Books & Video & Magazines

I have a huge collection of books and videos about martial arts, particularly Aikido, Iaido and Jodo, my major arts of study. It’s an effort to catalogue my library, but it’s going to take a long time. Be patient……more will follow……

Tomiki Aikido Books

Kenji Tomiki began training under Morihei Ueshiba in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in 1926. He was largely responsible for the compilation and editing of the text in Morihei Ueshiba’s 1933 training manual “Budo Renshu” (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“).

In 1954, Kenji Tomiki published a book “Judo Taiso – A Method for Teaching Aiki – Jutsu according to Judo Principles”, demonstrating his efforts to combine the scientific methodology that he took from Judo founder Jigoro Kano with the teachings he received from Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Kodokan Judo’s Self-Defense System ─
Kodokan Goshin-jutsu
by Llyr C. Jones, Ph.D., Martin P. Savage, B.Ed. and W. Lance Gatling, M.A., M.P.S.
Journal of Asian Martial Arts • Volume 25 Number 1 • 2016

1958 – Kenji Tomiki – Kodokan Goshin-jutsu
Tomiki’s 1958 book “Kodokan Goshin-jutsu” is the first and most important book on the exercise. The 144-page text provides an illustrated explanation of the complete Kodokan Goshin- jutsu – including step-by-step black and white photographs of the attacks and defenses, line drawings of the footwork patterns, and advice on how to execute the wristlocks and various atemi-waza. However, consistent with the informal intent for Kodokan Goshin-jutsu, no emphasis is given to any reiho aspects. Recall in this original text, the final technique, Haimen-zuke concludes with Tori simply disarming Uke by capturing the gun.
The demonstrators are Tomiki himself as Tori, and Mr. Sakamoto, a former captain of the Waseda University Judo Club as Uke. Regrettably as with many Japanese judo books of that vintage, the paper is delicate and the printed photographs are of poor quality. The text is only available on the used book market, and given its historical significance, the asking price is often high. For these reasons its major usefulness is for reference and research purposes, rather than a practical text for studying Kodokan Goshin-jutsu.

Aikido Nyumon by Kenji Tomiki 1958

“An Introduction to Aikido.

Edition 1983

Goshin jutsu nyumon

Edition Showa 49 (1974) – 206 p. This book by Kenji Tomiki: “An Introduction to Self-Defense” is an interesting sequel to another book by Kenji Tomiki: “Judo Taiso – The Method of Teaching Aiki – Jutsu Based on Judo Principles” showing the basics of self-defense in Tomiki Aikido

Edition 1970

Senta Yamada

Senta Yamada

6 volumes featuring Tsunako Miyake

The six volume “Gendai Aiki” series of books is a 1970’s correspondence course in Aikido – the type of course one often sees advertised in the back of Manga and other popular magazines. The series was not authored by Kenji Tomiki, but was clearly written by someone who had experience with the Tomiki system of Aikido

1966 – Book designed for beginners in Tomiki Aikido. 34 pages with explanation of exercises and techniques accompanied by many step by step B/w photographs of the author assisted by J Elkin.

Aikido: an Introduction to Tomiki-Style by M. J. Clapton is a volume on techniques and kata of the unique Tomiki style of aikido. The book focuses on the execution, application and variations of Randori-No-Kata, the 17 basic techniques of free practice. Included are the categories of: attacking techniques, elbow techniques, wrist techniques and floating techniques.

Besides this book, Clapton wrote some articles for KOA, Karate and Oriental Arts magazine.

6 Koryu no kata by Takeshi Inoue & Kitayama

This book is used as an inspiration for dr Lee ah Loi’s books

First published 1978 – dr Lee ah Loi with Takeshi Inoue and Leslie Hepden

Re-published 1982 – new photogtaphs with author and Leslie Hepden.

1979 – Koryu no kata with the author dr Lee ah Loi and Leslie Hepden

Published 1988 – Reflections on Tomiki Aikido

Copy for proofreading 2001

Reflections on Hideo Ohba by his students

Tomiki Aikido Video

Some of these videos are on my Vimeo Channel

Koryu no kata Dai Roku

Takeshi Inoue & Leslie Hepden

June 2003 – Yawara Dojo (London/UK)

1989 – Koryu no kata – Budokan/Tokyo

Takeshi Inoue & Lee ah Loi

  • Dai ichi
  • Dai ni
  • Dai san
  • Dai yon
  • Dai go
  • Dai roku

1976 (?) Koryu no kata – Okubo Sports Kaikan

Hieo Ohba & Takeshi Inoue & Tsunako Miyake

  • Dai Ichi
  • Dai ni
  • Dai san
  • Dai go
  • Dai roku

Seminars with Senta Yamada in UK

2000 – Teruo Fujiwara – Early student of Kenji Tomiki

1989 – Osaka & Tenri/Japan

Koryu no kata Daisan

2001 – Osaka/Japan

Basic 17 and Koryu no kata Goshin

Magazines

AikiNews 80 – Report injuries & death

AikiNews 81 July 1989

Tomiki’s biography by Fumiaki Shishida

AikiNews 82 – October 1989

Interview Riki Kogure – part 1

Appeared in BBC Docu: The Way of the Warrior – (Tomiki Aikido) – also with Jim Elkin

AikiNews 83 January 1990

Interview Riki Kogure part2

Appeared in BBC Docu: The Way of the Warrior – (Tomiki Aikido) – also with Jim Elkin

AikiNews no.85 – Summer 1990

Hideo Ohba Biography part1

AikiNew 86 – Fall 1990

Hideo Ohba Biography part2

AikiNews 93 Fall 1992 – Interview dr Lee ah Loi

AikiNews 97 – Fall/Winter 1993

Featuring Lee ah Loi with “Weapon training in Tomiki Aikido”

AikiNews 98 1994 vol21 no.1

Kata training and Aikido by Diane Bauerle

AikiNews 2001

Hiden magazine – Special Tomiki – June 2015

Mochizuki – Yoseikan

Books

Published 1971

Hiroo Mochizuki – Son of Minoru Mochizuki – Yoseikan Budo

Published 1971

Yoseikan Aikido method explained by Alain Floquet

Unusual Books on Martial Arts

Some martial art books described unusual techniques. Most of these are published in books with good intention by the time they were written. But in modern times, it seems very odd or comical.

There are also books using elements of other disciples such as engineering, music or other activities of human interest.

Moshe Feldenkrais

Moshé Feldenkrais was born in Russia in 1904. He left home at age 12 and immigrated to what was then Palestine. He supported himself during his high school years as a construction worker in Tel Aviv, and as a tutor to failing students.

He developed great interest in hypnosis and autosuggestion, taught himself and others self-defense techniques, played soccer, and was a weight lifter.

As a young man, Moshé Feldenkrais was looking for a way to provide Jewish civilians living in what was then Palestine a way to defend themselves against the periodic massacres and killing of Jews by the Arab population. He taught himself Judo from a book he found and taught classes in self-defense.

In the early 1930’s, Jigorō Kanō, the creator of Judo and the Minister of Education of Japan at the time, came to Paris looking to find a white man to train in Judo with the intent to open the first Judo club in Paris, France.

Moshé Feldenkrais gave Jigorō Kanō a book that he wrote on self-defense. In this book, there was a self-defense move that Dr. Feldenkrais developed specifically for being attacked by a short knife, which was a common way that Jews were attacked and killed at that time.

Kanō realized that he had never seen this move before. When back in Japan, Kanō had his people check that this was an original movement created by Dr. Feldenkrais. When this was confirmed, he selected Dr. Feldenkrais to be the white man who would be trained by one of the original 12 black belts whom Kanō had trained.

In 1954, Feldenkrais book on Jiu-Jitsu was reprinted. Some advice was given for special situations. For example defending against animals.

Hubert Klinger-Klingerstorff

Professor of judo and jiu-jitsu at the University of Wien/Austria – Black Belt 1st dan

There is an interesting comment about this book: This is one of those old books that made its way on to the internet in digital form. It has some legitimate techniques, even a few that I might have to try out on the mat. However, the context in which they’re applied is silly. There must be thirty or more defenses against strangling attempts. The defenses against dogs are ridiculous. The illustrations are hand drawn, and actually do a fairly good job of showing the techniques, but many of them are complex judo throws that require more than one being “self taught”.

This book is originally published in German language.

French language 1960

Paul Maslak

As a magazine editor, Maslak introduced the use of statistical analysis to sport karate and kickboxing. He played a significant role in the national adoption of safety equipment and the mandatory seeding of the top competitors in major national open tournaments. He also successfully advocated for the establishment of separate women’s divisions for both kata and kickboxing competition. In 1979, he co-authored the Schlesinger Rules System of Martial Arts Competition with prominent tournament karate and kickboxing referee Tom Schlesinger. He also wrote the first Official Rules of the World Karate Association in 1980 as well as the revised Official Rules of the World Kickboxing Association: Third Edition, in 1987. After leaving Inside Kung Fu in late 1981, he discontinued the STAR tournament ratings.
Maslak authored two books, Strategy in Unarmed Combat and What The Masters Know, based on a statistical study, he undertook of contrasting fighting styles in professional boxing, full-contact karate (early kickboxing), Japanese kickboxing, Judo and collegiate wrestling

Describing techniques and strategy by music connotations -Published 1980

Slow or Fast Movement?

