Kyoshi's Technique of the Week


Technique of the Week (Dec 10th 2006)

From Kyoshi David Baker,Chief Operating Officer
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA


WARNING! Adult content

The third primary frontal target on the body is the groin: gedan. (After the jodan and chudan targets.) Specifically, the testicles of the adult male.

Physiological advantages and disadvantages of this target:
A unique vulnerability of this target is that it is a highly sensitive organ on the outside of the body, with no anatomical protection. Another vulnerability is, because of its location below the hands, most men can not protect it from attack as easily as they can block an attack to jodan or chudan. A third advantage of this target is its proximity to our feet for kicking it.

A unique disadvantage it has as a target is, because the testes are suspended within the scrotum and therefore have a slight amount of mobility – they are somewhat deflectable with little body mass directly behind them against which to cause a concussion – it is therefore more difficult to hit the target squarely.

Physical damage done by a strike to gedan:
While a strong attack to the first two frontal targets (jodan and chudan) can cause, in the extreme, unconsciousness or even death, gedan should not be considered a lethal target. A severe blow here can cause significant shock and momentary incapacitation, but it should be regarded primarily as an initial strike, to be followed quickly by either another technique or escape while our attacker writhes on the ground.

Offense: *
Modes of attacking gedan can be divided into strikes
(or blocks that can be used as strikes):

1. From straight in, horizontally:
· mae-geri (front kick) in F2 (among other kata)
· gedan-zuki (lower punch) in Rohai, Wanshu and others, p. 70
· gedan shotei-ate (lower palm-heel smash) in Rohai and Wanshu, p. 80

2. From above, downward:
· gedan-uke (lower block) found in F1
· gedan yoko-barai-uke (lower sideward block) found in F2, p. 84
· gedan kosa-uke (lower cross block) in P4 and P5, p. 86
· otoshi-uke (dropping downward block) in P5, p. 88
· sayu-barai-uke (double lower sideward block) in Ananku, p. 84
· gedan shuto yoko-barai-uke (lower sideward knife-hand slashing block) in Rohai, p. 90
· gedan haito-yoko-uke (lower sideward reverse knife-hand block) in Gojushiho, p. 93

3. From below, upward:
· kinteki-geri (groin kick) using the instep, found in Oyo-tan-ren (“special exercise”) and Chinto, p. 96
· hiza-ate (knee smash) in P4, p. 80
· shi-zuki (beak thrust) in Gojushiho, p. 74
· and some deshi incorporate an alternative interpretation of the last two techniques in P5 as a ripping technique of gedan as well, pp. 146 –147, photos #29 and 30

(This is not a complete list.)

* Legend:
Page numbers refer to the semekata techniques in Master Nagamine’s
book, "The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do", using the soft cover
edition’s pagination.
“F” refers to Fukyugata kata (e.g., "F1" = Fukyugata ichi)
“P” refers to Pinan kata (e.g., "P2" = Pinan nidan)

Because the testicles have that slight amount of mobility, suspended within the scrotum as they are, an attack that traps them against the lower abdomen in an upward or horizontal motion has an increased probability of incapacitating our opponent. [Such as the kinteki-geri (rising instep groin kick) in Oyo-tan-ren or the gedan shotei-ate (lower palm-heel smash) from Rohai and Wanshu.] As opposed to an attack from above, in a downward motion.

(However, any downward technique, if accompanied by a dropping of the hip, will deliver a great amount of force against the general area because of the acceleration of the body mass due to gravity.)

The kick in Oyo-tan-ren, in addition to trapping the testes between our foot and his lower abdomen, also utilizes our opponent’s own supporting leg to automatically aim our foot upward through the target, as we hold his kicking leg up and open.

Modes of defending against a gedan attack:

1. Blocking:
There are many blocks to defend our groin from attack, including the various uke listed above, such as:
· gedan-uke in F1
· gedan yoko-barai-uke (lower sideward block) in F2, p. 84
· gedan shuto-uke in P2, p. 90
· gedan shotei-uke (lower palm-heel block) in Rohai, Wanshu and Kusanku (in Rohai, it is used in conjunction with a sideward, knife-edge foot block by the forward leg), p. 94
· gedan kosa-uke (lower cross block) in P4 and P5, p. 86
· otoshi-uke (dropping downward block) in P5, p. 88

2. Trapping or catching:
We can also trap his kick by closing our legs together; or we can block, catch and hold his kick with our hands as in Oyo-tan-ren.

3. Avoidance:
We can avoid his attack by either sidestepping or moving forward to “jam” his technique. (If one considers the points of a compass where we are the center point of the dial and our opponent is “North”, the one direction we should not move in any fight, relative to our opponent during the fight, is “South”.)

In Oyo-tan-ren, by combining these different defensive modes, especially if we first either step forward or sidestep into the stance, the neko-ashi-dashi gedan-shuto-uke block-and-catch is an effective defense because it removes our target by shielding the groin with our front knee, blocks the kick with gedan shuto-uke, and catches and holds the attacker’s foot high above the ground. All in prelude to our kinteki-geri counter attack. (Sidestepping will also decrease the angle of our block, thus lessening the force of the attacker’s kick against the relatively vulnerable bones of our blocking hand during the gedan shuto-uke.)

So study our style’s targets, discover your favorite techniques to attack them, and find which defenses you favor against your opponent’s attacks toward those same targets on yourself.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Operating Officer
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

New York, NY • USA