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DokterVet
12/17/2004 4:46pm,
First, my best guess is that Belfort has never taken a karate lesson in his life.

But look how he uses an idea that is present in karate.
Here's the karate stance. In subsequent posts I'll post the pics of Belfort:

http://www.shitoryu.org/skills/stances/images/shikof.jpg


Basically what's happening here is he is just holding his opponent to the fence and pummeling him with hooks.

He is using this type of stance in a context/way not normally taught in karate. First, one of the ways he is using it is to keep his opponent against the fence. It is allowing him to press his weight against his opponent.

Another key difference is that he is throwing hooks, not straight punches. Belfort's way makes a lot more sense. He is able to throw full-body punches by turning his body with the punches. He can add a lot of rotational mass to the punch by doing this. You can't turn your body very much in this position for straight punches. Another reason for using hooks is the range. Because he is using the stance to keep his weight forward against his opponent, he is at very close range and hooks make a lot of sense.

I got this footage from his highlight reel on sherdog, which I can't find a link to at the moment. But if you have it, you can see that a lot of the clips show standing in a way reminiscant of shiko dachi (even his sprawl looks like a shiko dachi to me ...maybe I just have karate on the brain).

Anyways, I guess the point of this thread is that I saw what looks like a traditional karate stance being used in a modern and effective way (and by a non-karateka) and figured I would try to analyze how he uses it compared to the traditional karate uses. Maybe some of Belfort's strategies existed in kata before they became watered down and stylized over time.

I certainly don't think that Belfort trains by standing in shiko dachi throwing punches. But I think what this shows is that it is a natural stance, not some weird karate invention. Its use in karate, however, is sometimes a little misguided.

Anyways, comments?

Aesopian
12/17/2004 4:49pm,
Save the images to your computer then upload them to tinypic.com then post them here.

DokterVet
12/17/2004 4:53pm,
http://www.geocities.com/adamjvet/belfort1.jpg

DokterVet
12/17/2004 4:54pm,
http://www.geocities.com/adamjvet/belfort2.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/adamjvet/belfort3.jpg

DokterVet
12/17/2004 4:54pm,
http://www.geocities.com/adamjvet/belfort4.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/adamjvet/belfort5.jpg

Deadpan Scientist
12/17/2004 5:05pm,
That's taking advantage of the no groin strikes rule.

King Hippo
12/17/2004 5:09pm,
awesome observation DokterVet!

you hit my feelings of karate on the head. i think that a lot of the crap we have is useful, the only problem is that misguided karateka take what we have severely out of context.

i see too many people try to take kihon and use it in kumite. what they don't understand is that a lot of kihon is to make the body stronger not to use in a fight, we use pushups to train our bodies but i would never use a pushup in a fight.

the challenge with karate is seeing past the movements themselves and finding the principles and techniques underlying them and THEN using them in a fight.

edit***

of course that being said, karate does have a lot of holes that need to be shored up by cross training with other martial arts. in my experience karate is my base, muay thai has become my embellishment

Meex
12/17/2004 5:12pm,
all jujitsu and boxing come from kata.
everyone knows that.

`~/

King Hippo
12/17/2004 5:45pm,
belfort's stance also looks a little like an exaggerated thai stance.

from what i have learned the thai stance is a little shorter/wider and more square with the opponent in order to generate power from both sides as well as gaining stability.

it looks like belfort is kinda using this principle.

so maybe we could speculate that the purpose of shiko dachi (is this different fromkiba-dachi by the way or is it the same stance?) is to work on those principles.

DokterVet
12/18/2004 2:09am,
i see too many people try to take kihon and use it in kumite.

i think that a lot of the crap we have is useful, the only problem is that misguided karateka take what we have severely out of context.

This reminds me of one time I was doing drills in class. My partner was throwing front kicks at me and I was trying to find as many ways to defend them as possible, and drilling each defense. At one point, I thought "hey, my katas have x-blocks in them. I'll do that." As I was drilling it, the head sensei said to me "your head is wide open. X-blocks are ok for kata, but not sparring or self-defense." That made me think, "Then wtf is the kata teaching me?" If you can't apply it to fighting, why are we learning it? I still don't know why the hell we do x-blocks in kata if they are "no good" for anything purposeful.
There are two possible reasons why this technique could be in this kata. 1)The creator of the kata didn't really know what he was doing and believes in this b.s. technique. IOW the technique did not come from actual combat application 2) It had a purpose at some point. That purpose has been lost.

