Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

Chambering


Why do karate-ka chamber their fists at the hips area? Does this chambering adhere to or violate the fundamental principles of martial systems/effectiveness? If it does violate the principles then why is it taught to karate-ka?

First, chambering is a fundamental basic for fledgling kyu level karate-ka. It teaches the novice about certain aspects of the fundamental principles of martial systems so they may be effective in applications once they graduate from the novice to the student levels. 

Today's modern karate-ka may have been unintentionally misled to believe that good karate means chambering at the waist/hips, etc. Where this comes from is simply my theory due to the push in the early 1900's to put karate into the school systems and therefore became the de-facto teaching methods of post world war II teachings to the American service men. Add in the tour or duration that most were exposed to karate along with the drive to attain a black belt then you have a mixture of many faults that result in a basic form of karate that never graduated to the levels where principles were fully taught, learned and then applied in practice and training. 

It is a bit like assuming that because you can do the drills of karate that you can both fight and defend in a real life violent encounter. Most, my perceptions, of today's karate is still mired in the basics levels whereby time in training and an accumulation of techniques, drills and kata denote a black belt level, etc.

When reviewing the sparse publications of karate from the late 1800's and 1900's the apparent purpose of the material was and is to provide basics of karate and it would or should be assumed that a person who desired to learn the full spectrum of karate must seek out a qualified teacher. A teacher who has a full and complete grasp of karate to include principles and a realistic means of acquiring experience in a fight or combatives. 

Chambering does not adhere to the principles and is not effective in a fight for defense. It is taught as a means of graduation from basics to a fully and complete understanding that encompasses the principles properly.

See next post: chambering-addendum-dtd-19-november

3 comments:

nr said...

In Koryu JuJutsu, the hands are returned to the front of the hips/top of thighs because it allows fast and smooth access to weapons...perhaps this rings true for Karate as well? That and to be fair, who walks around with their hands in the air ready to fight/defend? We should practice from a relaxed and normal position as we cannot always be 100% aware of an attack etc. occurring.

John Vesia said...

A hand returning to chamber usually has something in it. Chambering to the hip also maintains one's own balance while activating the latimus dorsi in the back, one of the strongest muscles in the body.

"A block is often used to parry and set up a grab (immobilization or pulling-in) before a strike. The hand returning to chamber after a block simply slides down the arm to grab it and yank backwards, or locks an arm in place." - Victor Smith (Isshinryu karate)

More here from Mr. Smith on the subject:
http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=317

Also check out The Way of Kata by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder (p. 118).

Charles James said...

I still stand by my word that it is not meant to be used indiscriminately as done in basics, etc. but rather a teaching tool.

I would agree that in some instances it is useful but to teach it as the de-facto positioning for striking is not adequate.