Kihon and kamiwaza

Tuesday 12 September, 2023 -

Kihon and kamiwaza

The paradox of training is that the more you focus on the basics, the more readily accesible advanced technique becomes. 

Sometimes things happen in training that would be very hard if not actually impossible to make happen on purpose. You move without thinking, adapt and flow.

Possibilities appear and disappear through movement and timing. In budo, the goal is to be skilful but it’s actually as important (and maybe even more important!) to be lucky. So how can you become more lucky? Good question. Is it even possible? The process starts by connecting to the flow and staying in it. Be comfortable with not being always in control and seek ‘naka ima’ or the middle of now. This is sometimes called 'kamiwaza' or divinely inspired technique.

But there's an interesting paradox here. The better a person's kihon are,  the more deeply ingrained their basics are, the better they can be at 'manifesting' spontaneous movement. But ONLY if they cultivate the necessary freedom of thinking, feeling and detachment. 

So it seems like you have to pursue form in order to be free of form, and it's a matter of balance.

People who try to go straight to free movement and improvisation too early tend not to have much to fall back on, and their technique lacks 'bite' or 'backbone'. And people who can't move past form don't get there either.

So the teaching is this weird idea that you have to seek form to be free of form. No, I don't understand it either. But as Hatsumi Sensei once wrote "it's not your head that needs to understand."