7-3

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The 7-3 is a sidestepping maneuver inspired by the irimi (blending) motion which drives most aikidō techniques. The 7-3 is Goshin-Jutsu’s primary evasive maneuver, and most other Goshin-Jutsu evasions are just 7-3 variants.

The name “7-3” is derived from the Eight Points of Harmony, where points #3 and #7 refer to the left and right sides, respectively. A 7-3 ends with you beside your opponent -- at either their #7, or their #3.

The secret to performing a 7-3 is that it is more of a step in, towards the opponent, than it is sideways. The sideways motion is subtle; you only need to step out at a 15-20° angle with respect to your centerline. Large side steps are unnecessary, since avoiding a straight punch to your head only requires 4” (~10 cm) of lateral motion (i.e., half a head’s width). This saves time and energy by not having to close the distance after evading. Large-angled steps are only suitable for beginners, since stepping towards an attacking opponent seems scary and counter-intuitive at first. Once the beginner grows confident, then they can work on making their 7-3 movements smaller and less exaggerated. Like all evasions, timing is critical:

  • If you perform a 7-3 too early, the opponent will adjust to your new position.
  • If you perform a 7-3 too late, you will be struck before you can evade.
  • If you perform a 7-3 at the exact moment your opponent fully commits to their attack, you will dodge their technique, and move into a comparatively safe advantageous position, setting up your counterattack.

The 7-3 can be performed to the inside or the outside, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • An outside 7-3 (where you step away from the opponent’s centerline) places you in a position where the opponent has limited counterattack options -- but also offers fewer vital points to strike.
  • An inside 7-3 (where you step towards from the opponent’s centerline) leaves you more exposed to the opponent -- but it also grants access to more of the opponent’s vital points.

There is no clear-cut system, algorithm, or flowchart for determining which direction you should step towards, this must be decided on a case-by-case basis in real-time. (This is why karate is a martial art.)

[Video of an inside and outside 7-3, fast and slow, from the front and side.]

For optimum stability (i.e., to avoid reaps, sweeps, and trips), the balls of your feet must be in-contact with the ground at all times, so you must “push-slide” to step without picking your feet up. To push-slide, push off the ground with your rear leg to drive your hips and torso forward, sliding your front foot along the ground before you. Then, pull your rear leg forward, so that the hips remain underneath the shoulders. (Contrary to popular belief, poor posture and leaning is often caused by having the hips too far back, and not from the shoulders lurching forward.) The video will demonstrate:

[Close-up video of a lower-body push sliding forwards and backwards.]

Push-sliding has the added advantage of allowing you to move forward or backwards without changing your leading side. However, push-sliding only works over small distances. To close large distances, double step instead.