Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Self Defense - Takedown #3

Pull  her right shoulder back and sweep her leg with your right leg

artial artists have a habit of learning from one another – or “borrowing” from each other.

I remember the 3rd Kung Fu routine that I learned. I was told that it originated in the Shaolin Monastery in China, that someone (just like in the Kung Fu movies) peeked over the wall every day and memorized the routine.

That’s how the routine – and its previously secret techniques – filtered out into the general martial arts community.

Today’s takedown – which we used to alternately refer to as either “takedown #3” or simply the “takedown from the side” – I first learned in the art of Jiu Jitsu. It’s a combination of foot sweep (ashi barai in Japanese) and a grasp and a pull of the attacker’s shoulder or the side of his collar.

Later, I was amazed to see the same movement near the end of that routine from the Shaolin Monastery. Only the grasp and pull was displayed as an open hand.

Once, I found myself on the floor after a Tai Chi practitioner used “cloud hands” on me. I thought: “Wait…I recognize that…it’s the side takedown!”

You can use one hand or both hands

The more I looked, the more my old friend kept popping up everywhere. One of the most hostile routines in the world, Praying Mantis’ Bung Bo Kuen, carries the takedown…and treats it as a scythe to cut down any number of opponents in any direction. (I substitute the word “opponents” for “attackers” here; Mantis doesn’t enjoy back-pedalling. Bung Bo is heavily designed for attack).

So it came as no surprise when I found my Jiu Jitsu takedown in the Karate routine Heian Ni-Dan (also called Pinan Nidan).

For me, who thought of this technique first doesn’t matter. The reason why so many martial arts have taken it on – or “borrowed” it (often in challenge matches), is that it works. And is highly adaptable.

The primary approach to this takedown is a simple one –

1.  Stand at the side of the attacker, grasp her right shoulder, sweep the back of her leg (the lower down the better) with the bottom of your foot…while pulling her shoulder back and down with your right hand.

That’s it.

But now comes the good part. Once you’ve become familiar with the basic structure of the technique, start applying it to the real flow of self defense. Which means adapting the technique in a wide variety of ways –

1.  For example, instead of standing at her side, start by facing her straight on…then shift to her side. Grasp her left shoulder and sweep her left leg by turning into the direction she’s facing (as in the photo above).

2.  Or – sweep her same leg with your left leg from the front while pulling her right shoulder down and to the front with your left hand.

You can also – use the takedown from the back; from any side; against the front, inside, outside or back of her leg. It’s that versatile.

You can use it against strikes, kicks, bear hugs, chokes, etc…from any angle.

You don’t have to pull at the shoulder – you can grab the hair, pull at the throat (an Eagle Claw Kung Fu technique), push across the chest or stomach…using one or both hands. It’s highly adaptable.

And, you can certainly use it against multiple attackers…just because this technique is so versatile and comes from so many angles.

As I’ve already said, there’s a serious reason why it’s shared by so many martial arts. If you can, practise it often. It’s a good technique to include in your self defense repertoire.

A quick word about our young demonstrators: I try not to limit my photos to seasoned Black Belts. Yellow Belts, Orange Belts…everyone should have a chance to demonstrate their technique.

On top of that, these girls take part in a class which is very intense. They’re kids in an adult class, and they’re used to being pushed to the limit. That takes courage.

I’m very proud of them and want to thank them for helping me with this post!

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