Punching correctly in the Takamatsuden

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Please reality, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Reading recent posts in another thread, I thought this would be an interesting topic for discussion in it's own right. Not being able to punch properly(read effectively, speedily, and powerfully) has long been seen as an issue within the Bujinkan, and many people doubt the effectiveness of the various strikes found in the Takamatsuden as a result. So how do you punch correctly in the Takamatsuden?

    In general, punching is punching. What makes a good punch from any standpoint is that it lands, lands in the right place, doesn't do damage to the puncher, hurts the person being punched, is hard to block, and sets up the next attack.

    The Takamatsuden are mostly known for oitsuki, or more commonly the "lunge punch," though oitsuki is not either a lunge nor just a punch. There are several attacks in the movement, from the lead first hand attack/control, the second punch, and the attacking the opponent's base with your feet. However, as most people haven't been taught the intricacies of this attack, it looks like a very useless training tool and not much else.

    Naturally, there are many other strikes in our arts, including chops, elbows, and odd angled things that strike with different surfaces and are a bit more rare. So from your understanding, how does one punch properly in the Takamatsuden?
  2. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    I'll go first. Two important points I saw not really explained well in the other thread have to do with the knee to toe position of the front foot, and also the transference of weight vis a vis impact with the fist.

    The knee should in general be over the toes, not past them. This is pretty much universal and has to deal with how much pressure we put on the knee and maintaining balance. There are times when the knee does go beyond the toe, but it has to be done correctly or it is dangerous. The way many demonstrate doing this movement is wrong. If your weight is going downward as your knee goes beyond your toes, you are messing up. Your weight should transfer down before going forward instead of going diagonally forward(down and forward together) or downward. This is a very small but very integral detail that many are clueless about. If you are in a stance where the toes are over the knee(or roughly 90 angle in the lower leg) and you want to switch to where the toes are pas the knee(more acute angle of the lower leg), you must lower your stance so your weight transfers forward into the attack and not diagonally downward into the ground.

    When you are stepping with a punch, it is okay to step first and land the punch slightly after, however this has to be before your weight transfers into the ground and is not something that is basic nor easy for many to do. If you step first and hit next, your power is absorbed more by the ground and not transferred into the opponent. As such, it is more commonly taught to land the punch and foot at the same time, so the weight transfers into the opponent. It is also possible to land the punch just before the foot, but it is less stable. As there is not much difference impact wise between before and simultaneous, it is safer to land the two simultaneously.
  3. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I like the description of down as there has to be pivot points. If the fist moves towards the target, some small part of the body needs to move in the opposite direction, usually seen by the movement of the hips.

    I'm going to state that I think you posted otherwise before, but in a different context. Here is what I mean...

    When you use "falling step" mechanics on a lead punch, the timing is very important to be able to both hit accurately (against a moving target) and convert the downward force into force through the target. Developing this type of technique takes more skill because of the timing involved compared to more basic striking. I really like to teach falling step mechanics for a hard/stiff jab, but when I do, I usually say to first set it up with a lighter jab to distract or stun first.

    In terms of weapons, the falling step mechanics would be more of a kill shot that would be used by a very skilled swordsman. I thought (in my possible ignorance) that timing based techniques were more discourage in Ninjutsu because of the skill they took and that "stamina-based" techniques were preferred. Stamina based techniques would be those that are more reliable when you are really fatigued. They don't require a lot of effort or timing to work. For example, instead cutting down the enemy in one power cut, run up to the enemy, place the blade along their throat and just let momentum do the work.

    To this point, I thought I had cracked some secret code of yours PR. You had mentioned that oitsuki was two strikes (or more). There was one strike with the foot/leg, but the two that I was thinking you meant was a downward light hit (maybe a hammer fist), followed by the lead straight punch. The first strike (hammer fist?) used the falling step mechanic, but also was to evade the enemy's attack/thrust. The second strike (straight punch) used hips and leaning power (although you implied no actual leaning). You can use leaning power without actually leaning, if the hips are just slightly back more than the shoulders as you drop your weight.

