Hundreds and thousands of punches later, in extreme heat and humidity, and we changed something fundamental in the way we conduct kata training in AKBAN.
The way I learned it, from my teacher Doron Navon, is that when practicing the pre-determined drills of our tradition, the kata, the Uke and the Tori decide what kata, what mutual drill is to be done and practice it.
Two things about this practice bothered me: when practicing one drill at a time there is no element of surprise and another is that in the regular way we did kata there was rarely any impact, no feeling of punching.
If, while preparing our slow advance in the methodical pyramid, we neglect to practice in a combat situation that is more and more chaotic, we then arrive at the chaotic sparring practice (Randori) or even a real skirmish (Takakai) with no inner abilities to use our form in the random reality that is a fight.
The ‘Impact Q&A’ we have been learning through ‘Mindless mindfulness’ changed all that, we now have a superior practice tool that will reconstitute our ancient tradition and breath new life into the patterns of our art.
When all this happens in the Israeli hot and humid summer it poses some new challenges. I have shortened some sessions, especially in Tel Aviv, to lower the risk of a heatstroke.
This week we will integrate sabaki and kicks. Please bring water and punching equipment.
What disappeared from our culture and most martial arts, and what we are desperately trying to save in our dojos, is the connection to nature.
Nature begins with being outside, walking outside.
Many activities have become a gym activities, boxed existence. In ancient Japanese budo, pupils used to walk for days just to reach a teacher. The necessity of moving on foot, to this day, for many people. Walking outside is a part of the human heritage that is becoming a novelty. Just as we preserve ancient martial traditions we should preserve this outside backdrop. The outside was once ingrained in our lives and so taken for granted, now we make the effort, even if it is on a hot summer day. So on many levels, just being outside, moving outside, without vehicles should be top priority because of mental health, physical health, martial abilities and ethics of mutual interdependence. So on many levels, just being outside, moving outside, without vehicles, or air condition, should be top priority because of mental health, physical health, martial abilities and ethics of mutual interdependence.
I will give a name for this treatment, I call it: “Respect”. Respect like this is the un-necessary, the un-reasonable, the un-expected respect and thus – a rare commodity.
Usually respect is directed to another human being as an expression of hierarchy and that person’s social status. But there is another form of respect. In the old school regime, respect is expressed also to a technique, an object, to a way of life. Through the observation and the action one can practice respect to movement, to someone, to something.
This week we will be training outside on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem groups. Hakama, battle skirt is only needed on the weapon classes. On other sessions, please bring punching equipment, water and extreme fitness.
We will be continuing our two months long exploration into ׳Mindless Mindfulness™ as means of augmenting kata into randori level using dyads and triads Q&A.
Please bring: Water, punching gloves, extreme fitness.
Video of hierarchies of order and chaos in practice
This week we will continue to hone our techniques. The Jerusalem group will be training in the Supreme court rose garden. The Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon groups move into grappling attire: Gi pants and a tee shirt.