gentle???

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gentle???

Postby mikemurphy » Sat Nov 25, 2000 12:12 pm

Studying Uechi-ryu for the last 26 years, I have heard my share of hard vs. soft. Everyone has an opinion of where to apply the hard parts and where to apply the soft parts. All of them are valid, yet it's about as diverse as you are going to get.

The same argument can apply to jujitsu I guess when the question of gentleness comes up. As we all know, jujitsu means "the gentle art." Well, I've been training and teaching it for the last 15 years and there are many times I don't feel gentle at all when either delivering the technique or being the recipient of the move. I alread know what many of you are going to say, but I was curious as to how you folks view the gentleness of the traditional grappling arts.

Discuss this at any level you want, and I'll chirp in as usual.

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Postby f.Channell » Sat Nov 25, 2000 1:47 pm

Mike,
I just read an article by Donn f. Draeger on the judoinfo website. In the article he states that the Ideogram of ju denotes various meaning. He states that westerners take it at it's absolute interpretation, but it's much more complex than that. Ju he wrote, stresses flexibility in change or the adapting to any situation and economizing mental and physical energies. The same applies equally I feel to both jujitsu and judo. As a "newbie to these arts mike, I too have trouble seeing the gentle aspects.
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Postby RA Miller » Sat Nov 25, 2000 1:49 pm

Mike,

"Ju" has so many more meanings than just 'gentle'. Like flexible, adaptable. When you look at the old battle styles that is their ju, their hallmark- tactical adaptability.

Taken as ju of softness vs go of hardness- which serves you better at this time: to disrupt your enemies balance (soft) or damage them(hard). A good decision will show tactical adaptability- one aspect of ju.

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Postby david » Sun Nov 26, 2000 2:52 pm

I don't see how slamming someone onto concrete would be construed as "gentle." Image Yup. I am with Fred and Rory on a broader interpretation of "ju."

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Postby student » Sun Nov 26, 2000 4:38 pm

My belief is that a better interpretation for ju than gentle contextually would be yielding, non-oppositional.

It was never intended that jujutsu or judo meant gentle in a turn-the-other-cheek way; it was meant to signify that the attacker's force could be used more efficiently by redirection than by force-to-force opposition. To use Kano O-Sensei's example, your 3 units of force will never successfully oppose your opponent's 5 units of force in a direct confrontation; but if you add your 3 units to his 5, you have 8 units going where you want them to - presuming you're competent enough to do it, that is! Image

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[This message has been edited by student (edited November 26, 2000).]
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Postby mikemurphy » Mon Nov 27, 2000 11:10 am

Fred,

You couldn't have picked a better source on Japanese Martial arts than Donn Draeger. The man certainly knew his stuff. I have to agree on the ideogram. I think there is a definate misunderstanding when it comes to reading the Kanji of any Japanese writing unless one knows the context from which the writer was writing. A case in point would be Sensei Uechi's book. From what I understand it is almost impossible to translate because we don't know exactly what was meant in certain areas. That is what I have been told anyway. Any Japanese language specialists would be able to tell us better.

Rory,

There we go with that hard vs. soft dichotemy. It just doen't go away does it? Anyway, I don't think it has to be hard VS. soft. Maybe more of hard AND soft. Just where each is applicable depends on the person and the application needed. But I guess the question would be when hard is needed can that be "gentle" as well?

Student,

Ahhh, competence. I guess that is our overall objective isn't it. I don't think anyone will object to that statement. Kano, Mifune, Ito, and the rest sensei may have been able to do it 100% of the time, but us mere mortals would be happy to do it 20% of the time I would think. One just has to randori (not in Judo) fashion to realize just how much we resort to strength instead of utilizing our opponant's energy. But that is another topic if you would like to start a thread on it.

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Postby RA Miller » Tue Nov 28, 2000 3:52 am

Mike-
The hard-soft dichotomy has never been a problem for me. I was very lucky in my younger years to have instructors who understood that Hard-Soft, Linear-Circular, and Internal-External were three completely different issues. It seems that many martial artists, especially the ones who argue the merits interminably, are blending them.

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Postby mikemurphy » Wed Nov 29, 2000 7:41 pm

Rory,

Excuse my feeble brain, as I didn't understand how you meant your last post. Are you implying it is right or wrong (from your experience) to blend the hard and soft?

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Postby RA Miller » Thu Nov 30, 2000 4:14 am

Sorry Mike.

