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Thread: Five Swords

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    Default Five Swords

    My instructor teaches Five Swords as a Greenbelt technique. I understand it was originally taught much earlier in the system. I just got done working it on the bag and I love the flow and the power generated in the stance changes. When do you teach Five Swords and how does it look? Here's how I wrote it (just learned it so it will be much refined before I enter it in my "pretty" notebook):

    • Attacker comes from 12:00 with a right "street" hook
    • Step forward to 12 into a right neutral bow with dual handsword blocks to the wrist and bicep
    • Remaining in a neutral bow execute a right outward handsword to the neck
    • Move to a forward bow with a left palm heel strike to the face / low right check
    • Draw left hand to a high check near the shoulder while executing a right uppercut to the stomach
    • step to a left cross to the rear with a left inward handsword to the throat
    • Pivot feet to a neutral bow with a right inward handsword to the neck
    • Step left foot to right foot and step back with right executing a tigers mouth to the back of the neck
    • Execute a right knee to the head and a right side thrust kick to the knee
    • Double cross out to 4:30

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    We end the technique a few bullet points before you.

    A couple of thoughts ...

    If my right hand initial block is to the bicep, I have very little travel for the first handsword to the neck.

    What you describe as a 'low right check', also seems to limit the travel for the following uppercut. We are taught to load the weapon for the uppercut strike.

    I also am not sure that the range is close enough for a knee/side kick at the end of the technique.

    But, this is certainly a fun technique .... We begin learning this technique with Short Form 1, Short Form 2, and Long Form 2, don't we?

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    Default

    Again,
    Taken from our reference library.


    Five Swords (Front- Right Step-Through Punch)
    1. An attacker at 12 o'clock comes at you with a right step-through punch.

    2. Step your right foot to 12 o'clock into a right neutral bow facing 12 o'clock as you execute a right inward block to your attacker's forearm, your left hand checking at the wrist.

    3. Immediately execute a right outward handsword to your attacker's neck.

    4. Pivot into a right forward bow facing 12 o'clock as you execute a left palm strike to your attacker's face. (Your right hand will cock at your right hip.)

    5. Take advantage of the anticipated response (i.e. their gut jutting forward due to the strike) and execute a right uppercut punch as you pivot back into a right neutral bow facing 12 o'clock.

    6. Slide your foot to 4:30 as you execute a left outward handsword to your attacker's neck.

    7. Pivot into a right neutral bow facing 10:30 as you pull your attacker in and execute a right inward handsword to the back of your attacker's neck.

    8. Cross out towards 4:30.

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    I teach Five Swords as a required technique for Orange Belt.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook
    I teach Five Swords as a required technique for Orange Belt.
    Hi Mr. Seabrook,
    Is it stationary or does it involve any angle changes etc.?

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Orange belt also.

    Don't forget the first movement is multi dimentional striking. I was taught to also use a leg check as well as the first strikes. So three things hit at once, both your hands on his punching arm and your knee against his knee. Try it, youll like it.
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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by jfarnsworth
    Again,
    Taken from our reference library.


    Five Swords (Front- Right Step-Through Punch)
    1. An attacker at 12 o'clock comes at you with a right step-through punch.

    2. Step your right foot to 12 o'clock into a right neutral bow facing 12 o'clock as you execute a right inward block to your attacker's forearm, your left hand checking at the wrist.

    3. Immediately execute a right outward handsword to your attacker's neck.

    4. Pivot into a right forward bow facing 12 o'clock as you execute a left palm strike to your attacker's face. (Your right hand will cock at your right hip.)

    5. Take advantage of the anticipated response (i.e. their gut jutting forward due to the strike) and execute a right uppercut punch as you pivot back into a right neutral bow facing 12 o'clock.

    6. Slide your foot to 4:30 as you execute a left outward handsword to your attacker's neck.

    7. Pivot into a right neutral bow facing 10:30 as you pull your attacker in and execute a right inward handsword to the back of your attacker's neck.

    8. Cross out towards 4:30.
    I notice it's also listed as an orange belt tech.

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by katsudo_karate
    Orange belt also.

    Don't forget the first movement is multi dimentional striking. I was taught to also use a leg check as well as the first strikes. So three things hit at once, both your hands on his punching arm and your knee against his knee. Try it, youll like it.
    I will, thanks!

