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Don't Move Just to Move

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  • Don't Move Just to Move

    After listening to Hiro Imafuji sensei’s most recent podcast (Fight with Footwork), Imafuji sensei read a quote from Akira Kaida sensei’s book. *Don’t move just to move.*

    This to me is very significant and I like to share my thoughts on this. The end goal is that you want to move to strike, what you don’t want to do is make any wasted or unnecessary movements. There needs to be a purpose for every move you make or don’t make. In shinsa, this is really important. I don’t want to get into this again, but this is the reason I don’t understand why people like to move into sanpo- mamori because it’s the worst thing you can do. It’s a very telling sign that can be exploited. For example, the first sign you should look for to execute a strike is intent, if you’re in the habit of moving into sanpo-mamori, it’s really just an illusion, all you’re really doing is giving the aite another opportunity to execute a strike. You’re not really protecting anything; it’s not only a wasted movement, it’s a very vulnerable movement to make. IMO, this movement is a major disconnect of the mind and body.

    In my opinion, you’re internal strength (Ki) determines whether your movements as you press forward has any real substance. For example, I was told my kamae had no seme, I was just physically moving into my issoku maai. To give a visual, I was just pointing my six shooter with one bullet in the chamber. I had to learn how to pull the hammer back so that I can shoot at any given time (various situations), not just one way, but in multiple different ways (waza/multiple bullets).

    When you learn how to breathe into your kamae, it enhances your understanding for elements like ki, and ki-gamae, ki-gurai etc. it’s all intrinsically inter- connected. My own approach is basically the same no matter who I face. Why? My approach is based on the way I breathe. Sounds simple right? It’s difficult to master but it’s really not that complicated to understand if…you focus on the basics.

    You can’t just breathe into your kamae if your kamae is physically incorrect. For example, if you’re gripping your shinai too tight or if you’re executing strikes with your feet and hands instead of your hips and shoulders (mechanics), you might have limited success but….anyway, Imafuji sensei touched on this a little.

    This is basically my approach when I rise from sonkyo:

    -I kiai, kiai to me is like a primer when I engage the tanden. It helps to relax my body so that when I inhale oxygen, I create natural tension in my whole body which puts my kamae in balance and in the state of readiness, not just physically, but mentally.

    -I exhale oxygen in small increments to maintain natural tension. (State of readiness) This is really important to understand…ideally, you want to execute a strike before you exhaust your breath entirely. Doing this against a strong opponent is not easy and especially if you smoke a lot. In my humble opinion, this is why you need at least 2 options when you make your approach to execute a strike.
    Whenever you inhale, that’s an opportunity for the aite to strike.

    You don’t necessarily need to exhale each time you press forward, what’s most important is maintaining being in the state of readiness. (tame) This really helps determine what the aites going to do or not do giving you the option to execute the most appropriate strike or should I say the least risky strike in certain situations.

    This is where your knowledge of waza really comes into play and your ability to seize created opportunities. I say created opportunities because opportunities are created intentionally or unintentionally (mistakes) by you or the aite. If your kamae is not in the state of readiness, you miss them.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.