Fast movements can conceal flaws and mistakes can slip by. One does not do the movements slowly for the sake of doing them slowly, and it is most certainly untrue that the slower it is done, the better. There has to be a purpose for doing them slowly; there has to be “substantially” to those movements or progress will not come. It is about “Ishiki”

Ishiki 意識

Ishiki has 2 kanji, 意 = I, and 識 = shiki.
“Shiki” means identification, it is the act of recognizing someone or something.
“I” means intent, it is the determination to do something.

Why slow movements?

Posture and Health

Slow movements help you with the help of intentional thinking (Ishiki= 意識) to raise awareness of your posture. This will allow your posture to be adjusted to make the body function better and improve energy efficiency.

Slow movements with the whole body will affect and help the micro-circulation in the capillaries. It goes much deeper than fast movements.

Mindfulness training

Martial arts in Japan refer to a variety of physical and mental practices developed based on historical combat techniques. Nowadays, martial arts are considered not only as sports and/or fighting methods, but also as activities aimed at obtaining a unity between mind and body.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that includes multiple components, such as musculoskeletal training and improvement of both interoceptive and exteroceptive consciousness.

Aikido and related styles include practices (randori – sparring) that are considered elements similar to those of sport, although these practices (randori – sparring) are not aimed at winning the competitions as typical sports do.

Aikido essentially emphasizes the importance of paying attention to one’s own breath and body, and the awareness of both internal and external environments.

Tenshikei, coiling power

Tenshikei is the Japanese term for chanshijin or silk reeling, a skill in Internal Chinese martial arts. The name derives from the twisting and spiralling movements of the silkworm as it wraps itself in its cocoon and the pulling off the silk from the cocoon. The body is imitating this by winding and unwinding movements. In a Western context, reference is made to “fascial movement”.

What is fascial movement?
Fascia training describes sports activities and movement exercises that attempt to improve the functional properties of the muscular connective tissues in the human body, such as tendons, ligaments, joint capsules………

Tenshikei uses the diagonal tension and releasing of the muscles and tendons in the body and can be regarded as fascial movement.
Kyokotsu or lower part of the breastbone, as a control centre of the tenshikei movement, uses the tanden, koshi and yōbu as the stability platform. Seen from a Western perspective, the pelvic girdle is synonymous for this important body region.

The pelvic girdle or “koshi” can be seen as the origin of power generation and it has to harmonise with the rest of the body to produce efficient movements. Unfortunately, when the focus is too much on the koshi, there is a tendency to freeze this area. To avoid this situation, focus on the kyokotsu is advisable.

In humans, the crotch is the bottom of the pelvis, the region of the body where the legs join the torso, and is often considered to include the groin and genitals. In our study of efficient movement, reference has to be made to the area around the hip-joint. It can also be defined as the lower part of the pelvic girdle.

Relationship between shoulders and hips

The upper (above the waist) and lower (below the waist) portions of the torso should move in harmony with each other, so the hips and shoulders need to move in conjunction with each other in order to maximize power. The final position for a given movement will often involve the shoulders being directly over the hips as this alignment optimises the strength of the torso. The waist area needs to be strong and flexible for power to be generated in this way, so the waist should be loose and relaxed.

Whether the upper or lower half of the body initiates the movement is not always the same. As an example we can look at “uchi mawashi” movement. Diagonal tension is a main factor in this movement. Hip joint(s) or mata opens and closes in synchronising with the shoulder(s).

Synchronising has been not always at the same time. We have to consider the concept of rendo. The art of linking is a skill to transfer power through the body which will increase the efficiency of the movement.

Relationship between elbows and knees

The relationship between the elbows and knees is similar to that of the hips and shoulders. The elbows are also driven by the shoulders and the knees are driven by the hips.

Relationship between hands and feet

There is the belief that “the foot and the weapon arrive together”. This usually refers to an attack connecting with its target as the practitioner comes into the correct distance to attack.

In reality a tiny (microsecond) delay between the placement of the foot and the attack can occur. The hand should never lead the foot. All movements should flow outwards from the practitioner’s centre to the hands and feet. The hips and shoulders drive the knees and elbows, which in turn, drive the hands and feet. All the movements have to stay in the area of “range of motion”. This area is slightly smaller than the area of peripheral vision.

Solo exercises are performed in the area “range of motion”. The arms are not passing outside this area, otherwise the body structure will be destroyed and power generation is disturbed. The same is true when doing partner exercises, don’t move outside your range of motion.

Range of motion

Tegatana-no-go-dosa, a “winding” exercise

Tegatana-no-go-dosa are solo exercises and can be converted into exercises with internal aspects: Tenshikei = wrapping power – 纏絲勁 – chansigong (chinese).

7-hon-no-kuzushi

In Tomiki’s syllabus, 7-hon-no-kuzushi is a tool to improve the skill of “kuzushi”. A method to disturb the opponent’s balance.

  1. ai-gamae jodan
  2. gyaku-gamae jodan
  3. ai-gamae chudan
  4. gyaku-gamae chudan
  5. ai-gamae gedan
  6. gyaku-gamae gedan
  7. ushiro

Mostly, these exercises are performed with a partner gripping a wrist or both. These skills are executed by moving the arm(s) in accordance with the proper footwork. The use of “mata” is hardly discussed and using efficiently koshi, tanden or yobu are almost forgotten.

The movements of these exercises are based upon “tegatana no go dosa”, the original handblade solo-exercises developed by Kenji Tomiki. By simplifying basic movements, some of the “internal” content is lost. The reason of this loss can be found in the purpose of tandoku undo tegatana dosa. Modern tegatana dosa is used to teach big groups and give the practitioners a simple basic idea of the movements. In the past, university students were taught this set of exercises during their 3 or 4 years of study and focus of the training was on “randori”, a kind of sparring. Of course, after spreading the art of Kenji Tomiki for a broader public outside the Universities, the search for other aspects than randori become more important.

Kata, formal training

The original purpose of kata was to teach external and internal concepts of the martial to the practitioners. This is already discussed in other posts at this blog. The difference between kata and katachi is bringing forward different aspects of the formal training in a martial art.

7-hon-no-kuzushi (omote & ura) is a formal exercise found in koryu-no-kata dai yon. Originally, these exercises were taught as a tool to improve “kuzushi” or balance disturbing.

By omitting some of the internal aspect during the performance of tegatana dosa, the content of 7-hon-no-kuzushi became also simplified and abstracted. The focus is on a kind of balance disturbances, mainly inspired by judo kuzushi of Kodokan Judo. The external concept of “kuzushi” is dominant. The internal aspect, especially the winding and unwinding is not highlighted.

7-hon-no-kuzushi, partner exercises with internal aspects

After studying thoroughly “tegatana dosa”, the internal skill of winding and unwinding becomes a familiar one and can be used efficiently in all the partner exercises.

Using Hara (Koshi, Tanden and Yōbu) and Mata

For all of these methods, the momentum needs to flow freely between the shoulders and hips. The torso needs to undulate in order for power to travel unimpeded throughout the entire body. The final position for a given movement will often involve the shoulders being directly over the hips as this alignment optimises the strength of the torso. The waist area needs to be strong and flexible for power to be generated in this way, so the waist should be loose and relaxed. It is often seen in partner exercises, the shoulders have contracted as a result of using the shoulder muscles as the source of power used by the hand and arm.

Mata is the connection between the leg and koshi. This connection is also influencing the passing of energy from the ground to the arm and hand. Using koshi and hara is an internal aspect to produce power needed in the art of kuzushi and has to be introduced into 7-hon-no-kuzushi.

Exercises to develop “mata power”

The power generated using “mata” or “kua (Chinese)” is an action that is hard to explain in words. It involves every part of your body. When you have access to someone who can give you the basics, the following exercises are almost self-explanatory.

We will cover 4 exercises

  • Vertical forward (oshi taoshi)
  • Vertical backward (hiki taoshi)
  • Horizontal forward (chudan uchi mawashi/gedan soto mawashi)
  • Horizontal reverse (chudan soto mawashi/gedan uchi mawashi)

Exercise 1 – Vertical forward

The inspiration for this exercise comes from 3 other exercises.

  • Pendulum exercise, explained somewhere else in this blog
  • Ik-kyo undo, practised by many aikido styles
  • Tandoku undo tegatana dosa (shomen uchi/shomen tsuki)

Basically, a vertical movement is performed containing 2 actions

  • Lifting the arms up to deflect an incoming attack to the face
  • Dropping action to throw an opponent of controlling

Many other applications use this kind of movements.

Complete sequence

Exercise 2 – Vertical backward

A reverse circle is used to perform this exercise. The inspiration is found in other famous exercises

  • Rowing exercise used by many aikido styles
  • Hiki taoshi application (see BASIC 17 – Hiki taoshi)

Complete sequence

Exercise 3 – Horizontal (chudan uchi mawashi/gedan soto mawashi)

This exercise include uchi mawashi (chudan) and soto mawashi (gedan)

Please refer to 7-hon no kuzushi or to original style of tegatana dosa tandoku undo.

Complete sequence

Exercise 4 – Horizontal reverse (chudan soto mawashi/gedan uchi mawashi)

This exercise include soto mawashi (chudan) and uchi mawashi (gedan).

Please refer to 7-hon no kuzushi or to original style of tegatana dosa tandoku undo.