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    If my right hand initial block is to the bicep, I have very little travel for the first handsword to the neck.
    Where is the second hand? Do you teach it as a inward block?

    What you describe as a 'low right check', also seems to limit the travel for the following uppercut. We are taught to load the weapon for the uppercut strike.
    Your right, as you mention it we were taught to chamber the hand.

    I also am not sure that the range is close enough for a knee/side kick at the end of the technique.
    Perhaps this could be deceided by the reaction of the opponent? We are often taught that on the street the best option is not always the technique exactly as it is taught.
    Thank you

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    On the initial block, we see the left hand in either one of two places;
    a) the Right hand block is high, so the left hand executes a mid-level check, or
    b) the left hand checks at the wrist with a handsword.

    I have been taught both methods. I prefer a).

    Recall that one of the rules on Kenpo is: "if you are inside the arm, you block above the elbow". If we apply this rule, we should be executing a right inward block to the attackers forearm, providing for the travel I suggest.

    As I sit and think about this initial block, I recall that we execute the block as you describe in 'Defying the Storm'. Our right hand executes a handsword to the bicep, while our right elbow strikes the rib cage. Our left hand is executing a handsword to the wrist. One wonders why we break the inside rule with this technique.

    It could be that 'Defying the Storm' is a weapon technique, which provides the attacker increased effective range. We step inside the range of the weapon. Also, our initial strike in Defying the Storm is a flapping elbow moving on the vertical line, as opposed to the horizontal strike of the handsword. Hmmm.

    Anyhow, I think that often the initial moves from these two techniques get shown as interchangable; whereas, I think they are not.



    Lastly, thinking of the 'street technique' and 'attackers' reactions' is an important part of the Kenpo System as I am learning it. This is described as the 'What If' phase of study. Each of the Self-Defense Techniques in the system have 'prescribed responses for prescribed attacks'. The system is set up (I believe) so that we learn very specific moves, which should create very specific responses. After we have learned the specific actions and reactions in the system, we then progress to examine our body positions and our opponents body reaction in practical application.

    If we begin our study with the 'What If' phase, I think we might lose some of the connections between and among techniques that exist to teach us deeper information about the 'system'.

    American Kenpo is not just a collection of self-defense techniques. It is a 'study of motion'. It is a system. It could be by having material added to the technique, we are obscuring the lesson of that technique. But, then again, maybe not. Some of the techniques we learn, include the first move or two of the technique's extention. And, some do not include the last piece, which is in the extention. As a student, it is difficult to know if you are getting all the technique, or more than all of the technique; and even more difficult to know why.

    Two examples:
    In our studio, we learn Parting Wings with five strikes; whereas, I am given to understand that some schools only show three.
    • part the wings
    • right punching chop to pec
    • left handsword to neck (highline)
    • right middle knuckle punch to abdomen
    • left handsword to neck (lowline)
    • right heelpalm to the chin with knee to groin
    We extend this technique because we are in the 'Go' position when the middle-knuckle strike is complete - a forwardbow, loaded for action.

    In our studio, we learn Thundering Hammers without the 'Head Swoopy Thing' on the end. As I understand it, in this technique, after the hammer to the back of the neck, we roll our arm around the attackers head and perform an upward heelpalm claw to the attackers face, as part of the base technique. It is left off the technique in our school, until we are working the extention. I am not certain as to why. Although I might guess that it is because this technique is about applying strikes to the horizontal body of our attacker with downward motion - Thunder Comes from The Sky. Perhaps someday, I will learn more, and understand better.

    Thank you for allowing me to ramble on. Enjoy your new technique.

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Five Swords is one of American Kenpo's master key techniques and was initially designed to use all handswords. Also, notice that a jab, cross, and hook punch is simply a Five Swords family of movements.

    Instead of a right inward block to the opponent’s right hooking punch, one could also employ a right hand sword to the bicep in-sync with a left hand sword to the wrist, as suggested earlier. This movement is like that used at the beginning of Defying the Storm. Since most students won’t take the time to develop a proper spear hand to the solar plexus, the technique was modified to use a right uppercut in its place.

