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Kuta Techniques


Kick Reflex

Example 1, Aiki Reflex to Strike to Face.

Movie of Aiki reflex to strike to face.

Fig. 1 Start of Aiki Reflex Fig. 2 Move With Strike. Fig. 3 Fall With Leg Out

  1. Fig. 1 shows the start position. Uke on the right starts in to strike Nage in the abdomen. As Uke comes in Nage strikes him in the face.
  2. Fig. 2 shows Uke throwing his head back and dropping to move with the strike.
  3. Fig. 3 shows Uke's leg coming up as Uke falls.

One instructor explained the logic of this response this way. You are running and a clothes line suddenly hits you in the throat. If you just plow into the clothes line you will crush your throat and you might even die. You have too much momentum to just stop so you throw your head back and let your body keep going. Doing this makes you horizontal so you hit the ground rather hard. This is not a great option but it is better than having your throat crushed and dying.

Another logic to this is that Uke is helping Nage learn. If Nage's punches are pulled in training to protect Uke then Nage learns to pull punches which can get Nage killed. If Uke moves with the punch then Nage can follow through and not pull the punch and Uke learns to move with the punch so that when Uke gets hit Uke will move with the punch minimizing the damage. This is good as far as it goes except that Uke ends up on the ground which is not the ideal situation.

Example 2, SCARS Reflex to Strike to Face.

Movie of SCARS Reflex to Strike.

Fig. 4 Start of SCARS Fig. 5 Moving With Strike Fig. 6 Full Reflex Position

  1. Fig. 4 shows the start of the movement. This is the same as in Fig. 1. Uke comes in to strike Nage in the abdomen. Nage does a Kuta Entry Strike and hits Uke in the face.
  2. Fig. 5 shows the approximate moment of impact. Uke's head flies back and Uke's belly flies forward as if Uke had really been hit.
  3. Fig. 6 shows the full reflex position. With Uke's belly extended forward in a realistic way it is obvious that Nage can easily strike Uke's groin.

SCARS logic goes something like this. If Uke just stands there in practice and does not react as if Uke had been hit then Nage's next move is against a partner in the wrong position. Nage will not be learning in a way that gives realistic signals of what is happening. This will lead to confusing and failure for Nage in a real situation. By acting out the realistic role of the recipient of the SCARS moves Uke is learning what to expect of an attacker in a real situation and will therefore be much better trained.

One complaint about SCARS is that people in real life do not make the extreme reactions seen in SCARS training. Peterson's response to this is that most people do not know how to hit. They strike in a defensive way where they stand as far from the attacker as possible and lean in for the hit. This does not produce a good strike. To deliver a good strike Nage's feet must be as far apart as the length of Nage's inseam and Nage's lead foot must be right under Uke's center of gravity. Now when Nage strikes the power will be there and Uke will react!

Example 3, Kuta Reflex to Strike to Face.

Movie of Kuta Reflex.

Fig. 7 Start of Kuta Reflex Fig. 8 Kick to Knee Fig. 9 Punch to Face

  1. Fig. 7 shows the same starting situation shown in Figures 1 and 4. Uke comes in for the punch.
  2. Fig. 8 shows the approximate moment of impact. Uke modifies the basic reflex by letting Uke's leg kick forward as Uke's head flies back. This keeps Uke from falling without excessively extending the belly. Hopefully the kick will at least break up Nage's attack. With luck it might even seriously injure Nage.
  3. Fig. 9 shows a follow up punch. The kick left Uke in position to continue pressing the attack.

Kuta is based on the premise of modifying the Startle Reflex into more adaptive reactions. This is the basis of the Kuta punch. Kuta uses the same approach in dealing with a strike to the head. Uke's head moves with the strike to minimize the damage. Uke's arms come up for protection and Uke kicks to maintain balance and continue the attack. In other works Uke uses Nage's punch to help power the kick into Nage. Kuta kicks leave Uke in position to maintain the pressure on Nage with punches.

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Last Update 12/9/2008