About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Sunday 9 June 2013

CHAPTER 23--The Martial Arts Background

No music for you this week.  Instead, a bit of martial arts.  I have not yet revealed to my readers that Freddie is a karate black belt.  It was hinted at last week, when he remembers his dad telling him not to be 'a girl' at gradings and contests.  

In this week's chapter when he is attacked, Freddie switches into automatic, and defends himself.  Obviously, I have a duty as a writer to make my dialogue authentic.  I don't want to use Freddie's speech as a Trojan horse to sneak up on my poor readers and dump masses of Japanese terminology on them.  (Especially as Freddie is off his face, and struggling to speak coherent English.)  But, of course, I know what went on, because I've done my research.  And the good thing about this blog is that I can show off the 7/8ths of the iceberg the reader wouldn't normally see.  Honestly, we writers are so self-effacing.  We try to wear our research lightly at all times.

And so, for the curious, here are the techniques he used.  The first--the knee buster--is sokuto fumikomi (stamping kick to the knee), and is one of the first techniques you learn when you take up karate.  Here it is being demonstrated very carefully.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsVzHOQ_NU8

I was pretty rubbish at it.  But that was true of all my karate moves, to be honest.  If I were to try it on someone tomorrow, they would probably say, 'Are you all right?' because I would have fallen over.  But used correctly and at speed, it is capable of doing exactly what Freddie says: busting someone's knee.

The second technique Freddie uses is a block, I'm going to say soto uke (outer block).  This is because the second attacker is trying to punch him in the face.    The block knocks the attacker's hand out of the way before the blow lands.  Here's more than you probably want to know about soto uke

And finally he turns and deploys mawashi geri jodan, which I'm guessing was his signature technique, the one he used to win contests with.  Jodan, I'm sorry to tell you, basically means 'to the head'.  So this is a roundhouse kick to the head, and that's why Freddie is feeling sick with dread the following day about the kind of damage he may have inflicted on his assailant.  Here, in rather too much mathematical detail, is why he has good reason to be scared: 

In contests and training, you are not making full contact with your opponent.  You are not supposed to unleash the full mathematical potential of your strikes.   If you are attacked in the street, the best martial arts advice is still: run away if you possibly can.  If not, fight back, then run away of you possibly can. If you use what are essentially designed as disabling and killing techniques indiscriminately and without control to teach your attacker a lesson, then it stops being self defence.

So to sum up my martial arts advice for the week:

And finally, here's the Lara Croft picture Jane sent to the archdeacon:

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