June 18th , 2017
weeks technique is submitted by Kyoshi
Onegai shimasu, Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and Deshi of USRKUSA,
the moment we first step onto the deck as white belts, were
taught to develop reflexes that permit rapid, reliable and
unconscious responses to life-threatening situations. These
start out as single (but not always simple!) reactions to
an external stimulus, such as the count or perception of
an in-coming attack. But over time - and thousands
of repetitions of kata - our reflexes must become linked,
i.e., triggered by one another in a precise sequence, independent
of the initial external threat. Below are a few examples
of linked reflexes, starting with the initial, and perhaps
most challenging, reflex of moving forward towards danger:
The linking of reflexes does not end with the kiai. Each kiai should trigger an immediate relaxation of muscle to diffuse the shock of the strike, and an immediate assessment of the "battlefield" regarding termination or continuation of the fight.
None of this happens naturally. And attempting to program all these actions into one reflex is physiologically impossible, not to mention bad strategy since it would prevent last-minute adjustments.
Reflexes can be "strong" or "weak," just like muscles. And like muscles, they do best when used for specific tasks. Strengthen your reflexes by linking them together, two at a time. Forge an unbreakable association between how you rotate the wrist (slowly while chambering and rapidly when striking) and how you make a fist (relaxed while chambering and rock hard when striking). Kata becomes the ultimate arbiter for how the links will connect to each other, arranging our conditioned reflexes like dominoes, one precipitating the next almost seamlessly. With any luck, this may bring us closer to achieving Gan, Soku, Tanden and Riki.
Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi!