Home > Concepts & Principles, Kempo ( Ch'uan Fa ) > Preventing your opponent from moving by Structural Freezing

Preventing your opponent from moving by Structural Freezing

This is a concept that I believe to be of great value to external stylists. Especially once you’ve made contact with your opponent. It has real world practical applications. Especially when trying to stop a situation from escalating, or to give you time to set up your strike. This is a Kempo theory. Touch and sensitivity are important in Kempo, as they are in Chinese Internal Arts.

Structural Freezing, a.k.a. Skeletal Freezing is a method of controlling your opponents ability to move.

As a general rule being directly behind your opponent is the best place to be, but it isn’t always practical to get there. In that case being at the ninety degree angle (or greater),  is a good choice.

So the idea with structural freezing is that if you’re at the 90 degree angle on your opponent, he will have to rotate to face you to cause serious harm.

For example if your opponent throws a right punch at you, and you move to the appropriate angle to end up on his right side at 90 degrees (Of course avoiding his strike if possible, or blocking as needed, as you move).  From this position your opponent will have to turn to face you, to hit you with his left hand (other hand).  In order to do that one side of his body (in this case his right side) will have to retract (rotate away from you). As he tries to hit with his left hand (this is the protracting side, which must rotate toward you). His focus and energy/power/strength will be on the protracting side (the side he is trying to hit you with).

He must maintain structural integrity as he moves (skeletal alignment).  If you can disrupt his structure as he moves, you can prevent him from moving at all.

The easiest way is to disrupt the side closest to you, which will have a retracting side if he rotates to face you.  Most people focus on the side they are rotating at you to hit you with, and aren’t very aware of the retracting side.

So to stop the side from rotating away from you.  First allow the rotation to begin, then suddenly make the retracting side stop, or move in another direction. Forcing a change in direction, or stopping the intended rotation of the retracting joint, or part of the body will disrupt the opponents structure.  Remember if you stop the retracting side from moving in the intended manor, you stop the protracting side from moving in the intended manor.

An example would be the opponent throws a right hand at you, you step up on his right as you avoid/intercept/block the strike. You keep your hand on his shoulder as you end up at 90 degrees.  As he tries to follow up with his next strike, which would most likely be with his retracted/left hand, he’ll step to face you rotating the right back, as he hits with his left.  With your hand on his shoulder feel the shoulder begin its retraction, once it starts, push the shoulder in another direction such as back where it started.  You just need to stop the retraction from happening. The harder he punches the more violently you’ll shake him in place (Actually he’ll shake himself) and stop his motion.  I used the shoulder as an example, but it could be any joint, or spot on the retracting side of the body. Hips, knees, etc. work really well.

Of course he may not rotate in the direction you think. If he rotates the other direction to for example throw a spinning back fist you need to be able to deal with that.  Of course the same rules apply, there will still be a retracting, and protracting side. You could just slide the hand to the other side of the shoulder to stop the retraction.  You could also touch with both hands One on the elbow, and one on the shoulder. This would allow you to easily stop the rotation in either direction. Of course you could use one hand, and a leg or foot to control the lower part of the body. This leads me into another topic which I’ll discuss later. Attaching high and low together.

There are many ways to apply this concept. I’ve just given a fundamental explanation, and example. Go play with it, and experiment.

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