A few nights ago Brent and I stayed late to practice sanchin kata after training and we were lucky enough to have Yamashiro-Sensei pop into the dojo. He sat and watched us for a while before coming over and correcting our posture and body alignment. One thing he said really stayed with me:
“Tanden wa (king), ashi (legs/feet) wa soldiers. King tells soldiers – Go!"What I like most about this analogy is that it captures the subtle difference between initiating movement from the tanden and over exaggerated ‘leading with the hips’ – maybe a bit like a King charging out ahead of his army. In this sense, the tanden shouldn’t so much move before the body, as with it, while giving the orders.
By pulling slightly on my belt, Yamashiro Sensei showed me how to initiate movements without the obvious weight shift involved in stepping. This enabled me to slide forward more easily without telegraphing my movements by keeping my head and upper body aligned and still.
Replicating the movement without Sensei’s help is another matter – it’s much harder pulling yourself around by your own belt! But, so far the imagery has proved useful in training and hopefully with enough practice King Koshi will get better at commanding the troops.
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