View Full Version : "Do" practice, do we really need it?
I think that do practice does more harm than good in practice.
If we talked about this before, than let me know, because I forgot.
Consider the five elements of atemi:
Aim: Wearing a do adds a lot of distance between your fist and your target. Shorinji uses the principles of kyusho (pressure points) to attack. Common ones are mikazuki, yoko sanmai, ushirosanmai, suigetsu. With the do, it becomes very difficult to practice this vital element of atemi with any accuracy.
Speed: The thickness of the do brings the target closer to the opponent, allowing attacks to reach closer, faster. Wearing a do constricts movement a bit, especially movements such as ukemi. In this way, I find that wearing a do leads to goho movements, which further separates goho from juho, when I feel they are the same thing (gojuittai).
Distance: Obviously different, changing everything. You cannot practice accurate distance with a do on.
Angle: The flat surface of the do forces the striking hand or foot to conform to a surface that is totally unlike the human body. It forces the punch/kick to follow a path of energy suited for the do, not the human target. This separates do practice from non-do practice. You cannot practice angle with accuracy with a do.
All too often, when people get on their dos, the first thing they start to do is punch and kick the dos, taking turns. Great fun, uses energy, but what are you practicing?
The five elements of atemi do not include power, but we use dos to test how powerful our attacks are. The five elements, together, attacking a human target, are effective in this purpose. The do simply uses power to judge if the attack is effective or not. It is too dull and insensitive to gauge the five elements.
This is also misleading as it might take a certain kind of power (sport, swinging, weight-based movement) such as a big swinging roundhouse as being better than an attack that tries to incorporate all of the elements for a different expression of power (one suited for the kyusho). IMHO :rolleyes:
There are lots of dojos all over with kenshi with super long karate style pants, karate style kamae, and karate style randori. They can kick soooo hard, these guys!
Anyways, I think practicing with do leads to a different set of values of movement/technique as listed in the kyohan.
Learning how to hit a do with your fist may not really help you prepare for the "real thing". I heard it is pretty easy to break knuckles and cut them open on people's teeth. I guess my point is that the hitting of dos and getting used to that kind of force/power/punch is not better than practice with no dos. And if dos mess up the five elements, why bother?
I know a lot of people love their dos, and I used to as well. But I can't really see the old Shaolin masters using dos for practice.
Anyways, that's what I think about dos right now.
I agree to a point. The new style double-skin do are awful for target, angle, distance. You have to change your form to protect your fist. It's quite difficult to use zensokutei on them too. The older style ones fitted closer to the body and so weren't so bad. In demonstrations the new ones are much better of course :laugh:
I dislike contact pads and kick pads quite a lot, except for 'hitting something hard' practice. Which brings me to the point where I think do are useful. Some beginner kenshi don't like hitting their partners at all, which I think is probably a good thing. Sometimes you need to give an idea of how deep you might need to hit, so do and contact pads can be useful. It's just a confidence building exercise, and if you plan it properly you can use it to practice good form - I know power isn't included, but good form brings a degree of power. Of course if you hit a kyusho correctly when it is kyo, then power is absolutely not necessary.
One thing you didn't mention is if you're shusha, wearing a do. Your kyusho are in a completely different place to where kosha is trying to hit, so you have to change your form again. I used to get frustrated with say shita uke geri and the do got hit, but if I didn't have it on, I would have not got hit myself.
(Let's ban discussion of randori from this thread).
Sometimes I practice atemi like this, especially for juho waza. For example, if they grab my wrist expecting meuchi and okuri gote, I do chudan zuki. It's a bit impolite, but it's a good way of seeing how kyo-jitsu works.
Tripitaka of AA
I rather liked the first time we used do. They were the rock-hard do from a Kendo club. Nice ribbed leather and stitching just at the location of suigetsu, one punch and you'd shred your knuckles. The only good point was that they were a lot thinner and so the problems of distance mentioned by Louie were a bit less obvious.
