Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jan de Jong/Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu Jujutsu Nidan Demonstration - Introduction to the Art: Pt 2

Here is part two of Sensei Greg Palmer's Nidan demonstration grading.

One thing of note, among many, in this demonstration is the demonstration of O Goshi, major hip throw. Given you have o soto gari, major outer reaping, and ko soto gari, minor outer reaping, it suggest there has to be at the least a minor hip throw. In Kodokan Judo, Kano suggest just such a technique when he compares o goshi to uki goshi. The difference between the techniques is that the former involves lifting the legs and the latter do not. The hip throws demonstrated in this video would probably fall within the latter explanation.

Reinier Hulsker

The photograph to the right, taken circa 1940, was included in a previous blog concerning the war years and Jan de Jong. De Jong is the person on the left. A person researching jujutsu in Holland suggested the person on the right is Reinier Hulsker. This has now been confirmed by Reinier Hulsker's grand nephew.

An unexpected and unanticipated result of publishing the Jan de Jong story on my blog has been the connection with various people from his past. Before De Jong pasted away he gave me a list of his contacts. I corresponded with some of them and one of them gave me these old photographs of De Jong as a boy scout when he was a young boy in Indonesia. Very Jungle Book because they are actually shot in the jungles of Indonesia.

Of course I can never express the delight and appreciation I felt when Harry Hartman contacted me after seeing a photograph of himself training with De Jong in the early 1950s. He so generously sent me photographs from those times, along with badges which were the belts then. And of course, the membership cards that told me so much.

And now Reinier Hulsker's grand nephew. Wow! Apparently his grand mother, Hulsker's sister, remembers the clothing that Huslker is wearing in the photograph. His grand nephew has so generously offered to interpret and ask any question I have of his grandmother. So now I'm interested in finding out more about Hulsker.

Can you imagine. If there is still a Hulsker school of some description. And I got to train with them - 70 years after De Jong first taught for Hulsker. What a connection. What a link with the history of the school of Jan de Jong.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Using Forces to Understand and Explain All Physical Methods

'What are the forces involved in a straight arm lock?' - this was a typical question asked by Jan de Jong in the theory examinations in his jujutsu dan grades. Unbeknown to himself, De Jong was using the mechanical concept of force to understand and explain his joint-locking techniques (kansetsu waza). If the mechanical concept of force was understood, the answers to these types of questions would have been more succinct, focused, and accurate.

In the blog before last, I demonstrated the ubiquitous nature of forces within the physical methods taught in the martial arts and those used in violence generally. Rather than just asking what are the forces involved in specific joint-locking technique, the same question could have been asked of all the physical methods taught within all martial arts and used in violence generally.

Recall that a force acting on a body or object can deform the body or object, change its state of motion, or both. Injury is defined by the Committee for Trauma Research as the deformation of tissues beyond their failure limits. So, a force acting on a body can deform the tissues of that body beyond their failure limits resulting in injury. A force acting on a body can cause injury.

Changing the state of motion of a body or object refers to mechanical acceleration. In mechanics, acceleration refers to something starting, stopping, speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction. So, a force acting on a body can cause it to start, stop, speed up, slow down, or change direction.

Kreighbaum and Barthels, in Biomechanics: A Qualitative Approach for Studying Human Movement, suggest that 'because forces account for the motion and changes of motion of all things in the environment, including the body and the body segments, it is important for the movement specialist to understand what forces are and how we can picture them as they are applied to or by a body.' Because forces account for the changes in motion and deformation of all things in the environment, it is very useful for the martial arts instructor and student to understand what forces are and how they can be visualised as they are applied to or by a body.

The beauty of using this far reaching concept to understand and explain all physical methods taught within the martial arts and used in violence generally is - it is a relatively simple concept to understand and apply.

A force is a push or a pull.

It does not get any simpler then that. Everybody can relate to this concept. There is a bit more however.

Note the reference to a force. A force is thought of as a specific action in mechanics. It is a push or a pull. A single force can act on a body or object, or a number of individual forces that can be clearly distinguished can act on a body or object.

A force requires the interaction of at least two bodies and/or objects. A force acts on a body or object. That is to say, pushes and pulls are applied to something; and from that something's perspective, it has a force exerted on it. Forces do not exist in isolation from the body or object experiencing them.

Forces can be classified as contact and noncontact forces. Most of the forces we think about are contact forces. These occur when the bodies are touching each other. Noncontact forces are forces that occur even if the bodies are not touching each other. The primary noncontact force of interest when dealing with physical violence is the force of gravity.