Complete sequence

Some footage of the “mata” exercises

Haragei, the physical side

Haragei, the art of hara is a concept with a lot of interpretations and is essentially a concept referring mainly in a metaphysical context. There is also a physical aspect when we look at “haragei”. The hara in single words is the part under the diaphragm and consist of “koshi”, “tanden” and “yobu”. In some historical documents written by famous swordmen, the skill of the hara is referred to and even explained how to do it.

The perfect handling of the sword is produced by the integration of three elements: the rotation of the koshi, the diagonal tensions produced by this rotation and the displacement of the body.

Morita Monjuro

Rotation of the koshi, mostly translated as rotation of the hips, is in many cases explained too simple. Rotation is not only in the horizontal plane, but also in a vertical plane. By adding diagonal tension or movement, the rotation of the koshi becomes multidirectional.

Multidirectional movement creates a kind of sphere and can be seen as a balloon in the lower part of the trunk, in other words Hara.

Hara Power is frequently mentioned in publications on Bodywork and Martial Arts. Some of the publications give you a good insight in the development of the Hara. I already wrote some ideas and info on the concept of Hara. But new developments are coming to the surface after daily training and need some explanation.

Where is “hara” localised?

Hara is a 3-part structure in the lower part of the trunk.

  • Koshi
  • Tanden
  • Yobu

The term “koshi” is usually translated either as “kidneys”, or as “hips” or as “pelvis”, but these translations are approximate. Koshi is an area located on the lower back, the opposite of the tanden located in the lower abdomen.
The tanden and the koshi, located on either side of the body, in practice form a whole. Each use of the koshi muscles is transmitted to the tanden by stimulating it by pressure, which positively activates different parts of the nervous system. Yobu is referring to the waist and these muscles will be used for turning action of the trunk.

The muscles of the koshi and the tanden form a unit, but their roles are not the same. The tanden is the centre of the hara and is the place of a relative no-movement. The training of the koshi is synonymous with the training of the tanden.

In our study, Hara will be used in many exercises, especially during Tenshikei movements.
However, a practitioner cannot develop Hara without breathing and the movement and stretching of the respiration-related tissues. Full development of the Hara will include the winding motion of tenshi, rotational internal movement or silk reeling movements. The power generated by tenshi is called tenshikei and is expressed by the movement of the arms or legs.

Mata-股 = 胯 – kua & 裆 – dang

Japanese terminology and Chinese terminology can create some confusion and need some explanation.

The translation of “mata” can be “inner thigh” or “groin”, “crotch”, “femur”……
In our study, reference has to be made in the area around the hip-joint.

In Chinese martial arts and movement methods, 2 words are used to describe the “mata” region.

  • 胯 – kua or kwa
  • 裆 – dang

“Kua” in Chinese has a reference to “hips”. Our waist and hips have to be relaxed and loosened. . Only then can power flow down from the body to the legs and your feet. It helps to give your feet the foundation of your strength. Then your power can build up throughout your entire body.

How to relax or loosen up our hips? During practice, we have to bend our knees, flex (means bend or fold, not tense up) our hip joints, and sit on our legs.

“Dang” means “crotch”, the place where our legs meet the body. Our crotch has to be round like an arch. When our crotch is round and open, we can shift weight more freely. If we make our knee move very slightly closer to each other, our crotch can be made round. You will feel also the heels will go slightly outside. Keep weight on the ball of the feet.

Yobu – Yao

The waist is a part of the Hara and is used during many body movements. For example the turning of the trunk happens more efficiently when the muscles of the waist are used.

The efficient body movement is achieved by integrating the diagonal tensions of the body which cross it from the legs to the arms. By applying this skill, the force spontaneously filled the tanden. The use of the waist is an integral part of a full body movement. This skill can be seen in tenshikei or winding power, a kind of rotational strength.

An example with wooden sword training

To strike correctly from the tanden and the koshi, it is necessary to obtain a perfect handling of the body or a perfect handling of the sword. It is a skill that is produced by the two diagonal forces which go from the right leg to the left arm, and from the left leg to the right arm.
The cutting power of the sword is produced by the integration of the three elements: the rotation of the hara, the diagonal tensions produced by this rotation and the displacement of the body.

The mechanism of sword cutting can be used when you apply atemi to the opponent by using tegatana or other parts of the body to produce a shock into the opponent. It is of course also very effective with some throwing technique like “shomen ate” or “gyaku gamae ate”.

Serape effect and diagonal tension

“Muscles must be placed on their longest length in order to exert their greatest force”

The serape effect is a rotational trunk movement that It stretches the muscles to their greatest length; when this tension is released from these muscles they shorten for the completion of the movement, a greater velocity is applied than had the muscles performed from a normal resting length.

Hara is a key factor in the use of the of diagonal tension, in other words: Tenshikei

The rotation of the pelvic girdle is a part of the tenshi movement and is important for creating a more efficient use of power in the direction of the target. The rotational movement of this large body segment, the trunk, enables a summation of internal forces that is able to be transferred from this large area to a smaller area as such as the arm and the hand for applying force to the opponent.

Conditions for developing “hara” strength

There are some conditions to achieve an efficient exercise

  • Correct breathing (kokyu)
  • Winding movements (tenshi)
  • Relax or loosen up koshi and mata
  • Using intent (I in Japanese – Yi in Chinese)

Correct breathing

Basically, during practise our intent is not on the breathing process. Breathing is an involuntary process. Nevertheless, during exercises, focus can be put on certain aspects of breathing to strengthen the breathing muscles.

During breathing, pulling the perineum is a skill to put pressure on the hara and forces to provide movement to the muscles used for deep breathing. By exerting these muscles become stronger and will support the “tenshi” movements. As a result, tenshikei power becomes more effective and stronger.

Winding movements

Winding movements create a kind of corkscrew strength. This strength does not initiate from the foot. It initiates from the trunk of the body. It transfers down toward the foot when standing, and then it rebounds from the foot back up and on through the body. When sitting in seiza, the same can be performed. The movement start at shoulder level, next a diagonal movement and finished by a movement of the pelvis. Releasing the tension happens in the opposite order.

Relax and loosen up hip joint

It is often said in many dojos: “drop your shoulders”. But if your “koshi” or pelvis is frozen or too weak, you will have difficulties dropping your shoulders. If pelvis are frozen, you cannot bring down your hara, if your pelvis is too weak, you will hold up your hara too high.

Strengthening the koshi and loosen up the hip joints will give support to the hara. Even in a standing or sitting posture, you need the feeling of sitting upon the sit bones.

Using intent

I in Japanese – Yi in Chinese – Yi is mostly translated as “intention” or also as “wisdom mind”. It refers to one’s experience or knowledge base. A practitioner might have a strong spirit, but without good tactics, combat knowledge and martial skills, the practitioner would not be able to fight very effectively.

So, intent is the skill to access your knowledge base which is acquired after successful training. The beginners knowledge base is very limited and using “intent” is very difficult and mentally tiring. After sufficient training, the knowledge base becomes a source derived from all your training experiences.

Practical exercises with diagonal tension

There are many exercises with diagonal tension. Mostly it will depend on the practical use of the exercise in the syllabus of the chosen martial art. In case of Tomiki’s Aikido, Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa is an excellent choice to incorporate diagonal tension.

Keypoints Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa 1

  • Take chidori ashi posture
  • Lift hand above head (jodan)
  • Feel the line between the foot and the hand
  • Lower hand into chudan posture
  • Perform koshi mawari
  • Do not turn the feet and knees
  • Keep your “koshi” flexible but firm

During the 2nd half of the exercise, keep diagonal tension line.

Keypoints Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa 2

  • Start with chidori ashi posture
  • In chudan posture, turn palm upwards
  • Turn waist, keep arm in front of chest
  • Turn palm downwards
  • Turn waist to the front
  • Keep the movement of knees minimal
  • Keep “koshi” flexible but firm

During this exercise, keep diagonal tension line

During the 2nd half of the exercise, keep diagonal tension line. Turning of the waist and diagonal tension generate power into the hand.

Keypoints Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa 3 -part 1

  • Chidori ashi posture
  • Keep the movement of knees minimal
  • Use diagonal tension

Keypoints Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa 3 -part 1

  • Chidori ashi posture
  • Using waist without moving feet and knees
  • Use diagonal tension

The impact of the back

When using kyokotsu properly, it will affect koshi and oscillate between 2 positions according to kyokotsu movement.

Normal posture and slightly pulling in arms, kyokotsu is in forward position.

Pushing out arms, kyokotsu is in backward position and tilt the pelvis forward.

If you wish to see the Truth…

“If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.”

~Seng Tsan, Third Patriarch of Zen
Hsin Hsin Ming 信心銘 – Verses of Faith in Mind

There is certainly something positive about lockdown during the Corona-COVID-19 pandemic. Our life has changed completely, especially our time schedule is different. If you are a martial art instructor, during lock down the dojo is closed and the contact with the students or practitioners is reduced to online meetings or occasional meetup outside the dojo. As an instructor, you get more time for yourself and study concepts beyond basic and advanced training.

There are several stories of people who have been isolated for quite a while. They developed a method to practice their martial art. For instance, Kenji Tomiki was imprisoned after the war for a few years and created solo exercises from his experiences with several martial arts experts. These solo exercises formed the nucleus of an Aikido method focused on basic movements and techniques applicable in randori.

The result of investing time in personal training

If you do “personal training” as an instructor without students due Corona problems, the result of investing time can be very different from the thoughts you had when you embarked on your martial art journey. Your mind and body are not the same as a few years ago when you were a beginner.

