Author Topic: Chanbara and Channeling John Woo  (Read 1655 times)

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CR Williams

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Chanbara and Channeling John Woo
« on: June 27, 2014, 05:56:16 AM »
We at least intellectually understand that we're not likely to be able to or that it's not the best thing to assume any of the standard shooting positions in a fight, but how can we train on our own to provide ourselves some flexibility of reaction for that eventuality?

Ever seen a John Woo movie that was set in current day and age? 'Replacement Killers' is one that come to mind, but there are others. Or consider taking in a couple of Chanbara, samurai movies that are the Japanese equivalent of our Western movie genre. ('Yojimbo', if you want to see the inspiration of [I believe] 'For A Few Dollars More' and the more modern 'Last Man Standing' or compare 'Seven Samurai' to 'The Magnificent Seven'). Or if you don't want to deal in fiction and have an Asian martial arts background, look at a kata or, if you want to go Western, shadow-boxing.

John Woo comes to mind because he crafted fight scenes with guns based on the choreography of both kung-fu movies and chanbara, all of which at times feature--to say the least--non-standard positions and constant but controlled movement, all to a purpose.

Here is the key for this free-style drill: Controlled movement to a purpose. In the movies, the purpose is to make a good scene and move the story forward by use of action. In these drills, the purpose is to train yourself to get online and control your shot no matter what the position you may find yourself in, and to learn how to set a shot even when you're twisting and turning, sliding and shifting, dropping and rising--sometimes all at once.

To start with, one step/two step/X-step movement or posture/position changes, pause, see where the gun is and if you need to adjust to get to the sightline/eye-hand alignment, take the shot. (Need I mention that this should be done dry for quite some time before you even think about loading up live rounds? Don't try anything like this on the range for a while if ever.)

Next step is to not stop the movement or pause the position, but slow down the movement just prior to pressing the trigger. You slow down to make the same checks and adjustments you did before, but on the fly instead of from the freeze. You can do the whole thing slow or move faster until the gun is on-line and then slow it.

Then you do it as a steady-state movement.

This is best suited for training weapons that don't require you to reset (run the slide or such) between shots, but if you don't have that don't let it stop you. Incorporate the slide movement to set another press up into the in-between movements you do.

This is similar to the 'Dancing with Guns' drill, but is more advanced in concept and should be more flamboyant in execution.

Martial artists can execute a kata or form of their choice using the gun instead of hand or weapon at each point of strike execution.

You may say to me "I'm not going to go flying around like that in a real fight." Very true, and not the point of this exercise. Point of this exercise is to train you body but mainly your mind to not freeze up in the event you find yourself with gun in hand but without your body in a position that you're accustomed to when shooting. If you still have the sight-line and have the gun or can bring it on-line, you can still take the shot as long as your mind doesn't say "I'm not used to this!" and stop you for an instant. This drill, performed properly and most importantly with proper set of mind about it, will help you go through when you can and understand without thinking when you can and can't make the shot you need to.

Don't be afraid to have fun with this one sometimes, though. Okay?

Shikan haramitsu dai ko myo.

In Shadow In Light - Studying and advancing the art and the science of the fight.