Yakusoku Kumite II shows how to yield to set up attacker for counter strike and introduces the principle of conditioning or setting up the attacker by initially yielding to lure him in while recognizing a repetitive attack. Then when ready to counter attack becoming as impenetrable as if he is running headlong into a brick wall. This set also demonstrates the use of a simultaneous block and strike for the final counter strike. This Yakusoku Kumite II video study is a quick breakdown and analysis of the second set of the Yakusoku Kumite fighting drill. 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 II 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 Yield to Set Up Attacker for Counter Strike – Step-by-Step Breakdown
The following Yakusoku Kumite III 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.
2) Initial Defense: Oi-zuke – Gedan-barai Uke
Attacker steps forward right in zenkutsu-dachi and throws a right punch (oi-zuki) to the solar plexus.
Defender steps back right to zenkutsu-dachi distance and slides the front left foot backward to adjust to the distance of the incoming attacker while performing a left low block (gedan-barai-uke).
Notes: Depending on how deeply the attacker steps in the defender’s stance may vary from zenkutsu-dachi to shizentai-dachi. The defender is stepping back and shuffling to yield ground to the attacker and maintain their distance.
3) Secondary Defense: Oi-zuke – Gedan-barai Uke
Attacker steps forward left in zenkutsu-dachi and throws a left punch (oi-zuki) to the solar plexus.
Defender steps back left to zenkutsu-dachi distance and slides the front right foot backward to adjust to the distance of the incoming attacker while performing a right low block (gedan-barai-uke).
Notes: Depending on how deeply the attacker steps in the defender’s stance may vary from zenkutsu-dachi to shizentai-dachi. The defender is stepping back and shuffling to yield ground to the attacker maintaining the same distance.
4) Preparing Counter Attack: Gedan-barai-uke & Shuto-uchi
Attacker steps forward right into zenkutsu-dachi while preparing to throw a right punch.
Defender steps back right (slightly off-line to the right) planting right foot for zenkutsu-dachi and winds up his body in preparation to block the developing punch while preparing a simultaneous shuto.
Notes: On the first two steps the defender is yielding and giving way to the attacker, luring him in. On the third and final step the defender plants his back foot and digs into a zenkutsu-dachi shifting all his weight forward and the attacker, expecting more yielding, instead crashes headlong into a solid defender as if hitting a brick wall.
5) Counter Attack: Oi-zuki – Gedan-barai-uke & Shuto-uchi
Attacker lands in right zenkutsu-dachi throwing right punch (oi-zuki) to the solar plexus.
Defender sinks into zenkutsu-dachi projecting his weight/power forward into the center line of the incoming attacker. He blocks the incoming punch with a down block (gedan-barai-uke) while simultaneously striking the side of the neck/jaw (shuto-uchi). Be careful to pull the shuto strike short so as not to injure your partner. The side of the neck is a vital area.
Notes: It should feel like the defender is giving way, giving way and then stopping and planting before dropping the hammer by firing a simultaneous block and strike to stop the attacker short. By shifting slightly offline and planting at the end the defender really destroys the attacker’s balance by attacking at an angle other than the forward angle the attacker was stepping along. Drive this simultaneous block/strike combination from the core. Unwind your body from the hips through the shoulders into the arms in a single unwinding whipping action.
This is a more detailed look at one set that shows how to yield to set up attacker for counter strike, 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