Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blocking Techniques - Response to Comments

The following are extracts to the blog I posted on blocking techniques. The first:
Interesting exploration of blocking/evading/facilitating etc. A traditional "block" can be all of these things, or I guess none of them depending on how you look at it. I'm always interested to find out more about how Jan De Jong taught.
Firstly, thank you for letting me know you found my essay interesting. Secondly, exploring 'how you look at it' is revealing. Two former senior students of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School have approached me to take them through to shodan. I read something recently which expresses my view of shodan:
What is the amount of time an average student takes to get black belt? Answer: Average students don't get black belts.
The Jan de Jong Self Defence School jujutsu grading sheets for shodan refers to it as an 'Instructor's Grade'. That is the way shodan was explained to me by some of the senior instructors. First kyu (black and white) was a fighter's grade, and shodan was an instructor's grade. That may be overstating the case in the former, but a review of the grades in shodan will definitely confirm the latter.

My aim is that anyone who is graded shodan by me is a world-class instructor. This entails 'standing on the shoulder's of giants.' De Jong produced very good instructors; my challenge is to do even better. The way I intend to do this is by going beyond Jan de Jong jujutsu, going beyond the martial arts, to reference biomechanics, psychology, physiology, etc. to produce even better instructors.

Returning to 'how you look at it'; a quality instructor should be able to identify and explain the purpose of each and every movement in a technique, in a defence. Many, many instructors can tell you how to do a technique or defence, where they fall down is in explaining the 'why' of the 'how'. And we have to go beyond 'shoehorning' and 'this is the way we did it'.
The 'soft' blocks are often used to position either the attackers arm/leg or your own to facilitate the next movement in the defense cycle.

It was certainly my understanding of why we used empty or brushing blocks on certain techniques, yes the sabaki 'protected' you from being struck, but the hand position facilitated the defensive technique, be it lock or throw (takedown? have you answered that question yet!).
Congratulations 'Aus-Samurai'. It appears that you might be a student of the school or one of its derivatives. It also appears that you have thought about the function of certain blocks beyond the explanation given by certain instructors; often summed up in, 'this is how we did it.'

Absolutely! The soft blocks purpose are not to block, rather, they are to position a body limb in order to execute another movement. That seems such a simple explanation, but it is often not considered because we are considering a 'block'. In Jan de Jong jujutsu, and in many martial arts, the concept of a block needs to be reconceptualised. How do you reconceptulise a block; ask, 'what is its function?'

I'd agree with your explanation concerning a brushing block, but an empty block? An empty block is no block at all. An empty block is a bob and weave in boxing parlance. A bodymovement is used to evade the attack, but since there is no block, by definition the hands are not positioned to facilitate a defensive technique. The 'empty block' category of blocks is a catch-all category. When no block is used for any purpose.

Ah, now you appear to ask the question concerning the difference between a throw and a takedown. A distinction I initially campaigned on. Fair enough. I've moved way beyond that now so, the next blog will explore the distinction between throws and takedowns, and given this blog is dedicated to Jan de Jong and his jujutsu, it'll use the distinction used within the teachings as a case study.

Thank you for you comments.

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