Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Arresting techniques

Zara left a detailed comment on one of my articles from 2008 -- Some notes on come-along techniques -- raising some interesting points.
Very interesting article, come-alongs or taiho-waza (arresting-techniques) are fascinating to study but often an area that is poorly understood and consequently just glanced over. Probably because it's inherently dangerous to attempt to control a standing, struggling opponent (always risky in terms of escape and counterattack) and very technical in nature. -- Zara
Thank-you. Like most sophisticated areas in martial arts these techniques need expert instruction and significant, regular practice to achieve competence; and more instruction and practice to make 'em really good.
If techniques and body-mechanics aren't perfectly understood and executed the adequate pain-level will not always be maintained: either you'll injure him or he'll just slip out and since most people don't take kindly to such treatment you'll be in for one hell of a fight.
There's certainly a need for sensitivity in training these techniques and that comes with cooperative practice over a long period. You need to be able to feel that the lock is on, and practicing very slowly is both safe for training and a good way to acquire the necessary sensitivity.

I once trained with some Olympic judoka who were all very strong and had effective if muscular throws, but their locks were not good at all. They were used to competitive practice, and seemed afraid of having their arms snapped; not trust, and probably with good reason! Consequently they had no feel for locking.

Uke's balance must also be broken. Along with pain compliance this reduces the strength that can be brought into play to resist the technique. For example, I have some very flexible students who I just can't make certain locks work on, but in attempting to apply the techniqueI invariably break their balance to a huge extent. In a self-defence situation you need to be able to feel that a lock isn't working and aim to make a clean transition into a different lock or throw. This ability requires lots of practice to acquire!

The issue of making these locks work in a self-defence situation is interesting. In the system I do we teach model entries, plus effective transitions out of escapes from standard attacks (usually grabs, chokes, or other holds) into locks and throws. These also need to be practiced until they become second nature.
I'm training for my first dan in ju-jutsu, part of the requirements are two come-alongs while uke is standing, two when he's lying flat on his belly and two on his back (forcing him to stand up). I do think I have some notion of which techniques would be suitable for these tasks but I would appreciate it if you would write a follow-up post to this one delving a bit deeper and going over some appropriate techniques (preferably with photo's).
Interesting requirements. Rather than do your homework for you ;-), I suggest that you take the locks you have in mind and carefully experiment with them with a fellow senior student. Managing the movement from floor to standing while safely maintaining control is the name of the game. Telling your uke what to do is also helpful, "Roll onto your side! Get-up!", but you must allow them, even help them to do so.

Please let us know how you get on with your explorations, and what you learn. Your own instructor(s) should be your first and best source for detailed, hands-on guidance.

Good luck!