Kan, Kyu, Kyo, Jyaku
As Morris has mentioned, we've been going through the Gyokko Ryu's Jo-ryaku & Chu-ryaku no maki this year. I have seen these techniques taught in other dojo's I've trained in, but have never had the fine detail revealed. Manaka sensei's emphasis on adhering to kihon has made even more of an impression on me during the study of this particular ryu. Without kihon, none of the kata could be performed with any real skill, proper intent or flow. Flow is still something I'm working on but with Morris' constant drive to master & fine tune our basics, I feel I am able to at least get to the meat & bones of these kata now after spending the last two years just on our kihon.
The thing about Gyokko Ryu, for me personally, has been the fine motor skills involved while executing the gross motor movements, but this has also led to other fundamental reminders about how we train & move within combat. I used to hold the opinion that fine motor skills were just something to consider later. Fact is, later is too late. The beauty & subtle layers hidden within the Gyokko lineage are slowly revealing themselves to me each time I perform the kata.
The larger gross body movements are there not only for evasion & the set up of maai but also for the proper execution of the counter, whether they be strikes, joint locks, throws, nerve attacks and so on. Without the proper set up, a fine motor attack or manipulation is not always possible. One aids the other & one flows into the other, & sometimes back again.
None of this is ground breaking information. Both are vital to a well rounded strategy & a well rounded fighter. Both need to be trained. When training these techniques I sometimes place emphasis on the intricate movements, but forget about the larger ones thinking, "I can always come back to that later". I then find I am not in the proper position to execute the fine motor skill anyway. Sometimes, I'm only concerned with the larger evasion & distancing, but find I have no mental energy left (especially towards the end of our two hour keiko) for the fine motor aspects. I am trying to learn the balance between the large & the small...difficult at times. It's just like training kata without any concern for strength & conditioning, you'd get nowhere in the grand scheme of things. You can't rely on only one type of movement or one type of strategy.
The kata, so far within the Jo-ryaku & Chu-ryaku, display the light & shade of real combat to me. The hard & the soft, the fast & the slow. Kan, Kyu, Kyo, Jyaku. I have heard Morris say this to us before. I have read other dojo-cho speaking of Manaka sensei highlighting this important point also. It's not until you get in & get your hands dirty with the work of going through the kata that you can truly begin to see & experience it for yourself.