Why Open Hand Strikes….
The below video was posted of a seminar in Salinas, CA.
I got an email from a student….it read:
‘Why are you teaching strikes like that? I thought you had an RMA background. You should know that staying relaxed will create better strikes than rigid. Your combative striking videos showed a lot of flow, why not teach that?’
Thanks for your email and the question.
First, while I have an RMA background, I also have a lot of other backgrounds. I’ve always made sure people know Pramek is not rehashed Russian-style. On that note, there are plenty of Russian style’s that teach hard striking and rigidity, it just has to be sought out. Russian style offered me a lot, but so did my other teachers, so did actually having to do this stuff when it counted.
Second, and I’m sorry to house-keep this reply, but you’re seeing 1 minute of an 8 hour striking clinic. There was a lot of flow, even 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 point strikes (beyond 3 is a little over the top, but flow!) built purely off of the natural locomotion of the body. So, always remember, Youtube and Facebook videos are like reading the front flap of a long novel when it comes to Pramek. ESIK is kind enough to put up excerpts of the seminar for us, but the excerpts don’t make the whole seminar.
I fear we see so many things in demonstration online or in seminar that realism is lost for the allure of show.
It’s like going to Burger King and asking for a whopper based on the photo…and then opening the wrapper and seeing the piece of shit burger you just overpaid for. It looked so good, then you try it…and, well…you ordered the menu, not the meal.
I have often said that rigidity is like a hammer, and being relaxed is like a whip. Both have their place.
Let me explain our methods, and then ask you a question.
For us, our goal is selected and then we work toward the goal. For a whip – it’s a long range strike for impact to allow us to close and go for more strikes, a throw, a take down, a vital shot, whatever. This is where being relaxed works quite well. So, for example, removal of equilibrium. At a long range, the relaxed whip strike allows us to strike once and cause a reaction leaving openings.
Close in, we use the cupped hand strike to the ear, or general ear area. This will cause unstable equilibrium due to the inner ear and semicircular canal. This allows a lot of impact at one point and opens for removal of equilibrium. It’s one of the oldest combative strikes known to man and taught in almost every art – we just teach it differently because we make it part of an overall goal – removal of equilibrium. We walk in knowing what our goal is, we pick a strategy (strike the ear), we use a tactic (in this case closing and not telegraphing if possible), and then we pick a method (cupped hand strike). We are reducing the decision time by having a goal.
But, let me ask you this…
Are you studying martial art to win and defend yourself, or to be relaxed?
If you are studying to win a fight and defend yourself, then you need every weapon at your disposal that is quickly accessible, which is why we teach these strikes before the ‘flow’ strikes. We want you to quickly access your neurology for certain strikes that do a lot of damage and give you the ability to win at different ranges on different body types. The more knowledge you have, the greater advantage in time you have because you know your opponent, and you know what you will do because you have a goal.
Time is victory. Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics, one of our instructors, often asks his firearms students, ‘If I gave you .05 seconds head start over an enemy, would you take it?’ Of course you would – anything that gives me an advantage of time, I will take. Am I quicker, can I deliver more strikes, can I get to removal of equilibrium faster, can I cause pain quicker, can I block his strike before he throws it because of where the enemy looks, do I recognize his stance and know his fighting style…these are all time that help us achieve our ultimate goal: going home. Survival. Hugging our kids good night.
If you are want to learn to be relaxed…check out yoga.
As my friend Avery Mitchell told me once, ‘The street doesn’t wait on you…the street acts or reacts to you.’
Ask a friend who is a high level kick boxer to kick you in the ribs and be ‘relaxed’, as I see in some RMA videos. Ask him to reallllly kick you. After that, protect yourself with your elbow and arm, tense up, and ask him to kick you. You will find relaxation isn’t always a good thing.
Go to Liveleak, look up street fights and muggings, and take your thoughts on relaxation and objectively apply them to what you see. I think you will find that relaxation is just a tool, like rigidity, like distraction, like talking.
Relaxation happens within the machine that is combat…it is not the machine.
You decide how that machine will work and how efficiently you will use it.
I will repost this to our blog (without your name) and please email me any questions you have to this.