Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fighting Circles with Straight Lines

Fighting Circles with Straight Lines

Aikido circle
    This post is brought up because of something I saw years ago.  It was one of the police chase shows, you know the ones that usually show dumb criminals.  One part of the show was a helicopter view of Mr. Road Rager  Road Rager got out of his car, after an accident and was violently pissed at the Guy 2.  As they said on the show "What he didn't know is that the 2nd guy had a black belt in karate!"  (read that last bit in an annoying, over-the-top voice over, and you'll laugh at it too).  Guy 2, was actually trying to calm Mr. Rager down.  He had his hands up, it looked like he was trying to talk to Rager.  When Rager swung at him, Guy 2 blocked the punch,  circled and hit him with a ridge hand to the back of the neck all in one motion.  It caught Rager in just the right spot, and dropped him.  Unconscious.  With dejected body language, he pulled out his cell phone, and apparently called the cops.
    What initially struck me, as an aikido/jujutsu student, was the circular motion he used.  I'd always heard and seen how linear karate was.  Perhaps that was simply to distinguish it from other arts.  But Guy 2 used a move I'd seen in aikido/jujutsu endless times.  Was this karate or just a natural reaction?
Thibault's Circle
    A few years later, I was reading a book on the use of swords in Europe.  It talked about why European style fencing evolved the way it did.  The masters of the day diagnosed, correctly mind you, that a sword point that moves in a straight line hits its target, faster than a point moving in an arc (or curve).  They reasoned that a well-timed thrust would therefore always beat a cutting or slashing attack, so they built their systems based on that theory.  Again circles vs. straight lines.
    More recently I've noticed that my aikido is becoming less about circles, and more about being linear.  I've come to the conclusion is that there is a natural co-habitation of the two.  The higher level the aiki, the more linear it becomes.  The higher level the karate (I'm picking on them because in my head they are a good representative of a linear art), the more curved it becomes.  This is the general strategy I've started to employ.  I've expanded my personal strategy to include the general techniques where I use straight lines versus round attacks, and curves against straight attacks.

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