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Showing posts from June, 2014

構え Kamae of the Hunter

Michael hunts toys and candy. 駄菓子屋 Dagashiya, 柴又 Shibamata Recently I was studying the kata 水鳥 Mizu Tori. The name of this kata means waterbird. The 構え kamae even mimics the pose of one of these birds. I am a birdwatcher and have observed many waterfowl over the years. When I see them freeze very still in the water and strike this pose, they soon dart out and catch a fish. It is a hunting kamae. We don't usually consider kamae as hunting. Normally we think of their defensive properties. Or maybe we train some offense. But hunting? That really creates a different feeling. Because it suggests strategies of stalking, stealth, and deception. If you're a skillful hunter (rather than just an accidental or lucky one) you know that you become one with your prey. You think as they do, mirror their movement. A natural form of 自然の構 shizen no kamae grows in you. This is how we evade the sword of our attacker in Mizu Tori. Move in accordance with his cut. Make small movement like the f

The Art of Disarming With 十方軌喝 Juppo Kikatsu

Discarded Tabi Along Route 3, 県道3号線. photo by Michael Glenn Hatsumi Sensei gave directions of how to do a kata. I needed these instructions desperately. Because the opponent has his sword ready to cut me down, and I do not have a sword. How do I not get killed? Soke's instructions are, 「門空一閃、十方軌喝で取りをとる」 "a flash of nothingness, the art of disarming with juppo kikatsu."  Yes. Right. That's what I was going to do anyway. But, before my opponent kills me, can I ask a question? What does that mean? I'm not dead yet, so I will try to understand. I was working on this in my class the other night. I surprised one of my students with the way I captured him. He said, "It didn't feel like you had anything until you had everything." A flash of nothingness. You yourself become this emptiness. Zero. This is what allows the room in the kukan and in yourself for this year's theme of Shin Gin to be real. This has a funny effect on your opponent. It may ca