Friday, September 20, 2013

There is no such thing as late

I was watching TV, History Channel if I recalled correctly, there was an interesting view on how battles or wars were usually lost, they used the "war of attrition" strategy, meaning kill and destroy as much things as you can and they will eventually give up or there is nothing left to defend.

Then they show how most battles or wars were won, it is about being in a position of more advantage. They used many examples on the application of Sun Tzu's Art of War, which apparently, in the way they present it, is not a strategy of attrition.

Analogy-wise, it is like between a game of chess and a game of igo (囲碁). In chess, you take out your opponent's piece one by one, until you are able to expose the king, and corner it for the kill. In igo, it is totally different, you start with an empty board and start placing your pieces strategically, making your opponent unable to move/place his piece.

There is saying that whether you are facing one opponent or many opponents, it is just the same. The same could be said when you are in a theater of war. The strategy for war or battles, and the strategy for one-on-one combat is the same. As in igo, one must be in the correct position/location in order to make his opponent unable to move, or at most the movement is weak and predictable, thus controllable.

If the mindset is being in the right position, then many of the classical techniques will start to make sense, other than just trying to pummel the other guy to death.

One of the interesting things when I started practicing Aikido is the view that there are some techniques that are used when you are late to take actions, ura (back) n most cases, omotte (front) for yokomen attacks. After a few years, the view of a late action does not make sense. In a situation where life and death is at stake there should be no such thing as late.

The terminology itself, ura and omotte themselves are not describing whether or not you are being late or early, it is actually referring to your position in regards to your partner, whether you are going through the front or through the back, inside or outside. Again, it is about position, just like igo.

When you are attacked, there is no time of thinking where the opponent is going to be, what attack is he going to use, or which hands. These are all irrelevant thinking which will lead to a cluttered mind and have you end up freezing and eventually killed. The first thing you do to break out of your freeze is that you move, left, right, front, back, whatever, anywhere, just move. After this move then you will find your position in reference to your opponent, and this will determine what you will need to do next.

In training you practice moving in a certain way. This will be one of the earlier things being taught, not the technique itself, techniques should come much later. One needs to train to move in getting into an advantageous position, and then if one does not know any technique, one could attempt to run away safely. Getting into a position of advantage should be the primary movement, this could even mean movement or non movement, depending on the situation, and perhaps depending on the skill of the practitioner himself.

There is no such thing as early or late, it has to be in the right moment. Even being early could get you killed. All the techniques should be executed while being in the position of advantage and at the correct moment, not forcing your way through while you yourself is unbalanced which therefore having access only to an inefficient means of generating power.

Simply put... be in the right place at the right time...

But simpler said than done...

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