One must accept that “change” is an all-pervasive concept in one’s life. Cultivating “curiosity” cannot be neglected in your training. Looking beyond all you have learned is a skill that should be cherished to the fullest.

Beyond existing methods

From a scientific standpoint, the research process basically follows a certain pattern.

The research process consists of eight steps: choosing a topic, studying the literature, developing theoretical and conceptual frameworks, formulating the research question, research design, data collection, data analysis and drawing conclusions.

In martial art, the process of research as part of our training follows also a certain pattern. But we are in a situation (pandemic) comparable to that of Tomiki during his time of imprisonment. Of course, we have more options because we can search the digital world for information, but the situation of not having training opportunities is the same. Some of us don’t even have a training partner.

Topic of research

Two topics may serve as an example to other research.

  • Physical and fitness training
  • Martial art movements

The question is whether to choose scientifically proven methods or methods based on mystic beliefs without any scientific proof. In this blog about martial arts training, some methods are discussed with respect to physical training, but also to a more metaphysical type of exercises primarily based on Japanese and Chinese methods with backgrounds in Taoism, Zen-Buddhism and similar philosophical ways of thinking.

The following methods are up-to-date, scientifically studied and the effects of these exercises may be repeated in a scientifically approved situation. The research process serves to formulate a conclusion, with physical and mental exercises resulting from the research.

Especially competitive martial sport is extensively researched for better performance. Scientifically tools are used to increase efficiency power and or speed. The Kodokan Judo Institute has published since 1958 a scientific report on Kodokan Judo on a regular base. The 1969 report has an item written by Kenji Tomiki.

An extract of 1969 report

Zhangzuang or Ritsuzen ( standing exercises) are a kind of exercises researched in hospitals with qualified personnel.

Some of the health-exercises like Qigong or Kiko can be executed on different levels from a pure physical point of view to a more metaphysical or a combination of physical and metaphysical. You can find many scientific studies on the internet. These studies are executed under scientifically rules and the results are published in academic magazines for professional metal health and physical body workers.

There is also a crossover concept using martial art movements useful as physical and fitness training. Plenty of examples can be found in modern fitness methods linked with popular music.

The “traditional” dilemma

When you enter the world of martial arts, you will see mane different views on how martial art has to be practised. As martial arts have always a flavour of conservatism and some of the practitioners are trapped into a “traditional” dilemma.

The question is about understanding the traditional elements in a martial art. Most martial arts have some traditional culture as a part of their training. Some “traditional” elements have no meaning in our Western way of thinking and are practised just as a kind of mannerism, doing something without knowing the origin and meaning of the action or movement. Trying to understand the traditional elements with an open mind is not easy, and sometimes there is a tendency to dogmatism in your martial art.

Removing traditional elements of a martial art need a deep understanding of the traditional culture. On the other hand, some instructors are adding cultural elements with or without understanding the content. Removing and adding elements with understanding sometimes creates a “new” martial art or sport with of without cultural value. The choice is up to you.

Understanding the technical syllabus

As a high level instructor we can choose to research the existing methods of our founders with the tools based upon scientifically proven methods. Of course, there are metaphysical or psychological elements which are difficult to measure with our tools. Take for example the concept of “sen” or “hyoshi“, as explained by Miyamoto Musashi.

The barrier between science and pseudoscience is not clearly defined and can create problems when we seek for the Truth.

The “Truth” dilemma

This post started with a quote by Seng Tsan, Third Patriarch of Zen (Hsin Hsin Ming 信心銘 – Verses of Faith in Mind).

I believe most practitioners are not looking for the “Truth”, but they found a method for practising a martial art. If they never have a confrontation, mentally or physically, there is no need to find the “Truth”, because they found the truth in their method. Unfortunately, some of the practitioners became “True Believers” and are not open for the “Truth”. During a confrontation, maybe they will win, maybe they will lose.

“The True Believers” – The critically acclaimed true story about the human cost of hero worship in martial arts. The term “True Believers” is inspired by a book by Eric Hoffer.

Eric Hoffer (July 15, 1902 – May 21, 1983) was an American moral and social philosopher. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer (1951), was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen. (Wikipedia)

Finding your Way

Again, finding the “Truth” is letting go all pro- and contra- opinions. Martial Art is not a cult, but it is a tool to become aware of the world around you and inside you. Dogmatism will disturb your progression, on the other side, if you are happy………

The Art of Cutting

Integrating the use of kyokotsu and tanden has an enormous impact on cutting efficiency. This effect is due to a wave of power generated by the kyokotsu skill. You will find some info on a “wave of power” blog post.

Kiri oroshi
  1. Lifting the sword in jodan position with Chidori ashi foot posture, keep the centre line straight and spine in a natural position.
  2. When the sword moves forward, start pulling in kyokotsu
  3. By pulling in kyokotsu, the pelvis will tilt
  4. Almost at the end of the cut, push kyokotsu forward to neutral position. Pelvis returns to neutral position.

Pulling in kyokotsu and releasing it affect the use of the back muscles and the pelvis.

When kyokotsu is pulled in, the sword or in case of an unarmed action, the tegatana will move forward and makes contact with the target. When kyokotsu returns, the sword or tegatana will generate a cutting action.

In case of an unarmed action, the returning kyokotsu is generating a pulling action without excessive local muscle power.

Grasping the handle or wrist

A ring of power is discussed earlier. This also applies how to hold an object with the fingers. The object can be a handle of a sword or the wrist of an opponent. Grasping is not a question of muscle power, but it is making an unbreakable ring with thumb and middle finger. This is basically a very simple skill and makes the grasping of a wrist or sword handle very solid. The idea is to close the energy circuit between thumb and middle finger. When understanding this simple action, you can use it in different situations.

During “kiri-oroshi” or cutting exercise, the correct grip on the tsuka of handle is important. Also it is not a good idea to drop the sword behind the back. This is a signal about too much relaxation in holding the sword. Sometimes you can see warming up with the sword with this method, but as a method of cutting it has to be avoided.

Te-no-uchi

Previous paragraph gave you some information about the grasping skill. Of course, when using a sword for cutting or grasping a wrist to apply a “waza” on the opponent, just holding is not enough. Power transfer is necessary to become efficient in applying a waza.

Te-no-uchi is a phrase mostly associated with Japanese weapon arts. A popular description is about “wringing out a towel”. If too much power is used, the towel will be damaged, if the wringing is weak, most of the water will stay in the towel. An interesting observation is made in the Journal-of-Physical-Therapy-Science.

The skills of various kinds of motion must be maintained so that activities of daily living (ADL) can be performed fluently. An important objective of Occupational Therapy is to improve a patient’s ability to perform ADL. However, there are very few studies that have tried to scientifically analyze skill contributing to the quality of ADL. Therefore, we focused on the motion in wringing out of Towel, which is done frequently in ADL, and analyzed the factors that contribute to this motion. We hypothesized that the factors that contribute to this motion include the subject’s age, gender, grip strength and motion pattern. These factors were analyzed. The results show that the female elderly group, although weak in hand grip strength, was able to squeeze the maximum amount of water from the towel. We speculate that this group of elderly females were most efficient at wringing the towel because this was a common household chore for them and because of this, their level of skill was the highest among all the groups.

Uchi gaeshi, soto gaeshi, tenshikei and meguri

During te-no-uchi action or wringing out the towel, an uchi gaeshi or inward twist can be seen. This inward twist is basically a wrist and forearm movement.

When lifting the sword into jodan or hasso position, a soto gaeshi or outward twist is performed. As with the inward twisting action, local excessive muscle power has to be avoided. The twisting is not only affecting the wrist or forearm, but is a part of generating ‘tenshikei” or spiral power.

Te-no-Uchi, wringing out the towel

Te-no-uchi is more than wringing out the towel. It is a technique in which the fingers, palm, wrist and forearm play a major role. The twisting effect is to compress the soft tissues and, by loosening the tension, the tissues return to a neutral situation. When reaching the target, ten-no-uchi is applied to create one block between sword and body.

The relationship with “meguri”, referring primarily as an action of the wrist, but it is actually a motion of the whole body. It’s some type of te-no-uchi. Tenshikei or spiral power is also an expression of the power generated by te-no-uchi.

Tandoku undo tegatana dosa

Te-no-uchi is an integral part of tandoku undo tegatana dosa. In a previous paragraph I mentioned this in relationship with uchi gaeshi and soto gaeshi. During the execution of aiki-age and aiki-sage an internal movement is made, a rotations of the fore arm around the transverse axes. See a previous post “Wave of Power“. Although the turn of the hand is made around a point in the palm with an upward direction, the power target is in the wrist joint, the part when you push for example someone.

When performing aiki-sage or bringing the power down, the point of power is at the thumb side of the wrist.

Exercise for aiki age and aiki sage

The pendulum exercise is already mentioned on numerous occasions in this blog. The pendulum is a comprehensive exercise and can be “settled” for different purposes. When Tegatana moves upwards, the emphasis is on the aiki-age point. When Tegatana descends, we concentrate on the Aiki-sage point.

The question about the relationship between the art of cutting and aiki age & aiki sage is self explaining. The photos come from a book on Aikido. The word Aikido is a general term for defining the art of Aiki.

“Wave of Power”

Much has been said in the debate on internal and external power. Most martial methods are built around a variety of concepts, including interior and/or exterior components. When a debate is held, we must look at the context of the debate. Basically, we should be aware of the definition of internal or external power given in the martial art we are discussing. We cannot accept a debate on good or bad unless we know the inner and outer aspects of martial art or combat sport.