    The two strike method is a lot more "stamina-based" technique because the first strike is "evasion" and is more of a shield/block done with the step. The second strike comes from a rooted stance and you are already in range to punch, so no additional step necessary.
  4. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    In for later.
  5. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    food for thought: i have seen it mentioned elsewhere regarding xingyi (a style of internal kung fu) that when hitting with their vertical fist punch (they call it beng quan), the fist reaches the target, and then the foot lands (so bodyweight is applied in a drop step fashion at the point of follow through, where resistance is greatest). just something i remembered given what's been said so far.
  6. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Here is a good article on the falling step mechanics from boxing for a lead straight punch: http://www.sugarboxing.com/jack-dempseys-guide-to-explosive-straight-punching/#C3

  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Falling step mechanics provide a power/stiff jab or lead straight. The fist hits same time as foot lands to convert the downward force from gravity into forward force.

    You can step and then later hit with the punch, but the power then must primarily come from leaning or the legs and hips (depending if downward strike or upward strike). Here is a great example of lead straight punch done after stepping. Notice times when power comes from leaning and other times from the legs and hips.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nczwWPZEeL8"]Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Signature Techniques #6 -- Floyd's Jab - YouTube[/ame]

    In all of these, very little to none of the power comes from torso twisting. If using torso twisting, this would be more the lead hook or a slicing lead straight that could come as a surprise lead power punch.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  8. Kurtka Jerker

    Kurtka Jerker Valued Member

    Maybe I'm wrong but in order to talk about punching, you have to talk about kamae first. And second.
    Especially with oitsuki.

    So what is kamae, at least mechanically? Posture, footwork and guard, right?
    Should the head stay over the hips, which stay between the feet? What is the spine doing?
    How do the feet travel? Why?
    Where are your openings? Why? How do you make that happen? Is it about the elbows, or the hands?
  9. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    What's wrong with admitting Takamatsuden doesn't teach effective punching and cross-training in boxing?
  10. pearsquasher

    pearsquasher Valued Member

    I've only been to Japan about 7 times and it took me more than half those times to cop-on to making the most of training with the Japanese themselves, mostly through my own teacher's ever increasing relationship with Someya Sensei but that's a later development.

    Anyway one memorable class with Oguri Sensei stands out as being the only time I ever received personal instruction from a Shihan - i mean one-on-one 5 minutes before class in-depth fine-tuning.

    It all came about as the class before, i ended up partnering with a senior Japanese of Oguri's - because i was late and he seemed partnerless! Rather that continue with the henka that Oguri was playing with, this guy made me work on the punching attack and moving from shizen to ichimonji for most of the class. We're talking weight transfer, posture, structure, spine alignment - focusing mostly on below the hips. It-was-incredible.

    So next class I got there early to practice this and Oguri Sensei noticed and came over to help for a few minutes - guiding my movements -indicating how important it was. Sounds simple but it was hard to get right.

    I was blown away and in an instance i realised the level i should of been working at all along and how all pervious trips, while fun, were pretty much wasted opportuties. Luckily it was soon after this that the trips became more basic-focused through Someya but even then, I never underwent the minute details of those other two classes.

    So my point is, unless you've gone through this, like Please Reality and other have, I think its hard to understand the depth of foundational understanding these guys are coming from. I also believe that in a bar-room brawl your tsuki ain't gonna be a linear model of perfection, but you'll have internalised everything, and be on the way to riffing on-the-fly smaller and powerful strikes (like soke shows) to escape the situation.

    My two yen
  11. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Nice replies everyone. I want to address them but one at a time(well two in this . instance).

    If that was the case, I'd be the first to admit it. Luckily, there are effective striking techniques found in these ryu and there is no need to cross train in another art to fix some holes that don't exist. I know from experience both from cross-training myself, and from learning with a teacher who has been taught and in turn taught himself the real ryu.

