Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Softly softly

Just noticed this morning how soft my uniform had become...I bought it on eBay some time ago, and it arrived crisp enough to stand on its own. It actually hurt to wear it for awhile. Now it is as soft as a flannel blanket, which is somehow comforting.

When I started in Yoshinkan I was the same way. Every motion was all muscle power and force against force, which from my prior training I thought was the right way. Now, the trick is how to get the most result out of the least effort. To use the hips rather than the arms and chest, to be subtle and, for lack of a better term, "soft". At this point Yoshinkan becomes very efficient.

One of the most wonderful things about Yoshinkan is the subtle nature of the techniques, and the blend of linear and circular shapes. Unlike purely linear styles like Wing Chun, Yoshinkan allows for circles and spirals of all shapes and sizes as a way of redirecting motion and capturing uke from the most advantageous angle. Each movement should set up the next, in an inevitable dance that leads uke's attempt to rebalance into an osae or nage.

The discovery here never seems to end, as each technique challenges us to explore how the human body affects balance and strength, and how to remove them with the minimal amount of effort. Still so much to learn, and truly fascinating stuff.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cause and Effect

Today we spent the whole lesson practicing and discussing how to make an effect happen on uke. Specifically, it was the effect of their balance falling into position so that your own body shift can be at the right place at the right time. It all hinged on being able to move their arm to a certain position, behind which their balance was dependent. It got me thinking, though.

If we observe carefully, we can start to see the ways in which our actions impact the lives of other people. Sometimes willfully, sometimes unintentionally, but ALWAYS. I find it amazing that our second son is so quiet and calm compared to our first. maybe it is just because he is different. But maybe it is also because WE are different.

Take a look around you. See all the people you interact with on a daily basis. All of their lives can be dynamically changed by being in contact with you - just as uke is changed by being in contact with you. The power in this is impossible to deny.