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Martial Arts Question - Redirect and Disarm

Discussion in 'Research' started by JCFarnham, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I have a character who needs to be trained in something with decent self-defense application that isn't just a plain old self-defense class. She isn't particularly the offensive type.

    So, really, here's what I'm looking for:

    A martial art whose key practices are the redirection of strikes and, if necessary, disarmament.

    All ideas, no matter how whacky are welcome. The chosen art could indeed have a decent offensive backing too, but the character would focus on defense over anything else. She will have plenty of chance to use these skills in-story if that helps.

    I'd like to build up a good list of things I can research. Alternatively if you have personal experience in something like the above I'd like to hear it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Dragon style Kung Fu focuses on taking the attacker's momentum and circling it back to use against hir.

    I would argue that the defensive nature of any martial art is both a matter of semantics and a matter of application by the practitioner. It's like saying, "This is a defensive rife, and THIS is an offensive rife." If I punch someone who is trying to choke me, is that punch an "offensive" move? But I am just trying to defend myself. Ideally, you fend off the attacks only to the point where you can get an opening to run away. But you do what you have to do.

    In most good MA's, any defensive techniques also can function as attacks. One of the things we used to do in my former Kung Fu class was this: the teacher would assign a move out of one of the forms, and we would pair up and experiment with it, then show a series of different applications. You could usually find 6 or 8 different applications (some "defensive", some "offensive") for each move- and we were intermediate level students, so I'm sure the pro's could find more.
     
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    From a purely visual point of view, I'm looking for...

    A throws a right handed punch, B catches the hit on the left forearm and smoothly pushes it with a step out of the way... rinse and repeat.

    I like the idea behind mutliple applications of a move, she would definitely be that kind of practitioner. I'll do some research into dragon style. Ultimately, it probably won't much resemble the chosen MA much after a while, but a good knowledge of the visual basics will help me greatly. The idea is that the character takes her knowledge of it and twists it to meet her new and ongoing situation, adding bits and pieces learned from her friends over time.

    On TV, I once saw a demonstration of Tai Chi, not as a meditative exercise but as a combative MA. The presenter stated that you only need to speed up the forms a practitioner moves through and it begins to look similar to many other arts. It was only a short section, but from what I remember it looked fairly like what I'm looking for. Any thoughts on that?
     
  4. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Yes, people tend to forget that every movement of Tai Chi has a martial application (several applications, in fact).

    A parry is a parry- Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and many other arts will parry in a similar fashion.



    "A throws a right handed punch, B catches the hit on the left forearm and smoothly pushes it with a step out of the way... rinse and repeat."

    What we attempt to do is *not* "catch"- what we usually want is for the power of the strike to deflect and go past us. See if you can find some Wing Chun (this is another branch of Kung Fu) vid for a good example of this. We use very small movements to deflect the strike to the side, along with a minute body turn to let the strike glance off. Wing Chun in particular will often not even move the feet- there are entire forms and spar sequences where nobody moves their feet at all.

    What Dragon (in particular) will do after the parry is attempt to meld with that flow of power, make it your own, curve it around and return it to the giver with interest.

    At higher levels, we want this to be ALL ONE MOTION- the parry and return. We don't even want to *think* of it as separate steps, because any interruption in the physical or chi flow will allow more power to leak out of your technique.
     
  5. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I don't suppose I really meant "catch" :p But I think you get what I mean.

    Wing Chun. Check.

    Thanks for the help Kit! Can you give me some [edit: some more] examples of a good MA for a relatively petite girl. Some are flat out wrong considering she'd have less power against larger opponents than her right? but obviously I assume most styles can be altered to fit the smaller practitioner. I think I've heard of a few in particular that were pioneered by women. My character would be the right sort to get the pride of practicing something like that ... not having to fit herself in around men and come out at a disadvantage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  6. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Okay, just spent a few minutes surfing, and so there's a lot of garbage on Youtube. Try this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYivNC62Plo

    The skinny old dude standing in the kitchen- THAT's what Wing Chun looks like.
     
  7. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    How would you say Leo Au Yeung measures up to "real" Wing Chun? Only he has an "introdution to" video on youtube, as I was wondering about it's validity more than anything else (let's just say I'm not easily impressed by flashy graphics haha)
     
  8. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    The terminology is important, because if you are into the spiritual aspects of MA, it's all about the visualization. This is a whole-body, whole-mind, whole-spirit activity, and you can really see/experience the difference when it's like that as opposed to a purely physical "sport" approach.




    Absolutely. I am a woman- 5 feet tall and 124-134 lb.

    Dragon Kung Fu, as I said, takes the opponent's own power and then throws it back at hir.

    Snake Kung Fu is good for small people because it uses lightning-fast pokes and jabs to specific targets rather than brute muscle.

    Wing Chun, legend has it, was developed by a woman for women. It is very popular for women's self defense. A minimum of movement, deflections.


    One of the most important factors of being a small person in a striking art is that your reach is suboptimal. Most attackers' arms and legs are longer than my arms and legs, so he will be able to reach (and hit) me before I can reach him. The three styles above like to work very close in. It's counterintuitive, but for a tiny person, the closer you are to your opponent, usually the better off you are. You want to be close enough so that your arms are not even anywhere near full extension during your strikes. When sparring Wing Chun, for example, you face off by each artist placing hir palm flat on the opponent's chest, and that's where you're going to stand- very close.

    My longer-limbed opponent would like me to be near the extension of *HIS* arm. Anything closer is like us fighting in a closet. That scenario will favor me.


