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Re: Kamae
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To me kamae is not only those limited ones taught, they are only examples. Kamae is ANY posture that is most effective both defensively and offensively for that moment in time. No Kamae is fixed, it is part of a flow. Once you start to understand how to use your movement to put yourself in a safe place and be balanced ready to move again, either for defense or attack, you will begin to understand "Kamae". At least the physical and "tactical" part. Do work on that before trying to understand the deeper use of energy and emotions. Have patience and work on the others, it comes in time with effort.

Posted on: 2010/9/17 4:48
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Re: Kamae
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The word Kamae can mean posture or attitude. Anyone with deeper understanding of the Japanese language could help us with conotations we might be missing out on. In Koto Ryu the Kamae are refered to as Kurai Dori os positioning (again help with the Japanese language would be apretiated). This implies the idea that we are always relating ourself to something.

From what has been said by the many posts this starts as posture and works its way up to all the subleties of the process of relating. In this process of relation we percieve as well as influence. Physical action proceeds from an internal decision or from reflex. Depending on the caracter of this decision our atitude will influence our enviornment and those in it even before we move physicaly. In the case of a reflex the effect accompanies the physical movement. This all encompassing field of interaction is implied in Soke's idea of Kukan (again the Jap. bit would help). However, this Kukan, and those in it also influence us. The study of all of this and particularly in the context of conflict could be taken as practice of Kamae or Kurai Dori, or Fu Sui.

There is a metaphysical experience known as mushin that is often associated with budo, as well as many other spiritual practices. This experience manifests a state of perception where all the conections and movement in this Kukan are percieved as one, that is, the perception of circunference, center and area are unified. This would leads us to things such as sponteneity and how rational thinking tends to hamper it. There is a whole lot involved. It could be compared to an onion with many layers. This stuff is hard work, why do you think Soke says it takes 40 years for the basic ura and omote. Of course you should start with the outer layer. But here is where I think people attach themselves to a confort zone. If Soke is constantly mentioning the inner layers it means he's pointing the way hoping some brave ones will explore it for themselves. This whole spiritual vrs. physical is realy stupid. It's nothing more than dense and subtle and if this stuff was secret Soke wouldn't be pointing to it all the time.

Practice is the only remedy, however this is where the danger lies. How you define practice will determine the depths you'll reach. A lot of people practice a martial art, that is not the same thing as being a budoka much less a ninja. If you "are" something it encompasses the totality of your existence. This would mean that eating, sleeping, even having sex would be a part of this being. The fist thing in studying something is percieving it. Learn to percieve, first how you function (how you think, feel about things, react to things, your bodies capabilities like lack of food, water, sleep, etc.). Extend this awareness to everything outside of you, learn how things are, not how people discribe it, and then learn to put yourself at the right place at the right time in everything you do. This would be efective study in Kurai Dori or Kamae. Please take this simply as a hint, read Soke Hatsumi's books for more on the "spiritual" side of our art and asume responsibility for your own training.

Gambate Kudosai!

Posted on: 2010/9/20 17:13
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Re: Kamae
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John, that is an excellent post! The subject of Kurai Dori is not mentioned much, but is key and I'm glad someone has brought it up. There are different ideas of proper distance, but the idea of distance equal to "a sheet of skin" is a kihon directly attributed to shape of space, timing and distancing as a connection to another. It is easy to view this as a defensive act, to move away just enough so that you are 'just missed', maybe causing an overreach or affect balance. But, really it is neither defensive or offensive. From what I've been experiencing, it is more of an absorbing of space feeling, often as a forward movement (but not always), and with little contact (a sheet of skin distance). It takes great subtleness. But, the feeling in the uke is one of confusion and sets up an excellent base of control as the uke struggles to realize they aren't feeling what they would expect to feel. And, this feeling is a key point in understanding Soke's budo, IMO.

