Heaviness and lightness, solid and fluid, firmness and pliability, giving the mind away yet the mind is full.
In the last 2 years of Sensei Nishiyama’s life almost every day and every class, we practiced 2 subjects, todome Waza (finishing technique) and Unsoku (footwork).
Those are two sides of the coin, which allow us to be effective in application, using minimum force and resistance.
At the peak of kime-focus of energy at impact (and even just before), one can become soft and adapt to the opponent instantly, and at any instant when moving with the opponent, one can apply kime.
In the last two years of Sensei’s Nishiyama’s teaching, we spent many hours understanding how to make strongest Kime, shocking power, how to use the breath to make pressure to floor, to create maximum acceleration at impact, and allow for full delivery of momentum plus reaction from pressure to floor into target and how to make total body musculature contraction in shortest time to like of technique for maximum shocking power.
Shortly, we were “seeking the beauty of one finishing blow technique”, that is one side of the coin.
The other side of the coin is footwork, we must be able to change position and distance or initiate technique as smoothly or quickly as possible without back motion.
In good footwork the body center using the breath “suspends” the legs (ukimi) as if one is floating, and at an instant one can become heavy and solid into the technique, and within this heaviness there must be suspension and potential action.
Footwork allows us to have the right distance and timing.
The right distance and timing so I don’t have to fight the opponent’s power, so I can apply my power when he cannot apply his/her, at the “off” moment in the opponent, and this chance is so slim that if you realized it in your brain you are too late.
Good footwork allows me to engage on my terms, not on the opponent’s terms.
When using footwork, one should not be rigid, neither collapsed relaxed, one should be relaxed but elastic, so the breath can catch and dictate the opponent’s rhythm and at same time can apply pressure to either foot to initiate technique.
Also being soft between allows us to be sensitive to the opponent movement, energy and intention.
One should be able to switch instantly from kime to softness, and changing distance and position, and from smooth footwork to kime.
We use the feet to initiate a technique, we react to the chance with the feet, and we fake and set up to create a chance with the feet.
Having the strongest technique and kime is useless without good footwork and having the best footwork is useless without strong kime.
All this strange concepts need lots of detailed, deep training till they are not strange anymore but natural to our body, engrained in our nervous system.