I'd like to believe the second. I would hope that the technique came from combat at some point and does have some purpose. In fact I'd be willing to work on kata at a throwdown if anyone has any insights.


what they don't understand is that a lot of kihon is to make the body stronger not to use in a fight, we use pushups to train our bodies but i would never use a pushup in a fight.

The problem with this is that there are so many more efficient ways of making the body stronger than through kata. Do you believe this was one of the original intentions of kata? My feeling is that the intention of kata was the teaching of actual combat techniques. If strength training was an original purpose of kata, does that purpose still make sense with today's modern training methods? Is kata obsolete in the face of modern weight training? I contend that this was not one of the original intentions based on my understanding of okinawan karate styles. That is, that they tend to use relatively relaxed, comfortable, high stances, in comparison to the japanese styles. Maybe an okinawan stylist can varify this, but if that is true, would that not make 'katas for strength' a japanese invention? However, it's true that a use that was not originally intended can still be a valid use. However, in that case, my first point stands. Is it not obsolete?

Maybe you could touch on some of the ways, other than direct combat application, that you think kata is effective.




so maybe we could speculate that the purpose of shiko dachi (is this different fromkiba-dachi by the way or is it the same stance?) is to work on those principles.

Shiko dachi is slightly different from kiba dachi. The feet point out at 45 degree angles, which generally affects the posture.
http://www.westwindkarate.com/kiba_dachi_copy.jpg
kiba dachi^
http://www.shotokankarate.dabsol.co.uk/shotokan/stances/mattshiko1.jpg
^shiko dachi

In my karate style, we drilled punches in shiko dachi. I think that it is definitely possible to generate a lot rotational power from this stance, as demonstrated by Belfort. And maybe this was the original purpose for the stance. Punching forward from the stance, as is generally drilled, makes little sense because the stance has very little stability front-to-back.

The unfortunate thing about studying principles, as so many karateka like to do, is that you can make up your own little world of imagined principles if you aren't careful, and aren't testing your theories. I think a lot of bullshido is made up of these imagined worlds of untested principles, and maybe what has happened with the common usage of shiko dachi - the valid principles on which it was originally based have been replaced with imagined principles.

Anyways, nice to find another karateka taking an objective look at kata. Maybe we can work some kata at the next throwdown I can make it to.

Meex
12/18/2004 4:11am,
(edited by Meex for clarity of the following post)
"hey, my katas have x-blocks in them. . . "
". . .the head sensei said. . .X-blocks are ok for kata, but not sparring or self-defense."

That made me think,
"Then wtf is the kata teaching me?"
"If you can't apply it to fighting, why are we learning it?"

There are two possible reasons why this technique could be in this kata.
1) The creator of the kata didn't really know what he was doing.
2) It had a purpose at some point. That purpose has been lost.
DVet: Your sensei was wrong. Let me give you another option for your kata:
3 - the creator knew what he was doing, the purpose is not lost, but is right there in the kata.

Don't look at your kata as an absolute reference.
Can you do all of your techniques in more than one direction? YES
With either hand, or either foot? YES
So why would you (or, any in the long line of sensei going back) assume that that is an "X" block, and not the same (single) block done with either hand? WHAT?

Well. . .
Do you do an inside->to->outside block with either hand? YES
Do you do an outside->to->inside block with either hand? YES
So why can't you see doing an overhead->cross block with either hand? HMM. . .

IOW. . .
This block would deflect the attack offline, and allow a counter with the other hand before, during, and after the block, wouldn't it? YES

So. . .
What's the problem?

`~/

Gezere
12/18/2004 5:14am,
SHIKODACHI does NOT come form Karate. Its SUMO. It literally means FOUR CROTCH STANCE but SHIKO refers to a sumo wreslter. Shikodachi is also used in Judo (and we all know the relationship with BJJ & Judo) The Gracies(Royler and Renzo wrote on it) have been using sumo drills to help develop a stable base in the clinch.

