Previously, we discussed, Datsu Ryoku or the the release of tension. Recently, Hatsumi Sensei has been using the phrase Mu no Riki Gaku, or the Science (study of) the Power (dynamics) of Nothingness. 無の力学。Zen Monks often draw an enso (round circle in ink) to represent nothingness. This is an enso with some bamboo inside with the inscription, `pure wind`. I drew it based on an old painting by a well know zen monk.
It reminds me of a story about a useless tree.
Lao Tzu was traveling with his disciples and they came to a forest where hundreds of woodcutters were cutting the trees. The whole forest had been cut except for one big tree with thousands of branches. It was so big that 10,000 persons could sit in its shade.
Lao Tzu asked his disciples to go and inquire why this tree had not been cut. They went and asked the woodcutters and they said, “This tree is absolutely useless. You cannot make anything out of it because every branch has so many knots in it – nothing is straight. You cannot use it as fuel because the smoke is dangerous to the eyes. This tree is absolutely useless, that’s why we haven’t cut it.”
The disciples came back and told Lao Tzu. He laughed said, “Be like this tree. If you are useful you will be cut and you will become furniture in somebody’s house. If you are beautiful you will be sold in the market, you will become a commodity. Be like this tree, absolutely useless, and then you will grow big and vast and thousands of people will find shade under you.”
When you are strong or beautiful, or technically proficient, you can be used. You can be a commodity. The opponent can use you too. If you embody nothingness, nobody can use you. You are free.
We often forget that in nothingness or no use, there is great power. Often when I am uke for Hatsumi Sensei, his complete lack of interest in the opponent is very surprising. It disarms you. Often he does not even look at you. I find that whatever I try to do to him, there is no resistance. He does not resist the opponent. It is like when you think a door is locked and you push on it with great strength but it was actually open and you fly thru to the other side. Or we have all had the experience of walking along the street and accidentally step off the curb into nothingness. It is an amazing shock as you try to regain your balance. Only a drop of a few centimeters and it feels as if you almost dropped of the earth!
In taijutsu as well, harnessing the concepts of Mu-Nothingness and Datsu Ryoku will allow you greater control over yourself, your opponent, and any situation you encounter.