The Secret of Ten-shou (The Conversion of Power to Technique)
Ten-shou is the form which symbolizes softness as to San-chin is the representation of the hardness among the karate forms. Practitioners practice San-chin in order to build their bodies which strengthen their muscles and tendons. Meanwhile、Ten-shou loosens the body like a flexible whip so that the practitioners can execute higher performance by converting energy effectively. The well trained body creates the greater gap of the energy between the tension and relaxation of these muscle and tendon which heighten his performance.
In Seibukai Karate, we train Sanchin upon the purpose of establishing unified body and how to utilize the body. When the power of each individual is the same level, the powers eliminate each other. In this manner, overpowering with a bigger power against the opponent is called "Gou” as roughness. Utilizing smaller power to overcome bigger opponent is called "Jyu” which is symbolized softness. Jyu is sophisticated techniques that enable to overcome bigger opponents with smaller power by advanced skills that unbalance of the opponent’s center axis and his center of gravity. When the technique utilized effectively, small power can overwhelms bigger power: this is called "Jyu-ka” which means "softening” in Seibukai Karate.
In order to break opponent’s center and his core, either push or pull the target of the body; however, these straight forces which against each others are confrontational. Meanwhile, Tenshou enables to unbalance opponent by the circular movement with incorporating pushing and pulling forces. This concept of the technique is similar to those of Aikido and Jyu-jitsu (grappling). In addition, even when the opponent became forceful, it is possible to defeat him with incorporating the power of Sanchin that is the power of Kung-fu.
In martial arts, the power is classified as two ways. One is the power generated by the skeletal muscles which is forceful and confrontational against the force of the opponent. Another one is penetrating force whose energy is created by Sanchin. This is called `Kei-ryoku that is explosive force. Generally muscle power depends on the skeletal structure and its joints. Thus, the energy diminishes as they are transferred throughout the structures of the body. The followings are comparison of the muscular power vs. Kei-ryoku.
l Muscle power is visible as it moves. Kei-ryoku is invisible and does not form.
l Muscle power is rigid. Kei-ryoku is flexible.
l Muscle power is slow. Kei-ryoku is fast.
l Muscle power is dreary. Kei-ryoku is intense.
When the practitioner does not recognize these differences in two distinctive forces, he would waste his time to train muscles that eventually weakens by aging based on the sport science.
In karate, the practitioners train external parts of their bodies as a beginning stage of the practice. This is similar to the other sport athletes who build their muscles. However, as a lifelong martial arts, the completeness of the training will not be achieved without the unification of training muscles, bones and tendons by utilizing Ki (life force) and blood. Aging occurs due to the weakening of Ki and blood. Majority of karate practitioners do not know about this higher level of the training. Thus, they do not develop their skills beyond the beginning level of martial arts training. I believe that karate training should be considered as martial way based on development of Ki energy that deepens Sanchin-kata training. When the practitioners recognize this difference between sport and the martial way, the true training of martial way begins.
The basic of karate is based on punches and kicks which is built upon the main mechanism of transferring energy to the opponent that attributes awareness of the center axis and Tanden (the center of gravity) in the body. The center and the core exist in his awareness of the body. Thus, when the individual has no awareness of them, they do not exist. The center locates the straight line which connects his head through anus. Tanden is locates in the center of abdomen where you feel the vibration in the stomach when you jump up and down with heels. Monkeys enable to maneuver from tree to tree by alternating their arms which transfer their center of gravity. Human began to walk by alternating legs and arms. This crossing line of arms and legs is the center, and thus human are able to generate their power from this twisting motions.
Therefore, the technique to unbalance or break opponent’s center axis and its core enable to weaken opponent’s attack. Tenshou kata is based on this theory which control opponent’s center by circular motion. These techniques allow small energy overcome bigger power as softness overcome hardness. Roundhouse block with knife hands and reverse punch from circular block are the example of the technique.
The nature of the universe consists of circular movements or oval shapes such as movements or shapes of trees, rivers, mountains, planets in the sky, or even four seasons. The movement of circle is balanced without distortion. It is continual motion that has no beginning or ending; therefore, the technique of circular motion is smooth and continuum. Of course, there are different techniques which incorporate with the circular motion. These subtle techniques are called Nen (sticking your body to the opponent’ body) and Sou (synchronizing your speed to the opponent’s speed). Combining these techniques such as triangle steps (positioning to the opponent’s blind spot) and Sanchin power, the practitioner enables to advanced opponent’s force with unbalancing opponent’s center and overcome his force.
Generally, people think that bigger and stronger is better. However, this concept does not apply to the martial arts because the concept of martial arts is to control the opponent without being confrontational rather than being forceful by facing against each others. For example, when the opponent grabs your wrist, you should not be tensed because your power and opponent’s power fight against each others, and bigger power wins. However, it is possible to control opponent’s force by manipulating situation with taking his blind spot and executing throw.
Upon the execution of these techniques, there are two issues. One is too much hardness yet, too little softness. Another is too much softness and too little hardness. The concept is contradictory; however, the relationship between hardness and softness become co-exist and helping each other which is the fundamental concept of Seibukai Karate, and it became the symbol of Seibukai.
The followings are the summary of the concepts of Seibukai Karate:
1. To obtain stability of center and the center of gravity through basic exercise, steps and kata practices.
2. Position of your own to find an advantage against the opponent with finding his blind spot.
3. To utilize the circular motion and movement in order to control the opponent’s balanced force.
4. To overcome opponent’s force by transferring energy created by Sanchin power.
Eventually, the training will become more internal from external practice of the body. The center and the center of the gravity do not exist as an organ in the human body. These are awareness of one’s own sense. Throughout daily training, the practitioner becomes aware of the specific senses built upon his body by awaking hidden senses suddenly.
With this simple repetitive training, the practitioner reaches the ultimate state of being whose attention begins to communicate your own body rather than fighting externally against the opponent. At this stage, the practitioner begins to feel the changes of heightening the internal energy with the spiritual enlightenment by refining the awareness of the center and Tanden.
As this stage progress, the defense against opponents becomes defense against disease. The martial arts become the method of reaching the completeness of life. As the result, the 50s and 60s practitioners exceed beyond the strengths and stamina of 20s and 30s young practitioners.
Seibukai thinks that "the fist is a human,” in which means that martial arts is a part of humanity. Throughout hard training, the practitioners are going through fear and negativities. The practitioners build strength by changing from negative attitude to positive mind with patience and perseverance. Hopefully, reaching to his goals and accomplishments with his strong will, that is lifelong martial way.In modern day, the sport science and western training methods contributed the development and flourishing of sport karate by integrating sport medicine. I do neither intend to deny the other karate groups and organization nor aspect of the sport karate; however, karate is originally martial arts based on the oriental philosophy and its culture. I would appreciate if you could take part in my idea that represents the philosophy of Seibukai Karate as we conserve the way of martial arts.