I remember Jee Sensei didn't have many do for the class, so we had to become proficient at quick-change. It limited the types of exercise that could be performed, as there weren't ever going to be enough for everyone to wear. Having a chance to experience a punch that reaches AND contacts can be beneficial. Especially for a weedy coward like me. Never likely to get anywhere near a fight and certainly no Rugby player, I just needed to be introduced to the sensation like a child learning to walk. The do made it possible to accept that even quite a hard hit is unlikely to do too much harm, even when you're NOT wearing one. That made it easier to accept a greater level of contact during the normal training (without do).
I think they are an important element of practice, but only one element. They are good for learning not to pull your technique, without them we would end up damaging each other. They are just part of the broken down elements of practice that help improve the whole skill set. Sure we could use pads and bags, but they behave even less accurately. At least the do is attached to a human body and therefore moves with it in the same manner.
I’m looking at trying to get something to use for my club. It is only small, and just starting. The normal ones are fairly expensive and I only have one. I found these ones from a company in Pakistan http://www.caratsport.com/chestg.htm they are only $17 AUD or $22 AUD including airfreight. I doubt that they will be anywhere near as good as the proper ones, but they tell me they will take full force contact. I might get a couple; they should be better than nothing.
I heard it is pretty easy to break knuckles and cut them open on people's teeth.
are we supposed to bite our partner? i havent tried that yet... :laugh:
on a more serious note. distance is important, but considering that your average do is about 1.5" thick or so, couldnt we flip the thinking in the sense that this is just another exercise to make us realise our distancing??
Usually in October, when we get a new intake of freshers at the Uni club, I am once more aghast (but also relieved) at the lack of basic "hitting" knowledge of most (if not all) beginners. Ask them to punch and they end up extending their arm in all weird directions with such limp and angled wrist that you just know if they ever tried to punch anything, they would end up injuring themselves. Similarly, their basic kicks are flat-footed and usually result in the kicker (rather than the kicked) ending up flat on the floor.
We find that a really useful exercise (after a lot of explaining and "softer" practice) is to get the beginners to punch/kick someone wearing a do. It is amazing how quickly (after the initial "ouch, I see what you mean") bad habits such as protruding thumbs/toes, bent wrists etc are corrected ;)
Just as for everything else, I think do practice has its place in Shorinji Kempo. Others have already mentioned most of the positives, but I will add one more. The do is a useful tool for assessing balance while counter-attacking, particularly for techniques where the weight is shifting to the back leg as in uwa uke geri. I notice that Kenshi often have the tendency to fall backward as the defender when kicking the do. I think do practice is the most effective way to discover and correct this kind of balance problem and we sometimes use do during hokei practice for this purpose.
I agree with much of what Louie says. I agree that too much do practice emphasizes the wrong points of striking. I am also bothered by the attitude that putting on the do encourages of hitting as hard as you can. I don't think that is the point of practice. I'll add that as the attacker, the do forces your elbows farther away from your body which encourages bad form for punching.
Hokei practice without the do allows for more work on control and precision in counter-attacks - trying to consistently touch your partner in just the right spot and with just the right angle.
As with hokei practice, we do randori with and without the do. Again, use of the do allows more focus on the defender's balance and stance, while practice without it allows more focus on distance and accuracy.
I have a personal pet peeve with the do. I am short and when I practice against someone who is taller and has a bit of a gut, I am forced to try to hit a target that is not only too high but also slopes away from me. This is completely unnatural. The new double layer do are even worse for this.
Tripitaka of AA
Has anyone got a link to a picture of the "double-layer do"? I can't quite imagine it...
My favourite will always be the Xtreme;
I like practicing with the do, and I believe it is valuable.
First let me say that I only really like the old do, not the newer double-layered kind. (Admittedly, Louie, this stipulation might change your whole commentary, if you're speaking about the new ones.) The new ones certainly do have all those drawbacks mentioned--altered distance, altered form, etc.--not to mention that the exaggerated cracking sound they make can be misleading as to the quality of the strike.