Pushes and pulls are thought of as general actions rather than simply pulling something towards something or pushing it away from something. For instance, Kreighbaum and Barthels refer to blows or impacts as being examples of forces that they explain can be thought of as a push or pull.

In Basic Biomechanics, Hall explains that each force is characterised by its magnitude, direction, and point of application to a given body. So, in addition to whether or not the force is a push or a pull, we also need to describe its magnitude, direction, and point of application to fully describe that force. That's not so much, is it?

Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, describes the basis of kuzushi (unbalancing) in Kodokan Judo: 'The basis of kuzushi is pushing and pulling.' A force is a push or a pull. Kano, the original martial arts biomechanist, conceives and explains kuzushi in terms of forces.

Forget the convoluted explanations of unbalancing methods. A push and/or a pull is applied to an opponent in order to unbalance them. End of story.

Bruce Thomas, in Immortal Combat: Portrait of a True Warrior, states that kuzushi 'cannot be rationalised, only felt or sensed through sufficient practice.' In Mastering Jujitsu, Gracie and Danaher, when discussing kuzushi, suggest 'it is difficult to teach in words, and it must be experienced to be really understood.' How difficult is it teach that a push and/or a pull is applied to an opponent in order to move their centre of gravity outside of a base of support which unbalances that opponent? Is that not the very definition of a rational explanation?

Maybe it's as Neo explains in Matrix Reloaded: 'There are only two possible explanations: either no one told me, or no one knows.'

The basis of all physical methods taught within the martial arts or used in violence generally is forces. Kano only used forces to understand and explain kuzushi. Sacripanti has used torque, the turning effect produced by forces, to develop a logical, objective classification of judo throwing techniques. This classification remedies the deficiencies inherent in Kano's classification, which is still used today, and the other alternatives that have been developed in response to dissatisfaction with Kano's classification. All physical techniques taught within the martial arts can be better understood and explained with reference to the mechanical concept of force.

Next time you look at a technique, any technique, think in terms of forces. Forces account for all changes in motion and all deformation. What is the intention of the application of the forces onto an opponent? Is it intended to change their motion or deform their bodily tissues, or both? Is the force applied to the opponent a push or a pull? What is the magnitude, direction, and point of application of the applied forces? There is more, which is covered in the books I'm writing, however this is sufficient to get you seeing the basis of all the physical methods taught in all the martial arts or used in violence generally.

It does become a little like swallowing the blue pill in the Matrix. You will come to see things differently.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jan de Jong/Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu Jujutsu Nidan Demonstration - Introduction to the Art: Pt 1

I have successfully engaged in the technological world :). Yes, I have actually been able to edit a video and post it on YouTube.

The video is Sensei Greg Palmer's demonstration grading for Jan de Jong's second dan jujutsu grading. As you may have gathered from previous posts, I am of the opinion that De Jong's dan grades were developed by De Jong himself. And I hold the view that he held a strong view as to the promotion of the art that he loved. The nidan gradings have an examination whereby the candidate has to produce a demonstration with a minimum of six of his/her students. The demonstration is to be 20 minutes explanation of the Jan de Jong/Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu jujutsu and 10 minutes 'fast action'. The aim of the demonstration is to introduce the entire art to the general public.

Greg's demo was presented in 1985. I'd only been training jujutsu for two years, and all the other participants only a bit longer. Training under Greg was a seminal moment for me. He was the first teacher/mentor for me in my life. During this period, I learnt how to excel.

We trained two or three times a week for six months. And for no other reason than we were training.

This demonstration is take two. The first, the actual grading, was perfect. Even the things that went wrong went right. Unfortunately, the video of the grading did not work out. So, De Jong got us to do it again a couple of weeks later. This video is that demonstration.

De Jong openly acknowledged that Greg's demo was the very best nidan demo grading that was ever produced. I am proud to have been a part of that demonstration. I am more proud to have been a part of the facilitation of something that Greg cherished.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ubiquitous Forces and All Martial Arts Methods - Summary

The past couple of blogs have been associated with the ubiquitous nature of forces within the physical techniques taught within the martial arts and used in violence generally. Admittedly, these blogs have not been as focused as they could be. This is a reflection of the process I go through when writing about a particular subject. It starts out lengthy, often over quoting resources, and is not focused. As I rework the work, and my understanding increases and the application of the theory to understand and study the methods of the martial arts crystallises, the focus sharpens. I've deleted the last two blogs on this subject and now present the following that the majority of the repertoire of techniques taught within the martial arts. The theory is equally applicable to armed and unarmed techniques.

