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MCM180's picture
Angles and limb control applied in boxing and…some other fight

I was watching this video about a pretty remarkably skilled boxer and saw some principles of kata application:

Mostly it was the angles. Lomachenko moves around his opponent to find angles where he has an advantage and the opponent is overwhelmed by strikes. Many of the kata angles seem to have a similar function, given Mabuni's advice on kata angles. 

I also noticed the part where Lomachenko is working around the opponent's arm, reminding me of one of Iain's applications of Heian Shodan's opening sequence. He didn't control the limbs, but he did work around the obstruction.

I also noticed the limb control at about 1:05 of this video:

I realize the "chi master" guy is fighting with nonsense. But the opponent - the guy with real physical violence to bring - has him completely controlled by the arm.

When you look for kata bunkai applications, you can find them lots of places!

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Thanks for that post and for sharing the videos. Getting the angles is one of those universal fighting principles. It may be applied in differing ways depending on the context, but the general rule / principle of “keep the enemy in front of you, but don’t be in front of your enemy” applies to across the board.

It’s what lead me the conclusion that that is what the angles in kata represented. We know this is an important tactical consideration when fighting, so how can the kata record that? It has to be in relation to oneself because you are all there is in solo kata. I started looking at kata sequences that way (i.e. with the kata angle giving the orientation between karateka and enemy) and it worked beautifully and constantly.  

I only became aware of the Mabuni quote much later (which is why the quote isn’t referenced in my 2000 and 2002 books; even though the idea applying kata sequences from the angle they are presented at is discussed). So for me, the Mabuni quote was confirmation of what logic and experience had already led me to conclude.  

Limb-control is also another one of those key things that is needed and works incredibly well when at close range. Many karateka fall into the trap of thinking that kata is for fighting another karateka at a distance; and therefrom not having the hands up in a guard seems ridiculous … which it would be, but that’s not what kata are for. If we understand that kata are for close-range, non-consensual encounters (self-protection) then it makes sense to have the hands active in controlling limbs, opening up targets, locking on to those targets, etc as opposed to them being held in a passive “guard”.

I’ve always maintained that I’m a martial artist first and a karateka second. I hold that view largely because of the huge commonality across all systems when we understand context and how common principles are expressed in light of a given context.

We may change outfits, terminology and training methods (and it is largely those things that define “style”), but the principles are common and transcend style.

All the best,