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The Japanese tradition in conducting a bout

Iai-jutsu, the art of committing the first blow, is a very significant example of the Japanese manner of fighting. This way of conducting a bout was instantaneous and aggressive, when a samurai went from a sitting (relaxed) condition to an explosive attack (the concentration). A legend says that this technique was invented by Hojyo Jinshuke, the founder of the Shin Muso Hayashijake school.

The problem he faced, - to take vengeance on his father's murderer, a famous fencer, in an honest bout, - seemed beyond his strength. But he managed to do it. In Iai-jutsu the whole bout is built on just a couple of unexpected blows, made precisely, with the maximum of speed and the minimum of tense.

"Strike before you are struck."

This tactical direction is very interesting for learning in practice, for:

  • It is almost free of any active defense;
  • The attack is based on speed, not on strength;
  • There are distinct phases, namely:
    1. the phase of coming close to the opponent,
    2. the phase of a shocking blow,
    3. and the final blow phase.

This kind of a bout undoubtedly originated from Japanese roots, because only in Japan rationalism is so much developed, and the purity of motions is so esthetically perfect. Here are some examples of expediency of the samurai approach to the fighting arts:

  • the complete victory in judo is reached in just one effective spurt;
  • in Sumo there are no weight categories; before a bout the shikiri (the psychological fight of glances) is conducted, so that the strongest in spirit wins before the actual bout;
  • there were not so many notches on samurai swords, because a bout was usually won in 1 - 2 blows, and placing the "Yakiba" (the cutting, hardened 5 mm part of a sword) of grandfather's sword against the enemy's blows was an exceptional act;
  • only in Japan a samurai warrior could commit a Seppuka, a ritual suicide, in case he could not do his duty. This kind of uncompromising behavior should be the base of sub-units' strategy.

China, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand have undoubtedly achieved significant results in developing fighting arts, but Japan is the most rational on the list. It would be reasonable to use this rich tactical and technical experience of ancient eastern warriors, but only after some adaptation to the local conditions. We should not forget that everything is changing, and every heritage should be only the subject for considering, not the axiom without any proof.







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