Black Belt – Elective Elements

Elective Elements

  • Meridians and pressure points
  • Meditation
  • Groundwork/Grappling
  • Komdo/Haedong Gumdo
  • Offensive self defence
  • Choking and Revival Techniques
  • One handed self defence
  • Close range defence against a gun
  • Acrobatic kicks
  • Knife fighting/defence.

Meridians and pressure points

Meridians and pressure points are a fascinating subject and can greatly enhance your understanding of your techniques. Beyond the basic charts provided in the Coloured Belts Syllabus there is a lot of knowledge in the theories of the elements and the constructive and destructive cycles.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study or enrol in a formal course. The student would be expected to compile notes, collect books and reference material to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Meditation

Meditation is an important subject that can bring great peace and tranquillity to your life. It can also help with your focus and concentration. Beyond the basic meditation done in class there is a lot of knowledge in the theories of breathing, how the mind works, perception and psychology that will help you improve the quality of your life and understanding of yourself.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study or enrol in a formal course. The student would be expected to compile notes, collect books and reference material to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Groundwork/Grappling

Knowing what to do if you end up on the ground is very important. Also you may have to face someone who knows grappling – if you don’t know what to do you may end up in difficulty very quickly.

Due to our current lack of knowledge in the area of grappling you may need to do an outside course that specialises in grappling. Alternatively there may be people in your club who have grappling skills.

In order to become proficient at grappling you will need to spend a lot of time doing it – don’t assume you can just learn a few techniques and leave it at that – you will need to develop different body conditioning, flexibility and sensitivity that can only be achieved through lots of practice – be prepared to sweat.

It is expected you should at least understand the following:

  • Positions – what are the various strengths and weaknesses of the common positions – closed guard, open guard, half guard, top mount, rear mount, knee ride, side control, turtle
  • Escapes and Transitions – how do you get out of each position and which other positions can be transitioned to a more advantageous position by passing, sweeping or escaping. Also how do you prevent your opponent from passing, sweeping or escaping to a more advantageous position?
  • Locks and Finishes – how do you apply locks and finishes – which ones are best from which positions – eg. Arm bar, figure four locks, Kimura, chokes, leg locks, ankle locks, Z-lock
  • Entries – how is a grappler likely to get you onto the ground – what can you do about it – eg, the sprawl, knees, turn into a circle, etc.
  • Strikes – which strikes are suitable from each position – how do you protect from strikes in each position – eg, control tactics (using foot in hip, biceps, grabbing clothes), limiting damage from knees, elbows, punches, bites.
  • Strategies – what strategies suit your skills – what strategies suit different situations – eg class grappling vs street situation vs facing a kicker vs facing a grappler, ground and pound, etc.
  • Drills – what elements can you practice separately to develop the skills and conditioning required to be good at grappling.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study or enrol in a formal course. The student would be expected to compile notes, collect books and reference material to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Komdo/Haedong Gumdo

Knowing how to use a sword can greatly enhance your understanding of your techniques. Beyond the basic use of the chukto and the basic patterns taught there is a lot of knowledge to be learnt in the areas of timing, distance, footwork, angles, strategy and control of your own mind.

Kumdo is a sport that involves wearing armour and striking specific areas with correct technique, footwork, kyup and energy. It is a full contact – full speed sport and as such can greatly improve your reflexes and sparring abilities – it exercises your mind’s ability to asses a situation quickly and choose the best response.

In many clubs you may need to attend for a few months without armour before they let you loose in the armour. Armour can be expensive – cheap armour is about $400 – good armour is about $1000. The Japanese version (Kendo) is very similar to Komdo – same armour, targets and scoring criteria.

Haedong Gumdo is a Korean sword art that teaches sword through the practice of patterns and combinations of movements. Some clubs also do sparring – but this varies depending on the instructor. The patterns can be very beautiful and will require a lot of personal practice to perfect. Most clubs use wooden swords but some may also teach patterns for steel swords. Learning Haedong Gumdo will teach you good posture, footwork and an understanding of the correct angles.

Offensive self defence

This elective involves re-visiting your self-defence techniques learning how to use them offensively – to initiate an attack before the attacker moves – rather than purely as a response to an attack. The general approach is either go straight into the technique (eg. Grab the wrist or the arm) or to do a strike which will draw the opponent to move in a way that will allow you to do you technique.

This knowledge also requires the responsibility of knowing when conflict is unavoidable and moving first would avoid a bad situation – hence why self-defence is generally not taught offensively to junior belts.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study. The student would be expected to compile notes to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Strangling, Choking and Recovery Techniques

This elective involves a closer study of strangling, choking and recovery techniques. The following information is the body of knowledge we have collected regarding this subject.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study. The student would be expected to compile notes to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Strangling is also referred to as ‘blood-choking’ and is normally applied to the veins on the sides of the neck.

Choking is also referred to as “air-choking’ and is normally applied to the front of the neck.

Strangling

Strangling involves rendering the opponent unconscious (unless they surrender) by applying pressure to both sides of the neck.

We have little things in our body called baroreceptors. Baro meaning pressure and receptor meaning something that receives information. These little bits of us register either high or low blood pressure in the body. We have them around the aorta but the main one that we are concerned with is in the neck and is called the carotid sinus.

