In the past 2-3 years I've done a LOT of travelling to lay hands on other martial artists. I've done aikido, judo, jodo, and jujutsu, and I have ranged from Virginia to Oklahoma and from Tennessee to Texas. Last year I did at least 1 trip per month.
I've seen and felt a lot of very competent artists, but only 2-3 that I consider really, really masterful.
I've met several martial artists who can dash me into the ground violently every time I touch them. But that's not mastery. It's not in the vigor of their technique. So, what feel do I associate with mastery?
When I grab or punch at someone that instantly takes control of me and places me on the ground gently, under complete control, I say to myself, "Wow, this is someone I need to spend more time with!"
To me, inexorability is the mark of the master. You attack them and you get the feeling that you are destined to sit down and calm down and nothing that you can add to the encounter will change that. The master accepts your aggression and calms it down to a zero energy level and there is nothing you can do to get amped back up.
I get this feel when doing judo with Bob Rea. I get this feel doing aikido with Henry Copeland or JW Bode or Carmen Pelusi. I get this feel with Jack Beiler in jodo. There are others... but not many - most of the players I've laid hands have more of a heavy-handed Hulk-smash sort of pillage&burn feel - at least when compared to real mastery.
I want to grow up to be inexorable
[photo courtesy of Cameron Grant]
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