This week has evolved into an exploration of Shiho-nage. I would like us to explore this class of techniques from perspective of circles. In essence, our bodies move in horizontal circles, while our arms move in vertical circles and our hands circle in opposite directions. The dynamic relationship between the body movements and the arm movements (horizontal and vertical circles) and the hands rotating in opposite directions balance themselves out in an “In-Yo” relationship (the Japanese equivalent of yin/yang). It is important to separate those two different spheres of movement out so that the relationship between those two spheres creates a movement that resembles a circle on a 45 degree axis. The opposite hand rotations are the easiest to create, like the feeling when we wring out a wet cloth.
The vertical arm movements are simply the enactment of the Ikkyo-undo exercises that we practice on a daily basis. We quickly see how we “forget” about the nature of the movement as soon as a dedicated attack in made. We need to practice those movements over and over again until they are ingrained to the point where the movement is made cleanly, regardless of whether or not there is an attack.
The body movement/footwork is simply the enactment of the walking exercises that we so frequently practice. Our body is a vertical axis in which the horizontal rotations of body movement occurs. We also need to practice this repeatedly, so that we move in this manner regardless of whether or not we are being attacked.
I have been emphasizing clean movements on each of the spheres as separate, distinct, yet inseparably related movement. We look to test ourselves at each juncture point. We check to see if we have good posture with relaxed shoulders and no slack in the arms. A failure in any of those circles, typically creates an opening for the attacker to escape and/or launch the next attack.
As week spend this week repeating shiho-nage countless times, we will begin understand the dynamic relationship that must exist with all of those circles in order for this class of techniques to be effective. We will gain greater awareness in ourselves as to where and how failure is occurring. We will slowly begin to “burn in” the dynamic relationship between the different circles (horizontal & vertical, clockwise & counter-clockwise hand movements) and thereby create a genuinely effective class of techniques.
Enjoy the exploration!
Marc Abrams Sensei
(Original blog post may be found here