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Thread: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

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    Default September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Alternating Maces (Front- Two-Hand Push)
    1. An attacker at 12 o'clock pushes your shoulders with both hands.

    2. Step your left foot back to 6 o'clock into a right neutral bow facing 12 o'clock as you execute a right inward block to your attacker's outer left arm.

    3. Collapse your right arm across the top of both of your attacker's arms to check them down. Pivot into a right forward bow using torque as you execute a left vertical punch to your attacker's solar plexus.

    4. Instantly convert your left punch into a check by having it collapse (palm open and down) on top of your attacker's arms. Pivot back into a right neutral bow stance as you execute a right backfist strike to your attacker's temple, utilizing counter-torque for power.
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Joe Rebello explained in a video that the direction of the initial move was downwards rather than inwards originally. And I know a kenpoist who still prefers to do the technique that way.

    Personally, I am fine with the inward block version. However, I like to slightly pivot out of the way at the same time instead of stepping back in a straight line. Letting the incoming force pass by rather than stopping it and jamming up the attacker. That may work better for a huge guy than for a slender and agile dragon like me.


    That said, I do drive that inward block into the closer limb in order to unbalance the attacker and redirect them somewhat.
    Last edited by Star Dragon; 08-29-2020 at 03:35 PM.

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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    Joe Rebello explained in a video that the direction of the initial move was downwards rather than inwards originally. And I know a kenpoist who still prefers to do the technique that way.

    Personally, I am fine with the inward block version. However, I like to slightly pivot out of the way at the same time instead of stepping back in a straight line. Letting the incoming force pass by rather than stopping it and jamming up the attacker. That may work better for a huge guy than for a slender and agile dragon like me.


    That said, I do drive that inward block into the closer limb in order to unbalance the attacker and redirect them somewhat.
    The confusion in the technique comes because it was an insert to replace the original technique in the Yellow Series. In the original technique it was a high push countered with an Inward Block, followed by a knife-edge kick to the knee and a front kick to the body. When the shift was made to eliminate the original technique for a more White-Belt Friendly version, the push was inexplicably changed to a low push. Those who bridged both techniques who went on to teach passed down these conflicting variations. When I taught the technique the push was always a high push, as it should be, and therefore the Inward Block deflected his arms before then collapsing downward on top of his arms. Mechanically, people will always move to their mechanical advantage and therefore people tend to push at the height of their own shoulders. Imagine trying to push open a swinging door by pushing downward at a height below your shoulders. As your hand lowers to a different height zone, the palm of the hand becomes unavailable mechanically to make contact, with your fingers being the most likely contact point. Ouch!

    Angling off on the Inward Block is fine but that method, depending upon the aggressiveness of the push, will turn your attacker's centerline away from you, and significantly change your options to finish.
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    I have also seen this technique taught without the check down on the attacker’s arms. For example, see this clip of Larry Tatum teaching it.
    https://youtu.be/0NJESCHwLGM
    What is everyone’s thoughts on this difference?

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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by HungryMan View Post
    I have also seen this technique taught without the check down on the attacker’s arms. For example, see this clip of Larry Tatum teaching it.
    https://youtu.be/0NJESCHwLGM
    What is everyone’s thoughts on this difference?
    The technique as written and taught is majorly flawed when it comes to "workability." One of the concepts that floated around was "teaching concepts of techniques." I never believed in that. I always felt that if you were going to portray something as a "self-defense" vehicle, it must be executed in a manner that absolutely works within the parameter of its design. Some teach with the idea that "later on you'll learn how to make it work." Concepts could be explored in forms and sets, but not in something specifically designed for applications.

    I often would check-in on Kenpo Schools and watch their programs. I would ask the instructors, why do you do a technique a certain way, and then we would get into a discussion of why or why not a technique would or would not work. I heard consistently, "Well, on the street I would do it differently." When passing my experiences onto Mr. Parker, it generated a quote I still use today. "If what you do, is not what you do, then what are you doing?"

    So, "low push" doesn't make sense. But, nether does the high push if your goal is to get on top of his arms. What is left out of Larry's video is what i was taught as a precursor to every technique, or what I call "Problem Scenarios." That is the "Psychology of Confrontation." When creating a problem to be solved I was taught to begin there. Define the attack, and the attacker's intent, as well as the mechanical methods he must use to accomplish their goals. Only then can you begin to design a solution to the problem.

