Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How is your Kihon?

In the book Tetsuzan, Nagato Sensei is talking with Hatsumi Soke and he comments that after his last trip to the US (this conversation took place nearly three decades ago at the time of this posting) he felt those studying the art in the US did not know our Kihon well enough. This means our foundation.

It's not so much about knowing the Kihon Happo, the eight basic techniques. Those are important, of course, but it is far more important to be able to use the foundation aspects of what makes up the Kihon Happo and apply them in all of our training. They are a foundation for a reason.

This is really going to be the same no matter what art one studies, whether it be Karate, Aikido, Jujutsu, painting, music, or writing. The foundation for each form is just that, a foundation. It doesn't need to be repeated in it's exact form without deviation for thousands of times. One practices the foundation enough to make it natural (and yes, you have to do it correctly, not some sloppy foundation getting practiced so bad habbits form), then you practice how that foundation can be applied and adapted to any situation. This is what make the Kihon Happo so important. First, learn them in their correct form and practice them that way. Then learn to make those take new form so they can be adaptable in any number of ways. Happo means eight. Both the Japanese number eight and our number eight can represent infinity. Eight (8), turned sideways (∞), is the mathematical symbol for infinity. Eight in Japanese (八) is made up of two asymptote lines, lines that forever get closer, but never meet. They go on for infinity, never actually meeting, just getting closer.

So, when you think of Kihon Happo, don't just think of it as those eight techniques, think of those eight techniques teaching you how to be adaptable and to use them in all your training. Not just the form of them, but the feeling and their methods for use.