Sunday, April 17, 2011


When facing bigger opponent or skillful opponent, good timing is as important as strong technique, good timing is at the instant the opponent cannot apply his/her power

In karate we spend many hours of training to develop Todome Waza (finish technique), we spend endless hours to develop the body system that can cooperate the whole body into one direction, and deliver maximum power in the shortest instant through different parts of the body.

But even the best techniques are useless if not used properly, in proper timing and distance, and with the right strategy to create the chance for attack.

It is much easier to kill with sword than with empty hand, but even Japanese sword practitioners spend a lot of time understanding timing and distance.

Here we go into understanding the right time to apply our technique.

We must be able to distinguish between Jitsu and Kyo.

Jitsu is when the opponent is in good posture, good stance (able to change position quick and smooth without back motion), when he is has stable emotions and strong spirit. This is not the right time to attack.

Kyo is when any of the above conditions has changed, when there is mental or physical movement and as result the opponent cannot apply is technique and power instantly.

For example, when the opponent loses stable emotions, he/she is excited, afraid, angry, stiff mind, loses spirit or physically, when opponent loses balance, when he/ she initiate or even mentally commit to attack, or in between techniques, at the change from action to another, or in between footwork, or at the inhalation.

“Kyo itself is too late, when the no Kyo becomes kyo, you must hit the opponent”.

Aiko San told me this sentence and it was enlightening for me, it changed my karate.

It is not enough to see the Kyo, and actually seeing the Kyo is too late, by the time we realize Kyo it is gone. We have to observe the Kyo and be there, apply the technique as the no kyo becomes Kyo.

That is why Sensei Nishiyama kept insisting: “don’t use eyes”, “by pass the brain”, “reaction by breathing”, “reaction from spinal level” or “feeling reaction”.

We cannot have space between reaction and action, the normal processing of receive information, analyze, decide and than order from brain is too late for us, when we have less than tenth of a second of a window to apply a technique.

That is why we don’t look to opponent’s outside body, legs and arms, but look to opponent heart, feeling.

We must catch the intention, the decision, and maybe as a first step catch the opponent breath and rhythm, and moreover, be the conductor and make the opponent into our orchestra; we make the music for him.

“Don’t self dance”

Sensei Nishiyama used to scold people who were too aggressive, and only thought of their techniques, not considering the opponent’s rhythm, distance and timing.

Digesting the fundamentals is essential in order to apply the theory presented above.

Kata and kumite are like a hand and a glove, kata is for kumite and if the relationships and underlying principles of kata are not digested the timing ideas I explained can never materialized..

It is through the kata and kihon that one learns to match and synchronize, breath, muscle action, body dynamics and technique, one learn to move as a chain reaction from the floor to legs, torso to technique in proper sequence and harmony.

Breathing initiates technique by activating the feet and muscle action, body action and technique, than I can react to opponent’s move with the breath, and breath reaction is technique, without space of analyzing and judgment.

Than reaction and action is one, without a gap or space.

And than we can say breathing, kiai is the trigger that starts technique, because the breath set the pathway for technique, breathing makes technique.

Timing methods will be explained in another article.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again Sensei...this article, like all your explanations continue to expand my understanding...