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mahipal lunia

Martial Musings- Syntax of Effortless Throws

Martial Musings- Syntax of Effortless Throws



Martial Musings: Syntax of Effortless Throwing


I have long searched for the Universality that makes for good martial motion. Insights on effortless throwing, though mine, became possible due to a combination of traditions -Aikijujutsu (SS, HRV & DA), Panantukan & Dumog (RS) , Silat (JK) and Baguazhang (BKF). Having spent a better part of 2014 & 2015 testing this insight, I now would like share it.

It was 7 AM, 37F degrees on a cold frosty Saturday morning at our Rengstorff Park Dojo. A handful of students were present, bundled up ready to train. I decided to unravel what I now call the "Syntax of Effortless Throwing".

I started the dialogue to get their juices flowing. Preferably, students arrive at the conclusion/discovery themselves where by "my" insight becomes, forever, theirs. My question to them on that chilly morning was, "what makes all our 9 throws and 4 major henka/variations effortless ?"

Responses ranged from "10k hours of practice" to "flow" to "luck."

I gave them a hint: "What is common across them all, what is the platform? If we view each throw as a specific application, then what makes the operating system (OS)?"

Silence. Thinking is hard work.

The OS is "universal laws of martial motion," regardless of style, system, race etc. We all have but two arm and two legs, and they can move in a finite number of natural patterns. Learning to tweak and recombine them is what separates mastery and pure expression from monkey see, monkey do.

I went through a bunch of our system's throws...and slowed the mechanics down. I then started to speak out loud as I executed the throws. As the pattern started to unravel in front of their eyes, I gave them the syntax, the algorithm.

"Perform Tai Sabaki, connect to the body, move into continuous locking until you get the spine, shift the opponent's c enter/weight and execute the throw."

Let's break it down.

Step 1: Tai Sabaki - Within our system, your body moves in 10 specific angles. These angles nuetralize the attack and minimize opponents options, while maximizing your own options. This is the foundation, now, you begin the task of

Step 2: Adhesion (Connecting & Sticking) - Begin to bridge of the gap (entering safely) and moving into the trapping zone (dreaded by many, but this is the stuff that seperates masters from the amateurs). You have now checked the opponents limbs and are connected as one system: adhesion at its best. From here one moves to

Step 3: Lock(ing) the Skeletal Structure - Progressively apply pressure on the opponents joints. The goal here is to create a wave of locking until the opponent finds their spine/skeletal structure locked/frozen - unable to move. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the neck and lower spine. The opponent's c hoice is to either collapse on himself (congratulations, you have an otoshi) or

Step 4: Move weight onto one leg - to release the pressure from the spine. With this you will notice the body move, the center is dislodged and shifts, creating that perfect opportunity to

Step 5: Executive the throw - BAM!

Do not forget to follow up, and finish the fight.

Don't take my word for it though. Try it, tweak it and make it yours. Each component on the algorithm has a purpose, leaving any out may come with a heavy price tag:

No TaiSababaki - you will be hit or not be in range, and the resulting struggle ensures

No Connecting - you will lose the sense of how you function as a system. Instead of skill you will try to muscle your way through.

No Skeletal Freezing - the opponent has plenty of opportunities to free himself/herself and in the worst case, counter attack.

No Weight Shift - yo u don't own your opponent's center and you will need to use tremendous effort to live.

See how you can adapt and bring true awareness into your movements. Without understanding the pieces of the whole, you leave a lot to chance.

And the biggest takeaway from this is - you now use all the throws you already know as suggestions only. You are able to mix/match them into entirely new possibilities - your own throws. Think about that. That is the true freedom of understanding and making this insight function.

Let me know if you have any questions or insights. I look forward to learning together.

Best regards,

Mahipal Lunia, Sensei









Martial Musings: A bonfire for those Titles, Belts and Scrolls

Martial Musings: A bonfire for those Titles, Belts and Scrolls

Martial Musings: A bonfire for those Titles, Belts and Scrolls

If you are easily offended, don't read this.

This is a personal meditation on a few things I see rampant in Martial Arts...a few things I disagree with. This is not aimed at any one person or system, but rather a self reflection on the artistic expression I hold dear.

