Martial Art Science
Kata (Computer software or mould)
Learning basic techniques (stances, punches, kicks...)
Learning power (wave plus hip movement)
Learning alignment and correct movement (structure)
Learning strategy, applications and combinations (Bunkai's)
Learning correct breathing
Learning to empty the mind (mushin)
Being able to train when you have no training partner
Having a system of memorization to remember all the techniques
In Yoseikan our approach to kata focuses on all these aspects without losing the reality of combat and the fluidity and adaptability required for theses techniques to be applicable in a real situation. We do not value a practitioner by how many kata's they know but more by how good their practical understanding of the technique is. Therefore in our clubs the kata sequences are only taught after the student has assimilated all the bunkai's and have an ability to apply all the techniques present in the sequence in a live scenario.
Yin - Yang (In - Yo)
Yin Yang (in Chinese) or In Yo (in Japanese) refers to the two primordial forces of nature and the universe, opposite and yet complementary. Derived from the very old and ancient Taoist philosophy, ying and yang are indispensable for balance and harmony to be achieved and for life to be possible. The very simple act of breathing is a manifestation of yin (breathe in) and yang (breathe out) and without the balance between the two we will not be able to remain alive. Yin and yang concepts are also very profoundly embedded in the martial arts as they govern the balance between softness and hardness, and also the balance between the body (structure) and the spirit (sensitivity).
Yin refers to:
Ability to absorb and deflect or redirect force
Sensitivity to the eight directions
Sensitivity to the opponent’s weight and direction of force (grappling)
Sensitivity with contact (sticky hands)
Sensitivity without contact (Distance, guard)
Ability to take the initiative (Sen)
Ability to empty the mind (Mushin)
Economy of movement
Using the tendons
Yang refers to:
Development of the natural weapons (Knuckles, shins etc…)
Ability to develop power (Mastery of the wave)
Ability to manifest a strong structure
Using the bones
Using muscle strength
Strength of mind and resolve
By understanding how to balance yin and yang you will learn how to never struggle against your opponent. You will be sensitive to their attack, deflect it or redirect it and you will attack when you have managed to weaken their structure. Focusing on developing this ability is very important as it will allow you to not focus as much on how big or tall they are but more on how to control their structure to your advantage.
Another important concept is to understand that yin will ultimately manifest in yang, and yang will ultimately manifest in yin. For example if you throw a very powerful lunging straight punch (yang) at the end of that punch you will be weak (yin) as you would have lost your balance forward and will need to recover your arm and balance. Likewise, if you just pushed your head back to avoid a punch (yin) you have in the process loaded your rear leg with elastic energy that will allow you to propel yourself forward with explosive power (yang) for the counter attack. So yin and yang are constantly transforming into each other, and so are offense and defense in the martial arts.
In Yoseikan our belt (white and blue) symbolizes the constant interaction of yin and yang and also symbolizes the wave, which is a perfect representation of yin and yang moving together to produce power.
In our club we apply the yin yang principles right from the start by trying to make all our techniques feel as effortless as possible. Power and sensitivity are also developed to the same extent and given the same amount of attention.
In Yoseikan the expression of power is manifested by the wave. Master Hiroo Mochizuki (Founder of Yoseikan Budo) created a simple system for developing power in all directions and at any distance, as well as a common link to all the martial arts technique. This system is made up of ten different waves (Movements of the body imitating the movement of a whip) that allow the practitioner to develop power in ten different directions covering all the existing martial art techniques regardless of the styles.
Here is a breakdown of all the ten waves:
Front of the body:
1- Front ascending wave
2- Front descending wave
3- Front ascending oblique wave (Right, Left)
4- Front descending oblique wave (Right, Left)
Side of the body:
1- Side ascending wave
2- Side descending wave
Back of the body:
1- Back ascending wave
2- Back descending wave
3- Back ascending oblique wave (Right Left)
4- Back descending oblique wave (Right Left)
Biomechanically the wave allows you to connect all your body segments from your feet to your arms and head and to efficiently combine the strength of your muscles and the elastic energy of your tendons to achieve maximum power at the target. It doesn’t rely on one or two muscle groups but instead on an entire muscular chain where power is generated and moved from one segment to the other, increasing each time it passes through a new segment until it is released at the other extremity onto the target.
Mastering the waves will allow:
Devastating power with every technique used
Efficient power at short range (one inch punch)
Penetrating power (not felt on the surface but in the organs)
Minimum energy for maximum effect
Optimum balance between relaxation and contraction
Power and speed even in the old age
In our club the wave is incorporated into the techniques right from the start, as it is the quickest way of developing power. It also means that the student can spend time refining their waves as they advance through practice. You can see few examples of the wave practice in our video section.
Tsukuri - Kuzushi - Kake (The magic three)
Tsukuri, Kuzushi and Kake are a very old but important concept in the Japanese martial arts, as they represent the three entities that have to come together to effectively execute a technique on a non complying opponent in a live scenario.
