6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture
Jodan Uke vs Shuto Uke

I love it when students ask questions. Sometimes as a teacher I think that some things are obvious and everyone knows what I mean. In that moments it is great to have students who are not afraid to ask questions, even if they think they are trivial.

On our last session one student asked about the difference between Jodan and Shuto Uke, as for that student they feel very similar. Here's my explanation about the differences from my perspective.

Kind regards

Les

Marc
Marc's picture

Good ideas you present for the differences between Age-Uke (Jodan-Uke) and Shuto-Uke.

I would point to a more fundamental difference, and that's the direction of the impact. Both techniques can be used to trap an arm with the back hand and attack the neck with the forearm of the front hand. Age-Uke drives forward and upward - I would describe it as smashing/pushing - with the full body weight behind it. Shuto-Uke swings outward and a bit downward - I would describe it as slashing/slamming - with more rotational force.

On the surface an Age-Uke done by a tall person on a smaller person can look quite similar to a Shuto-Uke administered by a small person on a taller person. Still the way power is generated by the two techniques differs.

Interesting question by your student. Looking forward to reading more explanations by other forum members.

All the best,

Marc

Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture
Hi Marc This is the perfect example of me thinking that everyone knows this :) I forgot to mention different force direction as you pointed out. Thanks Marc
Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

The comparison of two core techniques is a very interesting topic! Here’s my thoughts:

They do have differing roles, but they are not entirely different. Both involve the forearm striking the neck and both have an active back hand. They can therefore blend into one another in certain circumstances; especially during live practise. I can therefore understand the comment that they feel similar. In their “pure form” the core differences would be:

Stance:

Shuto-Uke: Back leg bent so weight directed to rear hand, which is consistent with the core role of clearing the enemy’s limbs (which are typically free).

Age-Uke: Front leg bent so weight is directed toward the striking hand, which is consistent with the core role of forcefully striking while gripping the enemy’s arm (which is typically secured).

Direction of Strike:

As Marc has pointed out, Age-uke delivers a rising force and Shuto-Uke delivers force on an arc / forward (depending on the specifics of the style).

Role of the back hand:

Shuto-Uke: A open back hand across the chest suggests controlling the elbow.

Age-Uke: A closed hand further back suggests controlling the wrist.

The optimal weight distribution (stance) will ultimately be determined by the situation. The direction of the strike will likewise be determined by the relative position of the two combatants i.e. their height, posture and direction of movement. Finally, the specific grip on the arm will be whatever is secured. So, while the methods are distinct in they way the kata shows them, it is certainly possible for the methods to blend into a hybrid in free flowing application.

One final thought is that it could be your student is generally training with people who are taller. This means that the Age-Uke is unlikely to be coming up from below and hence,having been adapted for height differences, will have a forward / from the side feeling also associated with Shuto-Uke; which does that by design as opposed to default.

Good video as always Les! Good topic for discussion too!

All the best,

Iain

Marc
Marc's picture

Great systematic explanation, Iain. Thank you.

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Stance:

Shuto-Uke: Back leg bent so weight directed to rear hand, which is consistent with the core role of clearing the enemy’s limbs (which are typically free).

Age-Uke: Front leg bent so weight is directed toward the striking hand, which is consistent with the core role of forcefully striking while gripping the enemy’s arm (which is typically secured).

Yes including the typical stance in the analysis make sense, and it supports the direction of force of the technique. We could say that the back stance is pulling the enemy into the strike, wheras the front stance is pushing the strike into the enemy (both provided the back hand trapped an arm).

Iain Abernethy wrote:

The optimal weight distribution (stance) will ultimately be determined by the situation. The direction of the strike will likewise be determined by the relative position of the two combatants i.e. their height, posture and direction of movement. Finally, the specific grip on the arm will be whatever is secured. So, while the methods are distinct in they way the kata shows them, it is certainly possible for the methods to blend into a hybrid in free flowing application.

Just as Funakoshi said in his precept 18/20: "Kata is the ideal form. A real fight is a special case." (形は正しく 実戦は別物。 - Kata wa tadashiku jissen wa betsu mono.)

Or as Mick Jagger sang "You can't always get what you want." (あなたはいつもあなたが欲しいものを得ることができません。 - Anata wa itsumo anata ga hoshī mono o eru koto ga dekimasen. ;-)

Take care,

Marc

PASmith
PASmith's picture

One of the bedrock methods of the kata seems to be "smash your forearm into his head/neck". Almost as a general principle. Something gross motor and powerful that doesn't necesarilly need fine tuned targetting or a well conditioned striking surface (as befits a civilian self protection method I think).

Many variations of smash up, smash across, smash out, smash in, smash down, smash around, etc. It only seems right that they merge and adapt as needed. In much the same way the punches in boxing can become hybrids of more than one type of punch (shovel hook, up-jab, etc). As long as you are smashing something it's all good.