Are you truly focused
out of touch with reality?
This question is relevant, whether you are in the martial arts or just living life. But at this time, this focus discussion will relate to you in the martial arts. The term "focus" can take many forms, when it's discussion is introduced within the different arts and among different individual's. But here are my thoughts on the subject. If you aren't interested or don't agree somewhere "down the line", then close the page, for as I just said, there are different understandings of what it is.
There are two generic definitions that come to mind. One, is the focus discussed when it comes to executing a specific technique. The second is relative to the execution of an activity in general. Whether it be related to accuracy or an effective result, it turns out to be the same as if the lights are turned out unexpectedly in a cave. You are most certainly, at that exact moment, both lost and extremely clumsy in your actions.
Now, I'm not going to discuss the generic meaning as to technique execution, but spend a little time on focus as related to the confrontation of another individual or individuals as when performing free-sparring or like activity. There are four "levels" of focus as related to distance from your adversary. All Aibudo practitioners are or will be taught these extensively and with a detailed analysis as their training advances with in the system.
The first of these is the longer distance focus, when the only weapons that could possibly be executed against you, with any effectiveness at all, are the feet. Not the legs or any part of them, just the feet. This focus is a general, all encompassing, focus of your opponent. Your are not directing your "sight" at any body area or part. Just centered in their general direction, while aware that anything that your opponent attempts to do, is going to take time and tremendous effort to get to you. Just relax and wait on their movement. As you advance within your training you'll find that you have "all day" to react and "injure" the attempt. By the way, this first attempt is most assuredly the best technique they have and once the attack is injured, you will have won the first battle and the second will probably be much weaker and with less aggressiveness.
The second is the distance where as the hands could come in to play as well as the feet or legs. I hate to use the word's look or sight when it comes to focus, but there has to be something for you to relate to, especially in the beginning, so that's what I'm going to do at times in this text. When actually performing in the dojo, the attitude of focus and the "appearance" of no focus at all can be demonstrated and explained. Within this second level of focus, direct your look toward the upper chest area. This allows you to react easily to any weapon executed, whether it be an arm or leg attack. You will be able to focus effectively as you will only be concerned with the individual's body and immediate outside area. Any movement of the lower or upper body area will be readily and equally apparent. Your void will easily react and accept this invasion of your space. I said "accept", because if you are not able to accept an attack, you will not be effective in forestalling the attack. Reaction only, to an attack is a weak to little defense. Accepting and punishing is only accomplished through patience developed through a continuous and unbroken training regimen. "Know it all" individuals who only train when they feel like it, never develop the skill to work with, let alone ever control a master martial artist They only "prove" their mechanical skills on the lesser of their pears of which "their time will come".
Well enough of that, now to the third of the focus distances. The third is the distance whereas the hands are the only truly effective weapon. You are so close now that the feet are pretty much out of the picture. Even if your opponent does execute a spin, you just step or slide slightly forward and their "attack" is mushed. The look at this distance, is the shoulder area. Any hand or arm movement will be led by a shoulder action and within the Aibudo system, the reaction time and effective forestall of a hand movement is easily demonstrated and learned with in a short few minutes of one class.
Now to the last of the focus distances of which you are so close now that your look must be directly in the face of your opponent. This is the focus distance of which the most "courage" appears to require. It is actually not courage that is required at this level, but appears that way to the observer, who at this time has not acquired the ability to master Musashi's "Commander and his troops" mentality along with the relaxation and skill to utilize it's requirements. At this distance you are well inside your opponents arms and able to easily control your adversary's movement as if they are no threat at all, and for all practical purposes they aren't. When the necessary skill, at this level is achieved, your opponent is smothered completely by your technique and attitude, which comes automatically from the void. They go into total defensive gyrations of which there is no controlled purpose or direction. There is a point to make concerning these defensive gyrations. These uncontrollable movements are what we call the desperation defense. There is no plan to this defense. It's just, "oh my gosh" I'm in trouble and anything, and I mean anything, can come from it. Maintain your closeness and you will stay in control. Pull out and you'll lose some of your control, if not possibly even lose the battle.
Now if you haven't closed the page and moved on, I hope that you have come to the conclusion by this time, that control of an opponent comes only with time and regular training. There is no other way! There are no books, movies, seminar's or friends that can magically give it to you overnight. It takes dedication, over and above, most everything else in life that you think is more important. If there are other things that continuously appear to be more important, it is time for you to move on to something else. If you are in the martial arts only for the physical conditioning, then ok, but if you are in the arts to put yourself solely in control of your "space", the arts must be one of your life's priorities, right up there with family, friends and religion. If you are not able to control your own personal space, how will you be able to protect the "space" of your "family, friends or religion"?