This week, a young 30-something man introduced himself to me as as a Grandmaster of not one but two different systems. I was left speechless by this marketing of his martial accomplishments. Undeterred, he insisted on being called Grandmaster and to be respected for his self-given rank in the Martial Arts. I obliged with polite smile, bowed and then walked out. 

Martial Musings: Living The Samurai Ideal

Martial Musings: Living The Samurai Ideal

The word Samurai is thrown around far too freely. It evokes the esoteric imagery of the fearless warrior, principled life and honorable death. To the Japanophile or Martial Arts nerd, the word Samurai invokes a bunch of texts such as

  • The book of Five Rings
  • The  Hagakure
  • The Unfettered Mind
  • The Lifegiving Sword

I want to take a step back - and set a few things right.

Feeling Fully - 9 Ideas you Can Implement  Starting Today

Feeling Fully - 9 Ideas you Can Implement Starting Today

I heard police sirens blasting behind me. It was around 3 am and three of my buddies were really drunk and very loud. I tried to calm them down as the cop walked over, to my window, as we idled on California’s famed Pacific Coast Highway. The cold wind gusted and there was a weird fusion of sounds: waves crashing, trance music, sirens... and some very loud, happy guys.

Martial Review: Kosta Danaos' Books on Neikung methods of Mopai

Martial Review: Kosta Danaos' Books on Neikung methods of Mopai

In the 1990’s I saw a documentary by two brothers Lawrence and Lorne Blair’s who were exploring Indonesia. The documentary left me in an odd mixture of disbelief and awe. It was my first introduction to the esoteric world of Chi or Ki. They managed to get a very private and mysterious man who they called “Dynamo Jack” on tape showing some rather strange abilities.

Martial Musings: Martial vs Tribal Arts

Martial Musings: Martial vs Tribal Arts

“Stop being so formal, you are not learning a militaristic art. Learning a tribal art it is like having a BBQ with your favorite uncle while exchanging stories!” exclaimed James Keating, the Master At Arms as he continued teaching “You dont have to yes sir me to death, I dont own you. We share here like family and you just call me Uncle Jim."

Martial Musings: Soften Into your Perfect Weapon

Martial Musings: Soften Into your Perfect Weapon

Most students of the Martial Arts will have heard their instructor tell them to relax more. When relaxing, most students shake off their bodies and “try” to relax their muscles. Some of them may think of relaxing in terms of going dead or limp. However, soon they will realize that relaxing is a state of being that is also present when they move.

Martial Musings: Relax! Damn It

Martial Musings: Relax! Damn It

Relax Damn It! Let go, let the motion be, dont try to do the technique, let it flow through you. I have found myself saying these words over and over again in the dojo. And yet the words seldom sink in deep enough to cause real change.

Modern life, especially with all of the technology we have is driven by stress. Unless you actively get on a program to de-stress as a martial artist, you are in serious trouble. Why should you care about it?

Martial Musings: Aiming towards Championship or Proffesionalism?

Martial Musings: Aiming towards Championship or Proffesionalism?

Martial Musings: Champion or professional?

I was having one of my conversations with Uncle Jim (James Keating, the famed Master at Arms) on all things Martial Arts and life. The topic of many hardships in life came up and how “events will always happen to you and around you."

I told him about certain personal and work challenges that had lately engulfed me. He patiently heard me and then shared some of his own challenges in these times. However he then asked me a question: “Mahipal do you know what is the difference between a champion and a professional?"

Environment Shapes Your Response-Ability - Martial Musings with Mahipal Lunia

Environment Shapes Your Response-Ability - Martial Musings with Mahipal Lunia

Some of my students and instructors were excited about the possibility of having access to an indoor dojo. I stood somewhat aside, and one of my students observed my disapproval. He sheepishly asked me, "Is there a problem Sensei? It might be nice to train indoors."

"This park is sacred ground to me. And there is a reason I train outdoors. Do you know what it is?"

"We don't want to be tied down paying for the training hall or compromise how we teach?" he answered, almost as though it were a question back to me.