Martial art built around flexible circular movements is considered as an internal method. While a martial art with a lot of muscular tension is considered an external one. Muscular tension is considered a linear action. The question about internal or external still exist and the linear/rotational answer is not sufficient. There are other aspects to take into account. Having a debate about internal and external will take up a lot of time and space. So we will consider a few creative thoughts.

Taking up space or not

External and internal movement

Very simply, external motion is a movement that takes space to perform. Running is one example of external movement, just like waving your arms or jumping up and down. A body or limb spinning around its center line without going anywhere is an expression of pure internal movement.

In the case of the internal movement of the human body, it can be clearly defined. It refers to rotations of the torso or limbs around their transverse axes, something that can take place with almost no external movement through space.

Linear and rotational movement

Linear: to move the body in space – external movement

Rotational: to turn the body around and axis – internal movement

A paradox?

If the torso turns around its axis, it is called internally, but our arms if outstretched move in space (external?). Our arms itself can turn around its axis, in this case we have an internal movement. All the movements we do with our body have an internal and external aspect. Talking about internal and external has to include both aspects and cannot be separated.

Another thought about the paradox of internal and external

Movement of the arm may be considered as internal and/or external action. If this movement is merely a local action, the effectiveness will be rather low, even if an internal aspect is included. Some people think that internal movements should always be stronger or better than external movements. Unfortunately, this is not true, both concepts need to be balanced to become effective for the task we use it. If the external aspect is performed with too much muscle contraction, the internal aspect will find it difficult to integrate. If the internal aspect depends too much on the relaxed or relaxed posture, the body will have problems to move correctly or perhaps completely frozen or collapse.

Another Creative Thought: Root and target

Everybody is familiar with Darwin’s famous book: The Origin of Species. The title suggests that there is an origin or a source for everything. This is a very simple thought and when one looks at the use of power in our martial art one can discover the same thought behind our source of actions. Of course, we can have a debate about where that source came from. Again, it has to be looked at in the context of this discussion. Where is “the root” as a physical part of our body?

  • root: source of force for movements
  • joint segments: transfer of force by using the joints of the body
  • tip: end of the line of force or the point of transfer into the opponent

Take for example an action with “tegatana”, the so called sword-hand. In a very simplistic way of thinking, the shoulder is the root and tegatana is the tip. Mostly tegatana will be used as a striking weapon in case the arm is not immobilized by opponent. Tegatana is moving in space and this movement can be considered as an external movement. On the other hand, there is an internal movement included if the arm is rotated around the transverse axe.

A wave of power

When power travels from the root to the tip, it takes time to reach the target. Power goes a certain way, and at first sight it moves linearly. But actually, most of these moves are characterized by a wavy motion. Basically, there are 3 types of waveforms in the human body in the context of our martial applications, but also in the context of all human movements, a wave pattern can be discovered. The idea of bodily wave pattern can be found in a book written by Jacques Lecoq: The moving Body.

Undulation and inverse undulation (1&2)

In undulation the wave of movement starts from the feet, goes through the hips, chest, neck and at last, comes to the head. We can see a small undulation for example when a person starts to walk. The power of movement starts from the ground and is dragged through the whole body. Inverse undulation is the same “wave of movement” as undulation but it starts from the head and goes through the body to the feet. The concept of rebound can be found in the inverse undulation.

Walking or running is a good example to illustrate the harmony between undulation and inverse undulation. The integration of external powers like gravity, inertia or others is necessary to use the human body as a whole system.

Eclosion (3)

Eclosion is a movement of opening and closing. It starts from the ground in a closed position and gradually expands towards the open. The movement starts from the center of the body and moves towards the head, hands and feet. The rhythm is important, and hands and legs should arrive in the open position at the same time. The closing movement is the reverse of the opening movement.

The role of kyokotsu

The “kyokotsu” exercise is one of the exercises for generating a waveform pattern. Of course, it takes several months of regular training to feel the wave of power. Most people have no flexible torso, especially at the level of the sternum. The kyokotsu exercise is not only a movement of the lower part of the breastbone, it forces the torso to open en close in different directions. The concept of “eclosion” discussed earlier can be found in this exercise.

When we move our kyokotsu forward or backward, it affects the pelvis by tilting it in both directions. Moving kyokotsu creates an undulatory movement in the body along the spine.

Kyokotsu is not the power generator, but the kyokotsu movement invokes the body to move according a wave pattern. Movement generates power with the help of the floor and gravity.

The better we can connect the different body parts, the more efficient use of power is possible.

A first goal to achieve is the connection between the elbows and the kyokotsu. The muscles in the back can be felt when a connection is made between kyokotsu and elbows. If we move the elbows without the use of the back muscles, there is no connection.

The next goal is connecting kyokotsu and pelvis. Don’t move pelvis without connecting with kyokotsu.

Tenshikei or winding power

The idea of winding power can be illustrated by the squeezing of multiple fibres. It stores power and by unwinding its release the power. By using the correct skill or technique, the power can be used to neutralize the actions of an opponent.

Tenshikei can be seen as a form of using an internal movement to generate power. The key to a successful procedure is the ability to keep the muscles and tendons flexible. When muscles and tendons become stiff and lack mobility, power generation will lack efficiency.

Elbow exercise

This is an exercise to develop a basic idea of tenshikei with a partner. It is an exercise and cannot be seen as a technique for self-defence. Tenshikei skill can be used in different situations if the training allows the study of this kind of power generation.

The elbow exercise can be performed with various concepts and some concepts do not use tenshikei or winding power effectively. If the focus is on the use of leverage, the winding energy will be virtually absent because the production of energy comes from the use of leverage. Below is a sample of an internal movement generating tenshikei taken from a DVD by Hino sensei.

Another view at the 2 types of power

Previous was mentioned external and internal power and its relationship with the surrounding space. But of course, there are different ways of looking at the use of power by the human body. To apply power, a movement is needed to give transport to the strength generated by the body with the help of our main source of power “gravity”.

Open and closed chain movement

In open-chain and closed-chain exercises, the chain referred to is a series of body parts, such as a hip, knee, ankle, and foot. In an open-chain exercise, the body is stationary while the limb moves. In the closed – chain exercise, the limb is stationary while the body moves. For example, a squat is a closed-chain exercise because your feet stay stationary while your quadriceps do the work.

In martial arts open and closed chain movements can be seen during basic training and randori. The open chain movement uses the momentum from the limb accelerated by the body. Closed chain techniques are those that use the ground and the stabilization of the body to produce the power. Open chain techniques depend on motion and speed to build their inertia while closed chain techniques use the ground to brace the body and transmit the force to the target.

In randori, the use of local power is often seen to force a movement on the opponent, or to block a lock on the arm or wrist.. Those manoeuvres belong mostly to the category of a closed chain movement. If the practitioner is more skilled in the use of full body power, the combination of linked chains can give more power. By using an appropriate technique or movement, the game of strategy becomes important.

Rendo, the art of mixing

In the music industry, the art of mixing based upon existing songs is very popular. Mostly it is used during festivals for dance. It is a kind of becoming into trance. Body and mind are becoming one, and the movements of the body can be seen as whole body movements.

The art of Rendo is a similar process where different movements are mixed into one whole body movement. We are not using the word “mixing”, but we use “linking”. Rendo has also a time component, because it takes time power travelling from the source or root to the target. The previous elbow exercise is an example of linking different movements by using winding and unwinding power.

Strategy and power

If the focus is on power, internal or external, it is not “the solution” to win a fight. It is important to have a method “how to use power” in a fight. This method is based on a mix of skills in the range from pure physical to pure spirit. Of course, as usual, the extreme ends have to be avoided, it is better to use a well-balanced method.

One of the most difficult skills in martial art is the use of a wave power pattern. Most practitioners will rely on the power of a closed chain movement, mostly locally executed. For example, only arm power generated by the muscle of the arm and shoulder.

As I mentioned in other blog posts, the concept of a creative mind is one of the cornerstones to become a skilful practitioner.

Ankles, knees, pelvis and kyokotsu

The motions of the body are magical, we can move many parts of our body in order to accomplish many physical tasks. But we can more with our body, there are certain parts that we have to pay attention to and we will discover many other physical features of our body.

Kyokotsu movement

Kyokotsu in general can be translated as “sternum”. In our case it is a special point on the sternum. By focusing on this point, we can move the sternum.

The Kyokotsu movement involves flexibility in the sternum and, by extension, the ribs and shoulder blade. The objective is to enhance the flexibility and mobility of the sternum and scapula. When moving the sternum there will be no compressing of the lungs and heart, and through the practice one’s whole rib cage will actually be expanded, or larger than it was previously. Moving the sternum is also affecting the movements of the spine and in extension the pelvis.

Turning the pelvis line

Pelvic manipulation consists of using kyokotsu. When kyokotsu is slightly pulled in the spine is straightened. When kyokotsu training is done enough, it will also affect pelvic tilt or rotation automatically.

To give you an inclined sensation of the pelvis using kyokotsu, you can try the following 4 steps. If the remark is made about an upright spine, it is not completely upright, there are always curves but less than in a normal posture.

