The Worst Techniques I've Ever Been Taught
(a continual growing list as more and more memories from my karate days come flooding back)
That's all I can think of for right now. My intention is to make this THE dumping grounds for all the inane **** we learned when we didn't know any better. And in my own personal defense, most of this stuff I never bought anyway, I just liked some of the ideas I was being taught and was dead set in that "in three years, I'll be able to defend myself" mentality.
- Knee to the groin defense: Drop both hands and palm strike the incoming knee. Especially helpful considering the human body is physiologically incapable of punching and kneeing at the same time.
- Knife Disarm: Assume the person has approached you and is statically holding a knife in the air, pointed somewhere in your general direction. Slap the back of his hand as you foreknuckle strike just below his wrist. This technique worked about one out of four times, and each time the knife would go sailing out of the assailant's hand in a completely unpredictable way including, at one point, my throat.
- Crane beak to the jaw; wrist strike to the chest or thigh.
- Asked sensei for some effective ways to attack the legs/feet. At the time, I was having a big "efficiency" kick and wanted to learn the most practical way to hurt a person from a distance. Sensei advised me to kneel down and punch him in the foot.
- We were taught that all fights occur at "streetfighting range" which is, no exaggeration, about one-inch from the opponent.
- Haymaker defense: Karate chop the collar bone, breaking it. Grab the offending arm, straighten it out, and jerk it back and forth "into" their shoulder. The idea was that once you broke the collarbone, you could use the arm to stab them in the throat with their own clavicle.
- When a person commits to a punch, we were taught, they can do nothing else until they hit something. This principle was exploited in depth as we discovered fascinating things about how people have no control over their fist once they launch it and anything else is goddamned witchcraft.
- My school placed an absurd amount of emphasis on effeciency, even when it made no sense. I'm sure pretty much anyone here who's had experience with a TMA knows about the idea of blocks being strikes, right? Well, I was taught that every single motion of the block was a strike. EVERY SINGLE MOTION. This eventually wound up with surreal contests where the teacher would throw a middle block in slow-motion and count how many potential strikes there were in it, then backtrack and go for the high score as the class watched with utmost respect.
- Toe gouge to the femoral artery. Toe gouge to the femoral artery. Intended as a killing blow.
- "Sometimes, the best defense against (grappling) is a pinch." That was actually said by the sensei's wife/girlfriend, but she was a complete ***** who, even at black belt level, could not throw a proper punch nor make the correct Isshin-Ryu fist.
- Nukite strikes. Some people readily admitted that striking with your fingertips was utter madness and that they should be interpreted as palm strikes. Others told me to jam my fingers into milk jugs full of sand to properly condition myself for the upcoming Finger Wars of 2027.
- At one point the sensei went off on a tangent about what he'd do to terrorists if they hijacked his plane. One of them involved reaching his hands out into space, twisting quickly, and saying "that would've broken their neck".
- When you're pulling on someone's arm, it's better to pull using only your middle finger, ring finger, and thumb, instead of your whole hand. I mean that's just silly.
- Actual quote: "It's been proven time and time again: The guy who has his hands down by his waist will punch faster than the guy who has his hands up by his head."
- How to throw a hook: The arms are to remain completely straight, up until a second before impact, at which point you suddenly bend your arm. I have no idea what the rationale is behind this
- From the kata Seisan (which I understand a lot of the karate folk should be familair with), there's a series of "hand-off" motions. These motions created bunkai for an incredibly elaborate defense against a straightforward punch that ended with you and your opponent back-to-back, his head resting on your shoulder, and you leading him around with your middle finger latched onto his upper lip.
Double lapel grab defense: Lightly grab both elbows and lift up; double karate chop to the exposed ribcage. This, I was told, is a zero-effort move.
Reverse vertical punch defense: Strike with the webbing of the hand into the "front" of the bicep. Be careful with this move; you could "move" the muscle up towards the shoulder blade.
Drop down to one knee, punch to the balls. The important thing to remember here is to tripod your legs for extra stability; that is, your rear leg should be off at a 45 pointing towards your front leg. This way, your opponent can't just push you over since, if you're kneeling down in a fight, your worst fear is falling to your side.
