This year, 2017, Hatsumi Sensei demonstrated that mutodori is not simply the fact of defending unarmed against a sword attack. The mutodori is primarily a state of mind. On my last trip to Japan, Hatsumi sensei said that the understanding of mutodori was the basis of the true budo.
The key word for the control of mutodori is undoubtedly control. Control the situation, control the opponent but above all, learn to control oneself. First error in the learning of mutodori, this is only my point of view, it is probably the fact that most people do not have control of their emotions when performing these techniques. Hatsumi sensei has repeatedly said that we must not do techniques, that things must be done in a natural way. I just had to look around to realize that it was not.
A lot of people want to look good in the eyes of Soke and the other people in class. Rather than do what Soke teaches and find themselves in unknown territory, they prefer to rely on their memory and reproduce pattern where they feel safe. We must learn to leave his comfort zone. Hatsumi has already said to trust the divine part that is inside of us. If one executes the technique with the fear of appearing bad, one misses an essential part of learning, failure.
Second error in the study of mutodori, the total control of the opponent. Of course we must manage the weapon. But the opponent has two arms, it is easy for him to take out another knife if we focus our attention only on the main weapon. One must be aware of the leveraging of the human body. You control a finger that has an effect on the wrist, which by itself passes through the elbow positions the opponent’s shoulder so as to orient his hips thus changing the orientation and possibilities of movement of the other arm . All this will, of course, have an effect on the balance and solidity of the opponent’s structure.
Third error, the state of mind. When making a technical, we want to win at the point of making a personal matter. The mutodori requires that one be detached from the action. When one desire too much a result and it is not at the rendezvous, the brain finds itself disturbed momentarily. It must be detached from the fight and let things happen naturally chained. When one looks at Hatsumi sensei to make a technique he acts as if the opponent was an unimportant distraction on his movement from point A to point B. He does not focus on the obligation to win his fight. His face shows signs of aggression only when the body needs extra energy to knock an effector or a key. As soon as this moment passes, it resumes its peaceful and detached aspect. It’s shizen, it’s natural.
Hatsumi sensei often redirects the opponent’s attack with one finger. He voluntarily exaggerates the situation to show us that if we put pressure in the right place and at the right time, we do not have to use physical force to control the opponent. In Japan during classes, it was not uncommon to see people clinging strongly to their partner and trying to get them to the ground by the power of their muscles alone. Most often these people take up so much space that they always end up jostling everyone around them. They want a result proving their ability to master the opponent rather than try to improve, even if it looks bad at the moment.
We have to learn a lot from mutodoris. To get there, we must accept that it takes time and that we must leave our ego aside.
Master and disciple
Master and Disciple, the birth of a warrior, is a fiction novel that plunges us in the discussions of a martial arts master and his student. It explores the evolution of the disciple throughout his everyday activities. Whether it be when shopping for a hat, or meditating in the depth of a cave, the teachings of the master are omnipresent. The birth of a warrior can prove laborious. Like the sword hammered by the blacksmith, the heart of the warrior can take years to be forged, continuously experiencing joy and pain. A master’s teachings may be hard to decipher, the disciple must learn to read between the lines and see the hidden meaning behind everything taught. Finally, he must learn to read into the hearts of his enemies, but above all, his own.