No Fundamentals?

It has been brought to my attention that people think kyushojitsu is overly technical, that we focus too much on striking specific points in specific ways rather than working fundamentals.

When we say “fundamentals” we mean things like stance, footwork, generating power, kinetic linking, speed and reaction time, maintaining guard, etc.

My immediate response to this would usually be “take a class and find out!” but one individual recently told me that they did exactly that, and felt they wasted a lot of time because they never learned anything practical… if this was in fact the case for any of you out there, then on behalf of the whole kyusho community, I apologize.

More often than not, people try to “learn” kyusho from youtube videos or books, which just isn’t going to work. Videos tend to present the aspects of our art which make it unique. Typically this is our precision targeting. We don’t put out free videos on fundamentals because, frankly, they aren’t all that special. A punch is a punch. Tai sabaki applies to every fighting art out there. Why bother presenting the same information seen a thousand times just to prove we use it like everyone else? Some books may go into these details, but most are actually written for those who already have foundations in other martial arts. In either case, book or video, one cannot attain the visceral experience of training with a live, knowledgeable sensei.

While kyushojitsu does apply to most martial arts, and its principles and targets can be utilized by anybody, using any style, at its heart it is an “internal” art. Sometimes called “soft styles” this family of martial arts focuses on the subtler dynamics which are best conveyed through direct experience and contact. “Kokyu-Ho” is an aikido technique that teaches the student how correct use of breath can influence power output. It sounds like magic and looks “fake” on screen, but when you feel a trained practitioner perform it on you, there can be no doubt!

I am a long time practitioner of these arts. I have spent YEARS developing my hand techniques, toughening my tissues, hardening my bones, building proper structure and speed with which to execute various “exotic” strikes. I practice yoga and qigong every day to build up my balance, flexibility, and internal power. Any sincere practitioner will do these things. We all run drills and spar like anyone else, at least this has been true of everyplace I personally have studied.

I hate to say it, but the only reason I can imagine a “school” would spend all their time talking about highly specific target areas without showing any real application of technique would be to mask the fact that their techniques do not work. I could see certain groups not going into fundamentals because they assume you already have them, but you should at least see evidence of this in sparring practice.

Because kyushojitsu is highly technical, it would make sense that some schools only teach people who already have solid backgrounds in other arts. I myself will be teaching all levels of students, which means we WILL be working fundamentals. Because my own background is in “soft styles” and “internal arts” we will be working a lot with those subtle principles mentioned before like shifting the center of gravity (“rooting” and “floating” we call it), using breath to augment power, “sticky hands” and “fa jing.” I haven’t done videos about these things because, as I said before, they are better understood when felt than seen. I have seen the commentary on videos demonstrating these principles and I know most people doubt their legitimacy. Why put myself out there to be ridiculed by those who haven’t the courage to step to me in person!? I am more than happy to demonstrate on someone willing to feel it!

I just want to say I have heard you, and I will do what I can to get some video of fundamentals and drills uploaded as soon as possible!

Remember, I am currently building a network through our facebook group (KJWA – USA) so if you are a Kyushojitsu World Alliance black belt or teacher, be sure to contact me there and get on the list! I would love to get some video of us working together to further develop and honor the name of out art!

About the Author Rae Heskett

Born intersex, assigned "male" at birth, but her femininity was obvious as she developed. Ergo, Rae is both "intersex" and "transgender" in that her gender does not match that assigned at birth. She identifies as "hijra" or "kathoey" -words from Hindi and Thai languages respectively for "third gender" people. Rae is an author, holistic healer, and martial artist. She teaches and provides services professionally.

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