Monday, August 17, 2009

If you could choose just one technique...

If you could choose just one technique to build an unarmed combat course around, what would it be? During WWII Moshe Feldenkrais selected Hadaka Jime, one of the rear chokes, for a 10-part course aimed at regular serving British soldiers.

Re-issued in 2009, with a new forward and afterword by Moti Nativ, Feldenkrais's little book includes additional photos, including an appendix with a sequence showing Feldenkrais's teacher Kawaishi applying the eponymous technique to Feldenkrais in a dojo setting.

Very clearly written and illustrated, this book will be of particular interest to students of the Feldenkrais method, especially those with a martial arts background, and to judoka and jiu-jitsuka with an interest in Kawaishi's methods of Judo and self-defence.

But please don't practice the content at home, or anywhere for that matter, without qualified supervision!

Leaving the original text unedited, Nativ has bolded the parts with particular relevance to Feldenkrais's approach to learning and education. Here is some footage of Nativ demonstrating one of the applications taught in the book:

Fans of mixed martial arts will note that the basic Hadaka Jime technique is similar to the rear strangles often used to achieve a submission in such contests. Interestingly, hadaka jime was not included by Kawaishi in his encyclopedic "My Method of Judo", where he preferred other (less larynx-crushing) methods for applying a strangle from the rear. [Tangent: There seems to be two main schools of thought as to whether hadaka jime aims to cut off the air or blood supply, chronicled here.]

Nativ has promised to re-issue another early Feldenkrais martial arts work, his 1931 Jiu-jitsu book, and then his own magnum opus on the synergy between the Feldenkrais method and the martial arts. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing these works!