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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Grabbing and Tearing Techniques

Hi All,

Here is a short Youtube video of Morio Higaonna demonstrating some grabbing and tearing techniques. I was sent a link to it today and thought it may be of interest to members and visitors.

All the best,


Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Not sure if I'd want to let him demonstrate on me like that.


Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi Gary,

It was mentioned on facebook that the uke is Higaonna's son. Not sure if that is true or if it make the pain inflicted more or less acceptable? :-)

All the best,


akaobikenobi's picture

Great Clip. It doesn't look like his son. I met his son at Terry Wingroves Budosai in 2007. Interestingly Terry and Higoanna were graded 5 Dan at the same time, same course. The gripping techniques shown are a very good basic but toned down compared to what Sensei Wingrove teaches. The pain of some of these techniques is excruciating and highly dangerous to practice if you have no experience of them. You would not get insurance cover if you declared you teach them.

diadicic's picture

Is this stuff for real?  I've heard stuff like this before from chin na people.  I can see the potental for groin and throat and eyes. If so is it trained and incorporated into grappling training?



Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

I must be getting soft.  When I was young I expected to see people wince when stuff was demonstrated on them as 'proof' of it's effectiveness, these days I just think it's sad and unneccessary to enjoy giving pain to a compliant partner.

It proves absolutely nothing.


michael rosenbaum
michael rosenbaum's picture

Just a word of caution here, and I’m sure some will find the following message offensive, but we should be carefull not to fall within the trap of celebrity awe when viewing videos such as this one.* It is one thing to apply techniques to a willing person, but quite another where real life is concerned. Half of the techniques shown wouldn’t  work where I live simply because most, if not everyone, wears shirts, tee shirts, sweat shirts and heavy winter clothing. Also, grabbing someone by the ear may seem brutal, but actually performing the technique is quite another thing. The ear is a small area of the body, plus its hard to hold on to when the person is actually trying to hurt you, especially at the shown distance in this video. I appreciate the effort and knowledge put forth, but reality and example can be two different things. I remember one seminar I attended in which the Japanese instructor told me I was doing my kick wrong. “Kick with your toes!” he said. “Why bother?” I replied. “I always wear boots.”

*Yes I’m aware of the person and who he is, but it still dosen’t mean we should ooh and ahh everytime a someone of Japanese ancestry kicks or punches, or for that matter any karate-ka, famous or not.

shoshinkanuk's picture

Im pretty sure that is Nakamura Sensei being grabbed - he is a Senior under Higaonna Sensei.

Nakamura Sensei IMO is a very competent karateka, Higaonna Sensei IMO is an outstanding karateka IMO.

Saying that I found the IOGKF Goju Ryu to be a bit like much 'modern' Shotokan in terms of it's delivery, very structured - ABC if you like, I actually say that as a compliment but it is not for me.

Putting Politics to one side, I think Higaonna Sensei is one of the most outstanding examples of Traditional trianing alive, shame it's in Goju Ryu....................................LOL

Harald's picture

I find it worthwhile looking at the video. In sports karate all these things are not on the agenda, this kind of knowledge is not delivered. Michael is right, this is not a real self-defense situation but a demonstration with the only aim to teach some point(s). So Michael is right, there is no reason to shout ´aah" and  ´oh ``what a Japanese master`, but for self-defense it is advisable to study the atemi ponts (how to attack them, to cause what kind of aéffects). This is of use if the enemy is stronger than the "victim". Of course, nobody with much power will look for small points in a violent "conversation".

Byebye, Harold

P.S.: The foot (big toe) pressure you find in pinan yondan (shito ryu and perhaps wado ryu).

swdw's picture

I agree with what Michael says with a couple of comments.

The effectiveness also depends on how much people are willing to train hand strength. 99.99% of karateka are unwilling to train to a level where they can be effective through heavy clothes. I got a chance to work out with an individual that could grab you hard enough to bruise you through your clothes, even when wearing a jacket. And I don't bruise easily.

But that is the exception. However if someones willing to put the time in, the body is an amazing thing.

The pressure with the toe is not very useable in our society, but the idea of pinning the foot is useable and the move can be modified as such.

Strikes that turn into grabs are useful, but little of that is shown in the video.

Pinching is another area that can be useful when grabbed as it can be employed and it's the unexpectedness that makes it work, not the level of pain.

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

I've certainly found myself using foot pins a lot more recently - it's a combination of learning them more from one of my teachers and the closer ranges that I now work at. It's funny how often they noew seem ot happen without conscious thought too.

Michael and SWDW are both right about gripping and tearing techniques. Though, even through clothing, some pinching and tearing is always workable - the top backs and insides of the thighs are good targets when you're being mounted. Couple them with a a swift hip lift and twist and you have a simple escape that works consistently enough - in a non-dojo scenario (so not against BJJ people).

Krammy's picture

Hmmmm...Yes....I have see this video before. I can recognize these moves in Goju kata but can anybody from a Shotokan recognize these moves within their kata ? 

You know, when I saw this, I thought of Loren Christensen. Here is the video:

Now, for those of you who have met Mr. Christensen, have you ever seen him demostrate similar techniques in person ? 

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Sort of hard to deny that these CAN be effective sometimes... anyone who has ever had someone dig a knuckle in, or pass the guard by using elbows to grind the inside of the legs is experiencing the effect of pain getting people to move a certain way.

I think the only problem is when people take this stuff, and assume it can work in the absence of effective mechanical damage, shock, blunt trauma etc.. or that it will always work..but really saying "it only works sometimes", this is true of anything.

Personally I think this stuff is 'extra credit', not meant to be finishing techniques, but tricks to move or trick the body that can add effectiveness to  core mechanical techniques which actually do damage or incapacitate.

Kevin73's picture

I didn't see this as a video of "techniques" as much as it was of just ideas to play around with.  There was no entry shown to apply the movements, just showing the areas in which they could be effected.

I agree that things like that are extra credit and not a magic bullet to a situation.