One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in your training is what I call, "compartmentalization."
Not only does correct training expose and force you out of this habit, but it also shows you "why" the techniques are the "way" they are - that they're not merely "our styles' moves" compared to any other style of martial arts.
I promise to make all this more clear as we move along through today's lesson, so please make sure you read all the way to the end.
So, what do I mean by compartmentalization?
It's simple really.
It's seeing any skill or technique as "that" thing, alone and isolated from any other skill or technique.
Rolling is rolling.
A series of "moves" with a foreign (Japanese) name from such-and-such a scroll is "that" thing - that kata - and only that.
Sword work, shuriken throwing and use, etc., are what they are.
There is no cross-over, unless of course Soke or a Shihan demonstrate it and/or it's a part of an official kata.
This problem actually came up with some training that we were doing at the dojo this week. Actually, it comes up more often than I care to discuss at the moment, but what happened this week both illustrates the lesson perfectly, and it served as the basis of last nights training.
Here's what was happening.
Students were going through a sword cut evasion drill where they had to avoid several predetermined cuts and then end by rolling away.
At about the midway point in the drill (after they had gone through the preset actions several times to get the idea, and as they entered the roll, I followed them quickly, forcing them to continue rolling to avoid.
Result: Their rolling was good to excellent.
But: They all died in the end!
Well, here's where the problem and the compartmentalization came in.
They forgot the concept of naname (angling). You know... getting and staying OFF of the attacking line!
What that means is that they continued to roll directly away from me... on the SAME line, with no angle change or Naname.
But that's not it, they also forgot about the nature of a sword, which is to cut.
This is one of several critical principles that we will focus on during this year's New Year's Daikomyo-sai seminar where the theme is: Edged Weapons.
You can download the seminar flyer here: Daikomyo-sai 2016 Ninjutsu Training
And, if you already know you're attending but haven't registered yet (better hurry; the early registration discount deadline is almost here), you can do that here: Register Now for Daikomyo-sai 2016
They forgot that it doesn't matter if I'm trying to cut them, or if they pass a part (or three) of their body across the edge. Either way, a cut takes place.
And that's where they "died," or would have if they weren't in a training drill in the dojo and this were the real thing!
Because they continued rolling on the same line, I was able to simply reach out and lower the blade so that their own rolling action caused their body parts to touch and move along the edge, causing them to in effect... cut themselves.
So, last night, they practiced doing the same thing with their rolling that they've been doing all along with their punch and kick evasion... naname! Breaking from the line of the attack so the attacker has to constantly change and over extend to get at you...
... to not be where the danger is!
But, this isn't just about breaking angle either, as my dojo students learned. Because, just randomly changing direction can cause you to pass by the sword when you already cleared it.
The idea or concept isn't random. It's in the kata. In this form, using rolling to evade, it's a part of the Ichimonji waza within the Muto-Dori Taihen Waza ("no-blade catching, body movement actions"), which uses your rolling skills to "catch" or "take" the armed attacker when you don't have one yourself.
It's knowing not only how to roll, but also the nature of the blade. It's not only about not getting cut or winning, but where the openings are and will be for your sword-wielding attacker, and at what points in time.
Because, only with these principles and concepts can we turn the tables on someone who the Universe has given the greatest advantage... and (hopefully), survive!
And make no mistake; this would be the same if we were talking about avoiding a thrown rock or running away from an active shooter!
But, our training must include these things, if you're going to be more than just another martial artist showing off in your cool 'pajamas'!
It's why you not only MUST get your naname right, but also understand and be able to blend you skills in a fluid, effective, and scientific way.
If you're new to this concept, or want to explore it more deeply, and you need to get a better understanding about both defending against and using edged weapons, then you might want to be here for our New Year's Daikomyo-sai seminar, January 8th - 10th, 2016.
Because that's the theme: Edged Weapons.
Here's the link to download the seminar information flyer. (You'll notice that the deadline for the early registration discount is fast approaching also!): Download the Flyer
If you already know you're attending but haven't actually registered yet, here's the link to do that: Register Now and Save $75!
I want you to really consider what we've discussed in this lesson.
Because, as I've said again and again: "Any monkey can do the moves!" The question is: can you do the moves... CORRECTLY... under pressure... against someone who's trying to beat, break or kill you?!
After all... if we get ego-driven desires for greatness, validation, etc., out of the way... isn't that what the training is all about... SURVIVAL?!
Do me a favor and comment or leave any questions you might have about this topic below. I'd love to hear from you, and whether or not this training was helpful.
ABOUT SHIDOSHI MILLER
A former federal police office, undercover drug suppression and black market investigator, private detective and bodyguard, Shidoshi Miller has used these skills against re-world xriminal attackers where it counts... on the STREET.
Not a big fan of theory and untested methods, he has taught thousands of students from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany and elsewhere around the world, how to translate the historical lessons passed down by our Ninja and Samurai spiritual ancestors, into a supreme set of skills that will work for you against 21st century assailants.