“Mutō Dori is not about fighting; it is about controlling.”
That’s how Hatsumi sensei summarised the feeling he showed yesterday during training.
It was my first class with him since my last trip in April, and even though it looked the same, it became more subtle if possible. He demonstrated this with Taijutsu, Bō Jutsu, Biken Jutsu, and Tantō Jutsu.
“Onaji desu!” (1) “Whatever the weapon, it is always the same” he added.
Last year, this year, and next year we have been, we are, and we will be studying Mutō Dori. In Japanese past, present and future are called “Kako, Genzai, Mirai”. (2)
I interpret Kako, the past, as the limited vision of Mutō Dori which is simply to deal with an armed opponent while being unarmed.
Then Genzai, the present, teaches us to be brave, and have the courage to face the opponent even if it means death for us.
Finally, Mirai, the future, is what Sensei is doing these days, it is about controlling not fighting. Controlling is a threefold concept. As Sensei repeated it during class, we have to gain control of ourselves, control the opponent, and control the space in which we move. That is the essence of “Kannin Dokuson”, the theme of the year.
Controlling the centre of space is how Sensei introduced the theme of 2017 last December. When you can control the centre, you control the whole sphere of action. This control is possible if you do not try to do it. As he said: “do without doing; catch without catching.” When the student can achieve that, he is playing at the ultimate level of Mutō Dori.
That is the concept we train in class these days. Not fighting, but controlling.
(1) 同じです, Onaji desu: this is the same
(2) Kako, Genzai, Mirai: 過去, 現在, 未来