Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The definition of a technique

Every time I shoot a little film I get a variety of responses stating some factoid about what a technique must have. In my shomen ate series I have heard that the technique must sweep the person off their feet, or I have been scornfully told where I must connect with what part and how to the face. The list goes on...

I am overjoyed that so many people are deeply studying this stuff. But when it comes down to it, there are no definitions except what we create. I am overjoyed people think they understand technique the specifics of a technique, but frankly these people do not get to define my techniques and my relationship to the art.

there are no definitions except what we create

The fact is the only definition is the technique name itself, and even this can be misleading and incomplete. We have precedent from the artists that come before us, we have personal ethics and the scientific method to guide our practice in the now. Other than that this is our game to write, and our techniques to learn and refine.

So I hope you find a grading point system to so you know exactly what a technique is supposed to be. I myself have taken off the shackles of 'form'. I don't care how the poo bah sensei's defined the art for you. The very concept of techniques are merely training wheels friends.

Question absolutely every facet of the art form and you might find out what the best teachers say, there are no techniques, just principles. Some of you guys have been looking at the wrong place all along! The fact is every time I start working on a technique again it is like working it for the first time. The multi faceted levels of the puzzle keep opening and opening.

Question your own understanding and truly learn. Loosen your rigid definitions and find greater threads of truth.


  1. "...The very concept of techniques are merely training wheels friends..."

    Absolutely spot on!

  2. I'm so with you on that, there's far to much emphasis on pleasing grading panels and Tori has to do this and Uke must do that and can I have my belt please. So I can plod through the next kata

  3. I still think your nutz...

  4. techniques are just expressions of principles in a container of more or less prescribed circumstances (which is where we see such confusion as to what is correct or proper or definitive waza is -- often such circumstances are basically preferences masquerading as absolute inviolable truths)

  5. The principle is electricity and the technique is the toaster . without either no toast.