    I agree with Martin Seck about checking the opponent’s right knee with your right knee. This helps to re-establish your centerline while moving up the opponent's centerline. Specifically, the leg check will cause the upper quadrant of the opponent’s body to go forward thus minimizing the likelihood of any hands being able to hit you.

    About angles, after the uppercut, I much prefer a forward bow for the second last chop, as opposed to a left rear cross. I find the power is more short and direct.

    Hope that helps.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Five-swords is an orange-level technique for us. This is what I've been taught for this technique (it's a little different to what's described here so far):

    Left outward-extended 'block', striking with the hammerfist portion of the hand, to the attacker's upper forearm.

    Right inward 'block', hammering downwards (hammerfist again) onto the attacker's right shoulder area.

    I find it difficult, if not impossible, to execute structurally strong blocks (i.e. aligned) to any other target on the arm....but maybe my understanding of these blocks is different here..

    michaeledward asked a good question: if the block is high up the arm then isn't the travel to the next strike (handsword to neck) a little short? Well, we strike to the shoulder so the distance from shoulder-to-neck is even shorter. However we teach (and expect) effectiveness from the initial blocks. The attacker will not be standing close to us after these first blocks. He will be driven down and backwards (literally will bounce back off of us) when he gets hit. This will leave plenty of distance for the next hand-sword, in fact we might need to employ additional footwork to close the distance between us.

    Footwork for this technique: Slight difference here as well. Instead of 'stepping to 12' we first align the hips in the direction we want to travel, and step *forwards* over the 12-oclock line (i.e. in a straight line to 11/11.30). Then pivot to neutral. This difference in the footwork allows us to meet the attack earlier, gain a stronger stance, and control the attacker before he obtains any kind of strong posture (i.e. we block him wide open before his punch picks up any kind of power).

    In addition we don't teach the knee-check. My understanding why there is no knee-check in our technique, is that the emphasis should always be on a correct neutral-bow which is structurally sound - in other words, a stance which supports the action of our blocks. There is a risk that the intention to check the knee would result in an improper neutral-bow (i.e. the desire to check the knee overrides intent to solidify the stance). If the attacker's leg happens to be in the right place then so be it, but we don't 'reach' for it with no other considerations. It's just where the emphasis is placed for us.

    I have the following thought also for the knee-check, which I am a little unsure of: Even if we did obtain a 'correct' neutral-bow, what happens to our structural integrity when we make contact - the attacker strikes us as well remember, even though it is not in the conventional sense. Would be lose structural integrity by making contact with the attacker's legs? If so that would make the knee-check an undesirable tactic imho.

    James

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    I supose I could post another clip of Master Tatum showing the reasons for the multi-dimentional strikes including the knee check but instead my suggestion would be to buy his orange belt self defense DVD ... it's worth the money.

    It isn't knee to knee contact like you may think ... again I have never had a problem executing it and being in a true neutral bow with a very solid base ... IMHO it works

    Jamie did a good job in the thought process behind it.

    Keep training!
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeledward
    If my right hand initial block is to the bicep, I have very little travel for the first handsword to the neck.
    We do an outward block, fist closed, to the right wrist and an outward handsword to his bicep. I've worked change-upr with the handsword going to the shoulder joint.Either way, there is adequate room for the handsword to the mastoid. With relaxation and proper mechanics, you should generate adequate power whether he recoils back or even moves in a little.

    Also, consider that there is no stance change with the handsword to the mastoid. This is a minor move, designed to keep him stunned and to maintain control of width and depth. It's not a fight ending strike unless you have to shuffle in for it.


    What you describe as a 'low right check', also seems to limit the travel for the following uppercut. We are taught to load the weapon for the uppercut strike.
    Are you talking about the position of the right hand as the left finger thrust to the eyes delivers? If so, the right flows through the check and self chambers- but is NOT seperately chambered a la TKD or karate.

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB
    Left outward-extended 'block', striking with the hammerfist portion of the hand, to the attacker's upper forearm. Right inward 'block', hammering downwards (hammerfist again) onto the attacker's right shoulder area. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to execute structurally strong blocks (i.e. aligned) to any other target on the arm....but maybe my understanding of these blocks is different here..
    I've done your way (similar) as a change-up. Works really good. But so does the left outward block to wrist and right outward handsword to bicep. The main difference in choosing one method or the other is the nature of the attack- distance and angles, and speed, all play a part.


