The full commitment within Original Judo (Ju No Michi) starts with Shizen Tai.
As they call themselves, the « judo players” are constantly bent over because they are:
Afraid of falling.
Afraid of losing.
Afraid of not getting a medal.
Do these Judo Players do Judo?My personal opinion is no.
This has the name of Judo but not the form.
The first principle is the Shinzentai position.
Judo is a martial art and not a sport. It means this could be used in extreme situations in order to remain alive. Therefore, the person removes all the possible stress in order to react quickly and be aware of the aggressor’s reactions before it happens (personal and life experiences as well).
If I bent over and use my muscle, I might lose my life quickly.
Now take away the stressful situation. What is left? A wonderful tool to learn how to know me with the help of a partner.
For this, there are 3 main tools, katas which lead to Randori and then Shiaî.
No loser, no winner but a full commitment to myself.
Dr kano in « Seiryoku zen.yõ kokumin tiiku, August 1930, in KJTK-8
“Shizen Hontai is the posture where the individual stands naturally upright., without any intention. Elbows drop naturally, the chest is dropped without forcing it, the gaze is not lowered, heels are about a foot apart between right and left.“
Shizen Tai is the stable posture closest to imbalance
The centre of gravity is high, the supports are only about shoulder-width apart. However, it is from an imbalanced posture that we can create movement.
It is therefore the closest posture to movement.
Shizen Tai allows you to move faster, which is essential from a martial point of view. The person can quickly react by perceiving the other person’s reaction, even before they occur (Sen No Sen).
A position such as Jigo Tai, for example, although not leaning to either side, is effective in defence by lowering the centre of gravity, but, does not allow rapid change or direction or intention.
Moreover, this position is the reflection of fear which again indicates that the practice of Sports Judo is not the practice of the martial art.
(A very common sensation in Sports Judo)
Let’s hear what Dr Kano said about Shizen Tai. Dr Kano : Dojo ni okeru renshu no mokuteki o ron zu (dai-yonkai) July 1930 KJTK-3, p 275, 276
“…I say a word about attitude: I would like practitioners to practice Shizen-Tai ordinarily. In randori, it is certainly not possible to remain permanently in Shizen tai because it is undoubtedly necessary to switch to jigo-tai to protect oneself but, when one does not practice the principle of shizen-tai, it is not only the form of the body which becomes bad one comes to the point of not being able to move the body in a completely free way.
On the other hand, is jigo-tai the most suitable position for defence?
It is sometimes relevant to defend against certain types of attack but it often happens that it is of no help against others.
When standing in shizen-tai, one seems vulnerable to attacks that can come from all directions but, at the same time, regardless of the direction of the attack, it is possible to dodge the attack easily.
On the other hand, it is easy to attack in Shizen Tai because this is a natural position”
It is essential, to preserve the ability to move, and to always return to the shizen-tai position.
Judo no shugyoja ni tsgu, February 1918, in KJTK-2, P. 205
” The body must be in shizen tai posture. It is an attitude that allows you to change your attitude according to the needs. “
Saturday 25th June, we emphasised the work on what makes us Ju No Michi (Orignal Judo) practitioners.
The foundations to get the state of mind of a Judo practionner.
DECISION. – How to decide as soon as you step onto the mats.
The mentality of judo practitioners (and why we are not judo players). – Why is opposition only the result of fear and prevents from making a decision in an instant/now?
The decision inside the UKEMIs.
Why is opposition only the result of fear and prevents us from making a decision in the instant/now, for ourselves and then for the partner.
Ju No Kata. The link between Osae Komi Waza and Ju No Kata is to understand and feel the link between Mind and Hara to make decisions without thinking.
Sunday 26th June
During our 7 hours session, we emphasised the research and then feeling of the connexion between the Hara and the Mind to consolidate the decision process with the help of the study of the first 3 actions of Katame No kata and Go No Sen.
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Gesticulation to implement strategies, lack of commitment, fear of falling (instead of doing Ukemi), and working with muscles and not with the Hara, keep us away from making decisions, right now.
Deciding and then doing an action entails 2 steps.
Judo is a matter of acting immediately.
Acting now means three things at the same time, 1 encompassing, 2 being mobile and 3 self-controlling.
All these actions at the same time.
If these three elements are not together at the very same time, we do not practice Judo, this is something else. On the other hand, if one is missing and we seek to do them all together, it means we continue the research, then we are doing judo.
There is no strategy in Judo. Developing a plan in advance takes too much time and we end up manipulating our partner.
If there is a person in front of me who puts my life in danger, I must react now, I must not think.
I don’t have to ask myself “Do I have to…”. No, it’s right away. I do something to stay alive.
Original Judo (or Ju No Michi) is a Martial Art.
We must stay awake and aware to “act within the action“.
