How We Achieve Focused Power
in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu
(with some educational implications)
Andrew Yiannakis, Ph.D., Founder, Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu
Paving The Way(Preconditions for generating maximum focused power)
To achieve focused power (shuchu ryoku) in technique execution we begin by teaching the principles of strategy (Heiho). The use of strategy establishes the pre-conditions for achieving a strategic advantage over an assailant. These preconditions then enhance Toriís ability to employ facilitators that assist in the production of focused power.
Heiho(Principles of Strategy)
There are eight principles of strategy. These are:
Through effective application of Heiho we are then able to gain a strategic advantage over an aggressor which enables us to achieve destabilization (Kuzushi). This can be accomplished with a mitsubishi (a dazzle), with a strike or kick (atemi), by pulling or pushing or by deceiving the opponent so that he initiates a move which is then effectively countered (Damashi with Kaeshi Waza). While the opponent is destabilized we then move in, position ourselves (Tsukuri), "join" with the assailant and execute (Kake) an appropriate technique by applying our own inner sources of power (a combination of Chikara, Kokyu, Shin, and Ki).
Facilitators of Power Generation
The production of such power is facilitated when Tori moves in a way that best employs the Principles of Movement.
Shintai Jo(Principles of Movement)
These consist of four sub-principles, or elements. They are to be viewed as facilitators to generating maximum focused power (Shuchu Ryoku). That is they pave the way for Tori to be able to generate such power.
(ii) Timing Good timing requires the ability to read an aggressorís intent and body action and respond in a way that enables the defender to effectively block, or evade, or deflect an assault. Good timing is a precondition for effective joining.
(iii) Joining reflects good timing but itís more than that. It requires a harmonious linking of energies between the aggressor and the defender. This is a principle derived from aiki jujutsu but we also see it employed in several other martial arts including aikido and classical judo. The joining of energies precedes the actual execution of technique by a split second or so, but it is often adequate time for a trained martial artist to then "capture" and redirect this energy. This is often illustrated when an aggressor pushes, kicks or throws a punch at a defender. The latter then yields and harmonizes with the forward energy of the aggressor before applying his/her own technique.
The Power Within
RyokuJo (Principles of Power)
In Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu we simultaneously employ FOUR types of
power in the execution of technique. These are:
(i) Ki, or inner energy (ki ryoku)
(ii) Chikara or physical strength (chikara ryoku)
(iii) Shin, or force of will, or mind (shin ryoku)
(iv) Breath power in the form of our kiai (kokyu ryoku)
To produce maximum focused power in the actual execution phase several important principles must be employed in perfect harmony and correct order. Therefore, if we are effective strategically and we achieved the right preconditions:
We will have been able to (i) destabilize the assailant and (ii) positioned ourselves for the (iii) application of our power, from (iv) a centered position, with (v) good timing. When this is (v) combined with the momentum, or energy, generated by the motion of the assailant (which we capture by joining), the resulting combined effect of Ki, Chikara, Kokyu and Shin can reach awesome proportions. This is how maximum focused power is achieved.
There isnít much thatís mystical about the production of maximum power. Rather, the process focuses on a combination of actions and thoughts which enable the martial artist to combine, harness and redirect his/her own and the assailantís energy to achieve superior power. This process requires considerable mind and body training, under a qualified instructor, in a system that stresses and teaches the development of shuchu ryoku. In addition to being able to create the preconditions which pave the way for facilitators to be employed, a martial artist must train diligently to develop his/her inner sources of powers (Ki, Chikara, Shin and Kokyu) which, in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu, we strive to develop by means of the Four-fold Path. That is, through:
a. Meditation and introspection
b. Rigorous, diligent and frequent training in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu
c. The practice and application of the principles of the system
d. A commitment to, and application of the philosophy of the system both in
the dojo and in everyday life.
In summary, the generation of maximum focused power in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu is based on four interacting groups of principles:
Kuzushi, Tsukuri and Kake
Centering, Timing and Joining, and,
Chikara, Shin, Ki and Kokyu
The combined effect of integrating these principles leads to the production of maximum focused power, or shuchu ryoku. The best are able to generate so much power that they can fend off several assailants, break bricks and boards, launch opponents a considerable distance and are able to withstand much pain and hardship. It is this ability that enables accomplished martial artists to maintain a youthful vitality and continue practicing their art in their later years.
Some Educational Implications
The ability to tap into and generate focused power is a skill, or a gift that few are able to fully master. Yet, with extensive and diligent training students experience varying degrees of empowerment, even by the time they are ready to test for their first degree black belt. That is, even after only four years of training in their chosen martial art.
The benefits of this ability are many but they can be subsumed under Kano Jigoroís famous dictum, "maximum efficiency, minimum effort." Students feel better, can accomplish more and can be more successful in their martial art when they are able to combine their own powers (mental and physical) with those of the assailant and produce maximum focused power with relatively minimal effort. And, it is this ability that empowers a smaller person to overcome a much bigger one.
Because much of martial arts training is mind training the effects are therefore most strongly felt in the psychological domain. Thus, students who achieve a modicum of success in their ability to generate superior power begin to report feeling more confident and optimistic about their lives, and they feel more capable and are more motivated to work out. And, these feelings carry over into their everyday lives, for there is something awe inspiring about knowing that they can tap into hitherto unknown inner sources of power. A new sense of self worth emerges. The realization changes the way they see themselves in relation to others, in what they can accomplish, and in how far they can go in life. In fact, it would not be too much of an exaggeration to suggest that little can stand in the way of an empowered martial artist. Thus, for martial artists lifeís obstacles become mere challenges to be overcome.