Tsukuri translates as “set up” and refers to the ability to trick your opponent into attacking you where you want him to, without him realizing it, or to initiate your attack with the least amount of risk possible. Contrary to what many people believe, in martial arts we do not guess what an opponent will do, instead we limit his options and trick him to attack roughly where we want him to do so. That way we have a better chance of success. Training tsukuri involves using various tools that allow you to manipulate an opponent.
Here are some examples:
Hand trapping, sticky hands and clinch (to limit the opponent’s ability to attack) at close range
Guard changing and moving (in Yoseikan the guard is not static but constantly moves and adapts to have an efficient fence in front of the opponent based on what he is doing)
Distance “Ma” to put the opponent out of range so that he can’t attack and put him back in range when we want him to attack
Without an effective Tsukuri you will always have to guess what your opponent is going to do next and you will have a martial art that will be solely based on instinct and reflex, your martial arts skills will also rapidly decrease as you grow older.
Kuzushi translates as “break the balance” and refers to the ability to create an opening for your attack. Depending on whether you are striking or grappling, the kuzushi will take a different shape. The eight directions are heavily used in creating effective kuzushi. In striking after you setup the opponent for a particular attack (by creating an intentional opening in your guard), you will move through that attack using one of the available angles to slip the attack and position yourself for your counter attack. In grappling after you have effectively clinched, you will pull the center of gravity of your opponent over the edge of his standing base to break his balance before using the appropriate throw.
Without an effective Kuzushi, in striking you will never be able to counter attack effectively and in grappling you will always have to use strength, making it less effective and also increasing the risks of injury.
Kake translates as “technique” and refers to all the different techniques available in the martial arts. It also refers to specific concepts that are inherent to the correct execution of each technique. In Yoseikan, one of these concepts is the wave. We have 10 waves that translate into the 10 different directions in which power can be generated from the human body. The waves substantially increase the speed and power of the techniques. Another important concept is the concept of correct alignment, which allows power to condense in one direction, avoiding dispersion of energy that will reduce the efficiency of the technique and increase the risk of injury. There are many techniques in Yoseikan: strikes, throws, joint locks, strangulation, ground techniques, weapon techniques, etc…
For a technique to be effective, Tsukuri Kuzushi and Kake have to be fused into one entity. It will take a fraction of a second for all three to be fused and executed and if the fusion is right the execution of the technique will be flawless making it impossible for the opponent to counter it. If you make one mistake in one of the three or you don’t fuse them properly the technique will be easily countered by your opponent or won’t work at all. The level of proficiency in Tsukuri, Kuzushi and Kake is what makes the difference between a novice and a master. It is also the reason why the term “art” is used in martial art, because it is an art to know how to effectively fuse the magic three.
Sen translates as “Initiative or to initiate”. It is an extremely important concept in the Japanese martial arts and even in any concept of self-defense. Sen implies that you never wait for the opponent to take the initiative even in defense but you always initiate therefore control the situation. To wait is to guess and to guess is to rely on reflex and in a situation of life and death, it is the quickest way to the grave. To initiate is to be aware of the correct distance, the correct guard (and angles), the correct timing for any situation and to use them to prevent the possibility of an attack or to dictate and/or sense when and where an attack is going to manifest. There are three “sens” in Yoseikan and they correspond to the three different levels of awareness and perception.
Matchi-no-sen refers to the most basic level of perception that you will acquire training in martial arts, which is to see an attack come and to respond to it with the appropriate defense (with the right timing) and then counter attack. The timing for matchi-no-sen is one two, one: parry and two: counter attack. This level is considered to be a basic level of comprehension of martial arts.
Tai-no-sen refers to the second level of perception that will allow you to start moving with a counter attack at the same moment that an attack is launched. The perception and timing have to be sharper as the timing for matchi-no-sen is one: parry and counter attack are now simultaneous. This level is considered to be a level of expertise in martial arts.
Sen-no-sen refers to the third and most advanced level of perception that will allow you to perceive the intention of your opponent fractions of seconds before he has launched his attack and to start moving with your counter attack and arrive before he has completed his attack. The timing for sen-no-sen is less than one as you arrive on target before the attack of your opponent is fully completed. You might also perceive a moment of distraction in your opponents mind and strike at that very moment. This level is considered to be a level of mastery in martial arts.
A beginner in martial arts will only be able to express matchi-no-sen from time to time as he hasn’t got the tools to perceive attacks and react appropriately. He will rely on reflex and instinct and will get it right or wrong and will therefore lack the consistency of an effective defense.
An advanced student will be comfortable in matchi-no-sen and therefore will be more effective in defense but won’t be able to anticipate and counter.
An expert will be fluctuating between tai-no-sen and sen-no-sen, coming back to matchi-no-sen when he makes a mistake.
A master will fluctuate similarly to an expert but with even better success with sen-no-sen and less time spent in matchi-no-sen.