Something about offensive and defensive
People are offensive and defensive in many situations, mostly when there is a stressful situation. In one situation, one person may have offensive behaviour, whereas the other side may have defensive behaviour in response. Attacks and threats may be categorized as either physical or psychological, and their effects may also be categorized as such.
The offensive and defensive behaviour can be accompanied by the use of force and aggression; the difference lies in how that force or aggression is used in a situation. The skills needed for offensive or defensive behaviour without becoming aggressive depend entirely on the concept of having respect for our fellow men.
There may be a shift between offensive and defensive actions during a confrontation or training situation.
In a given situation, the offending person, by their offensive behavior, takes the action, while the defensive behavior on the other side is a response to this action. As a result, the defensive person becomes the target of the attack or threat.
The body is responsive to offensive and defensive behaviours. A person may experience an adrenaline rush, heavenly breathing, blood running down his face, sweating, and increased heart rate.
Spatial interval during offensive and defensive behaviors.
The space range is linked to “hyoshi”, a concept of synchronization, cadence and tempo. Physical distances within the spatial range will be discussed below.
In general, three distances are used as a concept to explain the range of space between two practitioners.
- Chikama – it is the small distance, less than a step
- Ma – when the opponent takes a step to be able to seize or to strike
- Toma – when the opponent has to take multiple steps to attack, often with a weapon
Example “Toma” attack with weapon
From Koryu no kata dai san
Example of “Ma” – striking attack with “tsugi ashi”
Many examples in Koryu no kata
Also possible with “tanto” strike
Example “Chikama” – Eri dori without stepping
Many examples in Koryu no kata
Spatial interval in Tomiki Aikido
The red circle and its contents, is just one indication of how to measure the distance between two practitioners. The images in the second row show the position and method of contact between the two practitioners.
- You can easily reach your opponent, but your opponent also can reach you easily. The distance from a judo perspective.
- Issoku itto no maai: This distance is a distance where you can reach your opponent with one step forwards and you can avoid your opponent’s action with one step backwards or sideways.
- You cannot get to your opponent and your opponent cannot get to you either. Fundamentally, your weapon or hand and the weapon or the hand of your opponent do not come into contact.
Offensive and defensive waza
A basic rule to apply offensive and defensive actions (waza application) is the need to physically contact an opponent.
Offensive actions may be applied primarily to three parts of the adversary.
- Body – head and trunk by using a strike or push
- Elbow and surrounding parts of arm
- Wrist and hand
Defensive actions are frequently performed when the opponent uses an offensive action. This offensive action, sometimes goes hand in hand with a step to bridge the gap with the body. The defence against such an action can be a body turn (Koshi-mawari) or a stepping out of the line of attack by applying tsugi ashi or Ayumi ashi. After a defensive action and energy absorption, a switch to an attacking action can be used. Then it is possible to use tenshikei and hakkei.
Hakkei, explosive power
The key rule of explosive strength is the ability to stretch and twist the muscles, tendons and fascia around the bones. Building and releasing such strength is called tenshikei. There are 2 kinds of tenshikei: stationary and dynamic.
Stationary is without moving the feet, the distance is “Chikama”.
Dynamic hakkei is when you use movement (tsugi ashi or Ayumi ashi) to build momentum. It is known as ido-ryoku on a basic level. Ido-ryoku can also be thought of as tenshikei, because the power moves through the body and uses diagonal and spiral paths. Mostly, this is used when both practitioners are at the “Ma” distance.
Contracting and releasing muscles, tendons and fascia
In our study, muscles, tendons and fascia are a system and cannot be considered a separate system of muscles, tendons or fascia. Nonetheless, the muscle system plays an important role in the Western view of fitness.
What are the types of muscle contractions?
- Isometric: A muscular contraction in which the length of the muscle does not change
- Isotonic: A muscular contraction in which the length of the muscle changes.
- Eccentric: An isotonic contraction where the muscle lengthens.
- Concentric: An isotonic contraction where the muscle shortens.
Concentrating on the eccentric method has a few important advantages for martial art training. Eccentric contractions literally increase your muscle fibres, making the muscle itself physically longer.
“Longer muscles mean greater flexibility, and greater flexibility means greater injury prevention.”
How to contract and release our movement system?
Tenshikei creates a spiral activity. This enhances the potential energy in the body that can be used by releasing the “tension” in the body. Rotation of a “Flexbar” provides a visual picture of what can occur in the human body (muscle, tendon and fascia). The release of the Flexbar will be felt by a strong rotation to neutral or normal position. Letting go is a passive activity and requires no muscle contraction.
The human body is filled with spirals and these spiraling structures serve as power channels. This concept of spiraled structure is also used in many methods of healthy postures. For example “Alexander techniques” use a spiral design.
A major mistake is to concentrate on creating tension in the muscles by concentric action. This is no muscle building competition. The ability to twist and release or unwind the body can be done in a flash of less than a second.
The training objective must be directed towards the eccentric movement, that is to say the elongation of muscle fibres. Lengthening is created by a twisting movement and affects not only the muscles, but also the tendons and the fascia.
Tenshikei skill is a method to use full body movement, not at the same time, but following the logic of the moving force.
“You need to train the movement in full.” Because, as Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
This is an example of tenshikei.
How to perform an eccentric contraction, useful for tenshikei?
There are 2 ways to create tenshikei contraction
- By yourself as an active movement
- Using the power of opponent in a defensive action
In solo training, several examples can be found as active tenshikei motion. Tomiki’s tandoku undo can be transformed into a long tenshikei exercise. Contracting and releasing the internal motion system is a challenging physical workout that can be performed by all ages.
Using the power of the opponent can be found in Tomiki’s 10-Ura Waza.
Omote & ura in Martial Arts
Omote techniques are taught to beginners and are considered less effective if the movement is not performed completely as most beginners always do. Efficiency is not that high despite the overall view appears good. Students are initiated into the basic movements of martial art.
Ura techniques are more efficient since the student has more control over internal movements. Some of these techniques are defensive, where the enemy’s attack is absorbed. Strategy is an important component, in addition to total control of body movements.
Ura waza is sometimes considered a contra-technique. I believe this explanation is too simplistic and reflects only a form of defensive behavior. Ura waza is the ability to shift from defensive to offensive action. You can see it clearly in “ura waza katatachi” or the techniques known as counterattack against basic techniques.
10-Ura waza, switching from defensive to offensive
Find here 10-ura waza, a switch between a defense action to an offense. After studying the basic waza, the practitioner studies the same basic waza as a response to the basic waza carried out by the adversary/partner. Please remember the logical evolution from katachi to kata. More info here.
Still not a randori (sparring). The objective is to study how to use basic waza under more advanced conditions. There is no resisting force involved. The attacker’s waza is real and with the intention to throw or hold.
Some pictures below will illustrate the 10-Ura waza.