I shouldn't post when I'm sleep deprived. Unfortunately, there's no other time in my schedule.

Hard stylists prefer to do damage.

Soft stylists find disrupting balance more important.

People who have been fighting for any length of time know that there's a time for both.

What I meant was that people blend the _arguments_ as if soft, circular and internal were the same thing, and that seems to keep the arguments going.

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Postby mikemurphy » Thu Nov 30, 2000 10:52 am

Rory,

Now I get it!!! :-)

I agree with that assessment totally. I guess those of us who train Uechi and Jujitsu are in trouble though, because we want to go straight in to cause damage someone in a fight and yet the other side of our brain is saying disrupt the balance first.

Oh the dichotomy of it all!

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Postby Gene DeMambro » Thu Nov 30, 2000 4:21 pm

From "Kodokan Judo", by Jigoro Kano:

THE PRINCIPLE OF DYNAMICS
"...Best results are ensured by making use of the opponent's strength. On your part, composure, rather than mere strength, is important to keep muscles and joints from stiffening. Especially in emergencies, body strength should be conserved, then applied at the correct moment."

To me, this defines the principles of softness, -ju-, yawara or what have you. THis does not mean that you are flaccid like a limp piece of uncooked bacon. It means that you need to pick you spots to apply your strength. "Maximum-efficient use of power", Jigoro Kano used to write.

So, no, "softness" can't be taken literally. You just have to know when and where.

Helpfull?

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Postby mikemurphy » Thu Nov 30, 2000 9:59 pm

Gene,

True, but like Kano Sensei and others of that ilk, extremely Utopian. How many people do you know or have met (and I have met my share) follow in to that category)? Maybe Kano sensei could do that and sustain it for a period of time. Mifune, Ito, Uechi Sensei, Otsuka, Miyagi, etc., etc., etc. But are they just the exception to the rule?? I don't know the answer to that question.

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Postby RA Miller » Thu Nov 30, 2000 11:51 pm

Some of his contempories said the fighting Kano was "like fighting an empty coat". A very succinct description of Gene's point.

I ran across an old judo book- I wish I could cite the author from memory. It explained Judo's Golden Rule: Mutual benafit and welfare; and the First Principle: Maximum efficiency, Minimum effort.

It also had a Golden Rule of Combat that was completely new to me:

"Your most Powerful Weapon, Applied to your Opponents Weakest Point at his Time of Maximum Imbalance."

Beautiful, isn't it? And incorporates hard and soft.

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Postby Gene DeMambro » Fri Dec 01, 2000 6:52 am

Ah, not to get off topic, but....

What makes Ito, Mifune, Ueshiba, Takeda, et.al. more super-human than you and me, or anyone else?

If these people, who were just people, could achieve such a high level of profeciency in their chosen arts through hard work and dedication, then why can't we?

Of course, the fact that I'm a fat @SS might have something to do with the fact that I s*ck, but I digress...

To consign yourself to the belief that you won't ever attain a high standard of ability is to signal defeat. History, martial and otherwise, is full of supposed regular people who achieved greatly, just because.

And who's to say that the aforementioned masters of old were the best, and no one can compare to them? Maybe, just maybe, there are persons out there who equal or exceed their abilities?

Isaac Newton, who by most is regarded as the the greatest scientist in history, exclaimed about how far he could see, for he stood on the shoulders of giants.

Why are we, here and now, any different?

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Postby mikemurphy » Fri Dec 01, 2000 3:02 pm

Gene,

What makes those masters better than us slobs? Well, let's see. The fact that they practiced daily for many years,and for many hours a day in an environment that not only neccessitated it but accepted it.

Secondly, let's put it in modern terms. Not everyone has the ability to achieve that level of success in what they do. The practice of Budo involves perfecting what you can do to the level that you can go. Do we know what that level is? No, but we practice anyway. How many people are going to get as good as Jimmy Pedro in Judo. None that I know, but obviously there were a couple at the olympics this year. Does that mean he is put in that elite category?

Perhaps there is no answer to any of it. Perhaps we still live in that bubble that puts those "legends" of budo on a level in which we choose not to attain, because we feel we can't. Would you have liked a chance at Kano or Mifune sensei in their prime. You bet! What if you won? Who knows?

But the philosophy is still sound and that may be all that counts in the long run. We try to achieve these things and do our best to continue to progress.

BTW, you don't ******!

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