    You're wrong, although kamae is definitely worthy of discussion. It doesn't have to happen here beyond mentioning that your kamae as the launchpad of your strikes, should be useful for repelling attacks, lining up your own strikes, and being transitional and functional bridges that don't fall apart from the slightest pressure. The elbows should always be in a guard position(as is the arm, even when attacking), and a pliant repelling force should be obvious when someone comes into contact with your guard. The power and structure however, comes from the ground up. You stand straight and centered in the basics and for training but can alter that as the need arises. Leaning can happen but is minimal.
  12. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Not sure by what you mean that I posted otherwise before, if you know what the discussion was about it would help.

    We use falling or dropping power a lot in our ryu, especially Koto and Kukishin ryu. However, there is also a lot of jumping and switching sides to develop power as well(Koto ryu again comes to mind). However, the drop comes as a way to propel the power forward, so happens before the forward component of the movement oftentimes so as not to be diagonal. The hips usually move in a straight plane, meaning the pelvis is kept neutral. The foot often moves backwards or sidewards, whereas the hips don't usually move back except in defense(or counterattack as in your strike forward while going backwards-Koto and Kukishin ryu again and Gyokko).

    There are a lot of timing based techniques in our ryu, especially based on weapons like biken. The idea though is that those kinds of techniques are higher level, the basics are very timing independent. You move out of the way and counter at the same moment to save time(in that you might not be able to do a one two kind of movement after the onset of their attack so you need an extra safety buffer). As you get more skilled, there are baiting techniques where the timing is different and this gets more into the realm of the capturing smoke ideal where the opponent thinks he's hit you or thrown you and you steal the victory from an apparent defeat. I wouldn't call any higher level technique stamina based, it would be more finesse based. They don't require stamina so you can do them with less effort and exertion. When you are running out of steam, you can still fight because you are doing things which don't mandate that you "do" something.

    Code? A la DaVinci? I've stated before that most people are clueless about oitsuki because they think it is just for training or a long range attack. The first lead hand attack/obstruction should take care of his guard, blind him, or pave the way for the next stepping in strike from the original rear hand. How you move forward off the original lead leg is vital to making this work, as the lead hand has to be unobtrusive and how you move your weight(plus the sensitivity of that lead hand/arm) determines this. There is sinking here, either off the front knee or with a slight step depending on distance.

    You don't lean, you have done a drop step as you step through with the rear leg and attack his stance/base/foot with your new front foot(stepping on his foot, into his stance, or kicking him lowlife). The first strike isn't an evasion, but a distraction, the second punch is rooted but the root happens as the new front foot falls into place and isn't a push, but a stable blast into them(actually JKD has something similar from what I've seen of Bruce Lee's first student).

    If you don't know how to do this complex triple attack as part of oitsuki, you don't know oitsuki. I always tell people that oitsuki is like a jab with the cross but the cross coming as you step in with the rear foot instead of pivoting on the rear hip as in boxing. The step is to cover distance but more importantly to destroy his base and stance. So if you can do oitsuki properly, it is a fight stopper as he is helpless after the three compound attack. It is better for when you are in matched leads, right to right or left to left, as you want to step outside his front leg with your new front leg. Depending on his lead hand reaction(if there is any) you can change the level and target of the second strike based on the opening created. It is possible to pressure him to react a certain way and capitalise on his reaction to that pressure. However, if you don't know how to engage his lead hand without causing a reaction, this technique is still beyond your ability.

  13. baby cart

    baby cart Valued Member

    Yeah, and unlike you, this guy never learned any of that. Uh-huhn. :cool:


    Yeah, you cross-trained and now know that the buj is damn good, without holes to boot! You learned from an honest-to-goodness shihan that knows how to punch, uh-huhn. :cool: Unlike the poor bloke on the thread I linked to. Way to go! You have the REALâ„¢ punch!

