Warm Weather Priorities and Diversions!

June 2004

Volume 6 Issue 6

Aibudo Kanji

Opposites Revisited

     A subject that you see little written about in martial arts articles, even in the major magazines, is the strategy regarding opposites.  We are born with the "mental strategy" that if we are being pulled, we automatically pull back.  If we are being pushed, we push back.  Those are self-defeating in a general sense.  The "Aiki" philosophies regarding the above scenario's are exactly opposite of our inborn normality's and should be ingrained into our defense strategies, no matter the style or system.  This is true whether you are discussing "stand-up" or "ground".  The "sport" of boxing is a great example of doing it the wrong way.  The "you hit me and I'll hit you" and/or "you grab me and I'll grab you, until we love each other to death" are worthless philosophies.  It should be "you attack me and you hit the floor" or "you reach for me and you take a trip".  There is no reason to attempt to buck power for power, as none of us are "equal" and if you are on the "weaker" side, you will lose.  You should turn the weight and power against the larger individual and vise versa the smaller individual.  Don't get in a hurry to "out speed" the smaller person or you'll be "out gunned".  Wait for the speed technique to get started and then stop or parry it mid-stream.  You only have to be half as fast to neutralize the "twice as fast" individual this way.  Of course, to make any of the above work, you must have a "tool box" with "mental" tools in it.  A "tool box" with only "physical tools" is as worthless as a boat anchor on an airplane.  The "physical" martial artist, doesn't "see" or "feel" anything.  They are just brute force.  The mental martial artist "sees" and "feels" everything.

"Instructing Your Opponent"

    When facing an "opponent" whether on the dojo floor or on the street, do you "instruct" them into what to do and how to do it or allow them to direct you?  Allowing them to "instruct" you is "half-stepping" that you can't afford.  You will, more than likely, always be behind them and trying to catch up, which is an overwhelming feeling.  You must always stay ahead of your opponent physically and mentally with your "unseen instructions".  These instructions can be of a physical or attitude nature.  They can be made up of both.  The more experienced you become, the more of both that you are going to have.  Most professional and senior martial artist's reach the point, that their opponent's feel overwhelmed before the first physical movement ever takes place.  This places you ahead of the game, before the actual physical game takes place.  I don't know anyone who wouldn't like to be ahead in anything before it starts and that is exactly what the true master martial artist is able to acquire after many years of work and study.  Some attempt to "cheat" to acquire this, through books, tapes and the like, but it isn't in print or on the TV.  It's in life that the true master martial artist lives.  It becomes part of their "being", just as natural as awakening in the morning and going to sleep at night.  If you wish to attain this, there is only one way and it's relatively easy, if the arts are on top or your priority list.  Train, work and study, week after week after week after………  It doesn't have to be physically hard or mentally draining, just consistently participate in the martial arts, just as you do in going to sleep and waking up. 

Picture of Shihan

     The martial arts has a general problem with "diversions" anyway, but when warm weather arrives it makes it even more problematic.  Everyone's priority list "grows" as the warm weather arrives, which is normal, but adding to the "top" of the list only shoves "down" others that were on the top before.  Within the Aibudo system, we don't notice much of a change, but within many systems, summertime can be like the plague.  There are systems, that even shutdown their training for a time and that is ludicrous.  The martial arts, as I have said before, is a way of life and you don't shut down your "life" because of warm weather.  As any dedicated martial artist will tell, a break of only a day or two from training is very detrimental and to discontinue for a month of two is catastrophic.


Shodan

     The martial art system of Aibudo has a new Shodan this month.  There are two types of these as you know.  There is the one that acquired 1st degree blackbelt in about 6 month's to a year and a half of training and then there is the one that, like in our case, took 5 years.  It's ironic that the the shorter, trained of the two, thinks like this:  "Look at me, I'm a 1st Dan.  Boy, it's about time.  I'm really something now".  And then, you have the one like ours.  They generally think something like this:  "I don't know if I'm ready to hold this rank and responsibility.  Maybe I should have trained a little longer, so that I would feel more worthy.  I hope that I can uphold the respect for what this rank requires, etc., etc".  That second individual is the true Shodan and not the "clown" of the first.