A “martial art body” is determined by the word “Jukozo”. This is explained from a theoretical point of view in another article. A question arises: How to create a martial art body?
When we see how someone is catching a ball, we can get an idea how the body works during catching a ball.
The synchronisation of the body with the ball is the main concept. Catching with a stiff body will not be very successful in catching the ball.
Developing a flexible structure – Jukozo
This has nothing to do with stretching exercises per se; rather, it has to do with learning to maintain a certain suppleness and adjustability in the body. Suppleness and adjustability is created by internal movements controlled by 2 major centre: kyokotsu and tanden.
By controlling different part of the body, we can create Rendo or linked movements. The power of Rendo is going further than the power of an isolated movement of the arm. In Rendo, the arm movements are flexible and can be changed in another direction without a pause of relax/tension to create local arm power.
Ritsuzen – relax-reflex
If we can feel each part of our body, we can detect tension in some part of the body. By using “ritsuzen” a relax-reflex can be created. The most simple ritsuzen posture is “shizentai”.
The outside of the feet is parallel. The knees are slightly flexed. The armpits are open. The body with the head on top is vertical.
Swinging the arms
Start from the shizentai posture. The swinging of the arms is the result of the central body-turning. The turning follows a diagonal pattern.
Turning arms and body
The arms are turning in opposite direction. The brain has difficulties in the beginning to create such turning movements. This movement is frequently used in some koryu-jujutsu (old style jujutsu).
Arm and hip turning
By dropping the body down the muscles of the legs come under tension.Turning the hips improves the flexibility of the hips and surrrounding muscles and tendons. The synchronisation between arm and hips improves stability.
Use the image of a pendulum. Tanden is following an arc movement. The arms are are relaxed and follow the movmenet of the tanden. Notice the front foot.
By doing it more than 3 minutes, it becomes a powerfull “cardio” exercise.
Kyokotsu – In & Out
When standing with a “ritsuzen” posture, the movement of the kyokotsu in&out becomes a real challenge. The shoulders, the neck, the stomach, the hips have the tendency to move together with the kyokotsu.
Use the mind to move the kyokotsu independently.
Do this at least minimum 3 minutes. Not too fast, not too slow. Use the relax-reflex at the shoulders, neck…….
Kyokotsu – Up & Down
Move the horizontal line corresponding with kyokotsu up and down. Be careful not to tense the muscles of the neck or the shoulders. Moving up has also a countermovement down into the legs and feet. Use you mind for this action.
Kyokotsu – diagonal
Diagonal lifting and dropping. Use the drilling of the leg to reinforce the movement. Returning is a relaxed action. When drilling the leg, don’t lift the foot off the floor. Keep shizentai – ritsuzen posture with the relax-reflex
Kyokotsu – rotation
Combination of the previous kyokotsu exercises. When lifting the hand, touch agains the forehead. The elbow is sliding along the hip when bringing down. This kind of movement is frequently used in aikido waza with a body turn.
The flexible cross
- Drop the body
- Push koshi forward
- Bring tibia vertical without lifting arms
- Unfold the body upwards
- Stretch the arm sideways
- Turn the arms, the body is following the turning
- Turn back and move back to original posture
- Repeat several times
The purpose of this exercise is to create Rendo or linked movements.
Finish this warming up with a 2-minute shizentai ritsuzen.
Using the mind
When doing an exercise keep your mind on the movements. If the mind is wandering freely and don’t notice what the body is doing, the benefit of most exercises will be lost.
On the other hand, don’t force the mind to concentrate too much on the movement. It will create tension in the body and mind. Better are to avoid such a situation.
An ideal situation is “mushin”, a mind which is aware what you are doing and is prepared to intervene during the movement with a correct path and use of power.