4 steps to tilt pelvis

  1. Normal posture with curved spine
  2. Straighten legs, straighten the spine by pulling in slightly kyokotsu, called Gankyōbappai*
  3. Bend over, keep legs and torso straight
  4. Push pelvis in the direction of the ankles, keep torso as 1 block

*Gankyōbappai (含胸抜背).
This is an expression used to describe the postural adjustment at the chest level (Empty the chest & Pull out the back ). Keep the concave shape of the chest and stretch the spine to widen the back. Important is not to tense the muscles.

After learning the rotation of the pelvis, different posture heights can be performed with an inclined pelvis. Fundamentally, it’s an ankle movement and not knee-shifting. Even though the knees are bent, the work is done by moving the pelvis towards the ankles. You will notice that the gravity point located in the hara descends almost straight down.

Often you will hear about Achilles tendon problems with older, experienced practitioners. This is due to the abusive use of the knees and pelvis. To prevent such problems, adequate training for ankle flexibility should be introduced. A simple exercise involves moving the pelvis down and up with the ankles.

Tilting the pelvis simply using the pelvic muscles, creates tension in the pelvic region, especially when the footwork is used to move. A frozen pelvis cannot be used with skills such as tenshikei or meguri. Using only the pelvic muscles has no impact on the rest of the body structure.

Turning the pelvis line is only possible when the “mata” or “kwa” is flexible and not tensed up. Should you fail to soften your groin, a frozen pelvis will result. Some tension should be felt in the calves, especially when a deeper posture is adopted. Don’t lift the heels of the floor.

Proper kyokotsu training will affect the entire body, and after adequate training, flexibility and mobility is possible in the torso area. A frozen torso will be avoided. The use of kyokotsu during posture practice will benefit the ability to maintain a strong right posture. Legs and arms are attached to the torso and need flexibility and mobility during body movements. In martial arts, frozen limbs are a major disease when someone is attacking you. This will happen if you didn’t follow proper training, focused on movement. Remember a book written by John Wilkinson, a Tomiki Aikido Pioneer:

An exercise for pelvis, ankles and kyokotsu

During this exercise, the use of kyokotsu can be practiced. Pull the sternum in when going down and straighten breastbone when arms are raised. The ankles are bent and straightened throughout the movement.

Although it seems that the point of gravity is receding, in reality, it is descending directly.

Tension and relaxation

Excessive tension in the muscles can produce “frozen” joints, but complete relaxation will do exactly the same thing at the other end of the movement spectrum. Total relaxation is a kind of stagnancy or a state of inactivity. Both situations have to be avoided.

The problem of over-tension is often noticed by the practitioner if someone makes a remark on too much tension. The slackening of the muscles is a more serious problem because if someone makes the remark “relax”,. The practitioner has mostly a misunderstanding about “relax” and is not thinking about reducing the tension, but the practitioner focuses more about total slackening the muscles. It is maybe better if we talk about “high or low muscle tone”.

“Muscle tone” is often confused for “muscle strength” and although related, they are not interchangeable terms. Tone refers to the amount of tension in a muscle when at rest state (not actively contracted). Muscle tone helps our bodies maintain posture.
The Low muscle tone is characterised by the muscles having less tension at resting state and feeling “floppy”. High muscle tone is created by excessive contraction of the muscle. High  and low muscle will interfere with the power management of the body.

Taikan

Taikan (体感) or bodily feeling or sensation has to be improved before we can start with releasing the tension. If you experience tension you have to know from where it is coming. The same with relaxed, if you don’t feel your body, it is very difficult to solve this slackening of the muscles.

In Taikan’s case, this is a “somatic” concept, we use our sensory system to feel our movements. Although it is a natural process to feel something, if our mind is not focused on the feeling process, we will miss a lot of information how to handle different situations.

Some of you will notice the word “taikan”, as another trendy word to describe a natural process. The Japanese Wikipedia and Dictionaries provides an explanation of Taikan (体 感), mostly describing the concept of feeling. The English version provides a few insights from a medical perspective.

The somatosensory system is a part of the sensory nervous system. The somatosensory system is a complex system of sensory neurons and neural pathways that responds to changes at the surface or inside the body. The axons (as afferent nerve fibres) of sensory neurons connect with, or respond to, various receptor cells. Sensory receptors are found all over the body including the skin, epithelial tissues, muscles, bones and joints, internal organs, and the cardiovascular system.

How to use “Taikan” in our practice?

Most practitioners enjoy practicing with sweat. There are some health benefits from such training. Cardio and fat burning are boosted during such training. Unfortunately, this is not the correct method to use the concept of Taikan when you like to discover the different body feelings when practising. In particular, the concept of “muscle tone and reduction of muscle tension” requires a workout at a slower pace. Everyone is aware of the slow movements of taichichuan. There is some logic behind the slow movements, feeling the bodily movements is the first step towards a more efficient martial art.

So the first stage consists of starting “kihon” at a slower pace. Feel the movements and after a while you will become the movement. From now on, you can increase the pace of motion and concentrate on what you actually do. Of course, to maintain the concept of fat burning and cardio, remember to spend time on this important element of your training. A healthy and strong body is necessary for exploring the feelings of body movements.

One important tip is to avoid vigorous “randori” in the first year when the emphasis is on Taikan. The first step of randori, kakari geiko is possible at a slow pace. Ask your partner to co-operate.

Tai-sabaki – Movement Control

Tai-sabaki – Shintai – Shizentai

Basic Tomiki Aikido Footwork

All the practitioners of the Tomiki method, whether it is Aikido or Judo, are familiar with this model of footwork. This is one of the many overlapping components between Aikido and Judo. It is used in numerous books written by Kenji Tomiki. In “Judo et Aïkido”, an abbreviated English version of his Japanese books, the same concept is used to explain the footwork exercises.

Unfortunately, we cannot find indications how to use footwork in a proper way. We have the pattern, we know “shizentai or natural posture” is necessary during body movements, but most of the practitioners don’t know “how to….”. It is very easy to say “just practise”. The question arises “how to practise?”.

How to..?

Everybody knows that the answer coming from famous teachers when you ask them for something you don’t understand.

“Case by case”

Such an answer is not solving your problem. In case of footwork, we have to consider the basic types of footwork. Besides the basic types, we also have to think about the relationship between the body weight and gravity. And don’t forget the concept of “MA-AI“. By understanding the different aspects in proper footwork and practised these during solo-training and partner exercises, the finalisation will come forward during randori. As Kenji Tomiki said: colouring the dragon’s eye.

Basic types footwork

These are already discussed in other blog posts.

The moving body and shizentai

Among the fundamental elements of martial arts are, taijū no idō or moving the body weight with footwork and taijū no dendō or the transfer of body weight one of the most important concepts. Hino Sensei (Hino Budo’s method) says: “Strictly speaking, the motion of the body weight is to move by making his body a single block. For example, moving forward, or backward, being a solid block”.

Both skills (taijū no idō and taijū no dendō) are based upon proper footwork. And footwork includes also the use of shizentai or in Hino’s words “one’s body a single block”. Don’t take his words out of the context, because we have to take in account another concept or skill: Jukozo or the flexible body.

I would like to repeat a remark I made in other articles:

The main purpose of ritsuzen or standing meditation is to create a “linked” body-system.

This isn’t about standing still. This is an exercise with a lot of movement controlled by your mind. In essence, there is neither footwork nor arm movement. Nevertheless, it is possible some movements can occur when kyokotsu and koshi are involved.

Standing still or creating “shizentai” is the first step in footwork exercises. Advanced practitioners need just a few seconds to adopt shizentai, beginners need more time and need to practice a lot.

More to learn about ritsuzen and shizentai: A ring of power

Shintai and tai-sabaki

Kazuko Kudo a 9th dan Kodokan Judo made an interesting comment on footwork:

Advance-retreat (shintai) – Under this single heading we include both the advance-retreat (shintai) type of movement and turning movements (tai-sabaki).

To master the advance-retreat style of movement you must first master the following way of walking. Usually humans walk by putting their weight on one foot and advancing the other, then shifting their weight to the advanced foot as soon as it touches the floor and advancing the other foot. If we walk backwards the process is the same, only in the opposite direction. Forwards or backwards, this walking method always leaves your weight on one foot for an interval during which your body itself remains back with that support foot.

In his remark, he is talking about the normal way people are walking. In the next comment he talks about a martial way of walking.

In judo walking methods, on the other hand, we move our legs, hips, and bodies forward or backward all at the same time, you must not put one foot forward and leave your body behind or advance your body and leave one foot behind.

How to master this walking method? The first thing to remember is to maintain the natural body position. In judo we walk in the natural position, or to put it slightly differently we walk with our hips. As you walk do not let your feet move too far apart or too close together, do not let your body—head, shoulders, hips—rise and fall, and walk in a sliding smooth fashion across the floor.

Further, he advised to study the skill of “tsugi ashi”. He called this “following feet”. Tomiki’s Unsoku-who is using exactly the same method as Kazuko Kudo explained.

About Tai-sabaki, there is also an interesting comment

Movement control (tai-sabaki)

The Japanese words tai-sabaki are capable of two interpretations. In the wider sense they simply mean all natural body movements including the tsugi-ashi advance-retreat motions we have just been explaining. In the narrower sense they indicate the ways we manipulate and control our body’s motions.

He explained several items included in tai-sabaki:

  • Carriage of the head
  • Use of the eyes
  • Breath control
  • Use of the torso
  • Hand movements
  • Foot movements

These items are also explained by Senta Yamada in his book about aikido: The principles and Practice of Aikido. Some of Kudo’s comments, you also find in Tomiki’s Judo and Aikido.