In martial art judo, there is a close connection between the Hara and the rest of the body and the mind. They are constantly linked in action.
We constantly seek this connection. We, nearly daily, work on it in order to feel it. Then, on a daily basis, non-opposition, mobility, control, decision and encompassing become more and more part of what we are as human beings.
To coordinate one’s Hara and thoughts, there are exercises one can do every day. This trains the ability to make decisions with the whole body.
We remain oriented towards our partner/friend/the other human being. If not, the decision is diluted and there is neither concentration of energy nor concentration of thought. If the body is shut down with tension, the energy comes from fear. Then the decision can’t be made.
I invite you to carry a 5kg weight in your hands. You feel the weight acting on the mass and your muscles are contracting to maintain this weight. Your muscles exert an isometric contraction and the result of this movement allows your body to compensate for the direction imposed on this object by gravity. Now add another weight to this 5 KG object. This new weight is that of a pencil for example. You won’t feel the difference. Your sensations are blinded by the tension you must maintain to keep carrying the 5 KG weight.
I have just described here what is Sports Judo which is based on the physical force which blinds and derives Judo from its first design: Efficient use of energy and mutual aid for mutual prosperity.
In the previous post, I talked about non-opposition. Now let’s talk about CONTROL. In competitive judo, there is confusion between controlling oneself and controlling others. The control of the other person induces a psychological state which involves the will to manipulate the other individual by a physical and a psychological constraint. In everyday life, this would be a contravention of the basic rules and laws of life in society. In Sports Judo, these rules are accepted. in Sport Judo, control is therefore the continuity of a physical and even a psychological dominance over this adversary.
What is control, in my opinion in the original Judo? By controlling I mean to know in advance, an action that my partner will do and accept it without opposing physical force or psychological coercion. Controlling is to be ahead.
In the practice of Original Judo, control is always knowing and feeling what the other person is doing without preventing any action from this person.
To know at all times where one is in relation to the other, where the other is in relation to me. Control will limit my actions. All actions and gestures are no longer possible when I have control. They are limited to those that allow keep me connected and linked with my partner. When I have control I act with the other person.
Control is doing something together, but I’m ahead. By being as aware as possible, I will perceive what the other person is going to do. it is a permanent availability. To explain this is very difficult with words. This is in the realm of feeling To feel it, I can’t be in opposition as in Sports Judo, but in non-opposition, as originally defined by Dr Jigoro Kano, then Dr Feldenkrais and later on by Mr Igor Correa Luna.
To be ahead is to follow the other person in her/his movement because my attitude is to invite the other person in the movement or direction. This direction is felt as a will of the partner, but in reality, I give the will to the other person to move in a direction. To be ahead is controlling. It’s having an attitude that gives the other partner/friend the desire to do something, an action.
During good Judo action, Tori and Uke can feel in their body and mind these 5 key principles. Tori receives the sensation of the Ukemi Uke felt the sensation of the projection.
Non-opposition can be explained through words, but not learned from them.
However, I’m going to tell you a bit further:
It is above all through feeling that we can learn it. The best way to learn it is through Ukemi. When an action is done with the 5 principles, we feel non-opposition provided we accept it.
It’s a feeling that we have when we make no effort to do something when we perfectly reach our goal. We are surprised even astonished about what we have just done.
In Judo, Ukemi brings knowledge.
The knowledge of this projection by the body. Not by thought, not by intelligence, by bodily feeling. If we refuse it, it’s a bit like a bad taste in the mouth, it’s not good.
To learn non-opposition, however, it is not necessary to do Ukemi, but to go towards the Ukemi. The other solution is to flee or to create an opposition. In this case, we are not doing Judo, but a sort of bad wrestling (because this is even not wrestling).
In Judo, Ukemi is essential in order to give and receive action. It is impossible to resist when a partner makes a good movement. On the other hand, Uke does not fall while jumping, it is a question of sincerity.
Practising Judo is doing something with the partner, a friend. It’s accepting that we progress together. Accepting an Ukemi is to learn how to work and study freely together. A judoka can fall ten times, twenty times, it doesn’t matter. What is important is to learn non-opposition.
The big question is how to remain available for the Ukemi and not fall at the same time? To understand this, Uke does not oppose Tori’s action. Uke continues to follow Tori’s trajectory with the principles of Ukemi. However, at some point, Uke will be able to regain control and take Tori’s action. Uke thus becomes Tori and can do the projection. This is overtaking an action. It’s extending Tori’s action in another direction. Not the other way around, not at a right angle. These directions create opposition. It is a circular movement. Movements in a straight line create opposition, we come up against an obstacle. Linear movements in Judo do not exist. It is necessary to circumvent so as not to oppose.
In judo, the movements are done in a circle even if the circles are not in the same plane. The planes can be vertical, horizontal, oblique or all 3 at the same time depending on the progress in the movement. They are infinite circles.
