arm. This provides control over the opponent. Notice how Mr. Vranos then grabs the back of the opponent's neck after the underhook. This turns the front backfist strike into the outer-forearm block performed next in the pattern.
Source: George Vranos
What's missing in the gif is the waving kicks. These are used to kick in the back of the opponent's legs. Combined with the head push in the opposite direction, the intent is to knock the suspect to the ground. We first kick in their right leg and push their head right (outer-forearm block). If this doesn't work for whatever reason, we kick in their left leg and push them left.


Just because this may be the intended application of the set in Naihanchi/Chul-Gi, doesn't mean it's what the creators of Yoo-Sin had in mind. As Mr. Johnson points out, the Okinawans who imported the pattern from China did not know its original meaning, and so came up with their own interpretations. They thought that Naihanchi was either a fighting pattern or reactive self-defense pattern, not a proactive police arrest pattern. If you search for "Naihanchi applications" online, you will find all sorts of other interpretations. Taekwondoin likely came up with their own interpretations as well.

This means that in order to understand the set's purpose in Yoo-Sin, we must analyze the rest of Yoo-Sin, which I haven't done. But I thought the above interpretation was neat and I haven't seen the "police arrest" interpretations of Naihanchi online.

I am still working on the Sam-Il E-book, by the way. I'll post an update within the next two weeks.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thinking about an ebook

This blog began as a hobby project to introduce myself to blogging and to share the pattern applications I've been researching. In the past 14 months I've written 40 or so posts, including full analyses of at least three forms. The overarching goal of my posts was to show that applications to the ITF patterns exist and that they are not particularly esoteric. You can find them in other martial art systems.

I don't want to keep up this blog indefinitely though. Lately I've thought about writing an ebook. It seems like the next logical step and I enjoy systematic analyses of entire forms, something a book is better suited for.

There are some obstacles, however. I never found a consistent partner to take pictures with, so making something in the style of The Taegeuk Cipher or Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-Do Hae Sul is not possible. Nor can I use online images (like I do in this blog) for copyright reasons. Therefore, my only real choice is to use drawings. This sounds lame, but there are some advantages to drawings. One criticism of The Taegeuk Cipher (and to a lesser extent Hae Sul) is that the grainy black-and-white images are too hard to make out. Drawings are easier to see and can be used to highlight the necessary parts of a technique. Judo instructions often contain drawings for this very reason.
Instructional depiction of Judo's O soto gari throw
This would also be an opportunity to practice drawing, so I'm killing two birds with one stone. I did some test sketches, shown below. While my drawing ability is not where I'd like it to be, I am able to depict a technique, so with more practice sketching out an entire form is feasible.
Some test sketches for a set in Sam-Il. Final images would use digital coloring for contrast, shown on the lower right.
As you can tell from above, I would be analyzing Sam-Il. I am choosing this form because currently no book has been published on it. It's also one of the early ITF forms, the 4th or 5th made overall, and it contains some interesting techniques.

This means I'll be working on the ebook rather than the blog. I do have some unfinished posts lined up about sets in Gae-Baek and Eui-Am, but I'll keep them on the back burner for now.