Wearing a do adds a lot of distance between your fist and your target. Not the old ones. They are thin enough that if put on snugly, they don't add so much distance as to really mess up your targeting. And I don't think it's too hard for either attacker or receiver to tell when a strike has only struck the do and not penetrated to the body.
Practicing without do can screw up (or allow to remain screwed up) the distance-gauging of a beginner; giving them the opportunity to train with do can help establish proper striking distance. As Colin L. said, "They are good for learning not to pull your technique".
Learning how to hit a do with your fist may not really help you prepare for the "real thing". I heard it is pretty easy to break knuckles and cut them open on people's teeth. Well, what would better prepare us for that? Karate and kung fu tricks, I suppose—grinding fists in gravel, pounding rocks ... Actually, striking the do does help beginners learn good form, exactly as Sami describes.
The flat surface of the do forces the striking hand or foot to conform to a surface that is totally unlike the human body. I'm not sure this makes too much difference except that it does make for more toe injuries (bend those big toes up on mawashi-geri!). If you're making a solid strike, the angle of foot or fist shouldn't vary much (overall angle of strike is controlled elsewhere). One situation in which it does change things is when a chokugeri goes awry (esp. angling upward too far)—then you REALLY notice the mistake because it skitters right off the do.
All too often, when people get on their dos, the first thing they start to do is punch and kick the dos, taking turns. Great fun, uses energy, but what are you practicing? It's just to get acclimated to the do—trying to compensate for those oddities of distance and form and so on that you so rightly point out. Also let's the wearer get used to being struck: speaking as another weedy man (cheers, David; I'm 6', 155#), I feel compelled to note that wearing a do does not make me inclined to try to stand firm in the face of a solid strike, but to sway with the power when possible, lest I break into pieces.
... even quite a hard hit is unlikely to do too much harm, even when you're NOT wearing one. --David N.
Say what?!! I must be misunderstanding you. Please clarify.
Louie, overall I'd say that the problem is not with the do, it's with how do practice is conducted. Just like randori!
p.s.—Louie, did you get my P.M.? The session has been confirmed.
I believe do - and other impact work - to be an essential element of training (note my emphasis). It's not a substitute for form work; in my view it's an integral element of it. I take on board the stuff that Louie was saying about dos changing the timing and distance involved in striking targets in some significant ways, especially re. the 'clacker' dos which in my view are overengineered pieces of crap whose sole virtue is that they can be more comfortable to wear for female kenshi than the older variety.
The older dos do at least conform to the general body shape of the human torso. When striking a do in sotai practice (and I mean in the execution of techniques, not just kicking the crap out of them for the hell of it), they do afford an opportunity to see if the defender is capable of hitting the designated strike point on a moving attacker to a depth which might effectively incapacitate. At the most basic level, if you don't understand how to hold your hands and feet at the point of contact, you might well end up doing yourself more harm than good. As Gary noted, using keri waza on a fully committed attacker is also quite likely to end up with uke sprawling on their arse unless they get the benefit of this kind of practice. I have found do and pad work to be the only way of imparting some lessons.
Something Mizuno Sensei was demonstrating at the most recent BSKF University Training Seminar was generating power through timing i.e. by looking at how fully the body is rotated beind zuki waza at the point of impact (basically the key was not to have expended the full benefit of torsion through the body just as you are striking the target, but rotating through after initial contact). If applied successfully this has pretty dramatic results, but does require committed practice - difficult to see how you could do this without running out of training partners without using pads and dos etc.
Good form to me is technique which does the job it is seeking to do as efficiently as possible. To me it is inconceivable that you can learn how to punch and kick without some practice which allows you develop full power NB not necessarily through brute muscular strength, and apply it to a target.
