Too slow? Watch more carefully
I had a conversation with a person who commented that our taijutsu looked “too slow” to him. He felt that for a real fight, we should be practicing with what he called “realistic speed”.
I understand how he could feel that way. Once upon a time a long time ago, I too studied a less mature form of martial art, a less sophisticated form of martial art, in which beating people to the punch or throw was the only way to win.
I did not say it that way to him, though, because it would only have resulted in an argument based on emotional hopes and beliefs. Instead, I invited him to look at a video clip of our art in action.
He wasn’t impressed. “See? There you go. You guys are moving slowly. Your art works as long as you guys agree to move slow.”
I knew he would say that. I was ready for his misperception. “OK. Now watch the clip again and this time, only watch the attackers. Check out how quickly and explosively they move.”
He watched and this time he remained silent. I could tell he was confused and did not know what to think.
I helped him out. “There is absolute speed. And there is relative speed. In the same way, there is power and there is relative power. If your timing is right, you can fit into furious action with minimal motion. Of course, if you are not aware of timing, or you are not experienced enough to use timing to your advantage, you will not be able to pull it off.”
It is all about mastery. The master painter may indeed need less paint and fewer strokes to tell more of a story. The master mechanic uses only minimal elbow grease action to get the most from tuning up a racing engine. Little children use high volume to express the importance they feel their words carry, while a master story teller may instead use a hushed voice to really capture an audience.
Of course, you have to be ready to hear such logic. If you are still a splash and slap painter, a bang-around mechanic, or an exuberant little kid, none of this makes sense.
Check out the video clip of spontaneous totally unrehearsed sword clashes and only watch the attackers’ speed and explosiveness. Do not even consider my speed. Then reflect on the results of each clash.
Can you see it? Can you get it? Are you ready to get it?