Principles of Judo, Kenji Tomiki
Kenji Tomiki was born March 15, 1900. In 1956 when the following was first published, Kenji Tomiki was 7th dan Judo, 8th dan Aikido, Professor of Judo at Waseda University, a member of the Kodokan's Special Direction Committee, and an official of the All Japan Judo Federation. In 1971 he was awarded the 8th dan in Kodokan Judo. Kenji Tomiki died December 25, 1979.
Table of Contents
1. Physical Training
|Kenji Tomiki performing ude garami|
In the preceding section on the principle of natural posture, explanation was given regarding how to make oneself invulnerable to all possible attacks and how victory is gained. In this section on the principle of kuzushi (breaking the posture) it will he shown how it is that one is defeated. For in order to make clear the theory of victory one must at the same time know the theory of defeat. The Kodokan Judo found that the principle of the techniques (either with naked fists, or using a weapon like the sword, spear, club, etc.) of the old-school jujutsu consists in breaking the condition of the body which has lost equilibrium. It is called kuzure-no-jotai (state of broken balance). Sometimes the opponent himself loses the balance, and at other times you positively destroy the opponent's balance, leading him to a vulnerable posture. In Judo each technique is analyzed into tsukuri (preparatory action) and kake (attack). Preparatory action is further divided into aite-no-tsukuri (preparing of the opponent) and jibun-no-tsukuri (preparing of self). Preparing of the opponent consists in destroying the opponent's balance before performing a technique and putting him in a posture where it will be easy to apply it. At the same instant the contestant himself must be in a posture and position in which it is easy to apply a technique. This is the preparing of self.
The nicety of judo techniques lies not in the action of performing techniques, but rather in the skill with which the preparing is done as a preliminary. It was the clear-sighted and original idea of the founder of the Kodokan Judo that analyzed the technique which is applied in an instant, and attached importance to the study and practice of preparatory action. In the case of the preparing of the opponent, the theory and practice of the principle of breaking the balance must be studied, while as regards preparing of self it is necessary to study the natural posture and also the theory and practice of ma-ai (space condition).
The center of gravity of a standing man's body is nearly in the hypogastric region. When the perpendicular line drawn from the center of gravity passes through the fulcrum or the middle of the base formed by the two feet, the posture of the man is stabilized.
A man is ready to fall when his body swings forward and backward or from side to side, and the perpendicular line drawn from the center of gravity departs from the fulcrum. However, when a living person's body loses its balance, he tries to regain it. Though the center of gravity wavers, he is able to maintain his erect posture. In case the center of gravity of a standing person wavers sharply and he is unable to maintain stability he supports his body by putting his foot forward in the direction in which the center of gravity tends. In short, the posture of a standing man appears unstable at first sight, but the equilibrium is cleverly kept by taking steps properly. If some external force acts upon the man the moment he loses balance, he falls at once, as is described below
- The body falls easily, when something impedes the foot which is set in the direction in which the center of gravity tends, e. g., when the foot put out stumbles on a pebble.
- When the equilibrium of the body is lost, the time when the center of gravity is lost is shorter than the time required for the peripheral sensory organ to communicate the loss of the body equilibrium to the nerve center and the latter to order the foot muscles through the foot nerve to put the foot forward; for instance, when the body inclines forward and falls forward because a sudden force is applied from the back, giving the person no time to put the foot forward.
In the previous sections it was asserted that we are never defeated if we keep our proper posture and presence of mind, and in carrying on movements and actions we use the body in a natural and reasonable manner. It was also shown how easily we are defeated when the balance of the body is lost. Next we must learn how these two principles should be put into practice in the judo contest, namely how to deal with the opponent's power when applied upon us, and to gain the final victory. The rules of this activity are called ju-no-ri, or the principle of gentleness.
- The Principle of Gentleness as Viewed from the Relation of Force
When meeting an opponent, there are various ways that the principle of gentleness can be applied against the force that is used upon us. The bout may be performed in a standing position or sometimes in a lying posture. There are also various kinds of techniques such as standing position techniques, lying posture techniques, holding techniques, strangle-hold techniques, and the bending and twisting of joints. In order to give the techniques full play in their respective situations it is necessary to apply the principle of gentleness.
What then is the principle of gentleness? In the standing position techniques the contestant does not act against the force applied by the opponent, but, while following it, he makes use of the force and tries to break the opponent's posture. For instance, when you and your opponent confront each other at some interval, and he takes a step forward and pushes your chest with his hand, you too take a step backward instead of acting against him, and you will not feel the resistance of the opponent's force. If at that time your step backward is longer than the opponent's step forward, his balance is broken forward by his own force, and you can throw him down forward by pulling the arm which he thrust forward. If, again, the opponent pulls your front lapel, then you can throw him down in the same way by moving forward following the pull. In short, the principle is to pull in response to the opponent's push and to push in response to his pull. In other words, while yielding to the force of the opponent's action upon you, you break his balance by striking at the weak point in his posture. In this case it will be more effective to dodge the opponent's push and pull him by seizing that opportunity than to retreat in the direction of your opponent's push and pull him. The direction of the opponent's movement shifts around you and the opponent not only has to make more movement than you, but he is apt to lose his balance partly owing to the action of centrifugal force. The saying goes among judo experts, “ Move round in response to push." While following your opponent's action, you must always make your movement so as to lead your opponent around you and destroy the balance of his posture.
