Monday, November 23, 2009

Tsukuri 作りin Seal Script

To continue the series of an in depth look at the seal script kanji that define the parts of a throw we look at tsukuri.

The Judo philosophers divided the the actions of a throwing motion in to three parts. They called these parts kuzushi, tsukuri, and kake. Simplified it is the balance break, entry, and execution of the throw. However upon deeper analysis we find the Chinese characters that make up these words offer deeper clues into the meaning of the parts of the throwing actions.

Some of the Japanese words that use this symbol 作りare: make, produce, manufacture, shape, build, construct, building, developing, fabricate, fashion, MAKE (as an object that requires time and skill)

I found in my calligrapher's dictionary some 10 different ways to write this kanji in it's ancient Chinese form. This one called out to me. The line along the left edge and bottom represents a road or a path. The pictographic idea behind this symbol this symbol is made up of two part.  It shows "action of a person 亻人 = make."

Kanji Etymology 

Tsukuri is about building the structure of the technique. I don't think I have really understood this premise at higher levels until I watched Sloan Sensei  practicing Judo nage komi. He moves in and builds the dysfunctional relationship that causes catastrophic effects to uke's balance. He builds the throw and it effortlessly happens.Here we see tsukuri in action.  Good stuff.

I will leave you with Kyle and Damon doing some lovely judo randori, so you can see the tsukuri happening. " "


  1. Really unique insight into things Eric. I'm looking forward to your next several installments on the seal script. This is quite fascinating.

    Thanks for the positive comments on my little randori session. We were just tossing each other, having some nice play, and the next thing we knew Nick was running the camera.

  2. Thanks. I appreciate feedback when you enjoy an idea. Sometimes I feel like blogging is writing into a black hole.

    Anyhow, I have been enjoying your video work. Here is to keeping each other inspired with fresh perspectives.

  3. You're not writing and tossing it into a black hole. I am reading. I am really, really enjoying this series you are writing here. Can't wait to see more