    An excellent non-striking option for your small female character is grappling. Again, it's counterintuitive- as a 5 ft, 130 lb woman, I want to be rolling around on the ground wrestling a big man? Yep. I did Kung Fu first, and discovered by extensive sparring with larger people that things went a lot better for me once we were rolling around on the ground. Enter: Brazilian Jiu jitsu. No matter how big he is, he still needs to breathe- so I wanna choke him. I'm little and squirmy and quick, so I can get my teeny hands in there and cut off his air flow. Likewise, joint locks: positioning and leverage are more important than brute strength. In grappling, we say "If you're using muscle, you're doing it wrong."

    A combo of Brazilian Jiu jitsu and small-person Kung Fu has been great for me. Also, of course, the ultimate equalizers for small women- guns and other weapons.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  9. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Aikido or Jujutsu are a couple of styles that fit well here, to my knowledge. I myself study jujutsu (amongst others), which has a soft-style focus (redirection of force and grappling/submission rather than striking). I know a couple of serious Aikido practitioners, one of who studies a thoroughly non-violent form which lacks any pure striking techniques in the style itself, even punches. I cannot remember the exact name of the style, I'll try and get back to you on that.

    Really, any form of martial art will teach at least a little of redirection/parrying defense. However, if your character focuses on it greatly then you probably do want to do some research.
     
  10. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Caveat- I am not a Wing Chun specialist, it was only a fraction of my Kung Fu training, so I'm not really qualified to judge too deeply. I watched a little of the Leo Au Yeung vid, and the wooden dummy stuff at around 2.5 min looks pretty legit to me. The skinny old dude in the kitchen from the link I posted is- I think- Ip Man himself, who was the big cheese of Wing Chun. Even with the crappy vid quality, the power of his tiny movements leaps off the screen.
     
  11. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I'd heard of Ip Man you see, and sort of put two and two together when they start showing still portraits of him along side the kitchen stuff. The power in those movements are awe inspiring, considering how tiny he looks!

    With added with the realisation that, since redirection alone isn't going to get her any where, she has to bring the conflict to the enemy not wait around to be taken out (philosophically more than anything), is probably going to make me choose something like Wing Chun, moving to a more dragon-influence style later on.
     
  12. I was going to suggest something like aikido, but martial arts isn't my forte, so I contacted a friend who's into this stuff.

    He said most suggestions so far are fine. He agrees with me that aikido would be the classic approach for this kind of thing, but he also mentions bagua ("which is interesting visually speaking") and silat. Finally, if you are looking for defense against knives, he recommends kali/escrima/arnis, since those styles are designed for knives and similar weapons.

    Hope that is helpful.
     
  13. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Aikido is specifically geared towards redirection of energy, both offensively and defensively by learning how to fall properly to escape or avoid damage. Furthermore, it is an excellent fighting art for women and aging people as it has little to do with physical strength.

    This isn't to say that it's offensive attributes can't be effective. Fast strikes combined with joint manipulation and throws can be devastating and confusing to an opponent.

    Aikido would be better known to readers than other martial arts within its class. This may be a benefit to you, or a hindrance, depending on your story.
     
  14. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Bagua is an interesting thought, but it is an exceedingly niche art with some very distinctive traits. I don't think it's a great choice for JC unless he is looking to do some serious research (though if he is, it should make for a good topic!).
     
  15. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Another possibility to look into would be Krav Maga. This Israeli martial art is quickly growing in popularity as it focuses on very gritty and real self defense practices. I believe it is the martial art practiced by the Israeli military & the Mossad.

    Krav Maga schools are popping up everywhere in the states. As I understand, a large portion of practitioners are women.
     
  16. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Wing Chun, Snake Kung Fu and Dragon Kung Fu are all interrelated and overlapping.

    And yes, the small fighter must be decisive and (if possible) get the first strike. You really want the first strike to be the last as well. Basically, the longer the fight lasts, the worse it's going to get for the smaller person. One good strike or pin by the bigger person is going to finish us- and the longer we're messing around, the more chance the bigger person has to get that opening.
     
  17. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    Thanks everyone!

    This conversation really helped with the first fight scene I wrote for her. Actually I've think I've got a pretty good idea of how she interacts in a tactile sense now, which is a nice thing to broaden the characterisation. Now I need to figure out the other chracters haha! (... to be fair though, a brawler, a detective, and a rugby player transfering skills aren't as difficult to get sorted)
     
  18. David Ivanov

    David Ivanov Minstrel

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    Kit, I'm late to this thread but it's fascinating to read your posts. I practiced Shaolin kung fu for about eight years, and your descriptions are dead-on. So much of kung fu, and especially tai chi, are about deflecting the opponent's force and redirecting it in a smooth flowing motion. That's why there are so many circular techniques in tai chi.
     
  19. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Thank you; I have been very fortunate to have some fantastic teachers.
     
  20. Telemecus

    Telemecus Scribe

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    I don't know hardly anything about martial arts, so I probably can't help with this character, but that brawler and maybe the rugby player seem more my speed. I've done a little bit of boxing, kick-boxing, and traditional wrestling, mainly on a high school level. But one style you might want to look into is the Greco-Roman wrestling style. It is an almost entirely upper body style, made for really strong people (probably why I never won!). It focuses mostly on the clinch, a standing sort of duel, where two opponents try to get there arms wrapped around the other person waist, neck, or chest, or lock up the other persons arms, so that they can proceed to either throw them, put them in a hold, or knock them off balance. This style is very interesting to me, because it usually involves very little footwork, and you have to be clever to get really good (knowing when to lean back, push, grab, or feint, with a giant sweaty guy two feet away.)

    Just thought I'd throw that in!
     
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