A “martial art body” is determined by the word “Jukozo” or flexible structure.
When we see how someone is catching a ball, we can get an idea how the body works during a whole body movement.
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.
By controlling different parts of the body, we can create linked movement segments. The power of Rendo is going further than the power of an isolated movement of the arm.
We can move the arm or we can move the arm as a whole body movement.
Isolated movement = Movement segment
From a scientific point of view, a movement segment is “a functional unit made up of two adjacent articulating surfaces and the connecting tissues binding them together. “
This is for most of us too difficult to understand, we need a more simple and practiacal explanation.
The green dots are 3 centres to create a stable posture.
The yellow dots show the movement segment of the arm.
The red dots show the movement segment of the leg.
Of course, this is very simplified, but it has some practical use for our training.
Whole body movement
Whole body movement is made by linking movement and postural segments and it is called “rendo”. It is not only a physical action, the brain (and its functions) plays also an important role.
Once again, simplicity is key to success in an entire body movement. Too many details create a malfunction in our brain. Also, understand that there are more than 3 points required to move an arm (or other segment) efficiently. Maybe one time you will feel so many dots that it becomes a flow. Each point during the movement can be handled by your mind… the game of “ki” begins.
Of course, it is not easy to control the linking process. Controlling the mind using “zanshin” or focusing the mind may be the first step of the control process. Zanshin is a skill how to use the mind to control our body and movements. Many martial traditions mention this skill and use the art of standing – Ritsuzen – (ZhanZuang in Chinese arts) to perfect the focusing skill. Ritsuzen is a simplistic method to create Jukozo. Ritsuzen uses three main areas of his body:
- The Mind residing in the head
- Pelvic region
In our research on martial arts training, most methods mention vertical posture as the most favourable to apply a punch or strike to the opponent. Even when working at the office, the upright posture is the healthiest.
Let us examine these centres and begin with the centre of the basin, the pelvic area or hara.
Hara, the pelvic region
The word “hara” is often used to describe the use of power in martial arts training.
Hara can be described either as the physical centre of a human being or as the metaphysical centre.
As part of our training, the hara may be considered the physical centre and it contains the centre of gravity. This is true in most cases, because it is possible that the centre of gravity is somewhere outside our body. The centre of gravity is not fixed in any particular place.
If you’re doing an Internet search, there’s a lot of information out there. And some of this info can be helpful during our training.
- The balancing, equilibrium, or pivoting point of the body.
- It is the point where the sum of all the forces and force movements acting on the body is zero.
- It is the point at which all the weight of the body may be considered to be concentrated and about which all the parts exactly balance.
A physical view
When standing, the centre of gravity in the human body is located in the front of the sacrum at the height of the sacral vertebras.
A metaphysical view on hara
In our western culture, the pelvic region has still a kind of taboo. The association with our sex organs makes it difficult to talk about this region. From a metaphysical point of view, the pelvic region is a source of energy. When you have an interest in this matter, I suggest you to look into the many articles on the internet on Traditional Eastern Medicine and Healthy Living.
So, please put aside your taboo thinking and see our pelvic region as an important part of whole body movement.
Kyokotsu, the sternum centre
Like the hara, kyokotsu is a small part of the body which cannot be regarded as a hinge. Basically, it cannot move by itself. Nevertheless, with the help of the surrounding muscles, it is mobile and will affect the spinal column and the attached muscles. Since the spinal cord is involved, it will also influence the use of the hara or pelvic region.
Movements of the arm is not only by using local arm muscles, but it is a process of a whole body movement. By controlling kyokotsu, we can use the muscles of the pelvic region and the attached legs.
Connection between hand and kyokotsu is by determining the “dots” between root, segment and tip.
The function of ‘The Mind” is briefly described in another post: “The science of training”.
Previously I mentioned Zanshin or controlling the mind to perfect the skill of focusing the mind. It takes a lot of training time to become skilful and maybe this goes beyond too much the motivation to do a martial art. If you go this path, you cannot ignore the metaphysical part of training.
Many martial sport champions acknowledge the importance of this part of the training. Controlling the mind is a basic skill to create high competence in your art. And this applies also for all sports or professional activities.
On the other hand, if your martial art activity is some kind of social gathering with friends, this is not a mistake but don’t expect a high level performance. Martial arts have different faces, and you can make a choice.