Monday, July 17, 2006


from Miyomoto Musashi's Gorinnosho, The Water Book...

The Body Strike means to approach the enemy through a gap in his guard. The spirit is to strike him with your body. Turn your face a little aside and strike the enemy's breast with your left shoulder thrust out. Approach with the spirit of bouncing the enemy away, striking as strongly as possible in time with your breathing. If you achieve this method of closing with the enemy, you will be able to knock him ten or twenty feet away. It is possible to strike the enemy until he is dead. Train well.

Gedanate is probably best seen as a backup technique for the previous technique, gyakugamaeate. Although it is possible to enter directly into it , it’s probably a better idea to hold it in reserve in case gyaku gets mixed up. This is more fitting with the aikido “avoid force and keep your distance” strategy. In this context, it is a good separator for atemi gone bad.
Gedan is identical to gyaku but the uke changes the technique, often by doing a rising block (ageuke) with the close arm, but sometimes by trying to turn and punch (gyakuzuki) with the far arm. In response to the distance or spacing being wrong for gyaku, tori enters to the side of uke with the close arm in front and the same leg behind. Tori's front arm can serve as a check for an incoming punch from uke while tori's other arm holds uke's near arm off. Do not twist uke backward over the rear leg. This is mechanically weaker than pushing forward through uke’s center with your hip to drive him back over his back leg. Sukuinage and taniotoshi in judo are variants of this technique – essentially just grab the far leg or fall with him and gedanate becomes one of these other named techniques.

I’ve never thrown someone ten or twenty feet with it, like Musashi suggests, but I have gotten uke a good 6 feet from me in the air.

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