Friday, 8 August 2008

Book of Five Rings Examination, Part 6

This week’s piece from Musashi’s great book is entitled The Body Blow and is taken from the Water Scroll.
“The Body Blow is when you close in on an opponent’s side and hit him with your body. Turning your face slightly to the side and thrusting your left (or right) shoulder forward, you hit him in the chest. In making the hit, exert as much strength as possible with your body. In making the hit, the idea is to close in with a bound at the moment of peak tension.

Once you have learned to close in like this, you can knock an opponent back several yards back. It is even possible to hit an opponent so hard that he dies.

This requires thorough training and practice.”

In modern MMA one of the most outstanding additions to the sport was the cage concept. When fighting in a cage as opposed to a ring, there is no possibility of falling or getting pushed through ropes. Also as the cage is sturdier than ropes it is hard to manoeuvre when against it. For this reason, many cage fighters try and push there opponents against the cage weather standing or on the ground.

Using Musashi’s body blow tactic is a great way when standing to push your opponent against the cage in order to put your opponent at the disadvantage.

Obviously, this technique only really works when you are already close in to your opponent. If your more than a foot away from your opponent and you charge in with your shoulder in order to push him backwards, chances are he will see it coming and simply side step in order to dodge the charge, in which could lead to yourself being caught against the cage.

When close to the cage and clinched with your opponent but still left with a small space to manoeuvre, keep holding your opponent with one hand, whilst letting go with the other and simultaneously drop your head to the side and barge him in the chest with your shoulder. This must be done fast so as your opponent can not move out the way. By holding with one hand you shall be able to control your target slightly better. Remember to thrust with your shoulder so turn your body also to the side with your head. Drive through thoroughly with the technique so as to press your opponent tight against the cage.

As Musashi sates, “this requires thorough training and practise”


Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 7

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Patrick Parker said...

Cool series on Musashi you are doing here. I've done a few of these at but you seem to be doing a much more comprehensive treatment of gorinnosho.

Here is one of my articles on the 'Body Blow' as Musashi calls it.

MARKS said...

Thanks Pat. I just think that Musashi's teaching are as much a part of martial arts today as there were when he was around and that people should study his teachings.

Anonymous said...

Using the trunk of the body or the shoulders to deliver a blow is very effective since it's so unexpected, I seriously doubt you'd kill a man with it but it's certainly a nifty tactic. In the Filipino Martial Arts this is called a baga (at least if I remember correctly) or shoulder-butt and it's used to knock the opponent off balance before delivering more strikes, an uppercut with the opposite hand is especially useful since the head is knocked back and it makes for a clean knockout. It's amazing how much the different martial arts have in common and even more suprising to hear about this from a Japanese swordsman who lived centuries ago. You'd think blows with the body or the limbs have no place in weapons-fighting but when used correctly they can really turn the tables and if it worked for Musashi it's certainly good for me.

Great series,


PS: the phrase you quoted at the end comes back at least several times in each chapter (more often than not at the end of each paragraph) and to me it's the true essence of Go Rin No Sho: "this requires thorough training and practise". Learning the MA is not a purely or even predominately intellectual endavour and only through constant practice does one come to the principles that govern the techniques and makes them come alive and work for you in real fighting. This is applicable to all styles and all aspects of the MA and thus it is the true heart of the Martial Way. Musashi's life and feats are an enduring testimony to that and it does you credit you take an interest in this great master and classic and try to make his insights applicable to the modern world of sports-fighting. The great scientists of bygone centuries may have become obsolete (or at least their works have) but truly wise men will never be forgotten and we can all learn from the great martial artists and strategists of the past.

MARKS said...

ZARA - Thanks for your comment. The phrase "this requires thorough training and prctise" is indeed quoted constantly by Musashi in the book and I think it is one of the most important quotes of all. Simply becuase, it is easy to read his writings or any writings in fact or to watch videos, but without the constant practise and repetition, one will never be able to perform the tehchnique properly and under real conditions.

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