Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Getting Some Airtime

Let's face it: there's few things more spectacular than witnessing a well performed jump-kick. While deemed impractical by many, jumping techniques do appear in some advanced kata of certain karate styles. They've also made some obligatory appearances in a number of not-so-advanced martial arts flicks. So on one hand, we have tradition; on the other, we have sensationalism. The best of both worlds, right? What about a practitioner that's built like a sumo wrestler? Launching oneself up to the rafters to execute a side kick, or a flying scissors takedown could prove to be a problem for a big guy. The jumping techniques were likely conceived to take out the big guy anyway, so the point is probably moot. The real question is whether soaring through the air has any street value to it.

In recent years, it's become fashionable to say something like, "My art isn't flashy, it just works." Those that study styles that are touted to "work", like krav maga, or especially Brazilian jiu-jitsu, train to stay close to the ground. It makes sense to live with gravity and accept it. Besides, what goes up, must eventually, come down.

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Blogger Dr. Augustus Dayafter said...

Chuck Norris is gonna be angry with you for that post... Just kidding, I'm thinking that there were, once, some pratical applications for all flying kicks. A regular combatant (whether big or not) usually has a pretty good reaction time. Doing a jump kick or some such thing, unless they are taken off guard, is probably the moot point. However, if you take the application back into the days when the arts were being invented we'll get another story. The bad guys that taxed the poor and ruined their lives rode horses. A man on a horse has a lot less reaction time because of having to control the animal. So, how do you knock a guy off a horse? Hit him with that cool looking jump kick, thats how.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Flash is flash. Beautiful, attractive, impressive.

But still only flash.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Mir said...

Perhaps if one "sets up" the intended victim of a jump kick with some confusing, and distracting attacks, and then executes the kick.. Wouldn't that bring up the chance of success?

I tend to think that one would use a jump kick infrequently because once you leave the ground, it's impossible to change directions. You could be flying right into a thrust kick in your direction, and all you can do is close your eyes, and think "oh no'.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being someone who just can not get any air (5'9" girl and stink at basketball), I'm relieved that jump kicks are not part of the regular routine. In my current kata (Odo no tunfa ich) there are two fades and jumps. I honestly don't get them at all.

It's true that what goes up must eventually come down, and I'm afraid it would be me, on my butt.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kicks like a flying side kick are risky. However, there are moderate jump kicks and spinning jump kicks that have a place.

Spinning jump round kick: As you spin your rear leg comes of the ground and the opposite one executes a round kick. The whole jump-spin-round kick capitalizes on brief air time (not very high either) to maximize rotation which results in a very powerful kick. However, if you miss you may be open or off balance.

Another good one to use on an opponent who is crowding you is a spining side kick. You essentially jump away as you spin and kick off the opponent. Again very brief air time. In fact, this is the one that I would likely use in a street situation since I use it so much in competition. If you do it right your opponent has no idea it's coming.

There's truth that many fights end up on the ground but it's also true that they all start standing.

Ground is not my game due to how my body is made. (short trunk and very long legs) So, it's a matter of picking the art that suits your needs and limitations. Despite this I know what I'm capable of on the ground and know enough to a) try and avoid being put there and b) handle myself against someone who is not trained for it if they get me there. However, if a judo practioner or wrestler got me there I'll admit I'm likely done.


12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Through my studies in various schools of martial arts, I have found that one fact holds true for jump kicks, they often do not work, and are very telegraphed in their movements. I myself have made the mistake of attempting a jumping kick in sparring, and ended up on the back of my head when a fellow student caught my foot and pulled up sharply. As such, I have taken to a viewpoint consisting of, let the lower half of the body handle your opponents lower half, and let the upper half handle as such. It is sad to see martial arts kata competitions filled with Tae Kwon Do reutines that consist of flashy split kicks and flying roundhouses. The americanization of martial diciplines has made traditional martial arts more of a sport to youth, and the side effect is that many actually believe these flashy movements are functional in a street confrontation.

12:08 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

I've seen some of these new form routines (the ones I'm sure you're referring to) that have nothing to do with traditional kata; they look more like gymnastics. People want to see a good show, they don't consider or care how functional (dysfunctional?) something is in a street confrontation, unfortunately.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm much like Black Belt Mama, insofar as that I can't get much air time. Part of that is being a woman, that physiologically, women's leg muscles needed to make those kinds of jumps are not as strong, no matter how athletic you are. When I danced years ago, there was one class with a very tall, skinny guy in it. When we had to do certain jump steps across the floor, he had to do them all by himself, as his muscles could certainly get him higher off the ground, but as a result, the "hang time" would be longer than his female compatriots. So, I just do the best I can. The other thing working against me, other than being female and not having those leg muscles needed for "hang time" is that I'm also about 50-70 lbs. overweight, so gravity is working against me. And time-- not so young anymore either. I still try, and for an old fat girl, I don't do so badly. ;-) You just have to do the best you can, and work within your ability.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

btw, that looks a bit like you in the picture.

Is that you?

10:22 AM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Hey Mat...
You Think So? Incidentally, if you come across any sites that has good, clear MA photos, please let me know. I'll be posting most of my new photos in color. And BTW, I'm glad you decided to build that makiwara.


12:13 PM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Don't know any sites with good clear photos.. usually, I google most of them.

And yeah, it looks a bit like you there.

If I stumble upon one, I'll let you know.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Of course, the black gi gives it away, but still.. the face...

5:53 PM  

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