The richness of our existence comes from its paradoxes. What would friendship be without solitude, fun without boredom? And it is indeed misfortune that allows us to, in contrast, appreciate prosperity.
Even though it seems obvious, that it is more comfortable to be happy than it is to be sad, we instinctively know that one can only exist because of the other. So it is for security and uncertainty…
Cooperation in martial practice
The goal of traditional martial practice is to give us the ability to face a superior opponent, in size, athletic qualities, number, etc. This requires not only impeccable technique, but also a profound change in the way we use the mechanics of our body, in order to be able to realise unexpected movements in their form and/or results for our opponent.
To integrate such a sophisticated way of moving, the training of kata, the repetition of prearranged forms, is the fundamental method. Disregarding uncertainty, it allows to focus efficiently and safely on the development of particular points.
But obviously it becomes easy to shine when one knows what is going to happen. How easy it would be for a rudimentarily trained goalkeeper to stop a shot of which he knows the exact target, or for a tennis player to return a ball whose trajectory he knows. This is why kata training requires an indispensable counterpart, open practice.
Free practice in martial arts
Survival combat is the chaotic situation par excellence. On the battlefield a warrior risked finding himself facing enemies about which he knew nothing, neither their equipment nor the way they fought. To prepare oneself to face uncertainty, working within a context that is more and more open while also training kata, from the first day of practice, gives excellent results.
This way, alternating between training the strict forms and free combat practice, the adept develops himself. It is the balance of these two opposing training modes that allows to reach excellence.
Beware of what you ask for
In a time when anyone of us would pay a fortune to know how the coming months will go, it seems difficult to enjoy the unknown. After more than a year of uncertainty, we are starving for fixed reference points. But imagine for a moment what it would be like to know EVERYTHING that was going to happen in our existence. Life would immediately loose all its zest.
Embrace the unknown
I agree, that makes for a lot of uncertainty in a long time period. This test is not easy, but it tests our capacities of resilience, our patience and courage. No more than you do I know what tomorrow will be made of. Nevertheless, I never stopped making plans and launching projects. Some were successful, like the “Kishinkai Online” app or the Kishintaikai seminar in Albi last summer. Others, like the “24 hours of the samurai” had to be postponed, sometimes just one day before they should have taken place. But I stuck to my decision not to suffer the events and to do everything possible with reactivity.
Next week I will announce the details of the Kishin Taikai 2021, as well as the Masters Tour and I am currently planning my seminar schedule. Do I know that EVERYTHING will go as I planned? Not at all. And a few hours before the probable announcement of new sanitary measures, it may seem utopian to plan for the future. But it is always better to have a strategy when engaging in a battle, and to adapt when the conditions change. Because life is uncertainty, and it is only with a clear objective and a flexible spirit can we can go forward efficiently.
Above all, the only real defeat would be resignation. So let us dream, plan, anticipate. And very soon after planning the future, we will meet again on the mat. The Kishinkai will be ready. I will be ready. And I am sure you will be too.
Original Article “Pratique martiale, sécurité et incertitude” March 18th 2021, by Léo Tamaki
Translation by Léo Tamaki and Peter Schenke