The carotid sinus is a small dilation (expansion) at the beginning of the internal carotid artery just above where the common carotid artery bifurcates (splits into two) to form the internal and external carotid arteries. The internal carotid artery supplies the brain, eye, forehead and nose. The external carotid artery supplies the mouth, face, nose, pharynx and part of the larynx, some of the back of the head and some of the dura mater, (brain stuff).

The carotid sinus lies just under the sternocleidomastoid muscle (the big one going up either side of your neck) at the level of the upper margin of the thyroid cartilage. (Adam’s apple).

Information from the carotid sinus baroreceptors run through the carotid sinus nerve to the cardio inhibitory centre of the medulla oblongata (the bit that keeps you conscious).

If blood pressure within the aorta or carotid sinus rises suddenly, it stimulates the aortic or carotid baroreceptors. The result of such stimulation is a reflex slowing of the heart thus lowering the blood pressure. This is how we maintain a normal blood pressure.

If we are able to in some way cause this carotid sinus to think that high blood pressure is present, then the brain will cause the pressure to drop but because there is no high blood pressure, we are quickly rendered unconscious because not enough blood gets to the brain.

Strangulation makes use of the body’s own safety switch and should take about 10 to 15 seconds to take effect. If only one side of the neck is restricted the reflex may not be triggered.

The walls of the carotid artery can be damaged – so never apply the strangle using a lot of strength. If applied correctly – not much strength is required.

Choking

If you crush someone’s larynx or trachea the person cannot breathe properly any more. This situation is often fatal because even after the grip is released the windpipe may remain closed and it may even be impossible to administer CPR. You can make someone submit pressing the front of the throat because it is very painful but be very careful. Pressing at the base of the throat can also activate a coughing reflex.

Recovery

If the person has been rendered unconscious lay them on their side, check they are breathing and check their pulse. If they are not breathing, if their heart has stopped or if they haven’t regained consciousness after 1 minute, start administering CPR and get someone to call an ambulance immediately.

Also realise that the unconscious person may have sustained a neck injury.

In some grappling schools it is common for there to be students lying at the side of the class, unconscious. When they regain consciousness they get up, wonder where they are and how they got there and then jump back into the class. This is not recommended for Hapkido classes.

Warning

It is not recommended to practice choking to the point of knocking out your partner. Doctors will tell you that any loss of consciousness should be followed by a visit to a doctor. I have seen people who wanted to know how it feels and ask their partner to choke them out. Don’t do this, it has no value, you won’t remember anything and you should treat your body with respect.

Techniques

Here are some examples of chokes you should learn to apply properly.

  • Choke (from rear)
  • Sleeper Hold (from rear)
  • Lapel Choke (on top)
  • Lapel Choke (from underneath)
  • Throat Press (against wall)
  • Front Headlock (lift up)

One handed self defence

This elective involves working out how to use your self defence techniques if you only have one hand available – for example – you may be carrying something or holding a child or have one hand injured. This is not an easy course of study as you will soon realise that many of our techniques actually depend on having both hands.

The techniques you use must be effective and practical and be able to be done on someone who is resisting. This is elective is like a puzzle – the solution is your own creation.

As a guide – develop 10 techniques that you can use against most attacks, including punches and kicks. You would also be required to demonstrate you one-handed self-defence in a multiple grabbing situation.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study. The student would be expected to compile notes to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Close range defence against a gun

This elective involves a study of close range defence against a gun. The following information is the body of knowledge we have collected regarding this subject. As a guide – develop 10 techniques.

An experienced attacker with a gun will not jump out of a bush and shout "hands up". They will shoot you when you are not looking from a safe distance. However if an attacker is silly enough to point a gun in your face or against your back, then you could consider yourself lucky.

General Hints:

  • Don’t stop thinking
  • Close the attacker and move your body out of the firing line
  • Try to trap a finger in the trigger
  • Grab the gun with both hands

Try against:

  • Pointing to stomach
  • Pointing to your face
  • Pointing to your back
  • Pointing to the rear of your head
  • Pointing to the side of your head


Acrobatic skills and kicks

Acrobatic kicks can be fun to learn and greatly improve your fitness, agility and special control when your body is not touching the ground. Don’t expect to use these techniques in real situations or in sparring – they are mostly for show. Gymnastic experience would be very useful for this area of study
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Make sure you practice in a safe place. Do not practice dangerous techniques alone without supervision. For some techniques – jigs to support your body while you are learning the techniques can greatly help – these are normally available in gymnastic clubs.

There are many resources available on the internet to learn acrobatic kicks – for example video tutorials, forums for discussing how to learn techniques and many videos of competitions in Europe and the USA where this form of martial arts performance is very popular.

Searching the internet with the following keywords will result in a lot of information:

  • Martial arts tricks
  • Trick kicks
  • Butterfly kick
  • Wheel kick
  • 540 kick
  • Somersaults
  • Back flip
  • Handstand
  • Capoeira

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study or enrol in a formal course. The student would be expected to compile notes, collect books and reference material to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

Knife fighting/defence

This elective involves developing skills in the art of knife fighting – this will of course improve your ability to defend against a knife.

The black belt student is expected to undertake a serious course of self-study. The student would be expected to compile notes to capture the knowledge they have acquired through studying this elective.

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