Weaknesses, Strengths, Training and Life.
Seishin Mizu Ryu (the Japanese Jiu Jitsu style we practice at EMA) is an holistic martial art comprising of many different facets for example on its simplest level: throws, break-falls, strikes, locks, holds, weapon defence, disarms and use of staff and sword to name but a few.
With regard to training (as in life), it is all to easy to pay extra attention to what we are good at or what we excel at, and not spend time on what we have difficulties with. Training goes on and everything is fine until we are put to the test and we find that what we had thought was unimportant becomes critical. An example of this could be a Jutsuka who enjoys throwing and break-falling but who thinks locking and striking are boring/difficult until they find themselves in a grading, or unfortunately in a difficult situation outside, where the need for a strike or lock could set up their favourite throw and get them out of trouble.
On the flip side of this are the things we are not so good at which tend to pray heavily on our mind. Quite a lot of you will be new to training and as happens every year falling, in general, is the facet you will find hardest to grasp. It is very easy to let your mind convince your body that you will never be able to get falling and thus be rubbish at Jiu Jitsu and thus the unenlightened may stop training even though they are good at the other elements ie kyusho, locking etc.
This process is all to do with the mind. In martial arts term we call training ‘the way’, and the way is a path on which you walk each time you step inside the dojo with your sensei as your guide. The Japanese term ‘Sensei’ is often translated as ‘teacher’. However it has a more literal meaning of ‘one who has gone before’, in so much as they have walked this part of the way when they were at your level, guided by their sensei. They know what it is like to have the feelings you are having and it is often wise to ask their advice and really listen to their response.
Now the way is never straight and it is invariably not an easy road. It is filled with traps and pitfalls. A recurrent trap for a student is one where we spend too much time focusing on one particular facet either positively or negatively thus drawing us away from the rest of the art. Later as a sensei you will revisit this trap with your students and learn and understand more about its meaning.
In summary no matter at what level you are in the Ryu you will find that you have favourite elements/facets/techniques and these will change over time. My favourite throw when I started training going on for 30 years ago was O Soto Gari, then it changed to O Uchi Gari, Ippon Seoi Nage, Uki Goshi, Sasae Tsuri Komi Ashi etc.
With the changes I made my weaker throws became my stronger throws for in training it is always good form to work hardest on what you are weakest. So like the chain all of your links become strong overall.
My final thought on this is to imagine the chain being a circle and so the process continues on Once you have strengthened your weaknesses in each of the facets, its time to begin strengthening the new weakest again, such is the nature of training and life.