Friday, December 2, 2011

Irimi, Kuzushi, and a Dragon in a Pink Dress

Someone states emphatically:
Kuzushi is achieved through irimi. That is to say, I must always enter to connect to my partner's balance structure before I can perform waza. (AikiWeb)
In perhaps over-simplistic terms, irimi is a very direct entry to seize control of a situation, overwhelming an attacker; kuzushi is off-balancing; and waza is the application of technique. In essence, in the situation of attack, the defender responds in a way to overwhelm the attacker, off-balancing him and creating an opening to apply a technique.

The poster is concurring with another fellow who dismisses the principles such as leading into a circular path without first taking such action as fantasy.

Keep your eye on the ball now, Reader. Are we following this fellow's argument? Does it make sense?
How about if we reconsider the assertion in a less martial, more marital example?


If find yourself as the focus of another's attention--call it an "attack" if you like--then the there is already a connection in place. Irimi occurred when something about you--an idea, an emotion, your perfume, your bank account, whatever--entered the attacker's mind--and do note that you may or may not have had any direct involvement in that. And the kuzushi? That occurred when the attacker surrendered to whatever it was that held his attention--his attachment--resulting in some physical effect.

So, a question: Must irimi precede kuzushi? Is a fellow randy because a girl is dishy, or vice versa? Consider how we may juxtapose me having bad day with your nose being a suitable target for my fist. These are cases of dependent arising--types of balanced equivalences, or balanced equations--we can't have a cause without an effect and vice versa.

We can chat more about that another time. For now, let's return to our martial example: Suppose I suddenly find myself in a situation where I need to irimi. Could it be that noticing the situation itself was an irimi that caught my attention? That my need to respond in a particular way to the circumstances was my own off-balancing (kuzushi)? What is seizing control here if not your simple, practiced response to your own perception of a vacuum of control? Are you not simply falling into a hole you dug for yourself? How can you escape this cycle?

So, some homework questions for you. Tell me:
  • What happens to the dance if the dragon stops chasing the ball? 
  • How can the dragon cease pursuit without becoming the ball? 
  • What becomes of the dragon when he discovers there was no ball at all?

Go ahead, show me your waza!
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