What is the purpose?

A few months ago I was applying a technique called kote gaeshi, which is a wrist lock technique used in jitsu and aikido.  Application can vary from a mild lock to generate a shock reaction, to a full hard application which allows the experienced user to turn and jump out the application.  I was aiming for the lower end of the scale, there were no mats where we were practicing.  I applied the lock, my uke (training partner) tapped out and I thought, “ooh, good, got that right the first time.”

KotegaeshiKote gaeshi application the way I have been taught to apply it.

Well, according to my uke both yes and no.  Yes, I had applied the lock well, but the complaint was that I had applied it too well.  Eh?  I was informed that if I projected the hand in a different direction then it would be less painful on my uke and better all round.

Now I was really confused!

  • I asked if it was because if I did a full application it would be harder for the jump out, but it would apparently that would make it more difficult.
  • I asked if I had applied it too fast (which is a problem if you have someone who has very sensitive joints), but there was nothing wrong there.
  • I queried if it was felt that I did not have control of the lock.  Not an issue.
  • Instead I was told firmly not to direct the hand in the way I had.  This was counter to what I had learned in any other martial arts class.

I let the matter go, I was not going to get into an arguing match on the mat.  Also, I wondered if I was missing something.  Yet two months on I remain just as confused over what it was that caused my uke to confidently state that my angle of attack was, “not nice.”  Martial arts are not designed as a dance, they developed for attack and defense.  Yes, martial arts such as Judo now have rules to prevent too much damage to your opponent because they are competitive, but I do not practice competitive martial arts.

So what is the purpose of creating a defense that does not make your attacker think twice?  A defense doesn’t have to be painful, a throw, a block.  It can be a distraction technique.  Maybe this is what my uke was after.  Though frankly I can think of a whole range of distraction techniques that would work better than holding someones hand.

I remain confused.  If the answer comes to me I shall let you know!

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