Martial Art Science
Mushin (state of complete emptiness)
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.
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.
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.
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