Erick Mead wrote:
Timing occurs, but is not operative; musubi is operative. Presuming that I wish to punch or grab anyone, anywhere, at a given time. (Don't get me worng, I will and can, and often with great effect, but not because I wish it, but because that is where things sort of lead to.) As I am not attempting to direct any particular sequence of events or a trained combination of techniques, I am freed from the chess-master's limitation in forecasting sequential contingency, a problem Don's next bit of discussion illustrates. You are attempting to "have a good chance at completing" ippon seionage by "getting" the attack to press in. This is not accepting the attack as presented, but trying to set up a means of manipulating it in advance . This will lose musubi to begin with by conflicting with the attacker's intent.
If the technique it presents itself, well and good, but I am increasingly working at being busy with the connection itself, not in trying to set up the technique I "hope" in advance will present itself. In short I am trying to break the training paradigm in my training. Sparring will not necessarily do this if you merely repeat the training paradigm faster and harder. The setting up, from a strategic standpoint gives away too much information, delaying victory.
From the standpoint of musubi, whatever presents itself as things play out is mine to exploit since I am no longer bound by push-me-pull-you contingency created by a set temporal sequence of a priori techniques or combinations. And thus also the preeminent aspect of ukemi in gaining and maintaining this connection. All very good training aids for given technique, but very poor in terms of allowing the strategic strength that exists in aikido to fully flower.
But then do you not need to act instantly when the moment presents itself? This in itself is timing. You need a sharp aware mind to have instant recgonition of an opening and instant response before the opening is gone and you are back to waiting.
You seem to think that other arts force openings on their attackers. Quite the opposite, I wait for them to make the mistake, then I correct that mistake into the opening. If my opponent has his guard to low, I will punch to his face, if his guard is too high, his body. The same is true in grappling. I am not going to try to pull my opponents arm across my chest to get an armbar. I'm waiting for him to give me the opening, then when he does, I 'help' that opening into my attack. Maybe he sets his hand on the mat, I see it, and I have a split second to recognize this and grab his wrist or he will lift it back up and I will not be able to submit him from that mistake. At the same time, if I grasp too strongly, or move to fast, he will suspect the submission and defend it. This then requires me to adjust and either try to muscle the submission, or counter his defense by moving on to something else. It can become very mental and require a lot of attention and strategy, or it can be a brawl with pure instinct.
My sense of timing is paramount. Reguardless of what martial art I study or what I want to be true, I still have to use my brain to fight. I still have to see the opening, recognize it and then react to it. All in perfect sequence. Of course the faster I can do any of these, the better. And the more perfect the execution (timing and technique) the better.
This is not a chess match. We do not move and wait, or take turns. There is anticipation and prediction however. If I know my attacker seems to throw a jab cross leg kick combo. I can prepare for it. Maybe he hit me with it twice already. Or maybe I notice he drops his guard when he kicks. I can anticipate his actions and respond properly when he attacks. The same is true for grappling. If I am in someone's guard and I am aware I have reached past his belt line, and I feel him grab my elbow and start to apply preasure, my body knows from instinct that he is preparing for an armbar and I defend accordingly. Sometimes this can seem almost supernatural like mind reading. But really it is just increased sensitivity to these motions, and visual ques (eyes, feet, shoulders, etc).
The more I think about it, I think the concept of musubi is just like most other japaneese words used to describe something. Instead of explaining what is happening, it is an abstract word to wrap up all these concepts of timing, speed, motion, rhythm, etc. As non-japaneese we tend to mystify these concepts and act as if they are almost supernatural. In the end though, you are still having a conection with your partner, feeling his movements and reacting with good rhtyem and timing. Anything else and you will find your movements too late or too soon. The difference is in that I am searching for the opening, and you are waiting then suggesting you can act however you please to defeat your attacker. I find this intriguing because you have to match his rythem to blend (if you are moving faster or slower you are in conflict with this partner), then you have to see and respond to the opening he presents. If you are not within the window he provides, you are too late. This is timing. Also you must move at the correct pace, to slow and your timing with suffer, too fast and you may spoil the attack. So again, I would say that musubi is really just a word to describe speed, rhythem, timing, and sensitivity. Just like I feel ki is just a word to describe the proper use of mind and body mechanics.