Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Shoulder Ram for Martial Artists

There is a saying in martial arts that the body must become a weapon. There are many weapons on the human body including the fist, feet, knees, elbows, shins and many more which seem practical. There is one part of the body however which is very practical but not used nearly as much as it should be. This is the shoulder.

The shoulder ram is a technique which can only be used at close range for obvious reasons. It does not need much training to become efficient with it and is something that all can be able to use.

Below are a few targets where the shoulder ram can be aimed at.

To the chin/face – The shoulder ram to your opponents chin/face is great to use when you have pulled their head downwards (as if performing a Thai clinch hold) or after your have struck them hard low which will normally result in them lowering there head slightly.

To the ribs – If your opponent tries to grab around you or maybe tries to grab over your shoulder you may be able to ram your shoulder into your opponent’s ribs as you thrust your weight forward. With enough power this can break the ribs.

To the solar plexus – This is possible if your opponent again tries to grab around or over you, exposing their torso or as you close the distance for some kind of throw/takedown.

To the hip – Just like ramming the solar plexus before a throw, one can aim slightly lower and ram into their opponents hips instead which helps breaks your opponents balance, making the throw easier. Most judoka/wrestlers may have felt this before being thrown by a double leg takedown.

To the knee – Sometimes you may be pulled down, tripped or even struck by your opponent which drops you down. Although this is usually a bad position to be in, you can, as a last result ram your shoulder as your thrust your weight forward into your opponents knee/s. This can easily bring your opponent down to your level.

The shoulder ram is great to use and should definitely be practised in ones daily training. The best way to practise it is against the heavy bag. With each bag session simply spend 5 minutes or so ramming the bag with your shoulder, not specifically aiming for power with each ram but precision, accuracy and balance. It can be easy to lose your balance with this technique so make sure that you adopt a nice firm stance just as with punching.

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Patrick Parker said...

Cool article! In Tomiki aikido we call this technique gedanate. Here are a couple of articles I've written with hints about developing this technique.

So, when doing the shoulder strilke as you describe it, which striking surface of the shoulder do you use? The muscular, tougher delts or the bony, but more easily broken joint part?

MARKS said...

PATRICK - Thanks for the links. I be sure to check them.

Regarding which part of the shoulder to strike with, I think it depends on where you strike to and how hard, for instance, a strike to the ribs may not need much power to be effective and the boney part of the shoulder may suffice, however, the tougher delts would definetley be more safer.

I used to play rugby as a child and we would use a shoulder ram on most tackles. I would always use the delts to strike with as I thrust my weight forwards and I found this to be very effective.

Colin Wee said...

I would prefer a more conservative approach to the shoulder ram - that in combination with the rising of the legs. So unless it's a takedown which requires pressure applied to the opponent, a shoulder ram to the head/neck or even body through the rising of my own body is what I'd vote for. Colin

Anonymous said...

In the Filipino martial arts it's called a baga and it's usually used to knock the opponent back, setting him up for the uppercut. Highly unexpected and great for in close when even elbows and knees have become useless for lack of space. I could be wrong but didn't Musashi advocated this as a suprise technique? If I remember correctly he even claimed you could kill a man with it but I do doubt this. Then again the man was a fighting legend who lived to smite his enemies so perhaps it is possible.

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