3 ways to help your Ju Go Further: Part II

"Use the force"


Kimo Williams

 In part one I spoke of the necessity to “Feel the flow” in an attempt to better capture the essence of Ju. In this section, we’ll examine the role of force in Jujitsu. For in Danzan Ryu, our ultimate goal is to “Force Nothing.”

 It’s held that one definition of Ju is non-resistance. I.e. to yield to, rather than to oppose an existing force. While that statement is most definitely true, it is but one aspect of how to “use the force.” Another would be the notion of “harnessing” that available force like electricity and using it to power our own technique.

 Consider the model of Yin and Yang: Yang representing action and energy and Yin representing inaction and non-motion (among myriad other qualities). The process of transferring force from one body to another begins at the top of the circle (see graphic), it immediately swells to maximum ability then begins to rapidly dissipate towards the lowest point. At the lowest point, non-action absorbs a tiny remaining amount of force thereby beginning to lose its stillness and transfer the energy back in the form of potential. That potential then builds to the point where it transforms back into action (yang), and into yet another of its endless cycles. This simple model can be found, to some degree, in the smallest of wave/ particle observations as well as the grandest scale of astrophysics. What would happen if we were to employ that wisdom in our own martial art? Ah ha!

 There are three external forces to consider (life force will be discussed in a later section). They are kinetic, gravitational and inertial. First, Kinetic force is made available to us via our opponent’s pushing, pulling, squeezing, punching and kicking. Based on our cursory understanding of Yin and Yang, if we can become inactive at the point of energy transfer from our fully active opponent, we could harness a certain amount of remaining energy and power our own technique (counter). Thereby allowing our opponent to “finance his own demise.” For example, when Uke is delivering an overhand strike, he attempts to transition his force into Tori at the top of the circle (literally). If Tori is able to become completely inactive, meaning he provides no resistance, he is able to accept the energy of the strike and harness its foce for use in his own application of Seoi Nage. Assuming of course that Tori is sensitive enough to “Feel the Flow.”

 Gravity, the second force mentioned, is available to us at all times. Because of that, it can work for us or against us in the blink of an eye. For example, when Uke provides us with a shove to the chest (kinetic) we can easily fall back and to the ground via gravitational pull. However, if our center is stable and we yield appropriately, gravity can fuel the drop of Imon Tori and thus work to our advantage. Learning to identify the exact moment to utilize gravity, as your main source of force, is the job of Nage no Kata; each technique identifying a slightly different dynamic in harnessing gravity’s power. Many Shime kata provide valuable lessons in gravity as well (little doubt that gravity is at work when “faced” with a large opponent executing a Shiho Gatame). Gravity is clearly one of the most important forces to master in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.

 Lastly there’s inertia. While technically not a natural force, inertia is created when a rotating body draws away from the center, or axis, of rotation. The stable body, usually the larger, is able to release the tether and eject the other via its rotational speed. Ma ai, or harmonic distance, is our way of maintaining the perfect speed/ distance ratio so that we may harness the available force. Consider for example Norimi (a counter technique from Oku whereby Uke’s O’Goshi generates a secondary force that captures Tori’s center and throws him/her to the ground). If the distance between partners is changed or if the speed of the O’Goshi is changed, the amount of available inertia is also changed. If you have ever seen a larger person tossed Norimi by a much smaller partner… you know inertia was the power behind the movement.

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away… A Jedi master whispered the secrets of the universe to his precocious young apprentice: “The Force” he said, is “everywhere. It surrounds us, binds us and moves thru us.” (Or at least something to that effect.) Although technically it’s just a line from a movie, understanding the role of force in our reality is among the loftiest of philosophical pursuits.

 The ability to execute the arts of Danzan Ryu with less and less effort is to a great extent dependent on your ability to learn and use the force available to you. Add that to your ability to “feel the flow” and you’re ready to make your Ju Go further than ever before.

 How to make your effortless Jujitsu spontaneous is the focus of Part 3: how to “Let it Happen.”

 Sensei Kimo Williams is the founder of Burbank Danzan Dojo and can be reached at kimo@burbankjujitsu.com