A contemporary of Sentia Yamada was Tadashi Abe, a student of Morihei Ueshiba. In his books about aikido, he described the art of tai-sabaki as a three-fold action.

  • Koshi sabaki
  • Ashi sabaki
  • Te sabaki

Tadashi Abe studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and is also considered as one of the aikido pioneers in Europe.

Tai-sabaki – Movement Control

The word tai-sabaki is commonly used in Tomiki’s Aikido to describe the ability to avoid an attack. Of course, avoiding can be considered as a part of tai-sabaki. However, tai-sabaki has more to offer the practitioner.

In the words of Kazuko Kudo, Movement Control is the mantra to fully understand Tai-sabaki. Kenji Tomiki explained in fact the idea of Tai-sabaki when he talked about Tsukuri. This concept was developed by Jigoro Kanon the founder of Kodokan Judo. But again we must admit, most of the explanations are just words, so called buzzwords.

When we practise our exercises, one of the goals has to be the control of our movements. When practising with a partner, controlling the movements of the opponent becomes the goal. The attack is just the result of his movement.

Tsukuri or preparation

From “Judo and Aikido” by Kenji Tomiki:

Bringing your opponent’s posture and position into such a relation to yours as to make it easier for you to throw him is called tsukuri (preparatory action). Breaking your opponent’s posture and making it unstable is aite o tsukuru (to prepare the opponent) and assuming at that moment a position and posture convenient for using a technique according to the change in your opponent’s is jibun o tsukuru (to prepare yourself). Thus you must use the most adequate technique after making a thorough tsukuri.

Jibun o tsukuru

It is paradoxical to emphasize ukemi as a form of jibun o tsukuru, but by mental and physical understanding, the concept of “jukozo” or “flexible body” becomes more understandable.

It is a common fact, when a beginner comes into the dojo, he or she likes to know how to throw the opponent. The newbie is in most cases not interested in the fact, you can only throw someone if you can control yourself.

In the older days, ukemi training was one of the foremost methods for beginners to learn to do breakfalls and build up stamina. This was the explanation given to the beginner. It took several months to become more or less skilful in the art of falling. Ukemi or protecting the body is a very physically demanding exercise. When practised correctly and with full commitment, ukemi training becomes a cardio training with a lot of peak moments. Also the body becomes used for different kinds of impact when it hits the floor. The body creates a skill to avoid hard impact by using jukozo to distribute the impact to a bigger surface or into a larger body movement. A big rolling ukemi is such an example.

Aite o tsukuru

Preparing of the opponent consists in destroying the opponent’s balance before performing a technique and putting him in a posture where it will be easy to apply it. (Kenji Tomiki).

Without proper jibun o tsukuru, aite o tsukuru wil be very difficult and every attempt to throw the opponent will fail in most cases. Of course you can succeed by using extreme physical strength, but we are looking for a method useful for the lesser muscular practitioner.

Tai-sabaki becomes one of the pillars of aite o tsukuru together with the many exercises found in “sotai dosa“. The 7 balance disturbing exercises (shichi-hon-no-kuzushi) are another example of sotai dosa in the Tomiki Aikido training program.

Happo Undo

8 directions exercise

After the Second World War, Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba made a famous film about “aiki” for judo students. In this film, Kenji Tomiki shows his version of “Happo-Undo” or the exercise of the 8 directions.

If you look closely, Tomiki actually moves in four directions, but each direction is executed on the left and right side.

In many Japanese martial arts you will find multi-directional exercises. At first sight, the exercise is focused on the performance in different directions. Some teachers are referring this to attacking different opponents. But there is also an important mental aspect on the performance of a multi-directional exercise.

The mental aspect

Changing the starting point of a multidirectional iaido kata in the dojo was a teaching tool by Ishido Sensei* to raise your awareness of the content in the kata and not becoming distracted by the environment.

When performing happo undo, don’t start always facing the same side of the dojo. Also go outside, for example the park, and do your happo undo. After some training, your happo undo becomes a happy undo.

*Ishido Sensei was my teacher Iaido for about 25 years and while the content of his teachings was for the most part highly technical, sometimes his explanations went beyond the technical aspect.

Basic movements and happo undo

Tegatana go-dosa or 5 hand blade movements are at the heart of Tomiki Aikido. It is found in atemi waza, kansetsu waza and uki waza.

When Santa Yamada, a Tomiki Aikido pioneer, was around, he was always referring to the basic hand and arm movements. Generally, he taught only 4 movements and didn’t use the 5th movement (o-mawashi).

These 4 basic movements can be used in the happo undo the pattern besides the frontal linear movement, demonstrated by Kenji Tomiki.

Gassho uke and happo undo

Gassho uke is used to deflect the attacking arm of an opponent. Mostly when the attack is aimed at the head.

An interesting anecdote on “gassho” may be found in Geof Gleeson’s book: Judo Inside Out.

When training in aiki jitsu under Professor Tomiki he often used the symbol of prayer, the placing of two hands together as signifying the purpose of prayer and religion – the duality of God and man, the yin and yang becoming one.

Geof Gleeson

The exercise gassho uke happo undo becomes more than a physical exercise. As Ishido Sensei mentioned on many occasions, the mind is also important during training. When the 2 hands were put together, the power of the 2 arms comes together and creates a ring of power. We need the mind to keep this ring of power intact.

Koichi Tohei, a famous student of Morihei Ueshiba, was well-known for his research in the field of Ki. He developed many exercises with the Ki concept as the most important item.

You must be able to conform to all circumstances and to change the direction of your spiritual flow instantaneously and completely while maintaining a posture of strength

Koichi Tohei

Aikido, a Holistic Approach?

Many groups are advertising Aikido as a holistic training method. A way of Life. There is a danger of putting the mental and technical side to the foreground and the physical aspect is sometimes almost forgotten. The “Ki” or life force is only needed to perform. Nothing is less true.

Aikido and holistic training

Holistic: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis and dissection into parts

Age-appropriate facets of physical training, understanding of technical, tactical, physical and mental factors are needed to develop efficient training methods. These factors are deeply interdependent.

Some tactical information is needed to perform with excellence during fighting and competing, and is according the ethical rule we like to integrate in our methods.

A mental factor in training has to be integrated by using some forms of meditation or other program to boost mental activity during training.

Physical Training

As most of us will notice, a heap of the older practitioners, instructors included are overweight. The cause of this unhealthy situation is a lack of efficient physical training and unhealthy food. We will focus on conditioning the body (and mind).

First, we wish to bring forward some “knowledge” from Wikipedia, Heart Org and Fitbit.com. Afterward, we will discuss this in the context of our Aikido training.

Intensity Levels

The metabolic equivalent of task (MET) is the objective measure of the ratio of the rate at which a person expends energy, relative to the mass of that person, while performing some specific physical activity compared to a reference, set by convention at 3.5 mL of oxygen per kilogram per minute, which is roughly equivalent to the energy expended when sitting quietly.

Only… This is quite complicated, but if we use a formula, it becomes more clear.

The formula using MET: (MET x bodyweight x 3,5) x 200 = Kcal/min

The problem arises with the value of MET. Which one we have to use? A source of information can be found at “Compendium of physical activities”.

Using Heart Rate

Another method to measure the efficiency of the training is by using the heart rate. This is typically used as a measure of exercise intensity by using a device around the wrist or with a chest band. It is an indicator of the challenge to the cardiovascular system that the exercise represents.

The target zone?

When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? There’s a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you to get max benefit from every movement you make. Knowing your heart rate (or pulse) can help you track your physical level.

First Things First: Resting Heart Rate

Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. 

For most of us, between 50 and 90 beats per minute (bpm) is normal.

Maximum and Target Heart Rate

This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. This is just a rule of thumb and is not very useful when you enter the level of professional top sport.

Target Heart Rate Zone is divided into 4 to 6 zones depending on the purpose of the training and the goal to reach.

The Heart Rate Zones

By using 4 heart rate zones:

Rest ↘︎40% of heartbeat reserve+ heart resting beat
Fat burning40%-59% of heartbeat reserve + heart resting beat
Cardio60%-84% of heartbeat reserve + heart resting beat
Peak↗︎85% of heartbeat reserve + heart resting beat

Heartbeat reserve is your max heartbeat minus the heart resting beat.

Example : age 30 yrs and resting heartbeat of 60 / max BPM 220-30=190 / Heartbeat reserve= 190-60=130 / 40% of 130=52 / 52+60=112 BPM starting fat burning

How to conform our Aikido techniques and/or movements is a crucial question for our training method. Many fitness and power training exercises have a great value for our health. But are those exercises functional for our martial art?

4 training goals for Aikido

Heart Rate Zones give an indication how intense we can practice the different functional components of the Aikido syllabus without losing the technical correctness of the techniques. Fundamentally, we can distinguish 4 different goals in our training.

  1. Mental and physical preparation, creating a martial body
  2. Healthy movement adapted to develop efficient techniques and/or movements
  3. Developing cardiovascular system to develop physical stamina to endure efficient training performances
  4. Peak performances needed for combat and/or competition

These training zones don’t need to be executed in this order.

Aikido exercises and/or techniques can be used for any of the 4 mentioned training Aikido goals and can conform to the directives of the Heart Rate training zones. Depending on the choice made by a practitioner, training has to be guided by the goal of the practitioner. This is a real challenge for the instructor. Creativity is one of the basic requirements of a good instructor.

