Sakamoto-Sensei once told me to stop worrying about
hitting my opponent. After time and practice, I think
I finally understand why.
stop worrying about hitting your opponent and just
do it, your body flows more naturally. As you make
contact, the power is released more spontaneously and
powerfully than when you force your punch to hit a
When you’re fighting an opponent,
the two of you are usually in motion. So if you aim
a strike at a certain spot on your opponent’s
body, chances are they will shift. Your attack will
miss and then you will be vulnerable to a counterattack.
But if you are focused in the moment and just attack
whenever an opening presents itself, without worrying
about blocking, then you’re more likely not to
telegraph your moves and to land a strike.
are practising your kata, bunkai, and so on, your mind/body
never stops at one attack, though to outsiders watching
you it looks as if you did. For example, in Seisan
the first few moves have hidden strikes, but without
proper practice and understanding, onlookers do not
I focus on attacking is that I believe if you are fighting
and you focus on blocking, then your body will hesitate – thinking,
yes, I blocked it – and
forget to counterattack. So if you attack through or
around (taisabaki) your opponent’s striking limbs,
you will actually hit him before his strike is finished.
This will make your attack almost impossible to defend
against. You don’t just “hit” your
opponent – you flow through
them until the confrontation is done.
worry about hitting, your body tenses up (even though
you don’t think
it does), because your mind sends a signal to your
striking limb, and to your whole body, to brace for
impact. If you stop worrying about hitting, then that
signal is not sent and nothing tightens up. The energy
(ki) is allowed to circulate freely throughout your
body and into your opponent’s, and
one strike flows continuously into the next.
I find that
my speed keeps increasing. One of the main reasons
is that there is less and less tension in my body.
You can never be too relaxed. That said, I do maintain
a compressed, springy tension in my tanden, which controls
the centre that connects your upper and lower body
in a single unit. With your body moving as a unified
whole, the kata and bunkai you execute become single,
flowing moves instead of a series of separate ones.
Your body starts to move smoothly, without pause. So
if you’re attacked, you will hit without
hesitation, swiftly deciding the outcome.
—Matt Mannerow, 4th dan, shihandai, Grey-Bruce