Expecting the "Unexpected"

November 2005

Volume 8 Issue 11

Aibudo Kanji
Picture of Shihan

A bit more on "doing all you can do in the time you have"


     The above title, as you know, comes from the Musashi strategies in the Book of Five Rings.  Last class we were working some of the 8th Kyu Requirements and within them are some basic grappling techniques.  You witnessed that if you are constantly putting forth a barrage of effective attention getting techniques, the opponent doesn't have much time to put together a worthy defense.  At the same time, this barrage must not "hang around very long".  Only utilize it, until you work into a more effective closing position.  The basic technique of shifting to an opposite side or 69 position is extremely effective in maintaining opponent confusion and lack of time in developing a defense.  Sometime during this position shifting, you should work into a confrontational finishing technique.  Whether it be a joint lock, choke, etc. it's all up to you, but have it completed at the same time you complete your position shift.  You cannot separate the "finishing technique" from repositioning completion.  This is not any different from your stand-up strategies.  You cannot allow your "do all that you can in the time that you have" to last any longer than "2 counts" of your opponents natural timing. I would really like that time frame, not to exceed "1 count" of your opponent timing.  If you're not sure of what we mean by the "1 count" or "2 count", then ask an instructor to explain it to you,  Working into a "3 count", your opponent will begin a "desperation strategy" and you're like to get "whipped" by something stupid and unplanned by the person you "have under control".

A list of a few,

internationally recognized,

Dojo terms:


Uke:  The attacker and person upon whom the technique is executed.


Nage:  The defender and person executing the technique.


Ukemi:  The art of falling safely.  In the role of Uke we practice Ukemi.


Waza:  Technique.  In the role of Nage, we practice Waza.


Sempai:  A fellow student of senior ranking.


Kohai:  A fellow student of lower ranking.


Sensei:  Teacher or instructor.


Shihan:  Teacher of teachers.  A high level teaching rank.


Dojo-Cho:  One who manages the business of a school.  May or may not be Shihan or the senior instructor of the system.  May also be considered the Executive Director.


Mate or Yame:  Stop


Hajime:  Begin


Hai:  Yes


Undo:  Exercise or PT


Reishiki:  Etiquette


Itimi:  A linear movement


Tenkan:  A circular motion.


Tai-Sabaki Undo:  Body movement exercises fundamental to executing proper technique.


Otogai Ni Ri:  Bow to one another.

     Sensei Chad Wissler and I got into a conversation about facing the unexpected.  Do professional martial artist's actually face the unexpected?  Not really, they just work with "expected" unexpected's.  That statement to many, particularly to the "karate practitioner", may not make much sense, but to the martial artist, it's all too familiar.

     To work with the unexpected's, you place yourself in such a way to neutralize and work around what could come your way.  This is what separates the professional from the want-to-be's.  There are a couple of things that come into play here.  First off you must be physically fit enough to move properly and without effort.

     Relaxation is the major entity involved in the movement without effort.  With regards to proper movement, that comes from regular and consistent training.  The result of those two, develops effective defenses from within the "void".  Void developed defenses automatically set you up in the proper posture, mindset and effective offensive/defensive movement.  You can consciously position yourself for the most obvious "starting point" but after that you must utilize "tools" that are stored and readily available from within your mental tool box.  As most everyone knows, the normal, untrained, response when someone "closes" on you, is to back up to create a more safe distance.  But, safer from what and for how long?  While you're backing up to "become safer", the aggressor just continues to run over you.   If they have any effective "void" tools at all, your "toast"!  That "backing up" is the result of not having the ability to work with the "unexpected".  Expecting the "unexpected", generally puts you ahead of your aggressors actions.