In Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, we first emphasize the importance of gross motor skills in our core curriculum as it makes the techniques easier to learn and apply in a real self-defense situations. That being said, if all we ever trained in was gross motor skills, there would no long term development for us as martial artists.
It’s all well and good to learn to aim strikes for broader surfaces we you first start to train, like the head/neck areas or center body mass where there is a good chance of hitting a variety of potent targets. But as you train, you ultimately want to start aiming for specific target locations to increase the effects of your strikes. This is one aspect of striking that I consider to be a fine motor skill that we teach.
Many people don’t even realize how much greater the effects of a strike can be when you hit a target with laser precision. Take the solar plexus for example. When you strike in the general area of the solar plexus with a degree of force, most people will feel it. But when you strike the precise target location of the solar plexus just below the sternum with the right part of your body (either an elbow point or your first two knuckles), you hardly have to use much power at all to cause a strong effect. In fact, if you strike with even a moderate amount of power, the effects are amplified far greater than they are with an imprecise strike. Check out the vid on this blog post, in which Megumi Fujii demonstrates the effects of good solar plexus targeting.
People are often surprised when I strike the solar plexus or other nerve motor/pressure points when they uke for me. They think that I am striking them a lot harder than I am because of the effects of the strike are so much greater. But that’s the difference between training at striking a target location for several months vs. training at it for over 17 years.
Yes, it’s true. It is a lot to use these precise targets in the context of a real attack, rather than on a compliant uke. But, after many years of training, you become better at targeting them regardless of how they come at you. And you can have your ukes come at you more realistically as well to improve your targeting as you get better at it. On the other hand, if you never bother to train in striking precise targets, you can never attain these levels of effectiveness.
And even if you’re not particularly good at striking the solar plexus in the exact right spot, or any of the other nerve motor/pressure points for that matter, the targets that we teach are located in areas where there will still be some effect even if you’re not bang on target.
In one of my next posts, I’ll discuss the importance of “snap” as a fine motor striking skill.