Grabbing the Opponent and using him as a Shield

In Do-san we apply the open palm block / spearhand, and turn as a neck grab from behind and a choke over the hip. The opponent is lying on your hip, facing upward. Yeah, really contrived, but patience ... I've not got to the punch line yet. In Won-hyo, we use Step 7 'Teacup Saucer' to grab the opponent's neck from the front, and then continue to crank their neck, rotate them around, and perform a sidekick as takedown to the opponent's knee. The 'Teacup Saucer' can be seen in Step 7a and 7b of Heian Shodan - the back hand is chambered and the front fist is stacked vertically on top of the chambered fist. Aside from Won-hyo, we go into 'Teacup Saucer'  in Yul-gok Step 22 before the sidekick.

Heian Shodan - 'Teacup Saucer' and side kick

Won-hyo - bypassing the transition  'teacup saucer' and showing chambering of sidekick in step 7
 In Won-hyo we also use one of the knifehands to perform an 'irimi' or entering takedown. It's basically a neck grab where the opponent's body is behind you followed by yet another neck crank and the eventual takedown.  shows your standard O-goshi hip or neck throw. You don't have to throw the opponent. If you grab the opponent's nose, you can crank their head all the way around and reposition them using an Aiki 'irimi' - creating a very compliant shield.

Lastly, in Yul-gok and Chulgi ... the open hand extension and elbow strike can be leveraged to block two sequential punches, pulling the opponent into a neck embrace and a landing an elbow or heel palm to the side of the head or neck. Whilst here, the opponent is pulled closer, has his head pushed down, and then lands up in the ol' 'Teacup Saucer' grip, and where you use the 'Teacup' to smack him on the back or side of the neck. shows a position you might easily find yourself in - you should be able to counterstrike with the other hand, knee strike, pull the opponent closer to you and push his head down so you'll end up in a teacup saucer position. Irrespective of the final position, you can use this position as a shield against your opponent's other home boys coming after you. 

This type of control allows you to progress strikes or close quarter combat to apply control over the opponent. In the dojo setting, you might see this as a nice takedown exercise and it might look 'cool' to drop  your opponent with minimal effort - in comparison to effort it takes to perform a shoulder throw or even a leg reaping throw.

But seeing this as just another funky way of taking down the opponent is to ignore the exercise as a way of improving your multiple person skills. Yes, please let's all go beyond thinking that you can stand right between two opponents and block simultaneous attacks that are launched equi-distance and timed just nice for that kodak opportunity. shows off a REALLY nice photo.  But that's all it is. 

The multiple person drill (see Multiple Opponent Sparring Drill too) we use requires the defender to try and move and line up attackers so we only have to deal with the one person at one time. In order to reduce the speed of movement, sooner or later you'll need to start control that one attacker close to you and to use that person as a shield - keeping this person between you and his other homies.

I have seen my students all too often use both hands to grab onto their 'shield' and try to run left and right to position themselves nicely. There's no overhand neck grab, under the arm grab, no neck control, no striking with the elbow whilst grabbing, making for head butts and basically there's no reality involved. Now that's fine in the dojo setting when we're having some fun and learning environmental awareness. But the situation begs you to consider using one arm more effectively as a control mechanism and the other as a striking tool AND then to be able to manipulate the opponent. Of course all the while preventing his girlfriends trying to jump on your back.

This post has mostly focused on the Step 7 'Teacup Saucer' technique in Won-hyo, but check out Yul-guk: If you control the Head, you control the Body. In the Yul-gok post, the aim is to get to the head to perform a throw or takedown. Of course, it's not too difficult in that throwing position to shoot in closer and then control the neck - so I'd say it's part of the same bag of skills you'd need when up close.


Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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SooShimKwan said…
I'll definitely buy your "Drills from Patterns"-book!
Colin Wee said…
Why, I'll take that as a compliment! :-)

Actually... I should just step up my game on this blog and start taking enough photos so my posts are clearer. That's the only thing limiting me right now.

Ymar Sakar said…
It's amazing how many people don't know these things and don't know how to teach them even if they did.

When I walked into one of Obata Toshishiro's aikibujutsu dojos, I already knew most of these in concept and application, which is why in randori one of the shodan black belts got distracted while explaining a technique to a student, and opened himself up to about 70% of the class and I just walked up behind him and did a shuto without making contact. The primary instructor noticed it, but the shodan did not, he was still talking and not paying attention to his surroundings. Such a thing is not the fault of Obata Toshishiro, but the fault of that specific instructor's capability at teaching. Because the shodan could never have gotten that way training full time with Obata. That's a habit from training with people who don't prioritize certain things.

In Kajukenbo, the other students will ambush you if you put your back to them, at random times, just to force you to be aware and be on your toes, and never trust anyone enough to put your back to them.

A lot of martial arts just don't want to deal with the realities of life and death deathmatches. It's not even about beating each other to a pulp physically. It's about mental preparation and learning to think for oneself. If the instructor has to keep telling shodans and high kyus "look over your shoulder" and "rotate around", then what are the students going to do without their instructor? And this instructor at this particular aikibujutsu dojo doesn't even mention the concept of multiple opponent awareness in randori.

The deficiency is quite apparent for those who know of the import of such things.
Colin Wee said…
"The primary instructor noticed it, but the shodan did not, he was still talking and not paying attention to his surroundings. "

It is surprisingly difficult to analyse student population, remember concepts, verbalise them, ensure understanding, and ensure your audience picks up on your lesson.


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