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Tekiyo - Progressing from Basics to Combat

The effective application of jujutsu techniques stems from a journey deep-rooted in the mastery of fundamental principles and basic techniques. This combative tradition of feudal Japan, is based on the concept of being supple, yielding, and flexible, reflected in the kanji term "ju" (柔). In training, practitioners must attain a thorough understanding of the fundamental techniques, or "waza" (技) before they can advance to more complex applications against unrestrained opponents. Such applications can be described as tekiyo (敵用), which means the application of jujutsu "for the enemy". In the modern world, tekiyo can encompass a comprehensive set of applications used in self-defence, military and law-enforcement.

A common frustration among beginners arises when they realise that tekiyo is not truly attainable until they have a deeper understanding of basic waza. Using an analogy, we can say that attempting complex real-world applications of jujutsu, such as in self-defence or law enforcement, is akin to attempting to write an essay without first learning the alphabet. In this analogy, the letters of the alphabet being the most fundamental aspects of literacy, which for jujutsu, equates to the basic techniques. The basics, include skills of joint manipulation, striking, throwing, and evasive manoeuvres, among others.

The refinement of this basic waza, results in greater mechanical efficiency, muscle memory, physical condition, mental awareness and composure. These qualities give the practitioner a greater chance of executing effective tekiyo in real-world scenarios that are likely to be far more stressful and unforgiving than with a cooperative training partner (uke). Perseverance, consistency, and attention to detail are essential for beginners as they absorb these fundamentals.

In addition to the basic techniques themselves, there are other underlying concepts that lend themselves to jujutsu effectiveness. We can call these, the fundamentals of the fundamentals. For instance, correct posture or tachi shisei, is stressed to beginners from day one. It ensures balance, mobility and efficient transmission of power. The concept of controlled breathing is another underlying concept, referred to as kokyu. This form of deep breathing helps mental composure and muscular function through improved blood oxygenation. Unique breathing methods are also used to relax the diaphragm and abdomen with the intention of lowering the body's centre-of-gravity, commonly referred to as the tanden or seika tanden. This tanden is one of the most important biomechanical principles of traditional budo. It is seen as a source of energy and a means to increase the power of techniques. It has even been referenced in several scientific research works.

Psychological principles are equally important in jujutsu. Mental awareness and alertness, known as zanshin, ensure practitioners are mindful of their surroundings and potential threats, enabling quick, decisive action.

The integration of both psychological principles, and refined basic techniques, form the 'underlying technology' that makes jujutsu effective. With these, practical combat becomes a sophisticated interplay of balance, leverage, timing, and mental focus. Practitioners can now apply techniques in varied, dynamic situations with precision and fluidity. This integration sets jujutsu apart from other martial arts, offering a truly holistic self-defence approach.

Only after internalizing the fundamentals can practitioners progress to effective tekiyo - the application against a realistic enemy. Beginners must embrace the hard work and dedication required to achieve this, understanding that this foundation is crucial for mastering jujutsu.


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