If you are only focused on doing the "by the book" kamae, you are focused on the wrong thing, IMO. You have to be in direct relation to the uke, to attach yourself, yet remain unattached. You have to keep moving at all times. This level of control takes kamae to a whole other level, as the physical shape you assume is not a shape, but rather an ever flowing, evolving mass that is in direct relation to the attacker(s) and the surrounding environment. I saw this heavily from the Juppo Sessho theme a few years ago, but actually it has always been there.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 5:47
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Re: Kamae
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I agree to both of you, but how to train this? Once Kurai Dori was mentioned, I believe in Koto Ryu there was a kata for each kamae to teach the "use" of the kamae. In a way kosshi kihon sanpo no gata could be the same.

However, if you just stick to those kata, it won´t take you far, it must be somehow enhanced ...

Posted on: 2010/9/21 7:15
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Re: Kamae
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Quote:

GreyArea wrote:
I agree to both of you, but how to train this? Once Kurai Dori was mentioned, I believe in Koto Ryu there was a kata for each kamae to teach the "use" of the kamae. In a way kosshi kihon sanpo no gata could be the same.

However, if you just stick to those kata, it won´t take you far, it must be somehow enhanced ...


Wait for it... Wait for it... Ah, here it is - Shu, Ha, Ri! Seriously, this is a perfect example of how you first start with the form, but eventually you have to 'break it' or move past it in order to evolve in the direction such continued experience will teach you.

For instance, you know how to drive. You were taught all the principles for safe driving, including hand placement, proper mechanics (turn signals, etc), when and where to look, use of mirrors, etc. Yet, you had no 'sense' of things because you were new at it. After years of driving, do you think about what you do? Do you find yourself arriving at a point without any real memory of the actions you took to get there? How many times did you just 'know' the other guy was going to pull out or change lanes, or whatever, and you automatically adjusted (not reacted)?

To train for "it", is quite simply to keep training. "It" will happen on it's own if you allow it. I don't know how else to explain it. Just keep training.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 9:15
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Re: Kamae
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I agree Darren, it does come, but only if you don't build a fence around your concept of what it is. Any rigidity of mind stops you from developing. With an open mind, without fixed perceptions about what it SHOULD be, you allow yourself to see what otherwise won't be seen and certainly not understood. I find that a constant effort to make movements smaller help a lot. Training so that like Darren said you are attached but not attached. There is a major benefit it that as any big movement gives time to respond and to counter. You have immediately moved to a safe place and when you need to move again will go to another safe place. Train so you KNOW what the other person can do from whatever place he/she is in relation to you as well as KNOWING what you can do from where you are. This will become automatic and will not need conscious thought.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 13:05
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Re: Kamae
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LOL Darren, I too use driving as a good example on the learning process.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 15:02
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Re: Kamae
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Grey Area, from your last post I can tell you are not seeing what you are reading. That something extra has been said already. There are no simple answers and the hints everyone here has given you are enough to complement of training with your teacher or by yourself for years. It seems you are waiting for an answer you yourself have established. Read my former post again. There are some things in between the lines for the other readers but for you most of it pretty literal.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 15:15
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Re: Kamae
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If I might add one more comment - anything beyond the kata itself requires isshi soden (direct teaching), sensei to deshi. That's why it can't be explained on the internet with any real value to an application. And, it can't be found on one's own (at least not very easily). It just has to be felt, experienced, and guided directly by someone who is already there in their own training. Otherwise, it's just an intellectual exercise that's nothing more than an obscure, illusionary 'carrot', like chasing rabbit holes that lead nowhere.

I hope you are training with someone who can help guide you in that direction.

Posted on: 2010/9/22 0:57
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Re: Kamae
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Well, but one can share experience and one can try to be explicit in doing so.

For example holding a kamae over an extended period of time is in my opinion a method of training kamae. As well as holding a kamae and changing direction of at least 90 degrees (clockwise and counterclockwise).

I can´t imagine that it should be so difficult to talk about such methods, after all this section is called 'training methods'.

Posted on: 2010/9/22 2:25
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