Empi, Step 20-25, Counter to Te Nage

Applications for Empi kata by Bruce D. Clayton.
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Empi, Step 20-25, Counter to Te Nage

Postby HanshiClayton » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:00 pm

This is the "Westmarch" cluster. See the "perspective" discussion that shows how the "Westmarch" cluster (step 20 to 25) is the fourth "swallow cluster," apparently retasked to some other purpose. The fact that the fourth cluster is so different from the first three cannot have been accidental.

You can see the the beginning of the original "swallow cluster" in the downblock and reverse punch in step 19 and 20, and the end of the original cluster is visible at the turn and downblock of step 25.

Between these markers it looks as if we attempt some technique at the knife-hand strike of step 21, but we get into trouble. We withdraw, changing stance abruptly, and attack again with the opposite knife-hand strike in step 22.

Apparently, this clears up the problem because we launch into the same attack combination again. The reverse punch in step 23 is a replay of step 20; the knife-hand strike of step 24 reprises step 21. The turn and downblock of step 25 is the victorious completion of the technique (probably a throw), which brings us neatly to the beginning of the third and final "swallow cluster."

What danger is there that a mere change of stance can fix?

The abrupt change in stance can be a defense against the te nage lock. Do a right knife-hand block (or strike) in back stance, like step 21 of the kata. Have your partner apply the te nage wrist lock to your right hand. He doesn't have to twist it very far before you'll be teetering on the edge of your balance, about to be thrown on your back. Now, reverse the stance like the kata does in step 22. This does two things. One, it rescues you from the brink of disaster because you can bend forward from the waist to relieve the pressure on your wrist. Two, it places your free left hand in the front, where you can strike with it. Use your left knife-hand strike to free your captured right hand. Then use your right hand to punch (step 23).

The final two moves can be interpreted as an atemi strike to the neck (step 24) followed by one of the kube shioku waza throws described in Heian Shodan, step 9 (step 25).
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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