It may never end. Circles help you recover. it is the continuity of the movement. A person who plunges in a straight line cannot recover (See the note below). On the other hand, if this same person creates a circular action while going up on the other side, this person recovers inside this circle.
During a randori or a shïai, neither of the partners may be thrown because these two people are only moving within the circles they have created. This is the judo based on the respect of the principles established by Dr Kano.
* Note about plunging: In Martial Art Judo, Tori never ever falls with the partner, never ever drop on his/her knees to do an action. This doesn’t make any sense unless you practice what is called Sorts Judo which is based on the opposition of 2 people.
1 – This is a Martial Art, which means that can be used in real life. In real life, a person who would fall on the knees might be injured or worse.
2 – Judo is based on keeping your balance. Your physical but also psychological balance. So failing while doing an action is not using the energy in the most efficient way.
3 – This is against the second principle of Judo: “Inter- help for mutual prosperity” Falling that way is desperate action to win a medal, to keep having an illusion of success which may lead to an injury for the other judoka.
So, In original/Martial Art Judo, this is not acceptable. If someone mentioned the Sutemi as a counter-example, it means this person doesn’t know what is a Sutemi.
Are we always ready to face the truth about ourselves? I often hear I’m too old, too urbanised, I don’t have the time, I’m too….and so on. My answer is then: “Have you tried?” Most of the time this is a No and that statement is then followed by a “BUT….”.
Learning self-defense technics is totally useless if you’re not ready for it.This is the aim of the first 3 chapters.
To move toward this state of mind is a reliable journey to learn about your own desire to feel better, to manage stressful situations, and in extreme conditions, to survive.
These four chapters I outlined below are a way to invite you into this journey to meet yourself and to face what you still need to emphasise to have a better knowledge of yourself.
Chapter one (indoor mats and floor, 4 hours): invitation to know yourself (soma) in order to use what is necessary for today’s life or during a stressful situation.
1 – The difference between learning self-defense in a comfy place and the street reality 2 – Becoming aware of the body tension to increase efficiency in movements 3 – Wakening of the primal reflexes 4 – Moving on the floor with ease 5 – Assessing your stress level 6 – How to understand joints and limbs limits in order to learn to control ourselves and someone else 7 – How to fall on the ground (first step) 8 – Don’t rely on your strength but use the other person’s energy.
Chapter two (indoor mats and floor 3 hours session): Introduction to technics used based upon who you are so that you get the best out of yourselves 1 – Wakening your very first instinct when you’re are grabbed by an unexpected/undesired person 2 – Controlling someone with joint movements, the physical limit for yourself and the other person 3 – What to do once you’re on the ground (escape strangulation and reaction against punches) 4 – How to become friends with the gravity force (How to fall on the ground, the second chapter) 4 – How to use someone else energy (In reaction to a push, punch, hit with a stick, or a blunt instrument) 8 – Introduction to strangling, throwing, limb-locking 9 – Introduction to the first Kuatsu/Kappo ( Translated as is the medical art of the restoration of life.)
Chapter three (inside and outside mats and floor 3 hours session): In this chapter, we will put a practice all the preparation we went through in the previous chapters to get ready in more realistic situations. 1 – How to cope with the psychological impact if you succeed to come out of an extreme situation. 2 – Be aware of the physical pain if you have to defend yourself or someone you don’t know. 3 – Wakening your very first instinct when you are in close contact with someone else 4 – Controlling someone with joint movements 5 – Outside, it is raining, the ground is rough and there are no mats, learn how to use the environment to your advantage, how to fall, and use the fall as a way to solve a critical situation.
6 – Introduction to the second set of Kuatsu/Kappo ( Translated as is the medical art of the restoration of life.)
Chapter four outside regardless of the weather condition (4 hours session): This is an invitation to put into practice all the foundations and lighten the path where we need to progress with a clear understanding of what we are. 1 – Can you face real-life threatening situations or do you think you might give up? 2 – Up to what level of paint would you go to save your physical and psychological integrity? 3 – Knowing how to relax and relaxation, not a strong weapon but a very powerful and the most efficient one 4 – Outside the ground has the be your friend 5 – Introduction to punches, kicks, and the use of additional tools to defend yourself 7 – The use of your body as a friend to defend yourself or others in a close contact situation.
Shiai involves 3 judokas. One of the three is the judge who carefully watches the work of the other 2 judokas. These 3 people are committed to creating an IPPON. The judge’s task is to set a pace that reflects his conviction and concentration and his ability to anticipate action. The judge has the responsibility to keep the other 2 judokas in making a clear and unambiguous decision that must be made in the present moment. The judge remains an active participant in the Shiai.
Shiai is the opportunity to look at each other. There are always 2 winners unless one of the 3 people cannot see the way forward.