Training for tai sabaki?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by crash76, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. crash76

    crash76 Valued Member

    Does anyone know a good method of training on your own in tai sabaki? Relating this to jiu ippon/sanbon kumite and jiu kumite, where I am sort of slow. Would like to be better at this as all i do with jiu ippon kumite is step sideways with a jump, but i know there are lots of other ways to move out of the way.
  2. robertmap

    robertmap Valued Member

    Kind of depends what you have been taught - whatever that is, practice it lots.

    The secrets to body movement are (in no particular order):
    Strength (esp core strength).
    and probably about a hundred other things :)

    And of course the main one (that I mentioned before) LOTS OF PRACTICE :)
  3. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    Does your instructor not teach you block and counter techniques? There are a number of ways to drill this in class as a partner exercise. If it's part of your cirriculum or you have a tourney coming up, your sensei should be willing to help you. :)
  4. crash76

    crash76 Valued Member

    I kind of havnt really been taught anything. When we do our ippon kumite, which we do lots of, we get taught "get out of the way".....we get taught the why, but not specifically the how. So all id be doing at home is jumping side to side!!! was hoping there were some specific techniques maybe that I could use.
  5. crash76

    crash76 Valued Member

    In the class out sensei expects us to:
    a) get out of the way
    b) use a block of some type
    c) use two strikes afterwards
    d) use a takedown regularly.

    Not saying hes a bad instructor, hes just not entirley into the specifics on how say block a kick, and then use a specific attack for that kick, he more relys on your natural feeling for what block and attack to use. Not really a bad thing.
  6. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    Very strange! I assumed all dojos teach block/counter techniques early on. The most common techniques I've seen are palm blocking and innerblocking while doing the tai sabaki. Once you've blocked, you're free to use a counter. There are others, but I'm sure different styles teach it differently than ****o-Ryu.
  7. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    IMO, you should hold off on going by feeling util you understand the fundamentals of how the techniques work. If your sensei expects you to do a-d effectively, he should set aside mat time to drill them.
  8. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    I quite like this more freeform way of training. I prefer it to the "this is set 1: gedan barai, gyaku zuki; this is set 2: soto uke, empi...etc" way of learning because it encourages you to think on your feet a bit more and not always be relying on your memory of fixed routines. However, it only works once you've actually got some techniques in your arsenal to draw upon.

    As to your original question, it's quite hard to practice tai sabaki without someone to avoid, but you can focus on footwork without a parner.

    Practice all the ways you could step to circle an opponent. Say, with your standard left-leg-forward zenkutsu dachi, practice stepping your left foot sideways then using your hips to fire your right leg behind you back into zenkutsu at 45 degrees from where you started. Or start by pivoting your right leg behind your left to end up at 45 degrees. Or step diagonally forward with your right leg, past your left, then rotate your body around to the left so you're facing where the back of your opponent would be. Or step your left leg to your right and your right leg out so you're to the right of your opponent. Or step your right leg out so it's parallel to the side of your left and twist your hips so you're facing at 45 degrees to the right of your opponent. Once you can do these fluidly and quickly (which is quite difficult), add them together and practice switching between them.
  9. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    I always have mixed feelings about this kind of attitude, personally. The upside to that kind of training is that it causes the student to think if they're training honestly. The downside is that most students blank and then fail to appreciate the importance of tai sabaki/ashi sabaki. It's a bit like telling some to be careful with building a puzzle, but not giving them any points in what to look for. You either float or are utterly destroyed in a tide of puzzle horror. :p

    Has anyone taught you about a concept called "nagasu" (used as "nagashi" when in combinations of other words) or what naname is? It's my personal preference, but I find my ippon kumite is a little more efficient for it, especially as I can be pretty slow and don't want to move more than I have to.

    What I tend to do is, if I don't have a partner, to mark a line on the ground. Barely sticky white tape/line of shoes/line in the pavement/gaps between paving slabs (as it is in my case)/chalk line - you get the idea. You treat that as the centre line, the line of attack for your standard karate uchi/tsuki/keri waza that you stand over. The line should go through your own centre line, which should be the same line that people will attack you with. When you move, you then check to see if upon completion of the movement that your whole body is off the centre line without sacrificing your posture.

    Alternatively, if you have a tree nearby I tend to tie a squash bottle with a fair bit of water to a bit of string and tie it to a branch so the bottle dangles around upper chest height. Then you swing it and practice your timing and movement away from it. Because it is predictable, you have to force yourself to wait until you have to move, but it works pretty well.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  10. eggbeater

    eggbeater New Member

    Good body evasion is dependent on footwork, we call it walking the circle. Keep the movements minimal and try not to over exaggerate. Offset and angle...try not to jump or over cross the feet. Learn fast things slowly with a like minded training partner, we practice drills with one person attacking in a straight line, whilst the other is spinning off using the hands to redirect the attacker's momentum. It's a nice feeling when it starts coming together :)
  11. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    Is that the same type of circle walking you find in variations of Bagua zhang?
  12. crash76

    crash76 Valued Member

    Thanks guys, thats awesome.

    karatesloth i will try the bottle of water trick in the garge, seems like a great idea, coupled with the 8 points like moosey has suggested. But iver never heard of nagasu or nagashi, i'll google and see what comes up.

