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Thread: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

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    Default Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    I thought this MIGHT make for a decent discussion:

    What does Obscure Sword teach the Kenpo student that they don't already get in either Obscure Wing or Sword & Hammer???

    What's the distinction that make it's vocabulary necessary in light of these other very similar techs??

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    JamesB is offline
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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    I thought this MIGHT make for a decent discussion:

    What does Obscure Sword teach the Kenpo student that they don't already get in either Obscure Wing or Sword & Hammer???

    What's the distinction that make it's vocabulary necessary in light of these other very similar techs??

    Your Brother
    John
    I'd say that the attack is what is important here - neither of the other two techniques teach how to defend being pushed forwards by the shoulder? So O.S. teaches how to stablise your base as you are being forcefully moved forwards. Also:

    Obscure Sword = attacker pushing forward to your shoulder, his arm will be straight to accomplish this. So O.S. uses our own straight arm as the initial response (handsword).

    Obscure Wing = attacker pulling back on your shoulder, his arm will be bent/anchored down. So O.W. uses a closer-range weapon (our elbow) as it's response.

    Sword+Hammer is a little different, it's a flank attack so the push/grab to the shoulder occurs from the side, hence the step out to 9 o'clock rather than forwards/backwards.

    Don't know if this is what you were expecting....?
    Last edited by JamesB; 05-04-2007 at 03:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    I thought this MIGHT make for a decent discussion:

    What does Obscure Sword teach the Kenpo student that they don't already get in either Obscure Wing or Sword & Hammer???

    What's the distinction that make it's vocabulary necessary in light of these other very similar techs??

    Your Brother
    John

    Well, I was taught Sword and Hammer at the yellow belt level, Obscure Wing at orange belt, and Obscure Sword at purple. I only point this out because it is important to the evolution of knowledge within the curriculum I was trained in. The lessons I'm listing below were taught first in these techniques in our system. The way I was taught is slightly different from the EPAK version, but very similar.

    Sword and Hammer - this was the second technique in the system, so it introduced alot of common aspects of kenpo techniques.

    Environmental Awareness - specifically by sliding your foot along the ground in case there is any debris so you do not step on it and roll your ankle or extend to deep into the stance. Rather by sliding into the horse, instead of stepping, the foot will knock any debris out of the way.

    Obscure Zone - striking to the obscure zone of our opp. is introduced by bringing the handsword up the opp. body, outside his range of vision.

    Countouring - here, this principle is using the attacker's body to guide the weapon. Tracking up the opp. torso allows us to disguise the movement, and eliminates the need to spend time specifically targeting the throat because the strike will naturally terminate there.

    With - the magic word, stepping with the strike is faster, and helps to add power, as opposed to "and then" action.

    Bridging the gap - moving towards the opp. with a stance transition to eliminate space and move within striking distance.


    Obscure Wing - we were taught to grab the opp. testicles following the hammerfist strike, and to pull upwards into the elbow strike.

    Forward movement behind the body - in this technique we strike towards an enemy who is standing behind us at the point of contact. Before this, we had always faced the opp. before striking.

    Using resistance to build muscle tension - by grabbing the testicles, and then ripping up as we execute the upward elbow, we create muscle tension which is then suddenly and explosively released into the opp. chin.

    Using bumps to create distance - we were taught to bump the opp. with our hip and shoulder fractionally prior to delivering the solar plexus strike. This created a small amount of space for the weapon to move through on the way to the target.


    Obscure Sword - we were taught this technique as a pulling attack, not merely a grab.

    Borrowed Force - As the opp. pulls the shoulder, the torso spins on it's vertical axis, adding power to the handsword strike.

    Compelled Motion - This was the first technique where we were compelled by our opp. attack to change our position. In previous techniques, we had initiated movement towards our opp. in order to defend, by pulling us, the opp. forced us to turn towards his position, influencing in some way our response.

    I recognize that the slight variations in the way I was taught this material, as well as the order it was taught in, may make some of my observations differ from those of other practitioners.

    Other aspects of note, specifically relating to the vocabulary, are that both Sword and Hammer and Obscure Sword are named after the Handsword strike itself, whereas Obscure Wing refers to the way the entire arm is utilized as a weapon, not just the "point of the sword." Similarly, the Obscure defenses are executed against an attacker behind us, Sword and Hammer lacks that appelation because the attacker remains to our side during the defense.

    As for what important lessons make all these techniques necessary, I would say that beyond what I have already listed, the most important lessons here are that the basic movements of Sword and Hammer can be elongated as in Obscure Sword, or compressed as in Obscure Wing, and that the defense can be executed against an attacker from any direction. Does this mean we need three techniques to teach us that, not counting? Not necessarily. In fact, we could just teach Sword and Hammer, and then have the students execute a number of drills designed to teach them the same basic idea. Of course, an arguement could be made that that is exactly what we are doing, we just call those drills "self defense techniques" and assign them positions on a belt chart.


