Yakusoku Kumite VI shows how to bait an attacker with a false target while introducing the principle of simultaneously blocking/grabbing and striking. It also introduces the principle of shifting and rotating your body to remove the target. This Yakusoku Kumite VI video study is a quick breakdown and analysis of the sixth set of the full Yakusoku Kumite I-IV fighting drill series. The above video shows both full speed and slow motion versions of two different interpretations of the set being practiced. First I give a relatively formal defense version followed by MJ who gives a more natural defense variation.
The 7 Essential Principles of Yakusoku Kumite
O-Sensei Shoshin Nagamine developed the Yakusoku Kumite agreement fighting drills with seven key fighting principles based on the teaching of his sensei Choki Motobu. Yakusoku Kumite VI specifically demonstrates the following highlighted principles.
- Simultaneous attack and defense
- Simultaneously use both hands
- Simultaneously use both hands and feet
- Naturally shift off-line to attack from the side
- Intently defeat the opponent in critical situations
- Reflexively kick when grabbed or grabbing
- Reflexively attack after suppressing and grabbing
How to Bait an Attacker with a False Target – Step-by-Step Breakdown
The following Yakusoku Kumite V video study step-by-step breakdown uses freeze frames from the live action video of the full Yakusoku Kumite I-VII series, so these snapshot poses may not be quite as clean as specifically posed photos would be.
1) Start Position: Yoi
The yoi or ready position for all the Yakusoku Kumite sets is the same as in the Pinan Kata. Stand facing each other in hachiji-dachi. Keep your knees and entire body relaxed and ready to move. In these photos Renshi Mike on the left is the defender and Sempai MJ on the right is the attacker.
Notes: We started this set right after the previous set in the full series video without first completely settling into the yoi position.
2) Ready Face Off: Hands Up
Attacker takes a fighting position with fists up, left hand and foot forward.
Defender takes a ready position with both hands up and open, left hand and foot forward.
Notes: This hands up ready position makes it immediately obvious to any onlookers who the defender is and who the attacker is. That can be very important in today’s litigious culture. This open position also presents a false sense of vulnerability for the attacker to see. With the defender’s hands up by the head it makes the attacker think the body is wide open for an attack. While we tend to keep our hands near our face they may technically be held a bit higher. MJ uses a natural fighting stance where the formal position in the book for the attacker is a cat stance (neko-ashi-dachi).
3) Shadow Left: Circle Left
Attacker circles to the left facing the defender, still left hand and foot forward.
Defender shadows attacker and also circles to the left facing the attacker, still left hand and foot forward.
4) Shadow Right: Circle Right
Attacker circles back to the right facing the defender, still left hand and foot forward.
Defender shadows attacker and also circles to the right facing the attacker, still left hand and foot forward.
Notes: When researching videos of others doing this set through the ages you’ll find different versions of the stepping pattern. Some follow the book keeping left hand and foot forward as they circle left and right. Others shift back and forth between each hand and foot forward while remaining in the same position. The important thing though is for the defender to just mirror the attacker and be ready to defend/counter whenever the attacker happens to attack, rather than memorizing literal stepping patterns. We only do so here for historical interest in analyzing the version in the book.
5) Defense: Oi-zuki, Parry Right/Left
Attacker lunges forward into right zenkutsu-dachi and throws a punch to the solar plexus (oi-zuki).
Defender steps back left pivoting on the right foot like opening a door so the punch has nothing to hit while dropping into an angled jigotai-dachi. Defender simultaneously drops his right hand down to slap/parry the incoming punch down followed immediately by dropping the left hand to slap/parry it down further and/or check/grab the wrist.
Notes: The seemingly wide-open vulnerable target disappears and closes as soon as the attacker attempts to hit it. When dropping the right arm down to block the punch, depending on how hard the defender strikes and which part of the hand/arm is used, it can deaden and disable the punching arm. So be careful not to injure your partner. In this video you can see I hit the arm a bit faster/harder than intended and his arm fell down totally limp causing me to miss the left hand grab because there was nothing left to grab.
6) Counter Attack: Parry/Grab Left with Right Backfist
Defender continues the right hand motion circling back up into a backfist to the face while checking or grabbing/pulling the attacker’s punching hand. Defender may shuffle closer if necessary for the backfist.
Notes: The right-left-backfist motion should be lightning fast and smooth with the right hand making a continuous circular motion flowing from the parry down right back up into a snapping backfist. But be sure to pull the backfist short as I did here so as not to injure your partner!
This is a more detailed look at one set showing how to bait an attacker with a false target. It’s from a longer live action practice video, Yakusoku Kumite I-VII Video Breakdown, which included the full seven set series being practiced. Such video studies are a great way to analyze your karate to see where you can make further improvements (and we see plenty to continue refining here). Karate is always a work in progress!
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino