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A Philosophy of the Fist The Making of “Cross Training in the Martial Arts 2: The Anatomy of Hand Strikes” - Part 6

 by pad-up on 21 Jun 2011 |
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A Philosophy of the Fist The Making of “Cross Training in the Martial Arts 2: The Anatomy of Hand Strikes”

By the time I had made the long journey over to Summersdale’s offices in Chichester I was already pretty tired from attending an all day SSTTM instructor course under Mo Teague in Weymouth. In hindsight I should have stayed over in Weymouth, but instead headed back to my fiancé’s home in Kenilworth that night and then got up at the crack of dawn to make my way over to put all the Cross Training footage together.
For the next two days Sam Bailey, the DVD’s editor and cameraman, and I worked on getting a rough format together for the DVD. Coming from a showbusiness background from growing up on a circus, to running a professional wrestling show to supplying exotic animals in the film industry, I am not unaccustomed to long working days, but even by all these standards this was fairly full-on. Never once did Sam complain. He kept a cool and calm attitude as the time continued to stretch on into the early hours of the morning of the first day and on the second day as each of the connecting shots, where I narrated, was ruined by various members of public walking into frame. To come to think of it, what was the bloke on?  
The first day consisted of putting together the footage from the seminar plus new footage from Geoff Thompson, which Sam, Nick and I had done the following week in Coventry and Rick Young, which Sam had filmed up in Edinburgh, and the archive footage of Peter Consterdine. Sam had already designed a very professional opening sequence that linked with the first DVD, but also showed a unique more upbeat style. Each chapter was divided under the following headings: “Awareness”, “The Fence”, “The First Strike”, “Maintaining the Attack”, “Generating Force” “Philosophy of the Fist” and “Drills”. These would be book-ended with my introduction and conclusion, and connected with narration, all of which were scenes to be shot the next day.
It was not hard to find common themes linking all strategies employed by the various different instructors. All promoted the importance of being aware. All agreed that violence occurred at very close distances and action beat reaction every time. All agreed on a basic consensus regarding generating force through the body first before using the hand or at least using the whole of the body rather than just the arm.
There were some differences in opinion, of course, but in terms of basic principles these really only varied on individual execution. Technique selection is the area where the martial arts practitioners find their main obvious differences between styles or systems. As Chris Rowen so succinctly put it in his summarizing section, “tactics might be the key word”. For example, the angles that Geoff Thompson and Matty Evans discovered to be the most effective for them defy the methods that Russell Stutely and Mick Coup insist are the most mechanically efficient. The most apparent difference on opinion that almost varies from instructor to instructor is the employment of a closed or open fist when teaching someone self-protection for the first time. The DVD showcases the differing opinions on this under “The Philosophy of the Fist” section, which serves as a miscellaneous chapter on a range of issues concerning the use of hand-strikes. It is on this section that Russell Stutely reveals that the origin of the waveform he teaches can be traced back to Rick Moneymaker and the palm strike of a silverback gorilla!


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