    -Rob
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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
    I'd say that the attack is what is important here - neither of the other two techniques teach how to defend being pushed forwards by the shoulder? So O.S. teaches how to stablise your base as you are being forcefully moved forwards.
    But the ideal attack for Obscure Sword is not a push or shove from the rear.
    It's a Right Flank, Left Hand Shoulder Grab. REFER TO THIS LINK
    In fact the move forward is initiated totally by you, the defender, in order to pull the attacker forward.

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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
    Obscure Sword = attacker pushing forward to your shoulder, his arm will be straight to accomplish this. So O.S. uses our own straight arm as the initial response (handsword).

    Obscure Wing = attacker pulling back on your shoulder, his arm will be bent/anchored down. So O.W. uses a closer-range weapon (our elbow) as it's response.
    This is what's so funny about Kenpo. I was taught these techniques with almost exactly the opposite attacks, and clearly other's were taught these techniques with still different techniques.

    I was taught Obscure Sword as a shoulder grab pulling back as you walk away, as if to set up a sucker punch on someone leaving a confrontation. Similarly, I was taught Obscure Wing as a close shoulder grab which is going to lead to a come along, as if the principal were to grab your shoulder and lead you to his office. Just before the attacker pushes us forward, we step into him with the strike.

    I don't think the difference in the attacks invalidates the training any of us recieved. I think it emphasizes the fact that Kenpo material is more about what you learn from it than how the lessons are packaged. For instance, I was taught Delayed Sword against a punch, but I've seen it against a push, or a grab, and the same defense could be used against other attacks as well.


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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Thesemindz View Post
    I think it emphasizes the fact that Kenpo material is more about what you learn from it than how the lessons are packaged. For instance, I was taught Delayed Sword against a punch, but I've seen it against a push, or a grab, and the same defense could be used against other attacks as well.
    -Rob
    Excellent insight Rob.
    I think that it's those techs and means that are applicable in MULTIPLE ways that makes Kenpoists so adaptive, and thus....effective.

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    JamesB is offline
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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    But the ideal attack for Obscure Sword is not a push or shove from the rear.
    It's a Right Flank, Left Hand Shoulder Grab. REFER TO THIS LINK
    In fact the move forward is initiated totally by you, the defender, in order to pull the attacker forward.

    Your Brother
    John
    it's got to be something - there will be at least a push forwards as the attacker grabs onto the shoulder. The technique is dictated by the attack, not the defence...?

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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
    it's got to be something - there will be at least a push forwards as the attacker grabs onto the shoulder. The technique is dictated by the attack, not the defence...?
    I guess I'm not understanding where you're coming from James.
    Why must there be a push? Lots of grabs aren't pushes. I'd say most are more likely to be pulls. But this attack is a grab.
    The technique is dictated by the attack, not the defence...?
    I really don't know what you mean with this. Could you clarify?

    The step forward, in obscure sword, isn't to recover from a shove or push, but to get the attacker to either step toward you to try to maintain the grab or to pull you back. Either way you borrow their force to add power to your first strike....which they don't see coming as it's 'obscure'. The step gets them to commit an action that you then use against them.

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    JamesB is offline
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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    I guess I'm not understanding where you're coming from James.
    Why must there be a push? Lots of grabs aren't pushes. I'd say most are more likely to be pulls. But this attack is a grab.
    ah I wasn't as clear as I hoped then. What I was trying to say was, even if the guy grabs you in order to pull, if he does it aggressively there will be an impact made to your body (forcing an involuntary step on your part) before his fingers close into the grip. So there will be a push component to every grab, even if the final intent is to control with a grab. That is the way it is taught in my school at least :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    I really don't know what you mean with this. Could you clarify?
    so based on what I just said a moment back, the attacker would causing your initial step forward (due to the aggressive of the grab). So rather than the defender going 'I'm going to step forward to defend this attack which I can't see happening', he ends up stepping forward involuntarily because of the nature of the attack. hope thats clearer, that's my take on the technique anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    The step forward, in obscure sword, isn't to recover from a shove or push, but to get the attacker to either step toward you to try to maintain the grab or to pull you back. Either way you borrow their force to add power to your first strike....which they don't see coming as it's 'obscure'. The step gets them to commit an action that you then use against them.

    Your Brother
    John
    Well in my school its more of a push before the grab takes hold, and I've seen it described like that elsewhere too. Our initial response for O.S. is to survive the assault and gain stability, after which we cover, turn and strike with the hand-sword.

    Thinking out loud here....If this technique is a grab and pull in, then the guy's arm will be bent to facilitate this, right? Even if he starts at arms length, he will be anchoring his elbow to his body in an effort to pull you towards him. So you'd do Obscure Sword in this case because of the range.

    We don't do static attacks in our school.....there's intent behind everything, and that is presented as 'the ideal' - i.e what you'd expect to happen.

    But it's kind of hard to make comparisons between our techniques if the attacks are different to start with. As Thesemindz said, there's so much variation in kenpo it makes it rather difficult...

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    Default Re: Technique comparison: Obscure Sword, Sword & Hammer, Obscure Wing

    I think to take all three and may them work off a forward grab/push, side push/pull and backward/pull. All three seem to work well as long as you step way from the attacker and go with his motion of movement to continue him off balance.

    Great thread. Thanks to all for their insight so far.
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