Sunday, June 22, 2014

I finally did it !

This morning I completed  a goal I had set about a year ago : Practice each waza of our KNBK curriculum 150 times each.

Well actually, I only practiced the waza I know. Advanced techniques such as Okuden Suwariwaza I never really studied enough to feel comfortable with them.
Also, these are just the solo practice waza : Batto - Ho (12 waza), Shoden seiza (11 waza), Chuden tatehiza (10 waza) and Okuden Tachiwaza (11 waza). Katachi are not included. 
I also had to limit myself to  the standing version of Chuden Waza as my right knee is not ready yet for Tatehiza.

But all together that makes quite a few waza, quite a few Nukitsuke, Kirioroshi, Chiburi and Noto ! With a total of 44 waza, that makes a total of 6600 waza.

Does it make me an expert ? certainly not, but it has helped me improve. I strongly believe that only the consecutive repetition of the same waza, times and times, allows you to become acutely aware of body positions, the muscles you actually use, the way you bend your joints... Develop muscle memory - And is the only way to get better by researching and fine-tuning your moves. In my personal case, I think I have to practice a move at least 12 times in a row to be able to really feel the details of how my body relates to it.

Most of us have heard the saying that every move should be repeated 10,000 times to be perfected executed. Where does this number actually comes from ? Is it accurate ?

Well, it comes from Chinese Taoism and it is not to be taken literally. In Taoism the "ten thousand things" means the Complete Universe, all that exists. So when you are told to practice each waza 10,000 times, what you are told really, is to keep practicing them for ever...

Nevertheless, I believe in progressing step by step, and in recording your progress. Every time I practice one waza 10 times, I draw a little line on a recording sheet. It is easy to do, and I invite you to follow me.

If all goes well, I will visit my friends Francis and Jean Luc, also my Kendo and Ju Jitsu Instructors in France next week. More to learn and enjoy. 

For those of you who cannot practice from Seiza or Tatehiza positions, the standing versions of the Shoden and Chuden waza are beautifully described in the Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship set of DVD by Masayuki Shimabukuro Hanshi and Carl Long Kyoshi.

In a next post I will elaborate on the healing aspect of this kind of practice on the joints.

1 comment:

Frederic Lecut said...

Comment left by Email by Michael Elliston Roshi, Abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center and founder of the Silent THunder (Mokurai) order :

Thank you Jiryu-san; another parallel with Zen meditation, and the performing and plastic arts, for that matter. Repetition, repetition, repetition, to paraphrase and ancient Master as to the secret of Zen ("Attention, attention, attention").

When it comes to zazen, repetition - just never giving up, no matter what - is far more important than frequency (how often we sit), duration (for how long), regularity (how consistently), etc. - all the measurable parameters one might put around one's practice. Often we set ourselves up for failure with these strictures.

However, the quantitative and qualitative cannot really be separated in Zen practice. Some teachers recommend going against type: if you are very regimented in your daily life, be a little looser about zazen; if you are sloppy in your everyday pattern, tighten up in your Zen practice. in other words, don't try to do Zen the way you do everything else in your life. It will not work.

But most of all, don't give up, as Matsuoka-roshi would often say. Persistence and repetition (without expectation) will see you through. "Every day is a good day; every day is a happy day" in Zen. Regardless of circumstance.

gassho, sensei