Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu Dojo, Victoria BC Canada

2. It’s Not about the Hands

It’s not about the hands.

Or even the arms. Striking is about the application of force, and striking tactically is about striking with the intent to cause specific effect. Shoving is also a kind of strike, and you don’t need hands to shove. Somewhere in here is what it means to push, where pushing is like sighing and where sighing moves mountains.

People mountains.

The intersection of striking and shoving is a push-like motion that applies force without either striking or shoving, and is quite effective when applied at close range with bladed and / or large surfaces of the body. Two simple forms of pushing are:

  1. Instead of striking by sending a limb hurtling toward the target, strike by making contact with the target and sending compacted force through the target’s body in an arc.
  2. Instead of shoving by reaching out to push against part of the target’s body, shove by making contact with the target and moving your body (not just your arms or chest) to move the target’s body along an arc. You can improve your impact by varying the structure of each of your limbs.

Why an arc? Because flat force has limited effect. Flat force travels in one direction, and your body can only reach so far in any direction.

You can extend your ‘reach’ by applying force dynamically in a connected series of directions. Arcs are effective because arcs are comprised of multiple directions that work together to keep energy in motion.

Arcs aren’t the only multi-directional applications of force found in taijutsu; some applications, for example, are linear applications of the same theory (e.g., travel until resistance and then down). Joint manipulations often involve rotation / torque / torsion. The torso and / or whole body can be moved in a similar way to a joint manipulation by using the pushing motions mentioned above.

They’re also a fun way to move furniture.

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