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Re: Kamae
Kutaki Postmaster
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Quote:

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.


I can't imagine anyone would disagree with that in principle, but the question then becomes at what point are you ready to let go of the form? I think that question is both very important and very hard to answer.

Quote:

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? ..... and you automatically adjusted (not reacted)?


That's a good analogy, but I think it's a bit imcomplete/misleading because when you're learning to drive for every day driving, the goal is just to learn and internalize safe, functional control of the car under typical road conditions. So it doesn't take that much time, effort or practice to become competent. But with martial arts, to be really good you need a lot more than a typical level of functional control of your body.

If you want to become an F1 driver it takes A LOT more time, effort, study and practice because you need to learn much more subtle control, be able to execute that control at much higher speeds and you're tested regularly in an objective, competitive way against other extremely skilled drivers. Precision is a lot more imporant so form becomes more important, although I'm sure good F1 drivers eventually transcend it as well.

To extend the analogy, there are plenty of weekend racers who take their cars to the track (at least here in Canada) and some of them even offer classes on competitive driving but their level of driving skill, while significantly higher than average, is trivial compared to the skill of even an average competitive F1 driver.

Personally, I don't want to be a well-intentioned weekend racer who thinks he's as skilled as an F1 driver, which is why I think the question of when it's acceptable to let go of the form is an important one. Is it possible that *part* of what separates the best F1 drivers from the worst is that they are more precise and have better control over their vehicles?

Posted on: 2010/9/22 2:49
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John
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Re: Kamae
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But I interpreted your original post as not so much about the techniques but rather the next level beyond:

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Soke has often stated, that Kamae has a much deeper significance than merely being a "fighting stance", so I asked myself what you think about that and how to train that properly.


So, by wanting to train for "that", what exactly are you looking for?

Ok, sure, you should train the kamae correctly. Stand in Hicho no Kamae for long periods. Put on different clothing, armor, etc and see how it affects kamae. Develop creative flow exercises moving from one kamae to another. Find the similarities between unarmed kamae and the "by the book" various armed kamae. What strikes can you do from each kamae and at what angles.

These are all basics and good for training. But, I'm assuming you've been doing that with a shidoshi teacher, right? You are now looking beyond them, to see where it will take you, as you are now finding possible limits to such training (and there are such limits). This is a critical point and I applaude you for asking such questions. And, it is at these critical points that the answer will come from the Isshi Soden that your shidoshi should be providing.

I don't know your natural abilities, physical challenges, mental/emotional stability, etc. All of these will have an effect on your current utsuwa, or capacity, and certainly it would be unhealthy to give direction without knowing the person. This is again what Isshi Soden is for.

Posted on: 2010/9/22 2:54
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Darren Dumas

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Re: Kamae
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Quote:

jhealy wrote:
Personally, I don't want to be a well-intentioned weekend racer who thinks he's as skilled as an F1 driver, which is why I think the question of when it's acceptable to let go of the form is an important one. Is it possible that *part* of what separates the best F1 drivers from the worst is that they are more precise and have better control over their vehicles?


This is a good question and hopefully the teacher is helping the student in that process. I think that it isn't the responsibility of the student to know that, but rather it's the responsibility of the teacher to see when it is time to guide the student away from the dependence on form.

And, this brings up my point. "Letting go" and "breaking form" I think are equally misleading and misunderstood. I think people tend to think that you no longer need to train in the form when you reach those levels. This is not true, in my opinion. You always have to return to the forms, the kihon, to keep the balance. It becomes far to easy to become sloppy if you don't. So, it's like the In/Yo circle, constantly returning to the base, yet reaching farther away.

It's a tricky balance. It takes having a good teacher who knows you. I am fortunate to be surrounded by good teachers who challenge me to grow, so I know firsthand the value of that. If I didn't have them, I would never know when I should let go of the form or if I need to get grounded again by returning to the base. Even after all this time, I still need it in my own training.

Posted on: 2010/9/22 3:09
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Darren Dumas

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