Forces are ubiquitous within the martial arts and physical violence. Forces are involved in every physical method taught within every martial art and used in violence generally. They are the principle driving force behind the development of all the physical methods taught within every martial art.

Forces are the universal theory of martial arts methods that applies at all times in every situation that Jigoro Kano was searching for with respect to jujutsu techniques.

The effects of forces is to cause a change in motion or change in shape (deformation) of something to which forces have been applied. Think about all the physical techniques taught within the martial arts and you'll see forces are involved.

Balance. Applegate suggests that balance is the most basic fundamental principle of all in hand-to-hand combat. He advises that 'physical balance must be retained by the attacker and destroyed in the opponent.'

Carr (Sport Mechanic for Coaches) explains that athletes with great balance are able to neutralise those forces that would otherwise disrupt their performances. In this case the athlete is the combatant and the performance is the execution of effective offensive and defensive techniques. The forces to which Carr refers is any external force: gravity, friction, and forces applied by an opponent. Ways and means have been developed to neutralise those forces that threaten an exponent's balance. Ways and means have been developed within the martial arts to utilise the forces that threaten an opponent's balance so balance is destroyed in the opponent.

Stance. Okazaki and Stricevic (The Textbook of Karate) explain that stances are unique body positions taken to provide stability, balance, or mobility. Knudson (Fundamentals of Biomechanics) defines balance as the 'control of stability and the ability to move.' The ability to move is the definition of mobility. So, balance is the control of stability and mobility.

Carr describes stability as specifically referring to how much resistance a person puts up against having their balance disturbed. The more stable a person, the more resistance that person puts up to having their balance disturbed. Knudson explains that 'highly stable postures allow a person to resist changes in position, while the initiation of movement (mobility) is facilitated by the adoption of a less stable posture.' Highly stable postures provide more resistance to having a person's balance disturbed by external forces. Kreighbaum and Barthels (Biomechanics: A Qualitative Approach for Studying Human Movement) explain that 'forces account for the motion and changes of motion of all things in the environment.' Movement is facilitated by adopting a less stable posture which provides less resistance to the forces that cause a change in motion. This latter capacity is sometimes referred to as mobility.

Stability and mobility are inversely related. The more stable a person is, the less mobile they are, and vice versa. The less mobile a person, the less resistance that person puts up to having their balance disturbed by external forces, and vice versa. This inverse relationship can be envisioned as a stability-mobility continuum.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The disruptive forces applied by an opponent refer to both action and reaction forces. Action forces are forces applied directly by an opponent. Reaction forces are those generated when action forces are applied to an opponent when executing a technique on them. For instance, Watkins (An Introduction to Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise) suggests 'the boxer needs to ensure that he has adequate stability so that he can apply a large force without losing his balance as a result of the equal and opposite force exerted on his fist.' Stances are developed to deal with both action and reaction forces applied by an opponent.

Stances are designed to provide more or less resistance to forces depending on the tactical imperative. Many martial arts teach one stance (e.g. standard boxer's stance) that is a compromise between stability and mobility. Nakayama (Dynamic Karate) is unique in teaching different forms of a particular stance during the three stages in the execution of a technique. His stages can be made more generic in referring to contact with the opponent rather than executing a technique. Forces are applied to or by an opponent when contact is made, which requires stability to neutralise their disruptive potential. Before and after contact is made with an opponent, mobility is the imperative to evade an attack by an opponent and/or to move into position to attack the opponent. Of course we should not neglect the strategy of retreating which avoids the ever present risks associated with violence. Retreating emphasises mobility.

(How many types of stances are there? All stances when standing taught within the martial arts can be classified as either one-legged or two-legged stances. The two-legged stances can then be subdivided into parallel or staggered stances. All stances taught within the marital arts fit within this simple classification system, despite the often convoluted explanations associated with stances.)

Friction. Friction is a force that can potentially disrupt balance. The stances of some styles of pencak silat (Indonesian fighting art) emphasise stability during all three stages of contact with an opponent due to the slippery, muddy, low friction terrain. This then influences the 'footwork' or methods of moving, and the tactics and techniques taught by these styles because of the constant emphasis on stability within their stances.

Footwork or Methods of Moving. Walking has been described as a series of falls or series of falls and catches. Walking involves shifting from a stable to an unstable position (fall)when taking a step before shifting back to a stable position (catch) when the swinging foot makes contact with the ground again. The martial arts have developed ways of moving that reduce or eliminate the unstable/falling periods.

There are two basic ways of moving - shuffling or stepping. Carr explains that 'shuffling steps increase stability because they limit time spent on one foot.'

