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Josh Pittman
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Sip Su Application?

Anybody have good ideas about bunkai for Sip Su? I've always hated that form, but it occurs to me that the people here might be able to redeem it for me.

Heath White
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I don't know this form myself, but I can tell you it is called Jitte in Japanese (or maybe Okinawan) and you can poke around for bunkai ideas using that name.

Iain Abernethy
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Josh Pittman wrote:
Anybody have good ideas about bunkai for Sip Su? I've always hated that form, but it occurs to me that the people here might be able to redeem it for me.

Mark "Oldman" Cook (author of “Oldman’s Bubishi”) shared this video on Sip So a few years ago:

 

I know of other Korean stylists who also have great drills for the form, but they have not shared them publicly at this stage. Maybe this thread will serve as a prompt :-)

Heath White wrote:
I don't know this form myself, but I can tell you it is called Jitte in Japanese (or maybe Okinawan) and you can poke around for bunkai ideas using that name.

The kata’s original name is “Jitte” (十手) which translates as “Ten Hands” in Japanese (just as “Sip soo” does in Korean). This has lead to myths like, “This kata gives you the strength of five men” :-) Personally, I think the name likely to be in reference to the embusen which is cross shaped; like the Japanese character for 10. Some versions of the kata repeat some motions such that the embusen is “T” shaped and has the kata start and finish on the same place (a stated requirement for some styles i.e. Shotokan, but not a dictate adhered to by most styles). There are versions that don’t repeat movements, and these do give a “十” shaped embusen. That’s therefore my favoured hypothesis on the name.

This drill on Jitte may be of interest:

 

All the best,

Iain

Josh Pittman
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Thanks, Iain. There are still some style variations that make the version I practice a little mystifying, but this is enough to make playing around with it more efficient.

Iain Abernethy
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Hi Josh,

Josh Pittman wrote:
There are still some style variations that make the version I practice a little mystifying …

Could you provide a link to a YouTube video and a time stamp of the sequences in question?

For example, “1) The backward skip at 0:34. 2) The crescent kick and high hands at 0:38 3) …”

If you could do that people would be able to share thoughts on the specific variants. Should make for a fun discussion!

All the best,

Iain

Oerjan Nilsen
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What Iain said :-) I don’t practise the form myself, but I’m sure I practise some similar sequences, techniques etc within the forms I do practise. And as Iain said, it’d be a fun conversation:-) 

PASmith
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Using this video for reference...

 

I'd be interested in uses for...

The simultaneous upward and downward palm "blocks" at 18 seconds.

The 3 high hands/crescent kick/stamp type movements at 31-33. In ITF/TAGB Taekwondo we have a pattern (Toi-gye) with six of them, one after another, and almost no one likes them!

Sip soo/Jitte is clearly a kata that influenced a couple ITF TKD patterns.

Josh Pittman
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Here's what I'm particularly interested in: the three...um..."reverse knife-hand blocks" and subsequent "push" with both open hands anchored to the waist. Starts about 1:02.

 

Or here, beginning at 0:41:

Iain Abernethy
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Hi All,

Awesome! I’m sure others will also contribute their thoughts on Sip Soo / Jitte, but here is my initial contribution:

PASmith wrote:
Using this video for reference ... I'd be interested in uses for... The simultaneous upward and downward palm "blocks" at 18 seconds.

Your right hand makes contact with enemy’s left elbow. The angle in the kata is 45-degrees, so it is instructing us to assume a 45-degree angle relative to the enemy. As we assume the angle – which will take you away from the enemy’s right arm while keeping the enemy in front of you (tactical positioning) – we push the enemy’s arm down with the right dropping palm-heel. At the same time the left rising one smashes into the underside of the enemy’s chin. In the Shotokan version, a front stance is used, so it is showing pushing forward strongly and hence there will be an unbalancing component too. In the version I do, a short cat stance is used, so it shows moving around the enemy (no moving of the enemy) while getting the angle. Both examples work and whether to drive or yield would depend on the motion of the enemy at the time of application.

PASmith wrote:
The 3 high hands/crescent kick/stamp type movements at 31-33. In ITF/TAGB Taekwondo we have a pattern (Toi-gye) with six of them, one after another, and almost no one likes them!

In the version I do, the arm motion is the same, but the crescent/ stamp kick is absent. The arm motion sees us moving inside the enemy’s arm (a hook, a stripped grip, etc) as the back arm guides the arm past us and the lead forearm smashes into the neck.

As for the version with the leg movement, it would be the same except that, if it was appropriate (tactically and in terms of relative positions), you can move your lead leg to the outside of the enemy’s lead leg (the lift and stamp). From here, you can pull on the on the enemy’s arm as you push on the shoulder. With your leg on the outside, the enemy can’t regain their balance by moving their foot and hence they will fall.