Zeddy
12/18/2004 8:46am,
This is an interesting point, I noticed that I'm actually drawing on some of the stances like shiko dachi taught to me during greco roman pummelling drills.

I can't make out the pics too clearly, was he striking or trying to get a position, the first looks like he's trying to underhook.

King Hippo
12/18/2004 9:43am,
The problem with this is that there are so many more efficient ways of making the body stronger than through kata. Do you believe this was one of the original intentions of kata?

yes and no. what i meant in my original post was that kihon, not kata was to strengthen the body (as well as work on body mechanics.

i think kata does work the body though, i mean even doing something like heian shodan at full speed and power 7 or 8 times can work us a sweat. but i agree that kata is also for combat application.

but what i mean here is that kata works some of the principles behind combat i.e. body relaxation between techniques (you can't stay tense the entire time), muscle control (the transition from fast to slow movements), basic foot work (the use of the stutter step and angling off), broken rythym (change of count within the form) and probably some others that i forgot.

that said, kata is no substitute for actual sparring (as has been said many times before on this site) it is a supplement. practicing kata does not make anybody profecient at sparring, rather it is a way to work on some principles of combat without actually fighting.

it's kinda like a foot work drill, just because you could do it perfectly in training, it doesn't mean you can do it perfectly (if at all) while sparring. the only real way to get better is to actually get out there and spar.

that being said kata does have it's uses.

DokterVet
12/18/2004 1:48pm,
DVet: Your sensei was wrong. Let me give you another option for your kata:
3 - the creator knew what he was doing, the purpose is not lost, but is right there in the kata.

Don't look at your kata as an absolute reference.
Can you do all of your techniques in more than one direction? YES
With either hand, or either foot? YES
So why would you (or, any in the long line of sensei going back) assume that that is an "X" block, and not the same (single) block done with either hand? WHAT?

Well. . .
Do you do an inside->to->outside block with either hand? YES
Do you do an outside->to->inside block with either hand? YES
So why can't you see doing an overhead->cross block with either hand? HMM. . .

IOW. . .
This block would deflect the attack offline, and allow a counter with the other hand before, during, and after the block, wouldn't it? YES



Yeah it's entirely possible that my sensies were a problem. In fact some of them in particular would teach the stupedist things.
Anyways, for clarity, this is what I am refering to as an X-block:
http://changkarateschool.com/two-fist%20X%20low%20block%20children.jpg
I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing.

Either way, you are suggesting that in the kata it is done with both hands at the same time in order to teach us that we can do it individually? Then why aren't they just used individually in the kata? Isn't that misleading, and begging to be misinterpretted? What do you figure is the purpose of putting them together? Saving a move?

Also, for the specific block I am talking about, I can't see how either of those arms could even be effective on their own. A front snap kick would just smash into the arm, probably doing damage, and possibly not be stopped if the target is the groin. If it was a thrust kick, the kick would come in over top of it and bypass it all together. So even if this wasn't the block you were thinking of, your principle should stand. And I don't think it does. If you have another application for this technique, please elaborate.

Also, I find liberal interpretations of kata problematic. In the sense that how do you know what are the good applications and the bad ones? I've been told that turning my body to the left while rotating my forearm from parallel to the floor to perpendicular to the floor has many applications. Including a strike to the throat. Yes, I've been taught that. What I'm thinking? "Sensei, I will let you do that technique to me 100 times in a row because there is no way that would hurt anyone." That is an example of bad kata interpretation. My point is that taking liberties when interpretting kata can be dangerous. Deciding that the kata creator (assuming you aren't personally taught by the kata creator) meant to have the technique performed differently than it is in the kata, to me, is problematic.


SHIKODACHI does NOT come form Karate. Its SUMO. It literally means FOUR CROTCH STANCE but SHIKO refers to a sumo wreslter. Shikodachi is also used in Judo (and we all know the relationship with BJJ & Judo) The Gracies(Royler and Renzo wrote on it) have been using sumo drills to help develop a stable base in the clinch.

