Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some points on Plank Sensei's Saturday class.

Saturday's portion of the seminar began with Plank Sensei's description of the rowing exercise as a valuable "Hojo Undo", or, daily exercise.

He discussed how at first the movements were to be attended to closely, until, as sufficient layers of practice have built into the unconscious, one achieves proper form with less attention. A daily buildup of this practice, according to Plank Sensei, would allow one to develop good basic habits, and provide for the beginnings of both structure and connection in themselves.

Structure was the primary theme of the day, and connection was directly discussed in the latter part of the class. Anyone who attended Sunday's class is invited to convey their experiences and impressions.

I will try to summarize a portion of Plank Sensei's discussion on structure, as seen in both the rowing exercise, and in basic sword cuts.

The way I heard him, and subsequently considered it, is in terms of a right-triangle. Imagine your weight distribution in hanmi from a side view. If your weight is forward, as though you had just completed a strike, it may look something like this:If you had need to repeat the strike, you would shift your weight, and exhibit the 'right triangle' on the left, and onward.

Plank Sensei also described defensive strikes, as though you were late to strike, or behind the incoming attack. Weight would be forward (or to the right), except the strike would be raised and at the ready. In the defensive cut, the weight shifts back (or to the left), and the 'right triangles' are reversed, as below:
The difficulty here, is that this particular practitioner is practicing the first type of offensive strike, so the 'triangles' don't quite match up to the posture we would expect. Just imagine the image on the right shifting his weight back (to the left) in order to avoid and block an attack.

In each of the above images, the straight vertical lines correspond to the higher weight concentration (ie, front foot or back foot)

Next time, pictures of the authors!

That is it for now. I welcome anyone who attended Sunday's portion of the seminar to comment here and tell us how it went.