    Footwork for this technique: Slight difference here as well. Instead of 'stepping to 12' we first align the hips in the direction we want to travel, and step *forwards* over the 12-oclock line (i.e. in a straight line to 11/11.30). Then pivot to neutral. This difference in the footwork allows us to meet the attack earlier, gain a stronger stance, and control the attacker before he obtains any kind of strong posture (i.e. we block him wide open before his punch picks up any kind of power).

    In addition we don't teach the knee-check. My understanding why there is no knee-check in our technique, is that the emphasis should always be on a correct neutral-bow which is structurally sound - in other words, a stance which supports the action of our blocks. There is a risk that the intention to check the knee would result in an improper neutral-bow (i.e. the desire to check the knee overrides intent to solidify the stance). If the attacker's leg happens to be in the right place then so be it, but we don't 'reach' for it with no other considerations. It's just where the emphasis is placed for us. Even if we did obtain a 'correct' neutral-bow, what happens to our structural integrity when we make contact - the attacker strikes us as well remember
    I'd guess we are mostly on the same page here. We move from the dantien and settle into our stances similar to what you describe. And we step to 11:00/11:30, depending on the desired angle of incidence for the blocks- not for the leg check. Emphasis is on a correct neutral bow as well. The leg check is almost allways there, but we don't reach for it, or look for it either. If it (usually the case) does make contact, your knee should be inside his knee and in a much stronger position. Also, a correct neutral bow is a structurally solid stance, capable of buckling a leg/knee from head on if necessary (I cringe every time I step forward and straighten my leg doing Taiji because I can't get the picture of what a good neutral bow would do to that leg out of my mind).

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by katsudo_karate
    I supose I could post another clip of Master Tatum showing the reasons for the multi-dimentional strikes including the knee check but instead my suggestion would be to buy his orange belt self defense DVD ... it's worth the money.

    It isn't knee to knee contact like you may think ... again I have never had a problem executing it and being in a true neutral bow with a very solid base ... IMHO it works
    Yes I see - I guess it's the front of your knee to the inside knee of the attacker. Actually I do have that DVD somewhere, I'll dig it out and refresh my memory. I was just wondering aloud really (about the effect of the knee-check) - I've done this tech with the knee-check myself and had no problem with it either. Certainly there are benefits to the knee-check, and I like the concept of having three points of contact with the attacker.

    Maybe a better way to phrase my question would be this (also note I have no idea what the answer might be):

    Bearing in mind you are using your legs to transition into stance, what is the effect on your structure when the attacker comes into contact with your leg as you are mid-transition into neutral bow. (note I say 'mid' transition here). There has to be *some* kind of effect (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) - so my question is, is this effect worth worrying about?

    thanks,
    James

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB
    Bearing in mind you are using your legs to transition into stance, what is the effect on your structure when the attacker comes into contact with your leg as you are mid-transition into neutral bow. (note I say 'mid' transition here). There has to be *some* kind of effect (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) - so my question is, is this effect worth worrying about?
    Well, since you put it that way...

    Since you are moving in response to his attack, you know where and how he is steping and adjust your response accordingly (see previouse post). This includes your step into stance. He should be the one to feel the effect, whatever kind.

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan
    Well, since you put it that way...

    Since you are moving in response to his attack, you know where and how he is steping and adjust your response accordingly (see previouse post). This includes your step into stance. He should be the one to feel the effect, whatever kind.
    that's helped me understand better - so because it is your intent to step forwards you anticipate the imminent contact, whereas the attacker does not anticipate your step forwards - so you gain the benefit not him. duh!

    thanks,
    James

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB
    that's helped me understand better - so because it is your intent to step forwards you anticipate the imminent contact, whereas the attacker does not anticipate your step forwards - so you gain the benefit not him. duh!
    Yes, sir, that and the direction and method of your step and transition into stance. You still raise a good question, though. The other guy may know how to adjust a stance as well. Three dimensional chess in real time, and you can move more than once and in any direction or level...


    Oh, yeah, and I should add that it's Wizzards Chess!

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    Default Re: Five Swords

    1. If you step to 12:00 on the initial blocks, they will fail and your structure will collaspe under the punch momentum.

    2. The 'knee check' shouldn't be attempted because it will not 'be there' when the punch is.
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