The second day of the dkms was intense with Sensei insisting on very small technical points. This year the theme was kaname (essential points), and the kaname is to be found in many details.
The first thing he said was that there was no duality in the encounter. There is no opposition
Uke and tori when they meet are not 2 but 1. We have to get rid of duality.
Duality creates thinking, analysis, errors as our interpretations cannot get the understanding of the full picture (situation). When we oppose uke we create the conditions of his success. This is wrong.
We have to create a new mathematical truth where 1+1 = 1.
This new “1”created leads to “0”. This is what he meant when he said: “Zenten Tenchi” 全天 天地.
Zenten 全天 represents “all heaven” and 天地 is the “universe”, or “nature”, or “sphere”.
This could mean that at the “0” level, one can manifest the universal truth of nature.
But to be perfectly honest, maybe did he spoke of “Zenten Tenshin” 全天 天神.
After the training I asked a few translators about it and they weren’t sure which was the one he used.
In this other “Zenten Tenshin”, Tenshin 天神 means ” heavenly gods”.
This could mean that all our actions when reaching this “0” state are dictated by heaven (the gods).
Funnily both are correct as they are typical of sensei’s way of speaking. By not resisting uke’s actions we melt into his movement and use his own strength to serve our reactions.
We experienced that with some haibu yori 背部 従 ( back, follow) techniques. Sensei showed many variations around a basic Tai Hodoki by applying different timings (reacting after the grab, during the grab, or before the grab); and also by changing the angles (back, sides, 45 degrees). Each time it was surprising to see him moving with no strength and no speed and to be able to “peel off” uke naturally from his back.
To achieve such an amazing result, sensei explained that the only thing to do was to be relaxed and to use micro movements from and with the shoulders: inward, outward, one up one down, or a mix of all these moves. He also advised us to use the shoulders alternatively in a tense manner immediately followed by a full relaxation. Alternating tension and softness creates a kûkan where uke falls into.
So after this new understanding of haibu yori, maybe he meant Tenchi, 転置, the matrix (blue pill, red pill?).
All day long sensei insisted on the importance of a new sanshin made of: yubi, kansetsu, aruki 指 関節 歩き. As there is no grabbing, the tip of the finger is the point of contact between uke and tori. The angle of the arm joint (elbow) added to the direction of the walking motion, creates a lot of power and takes uke’s balance.
Power comes from footwork, angle and direction. Strength is not used at all. Even if the explanation is simple, i found it very difficult to add it in my taijutsu.
At some point I was sensei’s uke and I felt like stupid. There was nothing, not even pain but I was unable to get my balance back. And I fell.
Once uke’s balance is taken Tori is using the fingers to hook the mouth or to dig in with either shito ken or shishin ken.
The power is in the finger action when done with the whole body. To do so, the trick is to lock the shoulder in place. The shoulder being locked the footwork will power the finger. remenber Yubi ippon jûbun (one finger is enough).
Then we moved to bô jutsu and ken jutsu. Sensei had two weapons in his hands and was using the concept of Togakure ryû of ittô nage. To do so he would throw one of the weapon to the attacker in a metsubushi way in order to force the opponent to parry the weapon. The parrying would open uke’s defense and he would not be able to block the real attack. Ittô nage is a technique to be done only when you have at least two weapons. It would be stupid to use it with only one weapon at hand! (When holding the weapons, the forefingers are inserted between them to faster release). Kogure san from Quest told me afte rtraining that it was the first time that sensei was taching that.
To summarize the day he finished by speaking once again of Yûgen no sekai, 幽玄の 世界, elegant simplicity. It reminded me of the kurage 水母 (jellyfish, medusa) of last year. When no force is used, when no intention is given then uke has the feeling that tori is not there. Tori alternating force and relaxation, presence and absence, seems to have no consistency, no bone structure. Tori is virtually not there.
Uke faces something invisible but present, some kind of “kurage no hone”, 水母の骨, something that one would not expect to exist.