More kneeling attacks: Drop down to a lung right in front of your opponent's legs, like you're doing a basic shot. Then throw two hooks to his thights. On a personal note, I fucking hated this technique. Being a compliant uke is one thing, but just standing there and letting the fucker s-l-o-w-l-y hammer away at your inner thight with his fists and elbows, trying to see how many potential hits he can get off you (there's that efficiency again!) made me realize what Christ must've felt like
This was a weird one. If a guy is rising in a chair and you want him to sit down, you basically rub their back. Apparently you go rub, harder rub, power rub, and on the third rub they sit down.
I was taught this one novelty strike where you vertical punch with your thumb sticking straight out. That was from his lethal bag of "chi" tricks.
Defense against a bear hug: Point your fingers to the floor. I repeat, the proper way to defeat a bearhug is to point your fingers at the floor and do absolutely nothing because we're at a stalemate or something God I wasted my life.
Fun fact for all the boxers out there: "Chi flows through the fist like a tornado." Found that in my old Sensei's notebook, thought it may be helpful to you guys. Accompanying it was a drawing of a fist with a bunch of little swirly lines in it.
We were taught that when a person cocks their arm back low, as in an Isshin-Ryu reverse punch, a nerve is exposed on the shoulder that hurts really, really bad. The only problem is, the nerve is covered up when a person raises their hands for any reason. So basically, we were taught to strike an obscure nerve on the anterior deltoid, but only when their face was a viable target.
I saw an old isshin-ryu seminar tape not too long ago. The instructor showed some anti-grappling, although unlike most antigrapplers, he chose to demonstrate a defense against O-goshi instead of the standard double-leg. Now guys, I know we all like to bag on karateka trying to do shots and whatnot, but you haven't seen comedy until you've seen a totally random man get pulled from a crowd and be told to "put me in an O-goshi". He was struck in the groin for his efforts.
Grab your opponent's belt, step back into a cross stance, yank them back, punch to the ribs.
Standing arm bar defense: Apparently, there's a very small pressure point on your back that, when pressed, makes you immune to armbars. I'm not shitting you. We were taught to use our free hand to activate this point and simply rise out of it like the time Christ rose from the murky depths to deliver Excalibur to King Arthur.
Hook defense: Throw a smaller, tighter hook inside of their hook. The idea was their bicep would push into your elbow, powering your punch with virtually no effort on your part. No consideration was given to the fact that he's still gonna hit you.
If your opponent gets fancy and tries to "corkscrew" his punch like a "straight person" , step back into a cat stance, backfist the top of his hand. But what if he fakes you out, goes for the vertical punch?? Lest you believe karate is just a rigid, inflexible series of choreographed techniques, there's a built in counter, for you can also strike his radial nerve or bicep!
The guy tries to sweep you. No, not that kind. Mortal Kombat sweep. You kick your heel up, towards your opposite hip bone, so your foot is basically at a 90 with the ground. Now throw a kick! No you fool! Don't rechamber your leg! There's no time! Kick with your leg parallel to the ground, striking with the ball of your foot! GOOD WORK CADET
From Wansu kata: High block to deflect the ubiquitous telegraphed punch that exists as the heartbeat of the karate world. Step in, grab his belt, AND LIFT THAT ************ OVER YOUR HEAD AND THROW HIM LIKE ANDRE THE GIANT. If that's too cryptic, imagine doing a firemen's carry without sinking your hips at all. Some schools, mine included, acknowledged how silly this was, and noted instead that "you're really taking him over more to the side". I have no idea what this meant, but then, neither did they. For all I know they wanted me to grab his wrist and his belt and spin him around like Genki Sudo.
90% of all Isshin Ryu techniques involve some usage of the crescent step, which is hilarious as far as classically antiquitated footwork goes. But as I advanced, there came a time when I was taught to lift my foot high as I crescent-stepped towards my prey. Why?, I asked. "Imagine something's in your way. Like a log."
Dropping your hands to your sides. No, I don't mean to chamber punches or because you got sloppy. We were taught to drop our hands to our sides WITH AUTHORITY to counter a strike to your flank.
Your opponent is chasing you. Kick your arm out to the side, bent at a 90, fist pointing down like someone's kimura'ing you. Step back into a T-stance, straighten your arm like doing a tricep kickback, backfist to the jaw.
Double palm strike to hip bone and shoulder. Double punch (one fist over the other) to solar plexus.
We learned a generic karate takedown that ended with your opponent on their back with your head and one arm between their legs. "This is such agreat position!" gushed the blackbelt I was training with. "There's nothing he can do from here!"