Now this is getting interesting. Good call about the origin in sumo. So is this stance only found in japanese karate styles?
I wonder if anyone can elaborate on its uses within sumo.

I'm not sure who Belfort trained in BJJ under. Do you think he would have learned this stance through such drills? I'd be interested to see what these drills are like.
I've never personally seen it used in Judo. Can you elaborate on this?
In karate, we would use it for takedowns, in a technique such as: facing your opponent with your left leg forward, deflect his incoming right punch to the inside, step to his outside (his right) with your right leg into shiko dachi, pivot opponent over the upper thigh near the hip.
I'm curious to hear a judo application.


This is an interesting point, I noticed that I'm actually drawing on some of the stances like shiko dachi taught to me during greco roman pummelling drills.
Cool! Can you elaborate on what you mean by pummelling drills?


I can't make out the pics too clearly, was he striking or trying to get a position, the first looks like he's trying to underhook.

It looks to me like at first his focus is on getting position, but then decides the punches are working well for him. But it is hard to tell what his main focus is because it is only a segment (actually two spliced together) of the fight. Unfortunately I haven't seen the whole thing. The clip shows him throwing about 15 punches in flurries of as many as 8 at a time.


yes and no. what i meant in my original post was that kihon, not kata was to strengthen the body (as well as work on body mechanics.

Fair enough. What's your take on the 'blocks'? (ie low block, inside middle block, etc). I've heard people say 'there are no blocks in karate' and that they are all strikes.


that being said kata does have it's uses.
Agreed. Have you ever seen Ashihara karate katas? I believe they are all newly created katas, with all of the original meanings being taught by the creator. They seem to be really practical from what I've seen.

Meex
12/18/2004 3:30pm,
Anyways, for clarity, this is what I am refering to as an X-block:
http://changkarateschool.com/two-fist%20X%20low%20block%20children.jpg
I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing.

"Don't look at your kata as an absolute reference.
Can you do all of your techniques in more than one direction? YES"
Yes, we are talking about the same thing. I didn't choose the correct reference ("downward" instead of "overhead") because I am an idiot (I did remember you wrote "front snap kick").


Also, for the specific block I am talking about, I can't see how either of those arms could even be effective on their own. A front snap kick would just smash into the arm, probably doing damage, and possibly not be stopped if the target is the groin.
Well, if this "X-block" is done with the same thrust/power as a punch (as ours are), then yes, I have done this exact technique (with either arm) since I was a young lad. Your fist basically locks the muscles and bones in the forearm into a (form) that will not only take this kick, but have it bounce away into the prescribed direction. Remember, you are not blocking force-on-force here, but redirecting the energy to the side. Your footwork also needs to be adjusted with a slight pivot (for example: a right-hand cross parry would need a slight pivot to the left). The kick basically continues slightly off-line, to the side of your body, and leaves the opponent open.


If it was a thrust kick, the kick would come in over top of it and bypass it all together.
Thrust kicks are a different animal. While this technique can be used, it would take an entirely different set of timing, and footwork, making it not the most practical for any below 1st dan level to try.


Also, I find liberal interpretations of kata problematic. In the sense that how do you know what are the good applications and the bad ones? I've been told that turning my body to the left while rotating my forearm from parallel to the floor to perpendicular to the floor has many applications.
Problematic? yes. I know I was fortunate in this regard. My sensei taught many aspects through kata, and practical application. He would have us find out whether or not a technique would work for a particular application by first letting us try. If a technique sucked (mostly it was us doing the technique that sucked-haha), he was the first to bring it up. But, he also allowed full experimentation within the prescribe forms. Even though there are all those "blocks" within the kata, we learned not to rely on them but to use the footwork to evade, sidestep, slip, and otherwise not have to use an "extra" step to strike a target.


My point is that taking liberties when interpretting kata can be dangerous.
I understand your point. However, I was taught (by my sensei) not to take anything a face value, or to blindly accept what is said as absolute truth, but to go and to do, examine, test, reexamine, and do, again. A process that has always yielded what works (for me), and what does not.

`~/

(btw - thanks! +rep for lots of good discussion points)