Martial Art Science

Mushin (state of complete emptiness)

The mushin is very difficult to describe and to understand for most people who have not spent enough time practicing the martial art as it is impossible to attain that level straight away. Mushin refers to a state of complete emptiness, the spirit and the mind are blank and not blinded by either the ego (emotions) or the intellect (thoughts). In this state the mind and spirit becomes like a mirror or like a settled river capable of perfectly reflecting the image of the moon. In laymen's terms this means that you become completely receptive to your opponent, as you have no preconceived ideas of what you are going to do to your opponent (intellect) or how cool you are going to look while doing it (ego). For your martial art to be effective you must enter the state of mushin as soon as you are in front of your opponent. The reason for that is that the techniques are thrown with such blinding speed that the intellect hasn’t got the time to process the information. The intellect in the martial arts, only serves the purpose of learning and understanding the basic tools and techniques. When in a situation where you need to apply the technique, it is the spirit that should take charge, and the body and the spirit should be unified so they move at once in perfect synchronization. The Ego “manifestation of emotions” blinds the spirit and disconnects it from the body and also from the opponent.

 

In our club, we cultivate the spirit of mushin by not spending too much time intellectually analyzing or breaking down the technique but instead we try to flow straight away even if the form is not completely right. As the flow gets better we will correct the technique, one detail at the time without losing the flow. It is very similar to carving where you start by getting a rough shape and you refine it as you go along. We also keep a friendly atmosphere to avoid building undesirable ego (emotions) that will prevent us from reaching our true potential.

Posted on 04 Jun 2010 by Izzel

Eight Directions

The eight directions govern practically everything in the martial arts. The eight directions is a grid formed with lines that move from the centre of the grid to one specific direction.

 

We have 4 straight lines: front, back, right, left

And 4 diagonals: front-right, front-left, back-right, back-left

 

To familiarize yourself with the eight directions is to familiarize yourself with all the different angles available in martial arts techniques. The awareness of angles is indispensable to be able to read your opponent’s movement and intentions. It also allows you to pick the right angle to execute or defend a technique. For example if a straight jab is thrown towards you, you will have 7 available head movements to move out of the way, the front angle being the only one that you can’t use as it corresponds to the trajectory of the jab. But that front angle could be used to attract a jab by leaning your head forward and then quickly slip to one of the 7 angles to avoid the jab (possible if you are at the right distance in relation to your opponent in the first place).

 

Here are some examples of the application of the eight directions:

 

Head movements (bob and weave) in eight directions

Footwork (steps) in eight directions

Strikes (weapons, fists, feet) eight angles

Grappling, eight directions to break the balance (Kuzushi)

Groundwork, eight pins, eight kuzushi

 

In our club we have the eight directions grid on the wall so that angles are always visualized and referred to with any technique we practice. You can’t implement any strategy with the techniques if you are unaware of the eight directions.

Posted on 04 Jun 2010 by Izzel

Distance

Distance “Ma”

 

There are three distances or range in Yoseikan Budo

 

Ma: Normal distance or striking distance

 

To ma: Long distance or weapon distance

 

Chika ma: Short distance or grappling distance

 

Although the description above is the commonly accepted, the reality is a lot less obvious because each distance can apply to striking, grappling or weapons.

 

For example a straight punch can be delivered from long range by hopping forward on the leading leg “superman punch”. That same straight punch can be delivered at close range either from a single collar clinch or by pushing the opponent away and punching. In these two examples, the distance was manipulated to be able to deliver a normal range attack from a long range or a close range.

 

In Yoseikan, once we have learned the correct distance for each technique, we then learn how to use the same technique with the other two distances. This manipulation of distance completely opens up a technique to make it applicable regardless of where you are in relation to your opponent.

 

You also need to learn to assess the distance and range of your opponent. This varies from individual to individual based on their height and reach. You also need to be aware of your own distance. This information will help you stand in front of your opponent at the right distance to nullify his attacks and maximise yours.

 

Your guard also varies in relation to range. For example when you are out of range you don’t need to necessarily have a physical guard (hands raised), you can keep your hands down as long as you still have a mental guard (awareness). When you come into range you will need to have the appropriate guard to prevent the possibility of direct attack from your opponent.

 

A master in range and distance can make his opponent look like a complete beginner, stumbling forward and back. A master in range is also a very difficult target to hit because he never quite seems to be there to get hit.

 

In our club distance and range is emphasized right from the beginning because if you are unaware of it, you will never be able to effectively apply any technique.

Posted on 04 Jun 2010 by Izzel

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Posted on 24 Sep 2008 by Ian

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