Mental and physical preparation, creating a martial body

A martial body can be seen as “a holistic” concept how the body is functioning during training and daily life. Synchronising all the parts of the body is the main purpose of this training method. Posture training and moving posture are the main components together with martial art techniques.

Healthy movement adapted to develop efficient techniques and/or movements

If the movements are executed in a wrong manner, it becomes unhealthy, and can create serious physical problems when we get older. Using the body with a holistic concept can avoid physical problems in the future. On the other hand, the martial aspect cannot be forgotten and must be included in the training method.

Movements like tandoku undo unsoku & tegatana dosa are used as an exercise to develop a link between the 3 body parts. During posture training we become aware of these 3 parts

Developing cardiovascular system to develop physical stamina to endure efficient training performances

By controlling the speed of the exercise, we have an impact on the heart beat. Monitoring the heartbeat with a device (Apple watch, Fitbit, Polar, Garmin,…..) is very helpful. During partner training a watch is lesser convenient, but there are different methods to avoid the problems

Peak performances needed for combat and/or competition

Peak performances cannot be forgotten for those practitioners involving into randori or shiai. Without a firm stamina, people cannot enjoy peak moments in dojo or other places. This has nothing to do with winning or losing, it is about enjoying the art of the moving body and mind.

Personal training scheme example

This scheme is based upon a person – 72yrs/87kg/180cm/resting heart rate 58/heart rate zones – fat burning 93-109 – cardio 110-131 – peak 132+

Training goal (solo training during Corona pandemic)

Keeping body and mind synchronised and in a good shape. Martial art aspect is integrated by using functional exercises.

  • Warming-up: ballistic exercise, kiko (qigong) hachidanken (baduanjin)
  • Posture training: shizentai (central line), gedan (moving koshi-pelvis), chudan (kyokotsu open/close), unstable standing (image=wooden platform in water)
  • Moving posture training: unsoku – tsuri ashi (gedan posture) – ayumi ashi (jodan posture)
  • Tandoku undo – tegatana dosa (static) 1-3
  • Tandoku undo – tegatana dosa (dynamic) 1-7
  • Tandoku undo – flowing – ki no nagare
  • Cooling down – closing the energy posture

Find here 2 examples of heart rate evolution during a 1hr session. It gives an indication of the heart rate zones. By doing “tandoku undo” with a higher speed, the effect is visible. Example 1 is rather slow (bpm 115) and example 2 is more cardio oriented thanks to the speed increase of the tandoku undo (bpm 130). The overal bpm is around 100-110bpm.

Heart rate example 1
Heart rate example 2

An example of heart rate zones

The peak moment in the beginning is an exercise called “pendulum” and is a preparation to take up with Kiko-hachidanken, breathing exercises synchronized with the movements. By doing the pendulum at the beginning, the intake of oxygen during Kiko is more effective.

Resilience, a balance…

Budo Aikido: the Art of Aikido

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
Gustav Mahler–

Can we improve our Budo Aikido with exercises? Yes, but unfortunately there are too many for practising during 1 training session.
As we all know, prof. Tomiki is famous for rationalizing aikido and created logical structures for practising. Some of the movements can be catalogued as exercises, other are catalogued as martial techniques.

Well known are:

  • Unsoku ho: foot movements
  • Tandoku undo (Nagashi kata): hand and foot movements
  • Tegatana awase: moving with a partner when “tegatana” are joined
  • Shotei awase: using hand palm as a flexible power exercise
  • ……..

Some problems with the standard exercises

If we follow Tomiki’s scripts do you think there will be some improvement? Kenji Tomiki studied for many years with Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan Judo and with Morihei Ueshiba the founder of Aikido. The question arises: Did he incorporate all the skills he learned in his concept of Aikido?

Maybe the way of training he compiled is an ideal method for Sports Aikido, but certainly not for Budo Aikido. Some elements are missing in the training model.

  • How to attack a “physiological” weak point.
  • How to use tanden/koshi/yōbu (hara)
  • How to connect arms and legs to the central body
  • more……

atemi 005

There are some pictures of goshin-jutsu atemi, but there is not any explanation about how to use a body-part as a weapon (fist, handblade,….). There is also a belief Koryu no kata will give you a better understanding of self-defense (goshin). Without proper instruction, the positive effect of koryu no kata will be minimal on your training.

How to solve these problems?

Because the old masters are gone, we cannot ask them for advice. Some of the present day “shihan” are trying to incorporate their “cross training” ideas into Tomiki Aikido, either Sports Aikido or Budo Aikido.

Cross training for Budo Aikido

Not every martial art is compatible with Budo Aikido and not all the components of a martial art are usefull for Budo Aikido.

20190501_161157Study Group Tomiki Aikido instructors have a broad experience in different martial arts. A very compatible method is Hino Budo, a composite martial art created by Akira Hino.

Martial arts like Iaido, Jodo, Karate (Wado Ryu), Hakko Ryu, Renshinkan Daito Ryu…. have also an impact on the training syllabus.

Renshinkan Daito Ryu is briefly mentioned in the blog article of Koryu no Kata Dai Yon (3)

The challenge is of course “How to integrate?”. The answer is not that simple because we need to understand physically and mentally the compatible components. These problems are not only for martial arts, but also for other fields of society. To solve the problem we have to look at the Toyota Kata , and in particular the Improvement Kata.

The Improvement Kata according Mike Rother.

The improvement kata is a routine for moving from the current situation to a new situation in a creative, directed, meaningful way. It is based on a four-part model:

  1. In consideration of a vision or direction…
  2. Grasp the current condition.
  3. Define the next target condition.
  4. Move toward that target condition iteratively, which uncovers obstacles that need to be worked on.

In contrast to approaches that attempt to predict the path and focus on implementation, the improvement kata builds on discovery that occurs along the way.

Improving martial movements

As mentioned in another blog post, the body can be divided into 3 part.

3 system body

The axial skeleton is the central part of the body and “kyokotsu” is the control panel. When we control the kyokotsu , we can control the spine. Besides controlling the spine, kyokotsu is also the entry to the abdomen – koshi, tanden & yōbu.

Connecting “kyokotsu” with elbow

Connecting the kyokotsu with the elbow is a matter of using your mind. Focus on the kyokotsu and on a specific point of the elbow. Once you notice the connection, you have access to the power of the central body.

Connecting “kyokotsu” with knee
††

As with the elbow/kyokotsu connection, it is the mind that makes the connection. When you feel the connection you have access to the central body which included “Tanden- Koshi-Yōbu”, the power center of the human body.
The power from earth can be directed to the arms into the opponent via the controlpanel: kyokotsu

Tanden- Koshi-Yōbu

The power center of the human body is mentioned many times in martial arts. But can you feel this center?
To make it simple or more complicatied, the center of gravity in the human body is located in this area. If this is disturbed, we have difficulties to keep our balance. A solution is to tense all the surrounding muscles of the center. This is of course not the best solution because our movements will be limited. Using the kyokotsu as a tool to move the spine is restricted. Tenshi movements of the central body becomes limited and in some cases can damage the body.
Learning to relax the body is a skill to be learned for all facet of human being. A skill to find balance between relax and tension.

Resilience, a balance between relax and tension

Making the connection is not always easy. Mind and body need to be in a state of resilience. When someone is relaxed, there is no power. When someone is strained, there is too much power. To make the connection between kyokotsu, elbow and knee, resilience is the first condition.
But what is exactly resilience?
Resilience is the ability to cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. It is a skill useful during martial arts training and its application when you have to deal with an aggresive movement, physically and/or mentally.

How to obtain the state of “Resilience”?

Among the many exercises, Ritsuzen occupies a place of first choice and is a prime for finding the center of the human body. It requires no special equipment, it requires very little space and especially because it can be practiced alone. Then, it is one of the very few exercises that, from a medical point of view, has no harmful side effects for the body.

There are some scientific studies on the effects of ritsuzen on the body. What is interesting is that, in general, we do not speak in too abstract terms when we try to explain this extraordinary exercise. Expressions such as “ki” are not used. It is all about good oxygenation and increased circulation of blood, nervous relaxation, strengthening of the immune system and heart muscle, increased sensory perception.
The body becomes in a state of resilience after practising ritsuzen on a regular base.

Zhan zhuang is the Chinese word for Ritsuzen. More info on Wikipedia.

Other exercises to obtain “Resilience”

The Study Group Tomiki Aikido exercises are not fixed and will change slightly or dramatically according the experiences we encounter during our training sessions. To follow in the footsteps of Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba just by copying the methods is not creative and our aikido will become meaningless. And as Gustave Mahler said one time: “we must maintain the fire alive“.

  • Routines to locate “kyokotsu”
  • Routines to connect “kyokotsu” with elbow and/or knee
  • Ido ryoku, creating power from stepping movements
  • Tenshikei, creating power from rotational and spiral movements
  • ……

Kata, the ultimate exercise

The practise of kata is always controversial. It is the representation of an ideal aikido image and for this reason it can become a delusion.

Kata can be viewed as a group of exercises. But the exercises are not fixed, their nature is very dynamic and during your training in the long term it will change. Kata in the beginning is very simple if we look at the outside. During training we will discover more and more the many possibilities of our mind and body, our kata changes from a 2D image into a 3D image. Because there is also the dynamic nature, this will also affect the final form. Of course we can ask ourselves “is there a final form?”.