Thought For The Week
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"Instinct"

David Baker, Denshi/Shihan Midtown Karate Dojo

Ideally, we’re walking down the street, minding our own business, when we recognize that our arm is up, above our head. We then realize, after the fact, that someone just punched at our head and we blocked it. This is because, if we had to go through the process of thinking, “He’s throwing a punch at my head, I therefore must do a head block...” then he’s already hit us, taken our wallet, and is halfway down the block.

How much worse, then, would it be to not only go through the process of thinking “...I must therefore do a head block...”, but to also have to decide between doing that head block and doing a number of other options? A block. Or a grab. Or that nifty little twisty, turny thing that I just learned last week. Or maybe a move that I saw in a martial arts movie a couple years ago.

Having options (thinking) degrades that instinct that you carefully inculcated over the years in karate.

Also, don’t change your fighting to “suit” his. You have one style. Shorin-Ryu. If he comes at you with a knife or other weapon, don’t change your method of fighting. Block his attack, then punch or kick him. (If you anticipate his move early enough, you can just do the counterattack, like the third defensive move in Yakusko Ichi.) But don’t start grabbing for the knife or trying to twist his arm or in any other way sabotage your chances of surviving his attack.

Similarly, if an unarmed attacker grabs you, don’t start wrestling with him. Use your short range techniques. Backfist, elbows, knees, headbutt, nihanchi footsmash, jam his knee sideways, palm heel strike, or even bite or gouge if you have to.

You’re Shorin-Ryu. React Shorin-Ryu.

Train in a focused manner as if your life depends on building that one instinct. It does.

Arigato,
David Baker, Denshi/Shihan
Midtown Karate Dojo