    *Logical Fallacy: No True Bujinkan

    Certain guy doesn't know or train the Takamatsuden properly. Heck no other people does, except me and my teacher(s). :hail:
  14. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    I haven't had time to read the article yet, but based on the gifs, he is leaking power due to the tilting of the pelvis downward. It is still a powerful drop step but we do the sinking in a way that the pelvis stays straight throughout the movement. In stepping, the sinking comes first or together but not after and not diagonally as in those gifs. There is a way to strike after the front foot lands but again that happens with a pivot or in a way that the weight transfer comes with impact, not after(as hitting something after your weight goes into the ground is less efficient and creates a push instead of a strike). Having said that, there are a few instances where we drive the weight down first off the front foot and strike after(but those are not basic and not well known so I won't go into more detail). This again can be found in Koto ryu, which has some very sophisticated striking aspects that do damage like Chinese internal arts.
  15. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Not sure what you are trying to say.:dunno: Whose deshi is Netzler? If you ever get punched by any of the shihan, you might rethink your belief that they don't know how to punch or that there are holes in the striking capabilities of these ryu.
    They know how to punch because Hatsumi sensei didn't just teach good technique(an obvious requirement), but also conditioning of the striking tools and things like randori to make sure they could connect. If all you know is long range lunge punching and compliant partner arm hanging for training, you won't have good striking skills(unless you got them elsewhere), and it would be an issue for you. Luckily, I suffer from none of those issues.

  16. Pankeeki

    Pankeeki Valued Member

    Everything has to be done correctly otherwise it is dangerous, this especially is why so many people are being told not to move their knees past their toes. Because they don't have the conditioning nor the proper alignment.
    But with proper instruction, correct alignment and conditioning (to deal with the pressure) it is save and this is one of the key fundamentals of our art.

    This is the way Ishizuka sensei teaches his deshi.
  17. Pankeeki

    Pankeeki Valued Member

    It would be wrong. the Takamatsu transmission does entail effective 'punching'
    Including setups, hand conditioning, guarding etc. Just look at the pictures of Takamatsu senseis hands, you wouldn't want to be hit by them. He could rip the bark of trees with his nails.
    They are just different from say boxing.

    Most people level of received correct instruction in this area is severely lacking.
    So from a self defense/sports point of view they would be better off crosstraining in boxing. It would not make their taijutsu better though, just their general fighting skill. So it depends on what your ultimate goal is.
  18. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Obviously everything has to be done correctly, and when things aren't, it results in issues. I wouldn't call attacking with your knee past your toes a fundamental, although it is important to be able to do because it can increase reach/penetration and is integral for certain kinds of attacks(especially some advanced things found in weapons and striking from close or contact range). It isn't a basic skill nor something people should try to emulate without knowing the details. I'm not sure I agree that it requires any special conditioning, just being done properly and not over stressing the knees. I think foreigners who join the Takamatsuden are automatically at risk to injuring their knees and pelvic region from improper alignment, but that is a different discussion.
  19. Count Duckula

    Count Duckula Valued Member

    And -presumably- he told Hatsumi sensei that such conditioning is not required anymore. The man also had issues with his fingers due to all the damage done by conditioning.

    Regardless of the details, Hatsumi sensei's and Tanemura sensei's hands still look like actual hands, and have normal fingernails as far as I can tell from pics.
  20. skuggvarg

    skuggvarg Valued Member

    Cant comment on Mr Tanemuras hands but I can give a first hand testimony to the "Hatsumi sensei ->Ishizuka sensei -> Zoughari sensei" line. Their hands may look normal (although to me their hands and especially fingers look thicker). Being hit by them feels more like being hit with the end of a pencil or a metal bar than with a normal finger. They may not have undergone the same extreme conditioning as Takamatsu sensei but they have done it.

    Regards / Skuggvarg

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