An anecdote. I was once doing some bag work with a friend who practiced Shotokan when I was about blue belt. I was enthusiastically kicking lumps out of the bag in a way which I suspect owed a lot more to (sawn off) 'Hulk smash' than to technique, while my friend was doing exquisitely shaped kicks which stopped precisely on the point of contact with the bag. I suggested to him that he kick the bag like it was somebody who really meant to hurt him. He put his game face on, kiai-ed very impressively, and did exactly the same thing. If you condition inhibitions against striking to the appropriate depth - for the excellent reason that you don't want to hurt your partners - you will not be able to override those inhibitions at will simply because somebody is actually attacking you..
I can't quite decide what I think of do practice. On the one hand, I do think it's important to have a degree of realism that allows us to practice our techniques in as "real" of a situation as possible. On the other hand however, I don't know that we should have to sacrifice the underlying principles of those techniques in order to achieve that realism.
I guess it really comes down to a question of why we practice Shorinji Kempo. In my experience talking with proponents of other martial arts on other discussion boards, realistic and street effective training are often required for a martial art to be "credible". The thing I love so much about Shorinji Kempo though is the underlying philosophy behind the techniques. This isn't to suggest that SK isn't credible or effective, just that we have other reasons for doing the things that we do. So, if we don't practice from a purely self-defence based viewpoint, is it really necessary to have something like the do that detracts from those very principles?
I admit that the do does have its place in getting us accustomed to actually hitting things, but as Louie said striking a do is very different from hitting another person. I can see that it has some training value, but I personally feel my technique get MUCH sloppier every time we practice with the do, and I often feel restricted in my movements.
How then do we reconcile "effective" training with the other principles (like the five elements of atemi) that we learn? I've always felt a bit awkward trying to explain to myself the reason behind using something like a do, when otherwise Shorinji Kempo seems to place so much emphasis on proper technique and execution rather than strength and brute force. Why introduce something like the do that seems to contradict everything else we learn? Furthermore, why practice in a way that renders many of the defining aspects of Shorinji Kempo useless? If we don't hang on to the principles and philosophy while wearing the do and practicing with a partner in the dojo, how can we expect to use them in a real confrontation (if that is indeed the reason we train in Shorinji Kempo)?
Tripitaka of AA
The do made it possible to accept that even quite a hard hit is unlikely to do too much harm, even when you're NOT wearing one. That made it easier to accept a greater level of contact during the normal training (without do).
Clarification... Stick me in a bit of protection and I discovered I couldn't hit anything. I couldn't reach anyone, I couldn't get a strike to land. Practising with a more proficient classmate, I discovered how it felt to recieve some good solid blows. The first part made me realise some rather important weaknesses in my technique, and the second part helped me to overcome some fears. The fear of being hit can, in some people, prevent them from executing any attack strongly enough to be worthwhile. I was beginning to make headway in this area, whereby I was becoming more comfortable about my ability to "take a hit" (preferably dodge a hit, or deflect or absorb, obviously). The do afforded a certain reassurance, much like the "water-wings" that someone learning to swim might wear. Water-wings won't stop the water splashing in your face, but they take away the fear of drowning (which may or may not be a realistic expectation). The do can help to reassure the wearer that they won't get injured, to the point where they feel more relaxed about exploring the "attack" part of their game.
Brady, I read those other forums too. I see a lot of emphasis on "realism", and I know where you're coming from. Shorinji Kempo has a little more to offer than just "guaranteed street-fighting supremacy and lethal moves", but you can't ignore the 33% of the Healthy-Mind/Healthy-Body/Self-Defence. If Shorinji Kempo didn't include some kind of contact in training then it would have to call itself "Dance Fu" or "Yoga-cise" or "Kempo Can-can".
The trick is to practise as hard as nails... but with the right MIND.
And when people say "have youu ever been in a streetfight?" the correct answer should be "not since I've been studying Shorinji Kempo". Not like the thread on another forum recently where someone asked "which art should I study?" and the advice was all about "ask how many times the instructor has used it on the street... the more the better... if he says he hasn't proved it works for real then walk away" - what a role model that would be :eek:
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