Thursday, 11 August 2011

Learning from the Five Laws of Martial Arts Strategy ------------------- by Robert Stevens

Hyoshi:  This means that everything in life relies on timing.  In combat, the opponent will have a rhythmic pattern that you must identify. It is important to understand what the opponent has planned against you and why has he chosen to undertake these activities. Upon possessing this insight, you have the power to change your opponent's intentions. It is also important to not allow the opponent to operate on his/her own speed or rhythm.  In the moment of their confusion, you must have already set them up in your trap and strike them down hard and/or escape.  Remember the exact second you stopped moving with an offensive attitude is the same exact second you must start defending, whether you like it or not.

Sudori This is momentum.  Everything that moves has momentum, and once the movement has started, it is sometimes difficult to stop or change this.  Used with the principles of Hyoshi (timing), momentum can secure your victory.  If a well-planned trap is made, the opponent will see a carefully implanted opportunity.  You show them a fake weakness and something that they have confidence in.  They will naturally commit with complete intentions.  When you seem in their reach, and in their mind they have you, you change the flow of momentum and destroy them.  These types of movements completely depend on the commitment of your aggressor.  Not only showing them a target that is accessible, it must also be a threat.  No skilled opponent simply gives up anything, and if they do, it is surely a trap.  But if you taught them with a threat, something that they must deal with, you will have their attention and will be able to control them.  To be successful with Sudori, you must have a developed spirit called Fudoshin.  This is an unmovable heart.  When they commit to the attack, you must stand there and bravely face their rage and wait until the proper moment to counter. Otherwise you have wasted a valuable opportunity that may never come again.

Tokoshi: This literally means to cross a great distance.  This can be done in two ways, one is the omote form (outer method).   This is done by physically moving your body into position to either attack, or set up a proper defense or counter.  Your movement should be an illusion, un-telegraphed and hidden.  Moving in a circle and stepping closer with every couple of steps as you move your body further away gives the illusion of distance and the surprise of a quick attack.  Many times in combat you are forced away from your enemy.  This time of separation is crucial.  It is not a time of rest or to gather your thoughts.  You must consistently show the threat of attack keeping your opponent on the defensive end, not allowing any opportunity to think about attacking and hurting you.  It is possible to close the distance between the two of you and rest or strategically plan.  But you must present a believable atmosphere of danger and threat as you prepare.  At all times until you have completely destroyed the will of your opponent to fight back, you must march forward.  By moving backwards, you surrender all confidence and raise your adversary’s.  This will happen unconsciously and will break your chain of thought and will put you in an uphill struggle to regain forward motion.  This struggle often closes the distance too fast to properly defend and you could now be in the web of their deceptions.  The second this is realized you must use momentum and timing to escape or attack with a sutemi (sacrificing attack/counter).  This will regain lost confidence and separate the distance, allowing you to show attack and put the opponent back into defensive form.  This understanding is vital with a stronger more talented opponent.  It is also important to understand the ura form (inner method).  This is to separate their mind from you or the situation.  You can do this with the illusion of words to confuse them.  Talk of things completely off the subject of what is happening.  This will allow you to see if they are listening to you.  Make them confused, and put strange thoughts into their mind.  Speak in a foreign or made up language to make them lose their will to fight.  If you confuse them correctly, they shall think about what you are saying and try to make some kind of sense out of it.  This means they are not planning any attack or thinking about hurting you.  Also acting disabled or insane or very weak can be other options to put distance in their minds.  This is obviously, a last resort, but a tool if needed.

Shikotai: This is to be very close like skin or a coat of lacquer.  This strategy is effective with a taller opponent, or a long weapon. By sticking to them as close as possible you will minimize their effective range, and frustrate them by denying them room for movement. Mentally stick close to their thoughts so you can calculate and predict their next move.  Being able to study them to find out their weaknesses is essential to survive.  If you are blind to your enemies' resources and information, you will easily be defeated.  What your opponent knows about you and what they don't know is very important.  This gives you the opportunity to change what they think they know, and maximize on what they do not.  By being so close, you do run the risk of being discovered, the truth of your plans revealed and your plan destroyed, so extreme caution must be used with this.  You must have them believe you are far away when you lie right under their feet.  This is the feeling of Shikotai.

Minari: This is using your appearance to achieve a tactical advantage.  Your appearance has a tremendous influence on your spiritual being. This in return has the ability to cause a chain reaction in every aspect of your life.  If you have dirty clothes on, or your body smells, even a bad hair cut will have an effect internally on your subconscious and confidence.  If you are well groomed and dressed with confidence, you appear strong; so you will act strong, and think strongly.  This has a cosmic effect on your daily actions and the way people treat you.  This will carry over into your business and social life, even relationships.  The way you look also has an effect on your opponent as well.  A very strong, positive spirit, with perfect form mentally and physically will make them cautious.  The result of this power will keep them at a distance and possible slow their attack or differ it all together.  This will give you more control over many situations in combat and in your life.  This image will keep you out of trouble and open many locked unseen doors for your future.  If someone has a strong self-image, a certain amount of effort and discipline was used to create self-worth.  Unfortunately today in life to be healthy and have certain things in life, you need money.  To have money you must have a job, and to get a job you need some kind of intelligence.  All this requires effort and confidence that builds self-worth.  The way you wear your emotions and your spirit must also be studied and fine-tuned.  You cannot give your opponent any clues to your thoughts or concerns.  When you have a strong self-image, it reflects a strong mind and people will respect that. So with the correct appearance, and correct thought, with correct actions all together working as one, you will have a much more complete and safe life.

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