    In our curriculum there is a clear distinction between a "push," and an "attempted push." As executed in the video, Larry "deflects" the arms, and that is a good thing. But what is absent is the Body Momentum of the attacker if the attack is a "push." Attackers don't "Push" with their arms, they push with their body so this has to be an "attempted push" because the attacker makes no contact and doesn't accomplish his goal, therefore it is not a push attack.

    My problem with this is when you begin to teach push attacks the same as attempted punch attacks, you're leaving out a tremendous amount of information that must be taught for an actual push, however teaching everything as an "attempt" is easier and disguises the fact that most do not know how to teach for actual pushes, that requires very specific footwork to absorb the body momentum and retain or regain your balance and stability for a counter attack. This come from the "lost part" of the art that was never included in "Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate" except by a very few instructors from the fifties mostly learned when we still considered "Chinese Kenpo."

    So, decisions must be made. What is the attack, how do you counter it, and how do you retaliate successfully? The technique as described and executed in the video does none of these things.
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    The technique as written and taught is majorly flawed when it comes to "workability." One of the concepts that floated around was "teaching concepts of techniques." I never believed in that. I always felt that if you were going to portray something as a "self-defense" vehicle, it must be executed in a manner that absolutely works within the parameter of its design. Some teach with the idea that "later on you'll learn how to make it work." Concepts could be explored in forms and sets, but not in something specifically designed for applications.

    I often would check-in on Kenpo Schools and watch their programs. I would ask the instructors, why do you do a technique a certain way, and then we would get into a discussion of why or why not a technique would or would not work. I heard consistently, "Well, on the street I would do it differently." When passing my experiences onto Mr. Parker, it generated a quote I still use today. "If what you do, is not what you do, then what are you doing?"

    So, "low push" doesn't make sense. But, nether does the high push if your goal is to get on top of his arms. What is left out of Larry's video is what i was taught as a precursor to every technique, or what I call "Problem Scenarios." That is the "Psychology of Confrontation." When creating a problem to be solved I was taught to begin there. Define the attack, and the attacker's intent, as well as the mechanical methods he must use to accomplish their goals. Only then can you begin to design a solution to the problem.

    In our curriculum there is a clear distinction between a "push," and an "attempted push." As executed in the video, Larry "deflects" the arms, and that is a good thing. But what is absent is the Body Momentum of the attacker if the attack is a "push." Attackers don't "Push" with their arms, they push with their body so this has to be an "attempted push" because the attacker makes no contact and doesn't accomplish his goal, therefore it is not a push attack.

    My problem with this is when you begin to teach push attacks the same as attempted punch attacks, you're leaving out a tremendous amount of information that must be taught for an actual push, however teaching everything as an "attempt" is easier and disguises the fact that most do not know how to teach for actual pushes, that requires very specific footwork to absorb the body momentum and retain or regain your balance and stability for a counter attack. This come from the "lost part" of the art that was never included in "Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate" except by a very few instructors from the fifties mostly learned when we still considered "Chinese Kenpo."

    So, decisions must be made. What is the attack, how do you counter it, and how do you retaliate successfully? The technique as described and executed in the video does none of these things.
    I wasn’t there, but my guess is that in this case the “technique” was there first and the attack came later. Somebody liked the block-punch-backknuckle combination enough to make up an attack so they could put it in the system.
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoMD View Post
    I wasn’t there, but my guess is that in this case the “technique” was there first and the attack came later. Somebody liked the block-punch-backknuckle combination enough to make up an attack so they could put it in the system.
    Astute observations sir. That was often done, especially the techniques that came from "entertainment wrestling."
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    The confusion in the technique comes because it was an insert to replace the original technique in the Yellow Series. In the original technique it was a high push countered with an Inward Block, followed by a knife-edge kick to the knee and a front kick to the body. When the shift was made to eliminate the original technique for a more White-Belt Friendly version, the push was inexplicably changed to a low push.
    So AM was introduced as a substitute for Aggressive Twins? Which was deemed too difficult for beginners? Kind of weird, since another Yellow-Belt technique - Checking the Storm - has a similar combination of two kicks in it (though I understand that they were simply two front kicks originally).

    I suppose that Spreading Branch was replaced by Captured Twigs following the same kind of reasoning?

    Which technique was introduced in lieu of Intellectual Departure?

    Those who bridged both techniques who went on to teach passed down these conflicting variations. When I taught the technique the push was always a high push, as it should be, and therefore the Inward Block deflected his arms before then collapsing downward on top of his arms. Mechanically, people will always move to their mechanical advantage and therefore people tend to push at the height of their own shoulders. Imagine trying to push open a swinging door by pushing downward at a height below your shoulders. As your hand lowers to a different height zone, the palm of the hand becomes unavailable mechanically to make contact, with your fingers being the most likely contact point. Ouch!

