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Thread: Stepping Into Darkness

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    bujuts is offline
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    Default Stepping Into Darkness

    For those not familiar with the term, this is the notion of stepping into a blind area in order to deal with an attack. An example: most perform Long One, and in one location you are asked to go from a left lead NB at 9:00 to step the left foot to a left lead NB to 6:00. Similarly, a right lead NB at 3:00 steps with the right foot to 6:00 to deal with an attack.

    So, why do this? What does this maneuver bring to the table? Mentally put yourself in the middle of violence and chaos and find a time when you'd do this against someone seriously bearing down on you (and not a "kata" attacker - a real one). Sure we can extract higher applications out of this, but shouldn't have to to arrive at a bare bones, functional use for this kind of manuever.

    Your thoughts on this are most welcome.

    Thanks,

    Steven Brown
    UKF

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    KenpoJuJitsu3 is offline
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    Default Re: Stepping Into Darkness

    From my experience the sections you reference as "stepping into darkness" are simply "stepping into the attack" which is different. In Short one our right arm is held high in an upward block position which obscures our vision over our right shoulder so that we cannot effectively see in that direction. Therefore we cover away from that direction. In Long 1 at that same spot our right arm is chambered low which allows us to turn our heads over our right shoulder and see the entire field of view. Thus we can choose to step into the attack if the timing availability is there.

    The same concept shows up between Short 2 and Long 2. It wasn't taught to me as "stepping into darkness". It was taught as "line of sight" dictating what steps could be taken.
    James Hawkins III, SI
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    jfarnsworth is offline Parker / Planas Lineage
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    Default Re: Stepping Into Darkness

    Each of the first 4 forms gives you examples on how to advance.

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    Default Re: Stepping Into Darkness

    In regards to stepping into darkeness, first off your instructor should be able to explain what's happening in the form not just expecting you to follow like a robot. the first two forms (long+short) are considered the basics forms giving you a blue print of basic combat motion. the upper forms are pretty much technique based from the point of origin. the instructor is in a tuff position in a group class setting. you must get the student to move first sometimes and the why later.

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    bujuts is offline
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    Default Re: Stepping Into Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by kenpogoat View Post
    In regards to stepping into darkeness, first off your instructor should be able to explain what's happening in the form not just expecting you to follow like a robot. the first two forms (long+short) are considered the basics forms giving you a blue print of basic combat motion. the upper forms are pretty much technique based from the point of origin. the instructor is in a tuff position in a group class setting. you must get the student to move first sometimes and the why later.
    Well, the whole notion of not stepping into darkness came from my instructor, and I am probing deeper to understand why or why not myself. Allow me to attempt an explanation.

    The neutral bow, above all, adheres to the natural functionality of the human body. The toe-heel alignment of the neutral bow is pretty much a standard for most - its what corresponds to the natural width of the body. By virtue of walking all your life, we understand this dimension naturally. The measurements for depth vary considerably, and usually the measurements for height are obscure across many kenpo factions. In our group, we define the depth as the center of the knee to the center of the heel in a kneeling position (more on that later for clarity, if necessary). We define height as the natural articulating angle of the knee when walking normally.

    Stand casually with your right leg forward, as if shooting the breeze with a friend, kenpo is the furthest thing from the mind. He walks away to your 3:00, you follow him. So, what do your feet do? If you're normal, you'll likely do one of two things - 1) you're left foot pivots to propel you in that direction as you point your right foot at 3:00 to start walking, or 2) you create small arc in your pace as you step slightly towards ~2:00, bring the left foot up to point you towards 3:00, then align your right foot in the chosen direction. Its just natural motion.

    To confirm this, I asked a non-martial artist to do this (I can't use myself as a specimen, as I find myself rotating on my right heel into a subtle twist stance towards 3:00 known only to me (constant practice) ). Try this sans kenpo in your head if you can, and let me know the results.

    Get in a right NB, once again as if talking to a friend, kenpo totally off your mind. Follow him to 3:00 again. What do you feel? Is this natural?

    Where I'm going here is that this maneuver lacks natural propulsion from the flexor / extensor process created by a naturally aligned left foot. Also watch a boxer turn to the right 90 degrees - does he do this without orienting his left foot to support force? I suppose I'm simply saying that this step feels unnatural to me, and all discussions of "darkness" aside, the body is simply not capable of withstanding any kind of force from 3:00 until that foot hits the ground and the left foot is oriented appropriately.

    So how does my instructor teach to move in an unknown direction like this? We cover to it (as in Short One), bring the left foot up to be able to propel into it (transitional concave), or, if need be, you can rear cross into it. A litmus test I apply to all of my foot work is "will this transition work under resistance?" If not, I won't do it. To have continuous power, the legs must move from engagement to engagement, not engagement to balance then back to engagement. Mechanically speaking, balance is a state of continuous mechanical adjustment, and not appropriate for hard hitting violence raining down on me.

    Well, enough on that for now. I'd be interested in hearing others' take on this. Mind you, I did the sort of step seen in Long One for years and years in a classical system, but not until I tuned into kenpo did I learn why not to do it.

    Look forward to any input.

    cheers, good training to you all.

    Steven Brown
    UKF

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