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chrishanson68's picture
RBSD Applications and how Tony Blauer's Spear resembles Pinan 4

Hello folks, Chris Hanson here once again.  This is a repost, as my sensei Craig actually told me I spelled his last name wrong so I had to edit.  So below are some vid clips of a training session we had in my home town of Stouffville, Ontario Canada at my instructors dojo - Stouffville Martial Arts Academy.  We had a guest self-defence Instructor, Chris Roberts from Safe International join us.  Chris Roberts, is one of Canada's leading exponents in RBSD instruction.  Check him out at:


Enjoy the video's below.  The one's involving Tony Blauer's Spear technique, in my opinion, resemble Pinan 4 from Shorin Ryu Karate.  Pinan 4's opening move is the double shuto block.  The way I see it applied naturally is by utilizing Tony Blauer's Spear, as demonstrated by Chris Roberts.

In my opinion it doesn't really matter where the technique comes from.  What counts is how you use it and whether it works.  So below is our 3 hour day of fun!

Tell me what you think?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMdD4iqF6dM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvsRdt5o-AI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jilIUYhN-EQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x23espcafmM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHW__9FjYCc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcJnvM_PN9c (warning foul language during scenario training) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px9_gjlpv94 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTKka7WvLPo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G5OQ5s6b1w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utNOQYT5Vs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4NBwgMBKvQ

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Hey Chris

Pinan/Heian 4 opening part can be viewed as showing the same principle as opening for Kankudai (Shotokan), Kosukan dai (Shito), Kushanku (Wado). If you look at the older Okinawan versions of these kata there's a distinct forward thrust with the hands and push back with the bottom. Here:

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Jon Sloan wrote:
If you look at the older Okinawan versions of these kata there's a distinct forward thrust with the hands

That video illustrates the thrusting forward and the dropping of the head very well. Nice find and it clearly shows the “wedging application” of that motion in Kushanku / Kanku-Dai.

To explain a little further: You’ve lost the advantage and the enemy is raining down blows (not a good position to be in!). Wedge your hands through the chaos in the hope of deflecting a couple of blows and smash your hands into the enemy’s face to start to regain the initiative. Pull your hands apart in the hope of clawing one of the enemy’s eyes with your thumbs. Continue to more the arms down in order clear the limbs away from the enemy’s head and neck. Depending on what your arms feel, move at an angle to what is known i.e. if one of your arms has made contact with the enemy’s arm move to that side so you are away from the unknown / uncontrolled arm. As you move to that side, keep the enemy’s arm out of the way and strike to the neck. That would be the function of the “rise and circle” (deflect, smash, rake eyes, & open up) and the two knife-hands to the side (showing the options of what angle to move to and strike depending on what arm is located).

As an aside, I see the kata’s following sequences as instruction on what to do with the arm you are now holding in order to set up further strikes and escape. It is possible to make the first quarter of the kata into an open flow drill to practise controlling and manipulating the limbs, which it turn gives you the skills for the methodology found later in the kata.

In order to get the context right, I should probably point out that I see such attempts to regain the advantage to be useful, but nowhere nears as effective and useful as maintaining the initiative in the first place. In the “What causes karate to fail with regards to self-protection” thread, I mentioned that one of the problems I see in karate is “Too much emphasis placed on reaction as opposed to pre-emption and being proactive”. I therefore worry when I see such methods being presented as the primary methods with being pre-emptive and proactive relegated to, “you can do that too, but [return to discussion on reaction]”.

I see such methods as being very important for when things are going badly or you’ve been caught unawares, but they are secondary methods for when the primary methods have failed or the opportunity for them has been lost.

Very useful and vitally important when put into the right context: Disastrous when given “top billing” and being pre-emptive and pro-active is downplayed or ignored as a result.

All the best,


Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Spot on as usual Iain! Both in the movement and strategy elements - 

Stages for self protection being (1) Don't be there (2) Leave if you see trouble brewing (3) Use verbal strategy to defuse if you can't escape (4) Pre-emptive strike if there's no other option and escape as soon as you can (5) If pre-empt fails follow up with other techniques devised to disable attacker(s) long enough to allow you to escape, etc.

Remembering in all these scenarios you may not be alone - you may have others you need to protect and they may not be able to exit as fast as you can and you may be protecting another who's already under attack and so on.

Sometimes though you get surprised - perhaps at stage 2 where he/they strike before you defuse or strike or if you're just not switched on enough and get caught out by the proverbial guy(s) jumping out of a bush. Though you should not ever be that switched off - especially outside your home and even more so when you're already in a tense situation trying to talk down a potentially physically violent person(s).

Key points to remember for a flinch response that Iain describes above are

(1) Make sure your whole momentum is driving forwards to regain the initiative and dominance

(2) Make sure that your head drops between your arms. Don't leave it sticking up above the parapet to keep being hit. So your arms act as both a defensive barrier around your head and a striking force forward at the same time.

Nice training method for this is to work with three partners. One in front and one at either side. One of them should shout out your name at the same as striking with either or both hands or grabbing with either or both hands. You turn as you hear the shout and perform the sequence Iain describes.

Hope that helps


JWT's picture

I've long felt that the double handed thrust preceding the knee strike in Heian Yondan is a perfect example of a pre Blauer 'S.P.E.A.R. tactic' in Karate, the modification of posture (upright spine) from Japanised Karate aside.  All good stuff. :)

VIC's picture

could not the same be said for the opening movements of seiunchin kata of goju ryu.I have always seen it as opening the attacker up and delivering a head butt on the step in .