Esoteric Martial Arts

Misdirection and Motor-Setting

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The arts of misdirection and motor setting have the same common purpose - to conceal the true intention of the Ninja so that a strike hits before the opponent has a chance to see it coming and defend themselves.
Misdirection is a common technique in stage magic and modern illusionism, and it is worth commenting that a study of these arts would prove useful to any aspiring ninja. The principle is simple - to conceal what you are doing with the right hand, move the left hand about in an attention grabbing way. The most common example of this is the classic feint. Using this technique one might step forward with the left hand comin out as if to jab, only to stop short and perform a right cross punch instead. Or, perhaps, if you are bobbing and weaving a little like a boxer you may begin to twist the body and throw out your fist for a punch to the head only to continue the forward motion with a front kick to the torso. The effectiveness of techniques such as this can be increased by using a principle called 'motor-setting'. This basically involves 'programming' your opponent to react in a specific way. This is done by repeating an attack which your opponent is able to block 2 or 3 times in quick succession; as you then begin to move forwards a final time in the same manner your opponent is 'programmed' to perfrom the same blocking move - their reaction is almost instinctual as the natural impulse to evade the attqack is channelled into a blocking manouver that has been set into the motor functions of the body. If you now perform a feint, moving as if to repeat your attack but transforming it into a different strike, you can be certain that it will be successful.
Perhaps the most effective way to use the principle of misdirection  is to incorporate it into the technique itself. The most obvious example of this is the crane kick, made famous by the Karate Kid movie (Dragon spreads wing stance to front kick in taijutsu). When this technique is practiced practiced in isolation it appears rather strange, holding the arms up in a rather showy and apparently redundant manner to perform a forward kick; the true purpose of the kick only becomes apparent when it is used in an actual combat situation. Here is how the kick works 'in situ':
The stance is usually kept quite low in both ninjutsu and kung fu, so as to lower the centre of gravity and increase balance, as well as providing an reservoir of potential power from the legs. This technique can be performed from a low ready stance, or alternatively from the low point of a 'ducking and weaving' movement. Move forwards and upwards, as if stepping into an attack, whilst simultaneously bringing both arms up and towards the opponent in a swift motion. The hands are held with the fingers pointing downwards and the thumb held against the middle finger; this serves to help you hold the body in the correct position for drawing power from the hip in the kicking movement, and can also as a basis for a lowering and forwards movement into a second strike after the kick, by snapping the hands back and writs downwards. As you do this the instinctual response from your opponent will be to raise the guard upwards as your hands come upwards, to defend against an attack from them. If you are within striking distance this will happen as an automatic response, so you do not need to worry about disguising your arm movements as a strike to fool their conscious decision making process. This automatic response leaves an opening in your opponents defences for a strike to the torso, or and upwards strike to the chin. As part of the same movement of the body that raises up the arms the back foot is brought upwards in a front kick, or alternatively, the back foot comes forward as the lead foot of a small junp, and the other foot comes upwards in a kick to the same target. The whole movement serves to create an opening in the enemies defences and then exploit it with a strike.
For a more in depth study of the Ninja arts of concealment Click Here! or check out our

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