Within Ninjutsu, the strategy of “ken tai ichijo”, or translated “the body and weapon are one” is one of the first principles that should be firmly grasped by all practitioners in their training. The coordination of utilizing the body’s full weight and power that can be generated by proper alignment of the musculature and body positioning is not an easy task, it can take years to fully grasp or master this principle throughout the physical empty hand and weapon skills that you will learn.
But like each piece I put here on this website and the podcasts, I am going to lay out a few training tips to help bump you up a level in your next training situation.
1) Practice the Kihon Happo and sanshin no kata, utilizing the ken tai ichijo
- In the air
- Against a heavy bag or makiwara
2) Train with HEAVY weapons! Items that are two or three times the normal weapon weight will pull you into their momentum. This forces you to utilize your whole body in a smooth, cohesive movement to prevent the tool from “getting away” from you.
3) Proper sabaki to enhance your striking power. A strike and footwork must be coordinated utilizing the following patterns: (Daken Shiho gata)
- Step and strike together
- Strike and step following
- Step and then strike
- Strike and no step (body movement)
Once this concept is fully internalized it allows us to understand that synchronized movement between intention, breathing, walking, twisting and flexing the spine, as well as moving the arms, legs, and weapon simultaneously in unity leads to real power and martial arts effectiveness. Unifying your body to any weapon at hand then becomes an extension of the same movements that you have trained with the empty hand flow. Seamless transition between weapons and unarmed combat at this point is as effortless as breathing.