The students are taught to break balance in eight basic directions, each direction is termed a positive action, each action different from the other. As an example, a student standing in a natural posture will have their shoulders immediately above a line under the ball of their feet. Any slight nudge in any direction will stagger them and force them to take a step in what ever direction they have been nudged, or they simply fall over. This can only happen when the shoulders have passed the line under the ball of the feet.
Let us take a circle and divide it into segments, like the spokes of a wheel with the lines radiating from its hub, you would literally have thousands of divisions, each one a positive line of action. So although students are taught only eight basic directions, there are indeed, many thousands. During a technique of Judo, Jututsu or Aikido a student being thrown will pass over many of the segments described, before the conclusion of that technique. Body mechanics determine the ultimate conclusion of technique.
In Kyushindo, the breaking of balance should be a gentle action, and not used with any strength, this only restricts the student to bad technique from the very beginning. Break-falls are taught as a means of safety, and the safety of the student is paramount in the dojo, and indeed, in any walk of life. Break-falls should be taught from as low a position as possible to begin with.
Many ladies have a natural fear of falling from any height and their fears have to be dispelled as quickly as possible. Make their efforts as easy as one can, by beginning from a low position and working up to greater heights. Don’t rush the students, build up their confidence slowly and don’t dwell over long on the break-falls.
Similarly, large men do not like being throw backwards, they all tend to lower themselves before falling, so mentally they are worried. All these doubts have to be reassured before the student can advance with confidence. This of course is all tied up with balance.
If balance and break-falls are fully explained to the student at the very beginning of their martial arts career, everyone will be able to practice with a free and unfettered mind.
Kancho Alfred Bates Judan Hanshi
A Tokushima Budo Council International article detaling the importance of balance within martial arts.
©Copyright Tokushima Budo Council International2008