With regards to stepping, karate teaches a method of moving that shifts a person's centre of gravity over a platform foot before lifting their nonweight-bearing foot of the ground. This foot is then drawn close toward the platform foot in a 'C' movement before the centre of gravity and moving leg is 'propelled' forward (Nakayama). In this way the unstable phase of walking is reduced by half as the centre of gravity is located over a base of support until the propulsion forward. Tai chi, because of its very slow movements, teaches ways of moving whereby the centre of gravity is always located over a base of support, completely eliminating the unstable phase where the forces of gravity could disrupt their performance. The abovementioned styles of pencak silat also teach this type of movement due to the low friction provided by the terrain.

Unbalancing. Jujutsu and its derivative martial arts of judo and aikido teach unbalancing methods called kuzushi. Recall from above that Carr included forces applied by an opponent as being a cause of the disruption of a person's balance. In this case, the forces applied to an opponent are designed to disrupt their balance. In fact, Kano describes kuzushi in terms of forces. Adrian and Cooper (Biomechanics of Human Movement), in their chapter dedicated to the biomechanics of combatives, refer to the combinations of forces that Kano referred to as 'force-application patterns'.

Principles of Nonresistance. The principles of ju and ai in jujutsu and judo, and aikido respectively are based on nonresistance to forces being applied or attempted to be applied by an opponent. What is little appreciated is that in order to unbalance and control the opponent using their own force after their force has not been resisted necessitates forces being applied to the opponent.

Throwing Techniques. Adrian and Cooper explain that 'since judo throws are rotational, they rely on the development of torque.' Torque is the turning effect produced by a force. Sacripanti (Advances in Judo Biomechanics Research) provides a classification of judo throwing techniques based on torque. This classification is based on objective biomechanical principles and remedies the deficiencies inherent in the classification provided by Kano and others.

Takedown Techniques. Throwing techniques and takedown techniques are different types of techniques. A fact that is not generally understood even though both terms are used extensively in the martial arts. Both types of techniques cause a person to fall to the ground, but the forces applied to achieve that result are different. I explain the difference between these two types of techniques based on mechanical principles, including forces, in my draft Throwing Techniques and Takedown Techniques of ALL Martial Arts. I also develop a classification of takedown techniques for the very first time that is based on biomechanical principles, including forces.

Percussion Techniques. In addition to causing changes in motion, forces also cause deformation or changes in shape. Deformation of tissues beyond their limits is the definition of injury. Forces are applied to deform tissues when percussion techniques are executed. If the forces applied exceed the tissues tolerance levels, injury results. However, if the forces applied approach the tolerance levels, pain is often experienced without an injury being inflicted. Either way, percussion techniques involve the application of forces.

Blocking Techniques. Blocking techniques are designed to stop or deflect an opponent's percussion techniques. As stated above, forces cause changes in motion which includes stopping or changing the direction of something, in this case the opponent's attack.

Joint-locking Techniques. Jan de Jong would ask questions like, 'What are the forces involved in a straight arm lock?', in his black belt theory gradings. Unbeknown to De Jong himself, he was applying forces to understand, study, and explain joint-locking techniques. The discussion regarding injury and pain above apply equally to joint-locking techniques, and involves the application of forces. The answer's to De Jong's questions would have been far more succinct, focused, and accurate if the mechancial concept of force was understood and applied.

Strangulation Techniques. Strangles involve the application of a compressive force to the structures of the neck. Shime waza are techniques taught within jujutsu and its derivative arts that are designed to compress the structures of the neck using the exponent's arms or the opponent's clothing. Forces are applied to the opponent's neck by the exponent's arms or opponent's clothing. In the latter case, forces are applied by the exponent to the opponent's clothing which in turn applies forces to the opponent's neck.

Visualisation of Forces - A Necessary Skill. Kreighbaum and Barthels suggest that 'because forces account for the motion and changes of motion of all things in the environment, including the body and the body segments, it is important for the movement specialist to understand what forces are and how we can picture them as they are applied to or by a body.' They suggest the visualisation of forces is a necessary skill for, among others, teaches and coaches. Because forces account for changes in motion and changes in shape (deformation) of all things in the environment (don't forget that injury and pain results from deformation of bodily tissues) an understanding of what forces are and how we can picture then as they are applied to or by a body is a very useful skill for teachers and students of the martial arts. It provides the opportunity of understanding and studying all the techniques based on what actually makes them work. It focuses the explanation and attention to the factors that make them work, and provides the opportunity of clarifying the often convoluted explanations of these techniques.

And the beauty of it all is that the concept of forces is relative uncomplicated and easy to understand. I'll demonstrate this in the next blog.