    I dont completely suck at ippon kumite, just want to get better at it, and would like to do something other than kihon and kata over the summer.
  13. eggbeater

    eggbeater New Member

    Similar, but our footwork is a little more subtle, we try not to cross the feet too much, keeping our footwork as natural as possible without over exaggerating.
  14. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Crash, how long have you been doing Karate? Have you really not been given any instruction about footwork for Taisabaki? Don't know about Shotokan but in Wado footwork for avoidance/evasion is key in Ippon Gumite, Kumite Gata and particularly Kihon Kumite. You should be familiar with Irimi (entering), Nagasu(flowing with/sidestepping), Inasu (avoid and attack simultaneous), Noru/Kirikiashi(bending/blending)?

    Excuse my paraphrasing of all the above, none of which involve jumping.

    solo practice of Nagasu/nagasazuki and then Irimi footwork is reasonably straightforward, Noru and Inasu really require a partner.
    I had ago on Youtube but couldn't find anything that explained what I wanted well enough, visually (and there was quite a lot of stuff that was pretty awful and/or wasn't tai sabaki as I understand it).

    Edit:Just spotted this
    . What's your Kyu grade?

    Ask your Sensei about the footwork for the above techniques, if he can't tell you then either they're not part of Shotokan or your class is, mmm, not so good.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  15. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Nagashizuki and Nagasu are terms that tend to be found in Wado dojo more than other karate styles I think.

    Regarding getting better, it wil come with practice. It's difficult to get right and I'm afraid there is no other way to explain it really.

    Watch the way your instructors and seniors move and do your best to emulate them.

  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    what they all said.

    also, one thing that i feel is irreplaceable for developing these sorts of skills is a controlled environment. just throwing people into ippon kumite, jiyu kumite or whatever and expecting them to learn to dodge just like that is going to be a very hit-or-miss approach (note: i'm biased, as i have had, and have seen, bad results when i or someone else have been in that situation, not just in martial arts, for which i absolutely detest the "learn by doing" mentality). get someone who knows what their doing, and go over the ippon kumite techniques slowly (not super slow-mo, though, just casual, but with good technique), and from there look at where and how you can move so that you don't get hit, and what techniques you can use. the rationale behind choosing them is a mix of common sense and simplicity. ask yourself questions like these:

    "do i need to use extremely strict kihon?" (some sensei might flip out if you don't, others might encourage more natural movement, and it might vary depending on your grade and such)

    "what is the easiest movement i can do that doesn't get me hit?" (ie the one for which you have to move the least and/or make the least effort)

    "what kihon moves, if any, can i use to take advantage of this easy movement?" (this will teach you how to really use your kihon, and serve as a bridge towards natural movement as you learn to economize your motions rather than doing X or Y kihon technique "just because")

    an example taken from the SKIF jiyu ippon kuimite sets: [ame=""]SKIF Jiyu Ippon Kumite - YouTube[/ame]

    check the vid at around 1:10 for a chudan oi-zuki defense using tate-shuto-uke with a slight step off-line. note the defending dude's lower body. since SKIF jiyu ippon kumite uses freeform stances, he's not in any specific tachi-waza, but he keeps his legs relaxed, ready to spring him anywhere with either leg, without having the other leg interfere by being stiff (which is why people with less experience with tai sabaki "jump" when they try). if he pushes with his lead leg, his rear leg will bend and he'll go into kokutsu-dachi (or near it, in any case, since he's not supposed to "hold" a stance there). if he pushes with his rear, his front will bend and he'll go into zenkutsu. he keeps his back straight, however, so that wherever his lower body goes, the rest of him follows rather than dragging along like a sack of potatoes and slowing him down. add some lateral motion here, some rotation there, and he can shift into pretty much any stance, in any direction, without actually having to use the stances themselves (referring specifically to the fixed held position that is nothing but the end of a stance, when your technique has already finished and you're no longer "doing" anything), because his kihon is second-nature to him, and he only needs to do the motion and then relax.