This principle of gentleness means in a wide sense action to maintain your initiative against the resistance and obstruction arising from the surroundings. The manners of taking your posture, taking your steps and moving your body as taught according to the principle of natural posture indicates that the action against all resistance should follow the principle of gentleness. In regard to the case where your body loses its balance and you fall at last, breaking falls are devised as a means to protect your own body from the impact on the ground. This is also an application of the principle of gentleness. As was explained elsewhere in detail, when your own body is about to fall you should round yourself up and fall instead of resisting the impetus, while you use your arms to protect the body from the impact on the ground. In short, you avert the resistance of the ground while yielding cleverly to the terrestrial gravitation (which acts on you before you come under the opponent's force), and thus endeavor to exercise the initiative.
- The Principle of Gentleness as Viewed from the Relation of Movement
In the foregoing passage explanation was given concerning the relations of the force between oneself and the opponent. It must further be given from the relation of movement. In a bout your opponent develops a feverish bodily activity; so it does not turn out as you want it to. For instance, it would be difficult for you to deliver a blow on your opponent's face, forearm, or side, or to sweep his foot or waist, because the opponent does not stand still a moment, either. Still more difficult is it to grasp the opponent's wrist or arm. An old book of secrets in martial arts mentions the three following opportunities to land a blow on the opponent:
- Giving a blow at the beginning.
- Giving a blow at the finish.
- Giving a blow on the receipt.
"Giving a blow at the beginning" is effected when the opponent is beginning an action in which he shifts from a stationary state. Close observation reveals that a man's movement is a succession of rest and motion, resting followed by motion and motion by rest. You land a blow on the opponent at the turn of his action. For instance, when the opponent strikes with his fist, he must first raise it. The moment he begins to raise his fist and the moment he begins to deal a blow with his raised fist are called the "beginning." In "giving a blow at the finish," "finish" means the moment the opponent has dealt a blow with raised fist and forearm fully stretched. "Giving a blow on the receipt" is effected when the opponent has received the blow you gave him and, intent only on parrying it, has ceased all other action.
In all these cases you avail yourself of the pause at the change of one action to another. By taking advantage of the three above-mentioned cases you give a blow, grasp, or parry. But as a matter of fact, you must be more careful. The pause at the turn of one action to another means the instant the opponent comes to rest. The instant may perhaps be a minute fraction of a second and so it is difficult to give a blow or a grasp just that instant. When, for instance, you chase a fly or dragonfly, you often fail if you try to catch it the moment it settles on something. You will succeed if you catch it by adjusting the motion of your hand to the speed and direction of the insect before it alights. Thus one realizes that in order to seize the three opportunities giving a blow successfully, it is necessary to have practice in adjusting the rhythm of your action to that of the opponent's motion. One cannot understand the principle of gentleness unless one learns this relation of rhythm. As with the way of movement in the natural posture, it is possible to adjust the rhythm of the motion of your body to that of the motion of the opponent's body. It is only when the rhythm of the body movement is thus in accord that you can make the rhythm of your foot and hand movements in accord with that of your opponent and seize the opportunity of applying various techniques.
The application of the principle of gentleness is well manifested in the techniques and five kata (forms) of the (ito school of jujutsu which are preserved as the koshiki-no-kata (forms antique) of the Kodokan Judo. The application of force and the movement of the body are effected quite naturally without causing any strain, and enable the contestant to bring the opponent under control without acting against his force. The movement makes a magnificent and beautiful rhythm. From olden times the principle of gentleness has been symbolized by a willow branch or a bamboo, which is pliant and not easily broken. It was also likened to the movement of billows rolling in and receding on the beach. Many of the old schools of jujutsu took their names from these symbols. The term aiki as used in the aikijujutsu or aikido signifies after all "gentleness." The Orientals sought the source of all human actions in ki (spirit). Force is derived from spirit, and movement of the body is effected by spirit. So they held it of primary importance to foster spirit. Mencius says: "Will leads spirit; spirit permeates the body." Issai-Chozan, ancient swordsman, writes, "Spirit carries the mind and controls the body." To adjust one's own spirit to the opponent's is to adjust one's own power to the opponent's, and this is an internal explanation of the principle of gentleness.
Kenji Tomiki, author of "Judo, with Aikido", published in 1956
Jujutsu (art of gentleness) was also formerly called wa-jutsu (art of accord). This shows that ju (gentleness) has also the meaning of wa (accord). In the Ryuko-no-maki (lit. Book of Dragon and Tiger) which is regarded as one of the oldest volumes expounding the secrets of the martial arts, there is a passage, "If the enemy turns upon us we meet him; if he leaves we let him leave. Facing the enemy, we stand in accord with him. Five and five are ten. Two and eight are ten. One and nine are ten. All this shows accord."
Wa, or accord, is the fundamental principle of the Japanese martial arts. Expressed in modern terms and made easy of practice to anyone, it became the principle of gentleness. The principle of gentleness teaches that one should go, not against, but with, the the opponent's force, and yet maintain one's proper position so as not lose one's balance. This corresponds to the spirit set forth in Confucius' remark in his Analects, "The superior man is compliant but not blindly yielding." Jujutsu originated as a method of fighting between men. But through practice by experts for many years it has been refined as an art, with its principles more and more closely studied and invested with moral significance, until it has developed into Judo as we learn and practice it today. Judo is neither a mere manifestation of violence nor a means of fighting, but can be studied and followed as a doctrine of life.