    Angling off on the Inward Block is fine but that method, depending upon the aggressiveness of the push, will turn your attacker's centerline away from you, and significantly change your options to finish.
    Yes. My punch is generally aimed at a lateral target on the body or head then, whereas the backfist tends to hit the face more from front.

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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by HungryMan View Post
    I have also seen this technique taught without the check down on the attacker’s arms. For example, see this clip of Larry Tatum teaching it.
    https://youtu.be/0NJESCHwLGM
    What is everyone’s thoughts on this difference?
    My problem with Larry's version of the technique is that by doing it this way, you neglect checking the aggressor's H/W/D on the first move. As a rule, the first move of a self-defence technique is designed to unbalance the attacker.

    On another note, for some reason, Larry also substitutes a regular reverse punch for the vertical punch that is normally seen.

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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    So AM was introduced as a substitute for Aggressive Twins? Which was deemed too difficult for beginners? Kind of weird, since another Yellow-Belt technique - Checking the Storm - has a similar combination of two kicks in it (though I understand that they were simply two front kicks originally).

    I suppose that Spreading Branch was replaced by Captured Twigs following the same kind of reasoning?

    Which technique was introduced in lieu of Intellectual Departure?



    Yes. My punch is generally aimed at a lateral target on the body or head then, whereas the backfist tends to hit the face more from front.
    The ten Yellow Techniques were always a mess because they lacked continuity and context relative to the rest of the system, having been created as an afterthought. For a period techniques would come and go and sometimes the names would just be changed. The reason was because originally the Yellow techniques were essentially supposed to stand alone apart from the rest of the system, and as a Women's Self-Defense Course to bring females into the schools. For this reason the techniques were more diverse representing more of an overview then part of a beginning progression to Orange which already existed with 32 Techniques at the time. Intellectual Departure became Deflecting Hammer but, The Pincher became Grasp Of Death, although nothing changed but the name itself.

    The idea of the Yellow Self-Defense Course originated with the late Tom Kelly, and it wasn't until later when Women began to be promoted that "others" in the school complained they too should be allowed to learn and earn a yellow belt over the 32 Orange first. Thus the yellow course was integrated into the system and were never changed. Although the idea of "fleshing" yellow out to 32 came up, it was decided by Mr. Parker that Yellow and 10 Techniques was a good place to start and served as an incentive to tackle the much more challenging Orange Chart which began with Clutching Feathers that included its extension much like all the techniques on the charts up to Blue at that time. The Extensions were removed from the base techniques when, once again, fleshing out the techniques to create the Brown series as well as moving to a 24 technique chart and moving the end of the techniques up to black. As an example, Clutching Feathers ended with the heel-palm to the face with no cross or cover. The cross and coverout was reserved for when you learned the rest of the technique at what was called "Blue-Green."

    Aggressive Twins to Alternating Maces was a casualty of the conversions. The hands had to be low because the technique required a hammering on top of the arms. This wasn't unusual for there to be a technique idea and then work backwards to an attack. And yet as you observed, often instead of simplifying things they made them ore complicated. Checking the Storm originally being a right inward Block double check to an extended outward block followed by a right front kick, and left front kick, taught as a "Chicken Kick." I pointed out the danger of this technique to Mr. Parker regarding posture and nerve accessibility on the body and it too was changed to a convoluted contradictory two kicks, one to the body and one to the leg. It was dumb and mechanically unsound but there were lots of techniques like that.
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    My problem with Larry's version of the technique is that by doing it this way, you neglect checking the aggressor's H/W/D on the first move. As a rule, the first move of a self-defence technique is designed to unbalance the attacker.

    On another note, for some reason, Larry also substitutes a regular reverse punch for the vertical punch that is normally seen.
    Yeah, it's all wrong. The depth of the strike requires a vertical punch to the body, and controlling his width with an inward block is a better option with a punch to the exposed ribcage, but then he doesn't account for the attackers body momentum either. Lastly the back-fist is misplaced but it was a product of the times. Once again quite convoluted material for a "beginner."
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    Default Re: September 2020 Technique of the Month - Alternating Maces

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoMD View Post
    I wasn’t there, but my guess is that in this case the “technique” was there first and the attack came later. Somebody liked the block-punch-backknuckle combination enough to make up an attack so they could put it in the system.
    Right on the money sir. That is exactly what happened.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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