    thus, we see that he simply shifts his rear foot laterally while pushing off the lead, and his entire body moves to the side enough for him to evade and parry the semi-robotic oi-zuki and then counterattack, and you can see the workings of a kokutsu-dachi there (or maybe a kiba-dachi. hard to tell), and by returning his weight between his feet, he's shifting forwards, which he uses to push out a little bit more into an almost zenkutsu or fudo-dachi, which he uses to punch, before relaxing again into his jiyu kumite position. this is built off of the concepts alluded to in the questions above. the techniques are pre-set, but in this case it's "jiyu" ippon kumite (ironically enough), so he doesn't need to have a strict angle between his legs, a set rotation of his arm, an exact distance to move his feet, or a specific direction to have them pointing in, etc. he just has to not get hit (and although that's a demonstration video so there was no risk of that, i've no doubt that kanazawa's sons probably beat the crap out of each other in regular training at least every once in a while :p), and that ability to not get hit is developed by having heavily ingrained into himself a solid foundation of kihon kumite, to learn to control his body, and a gradual progression towards loosening those movements, in order to be able to move and act in free-flow, without depending on specific formal techniques (which are simply methods of training principles).

    the movement following that one shows something that, given a straight thrust, is actually simpler, but somewhat harder to do until you know what you're doing. to the untrained eye (and to the half-trained eye until you figure it out and can do it by yourself), it can sometimes look as if he's only moving forwards, and has magically slipped the punch (certainly looked that way to me when i first saw that type of parry years ago, and there certainly is a given amount of compliance when it's done in a public demo, lending weight to that impression), but in reality, he's simply widened his stance into zenkutsu-dachi, and since a kumite stance is typically center-weighted, and shorter and narrower than zenkutsu-dachi, he effectively shifted his center of gravity off diagonally forwards and to the side. the lateral movement gives him more leeway to avoid the punch (helped along by a little bit of torso twist just to be sure), and the forwards momentum gives power to his parrying arm, so that he doesn't need as much arm strength to prevent the punch from smacking him in the nose, as well as ensuring that even though he ends up in close, he has power in his other hand when he throws the uppercut. and all this is built up off the simple kihon move of stepping forwards into zenkutsu-dachi while throwing a gyaku-zuki and covering yourself with the other hand while you do so. just gotta be aware of your center of gravity so you can move it, and of your head so you can get it out of the way.

    one other thing, that i actually like quite a bit, although i couldn't say how effective it is since i do it rarely, is to push a punching bag, and try to avoid it when it comes back towards me. this lets me work on my footwork against something that packs some punch if it touches me, but which won't actually hurt me, and which is slow enough for me to be able to work without pressure on different methods to get out of the way, although of course, it's no substitute for an actual person with some common sense and the willingness to help (as opposed to someone who'll just use you for target practice and not let you work your own stuff).

    so, to recap: first get your kihon footwork as polished as you can. then, relax and start doing the same things, but in free-flow. then get someone to try to hit you, but not to kill you, so you can work it without pressure, and if you have access to a punchign bag, make it swing and play with it, trying not to get knocked on your ass while you move around.

    hope that helps :)
  17. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    also, when nagashi/nagasu/nagare/other terms with the same root are used in karate, they often mean "flow", which i think is one of the literal translations of the term (nagare is a verb, iirc). this refers to doing things that do not directly interrupt the movement of the opponent, ex: nagashi-uke, which i learned as a term for a sideways palm-block that doesn't necessarily press strongly forwards to completely parry something, but exerts just enough pressure for your body to go the other way. it's what i would call the parry in second technique i mentioned from the SKIF video above, for example (nagashi-uke + gyaku ura-zuki). different groups might have different terminology, though, and the wado folks will certainly have a definition more or less specific for them, because wado is influenced by older mainland japanese arts (let's purposefully call them jujutsu just to cheekily annoy them if it's incorrect :D), which tend to involve such concepts quite heavily (to the point where aikido sprung up from one of them), so this may not apply to what they call nagashi, etc.
  18. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    Fish's posts there^^ are just brill. :) 2 thumbs up. Couldn't have said it better myself. The video is also very good. Those exercises are almost exactly the sort of thing my shihan had me do when we started learned tai sabaki and various counters found in kihon katas and Tenshin Happo.
  19. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

  20. crash76

    crash76 Valued Member

    Arthurking, ive been training now for about 3 years.

    When I say I havnt been shown anything, its as I said earlier, we get told to "get out of the way" and move however you need to, to avoid the attack with whatever block you see fit. I was hoping that there might be a very "drill down" style approach to it, which looks a lot like whats in those SKIF videos!!!

    I'll take while digesting those videos that's for sure, they look awesome!, thanks for that Fishofdoom.

    Like you said, I kind of "jump" out of the way, which is effective in some ways, but doenst feel very "flowing" or "karate" like. Then I'm not in much of a position to counter attack without having to "jump" back the other way to get into a position to attack.

    I have seen some videos where they just kind of step effortlessly out of the way. Id like to get to that kind of level!

    All the suggestions are great, especially the punching bag and bottle tied on to a rope.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014

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