Thursday, September 24, 2009

Examine your environment

Today I would like to think about a section from the Go Rin No Sho, or the Book of 5 Rings.

Often in training our technique reflects the enviroment we train. It takes a lot of room to get some of those big aiki throws. The 17 kata as performed by the football stadium sized Windsong dojo looks to take up three times the floor space than expression of the same kata at my tiny dojo.

There are so many variables the environment has for us. Musashi in his written work reminds us to use it to our advantage. Combat is not only one on one, it is one on one in space and environment. Use what has been given to you.

Depending on the Place
Examine your environment

Stand in the sun; that is, take up an attitude with the sun behind you. If the situation does not allow this, yo umust try to keep the sun on your right side. In buildings, you must stand with the entrance behind you or to your right. Make sure that your rear is unobstructed, and that there is free space on your left, your right side being occupied with your sword attitude. At night, if the enemy can be seen, keep the fire behind you and the entrance to your right, and otherwise take up your attitude as above. You must look down on the enemy, and take up your attitude on slightly higher places. For example, the Kamiza in a house is thought of as a high place.

When the fight comes, always endeavour to chase the enemy around to your left side. Chase him towards awkward places, and try to keep him with his back to awkward places. When the enemy gets into an inconvenient position, do not let him look around, but conscientiously chase him around and pin him down. In houses, chase the enemy into the thresholds, lintels, doors, verandas, pillars, and so on, again not letting him see his situation.

Always chase the enemy into bad footholds, obstacles at the side, and so on, using the virtues of the place to establish predominant positions from which to fight. You must research and train diligently in this.

Miyamoto Musashi, book of 5 rings

1 comment:

  1. just reading Kano's memoirs this morning -- he started his jujitsu training in a 9 mat dojo/bonesetters waiting room -- 162 sq feet --5 regular students

    i thought of Kyuryu dojo and Caldwell's first dojo on 16th street-- you can just never tell where something ends up