What’s the difference between a Sensei and a student? Well not as much as you might
think! We instructors think of ourselves every much as
students of the martial arts as our own students do. Can you ever ‘get’ martial arts? well I hope not! The subject is as deep and as fascinating as each persons mind will let it be. If you think the subject is just about hitting someone, then you will quickly reach a boredom threshold in that direction!
So what are the differences to how teachers of the martial arts see things compared to the students? Well I think students tend to want to ‘learn’ and keep something, while instructors tend to want to ‘understand’ the deeper principles.
For instance, working with my students over the past few weeks in a variety of subjects from Aikido, combat, Karate sword etc. got me to see and ponder on one of those deeper principles. It’s about how much the label we give the martial arts movement we are studying, is actually defined by the point of contact we have with the object\opponent that is moving towards us.
In Aikido, that first point of contact is lighter and fluid. Our block is moving at the same speed as the attack, the contact between say the opponents grab, and your block and capture movement will be a fluid movement that picks up the attack and then guides or manipulates it to a point of instability and weakness for the attacker.
While with Karate, the point of contact is hard and physical! The block will confront and ‘strike’ the opponents attack damaging and nullifying it. With weapon work the point of contact is in understanding how the weapon is designed to work and so moving it accordingly. Like the difference between the velocity of the Nunchuka or the slice of sword movements, which are enhanced when you understand the circular cutting nature of the swords edge. Think about it as a ‘hack’ and you will be working against how this sword (called a Katana) was developed over the centuries, to simply create as much damage at its point of contact!
So there you are – a Sensei principle…’point of contact’. Understand this then you can understand the style you are learning, and then the magic happens, the style will start to teach you!
We as people, moving about our daily lives, are in points of contact with the people we meet, and the moments we move through. Think how differently things might be in our daily lives if we could understand the correct response for each of those points of contact. But that’s for a different lesson!
See you in the dojo.