2D vs. 3D Wasa by Tony Notarianni
Jack Hoban teaching the USMC at Quantico VA.
"You are trying to do a technique!" said Jack. I knew I was, old habits truly die hard. Such a statement would have sounded like madness to me years ago, but not these days. We had been practicing some concepts from Ichimonji no Kata, and at first I had been in a fairly comfortable zone. I had been watching the tactical space I was familiar with, I knew the terrain. As we moved on to different shaped attacks, and different directions to maneuver, started including Gyaku and other forms, I started to struggle.
Jack mentioned that we students were mostly doing two dimensional techniques. In other words, we were trying to 'push' our opponents down (one direction) and in order to do this we were trying to unbalance them with a lateral movement (second direction). He pointed out that such techniques might not work because the opponent must simply resist sufficiently in two dimensions to prevent them. If the opponent is stronger than you, or has fast reactions, they have a good chance of beating/escaping your technique. Instead we were told to use three dimensional movements, adding an extra direction of movement to the form. This makes it much harder for the opponent to resist and converts their resistance into further imbalance. This is much more efficient.
I knew this, I should have known this. I even teach this. So what was wrong?
I was in the wrong place. A three dimensional technique uses Kaname (a spiraling action), which requires you to be in the Kukan no Kyusho (correct point in space), and you can only find that point if you are paying attention to the changing tactical environment.
I have been taught many times the precedence of Ethics first, then Tactics, and finally Technique. It is a natural law of nature. If you are focused too much on doing a specific technique you might lose focus on the tactical space. If you lose the tactical space your technique will become two dimensional. It might work, it might not, depending on your opponent. By focusing on being in the correct tactical position as a priority, the technique can become much more efficient. You don't have to 'try' so much.
So when I hear my teacher say "You are trying to do a technique!", perhaps I should try to be more tactically positioned instead. I already know how to try and 'force' a technique if I am in the wrong place. If I want to learn and improve I need to start focusing on the higher priorities.
by Tony Notarianni
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