In a recent class sensei defined his movements as being zentai. (1)
Zentai (全体) is a full body movement where everything moves naturally. Zentai is a holistic approach of taijutsu. As Nagato put it in his last training, “taijutsu is not limited only to body movement, it also includes the weapons.”
Holistic taijutsu encompasses everything: body, weapons, troops, surroundings. There might be a pun here between taijutsu (体術) “body technique” (2) and taijutsu (隊術) “technique done by a group of warriors” (3). This second taijutsu refers evidently to the battlefield. Another Zentai (全隊) explains it. (4)
So, as a consequence, limiting our training to the sole Waza without incorporating the rest (troops, terrain, surroundings) would be a significant misunderstanding of sensei’s vision of Budō. And Zentai would never be achieved.
Zentai is the only correct way to move because it deals with every aspect of reality at the same time. To achieve this state of oneness, we have to be relaxed. A full relaxation of the body and the mind will reveal our ability to survive effortlessly and to adapt. We get why we have to be physically relaxed as the yoroi is protecting us, but it’s hard to be mentally relaxed. The more we try not to think (i.e. to not bother about the outcome), and the more we are trapped by our thoughts.
In the Tenchijin, there is a concept that is fundamental, it is called “Shizen gyō un ryû sui”. At the Shizen level (自然) our movements become spontaneous and always suit the situation. (5) Our movements flow naturally in a relaxed manner.
In a previous post I explained about being creative and spontaneous: this is Zentai. I see today, that Zentai can be the next step on the Warrior’s path to evolution. It’s holistic nature might be the hardest thing to achieve, but once we have it, the world will be an easy place to live. And you’d better work to get Zentai now because once you have it on the mats, it will positively impact your life outside of the dōjō.
Omote and Ura are one!
1. 全体/zentai/whole; entirety; whatever (is the matter)
2. 体術/taijutsu/classical form of martial art
3. 隊/tai/party; group; crew; team; body|company (of troops); corps; unit; squad
4. 全隊 zentai the entire force (of soldiers)
5. 自然 /shizen/nature; spontaneity|naturally; spontaneously