Josh Pittman wrote:
the three...um..."reverse knife-hand blocks" and subsequent "push" with both open hands anchored to the waist. Starts about 1:02 … Or here, beginning at 0:41:

At first glance, that looks like a variation on the Shotokan movement at the same point. The version I do has a simple double palm-heel at that point (redirect arm and smash jaw and base of skull). The Shotokan version is briefly covered at 3:30 in the video below. Hopefully that provides a starting point from which the TSD nuances can explored.

 

I look forward to seeing others share their thoughts in what could be a very useful thread!

All the best,

Iain

PASmith
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You sir Mr Abernethy are worth your weight in gold. :)

Iain Abernethy
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PASmith wrote:
You sir Mr Abernethy are worth your weight in gold. :)

Significantly less valuable than I was 12 months ago? ;-) Thank you. I’m pleased that helps.

Josh Pittman
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Iain Abernethy wrote:
At first glance, that looks like a variation on the Shotokan movement at the same point.

There are some TSD version I've seen in which your explanation is definitely applicable, but there seems to be something significantly different about the version I practice. There is no palm-heel in this version, so the emphasis is entirely on the backward motion, and the slow, sort of open-hand chamber at the hip seems to be the finishing part of the move.

Iain Abernethy wrote:
Hopefully that provides a starting point from which the TSD nuances can explored.

Absolutely! I will play around with it next time I get a chance.

Thanks again!

Heath White
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My opinion is not worth a great deal on this topic but I'll share some thoughts after looking at various versions of the form on YouTube.

One thing I do is check out the shorin-ryu version of a kata because that style is supposed to have preserved the original movements better.  Idk if that's always true but it sometimes has helped me see things that may have gotten "lost in translation."  Anyway, if you take that seriously:

 

1.  The simultaneous palm up/down "blocks".  The shorin-ryu version has these paired left and right, which indicates that one of these movements is the whole sequence for dealing with an attack.  I would agree with Abenethy sensei that the hand moving down is defensive (blocking a punch, peeling off a grip, etc.) and the hand moving up is offensive (hitting the chin, spearhand to the throat, ridgehand to the neck, etc.)  For ideas, compare the "scissor block" that is the second move of Pyongan Samdan (Pinan/Heian 3).

2.  The hands-up "W" blocks with crescent kicks.  The shorin-ryu version also lacks the kicks.  I notice that he crosses his arms in front of his body before raising them both up.  Say the attack is a grab of the front hand.  Cross arms, use the rear hand to strip off his grip and grab his arm, pull him backwards by raising the rear hand while hitting with  the front hand.  You could adapt the same motion for catching an incoming strike: in general, defend with the rear hand and strike with the forward hand.  I think this is compatible with what Abernethy sensei said above.  For ideas, compare the first move of Naihanchi (n)edan except that form uses elbows rather than the whole arm.  Add the feet as opportunistic strikes to his front leg/knee/foot/etc.

3. The "reverse knife hand blocks and push".  The shorin-ryu version has these as an obvious move from the Bubishi, a simultaneous grab to the groin and throat.  The Shotokan version moves the bottom hand to waist level but is still obviously grabbing with both hands.  The TSD version just doesn't extend the arms very far.  Whether you are satisfied with the Bubishi/shorin-ryu bunkai is I guess a philosophical difference in "how to bunkai".  

As I said, I'm not sure those thoughts are worth much and I would be interested to hear what others have to say,  either alternatives to or refutations of my suggestions.

Iain Abernethy
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Heath White wrote:
My opinion is not worth a great deal on this topic but I'll share some thoughts after looking at various versions of the form on YouTube.

All opinions and viewpoint are always welcome, worthwhile and valuable :-)

That’s a good post and your thoughts definitely add value to the thread.

Heath White wrote:
One thing I do is check out the shorin-ryu version of a kata because that style is supposed to have preserved the original movements better.

It’s always very useful to look at style variations because it gives an alternate vantage point. I would be careful about suggesting any given versions is “purer” though because all styles have evolved (as they should). These evolutions can be positive improvements too.

In the video you link to, the gentleman performing the kata states the following in the comments, “These kata are from the Sri Lanka Branch of Kyudokan School.” The Kyudokan website states (my highlight):

“The Kyudokan Karate-do, founded by the Master Yuchoku Higa, one of the most famous 10th Dan Masters in the world, had its origins in the ancient Shorin school, or in other words the Shuri-te (the hand of Shuri). This is an evolving school in the sense that, although it is an art handed down from generation to generation, it has advanced its technical content with regard to the art of movement, without losing the spirit of the original.”

They therefore do not claim that their school has preserved the original kata unchanged; rather that they have evolved while seeking to maintain the original intent (if not the movement). That’s the right way to go in my view and I think we can see the same in other styles too.

Looking at the alternative version has brought up some interesting and important points though and I’m very grateful to you for sharing those insights. This is turning in to a very information dense thread!

All the best,

Iain