I thought it would be fun and beneficial to share combative and kata / bunkai based “golden rules” that we have in our teaching, or that we were taught ourselves.
What I mean by “golden rules” are brief encapsulations of important combative principles – or principles of understanding kata – that are expressed in a sentence or two at most. These are the kind of things I mean (in no particular order):
Don’t be in front of your enemy, but have the enemy in front of you.
Feeling is quicker than seeing.
At close-range, action beats reaction.
Stances are not static, we flow to them and through them.
Move toward what you know, and away from what you don’t (i.e. if you have contact with one of your enemy’s limbs, then angle yourself toward that limb and away from the free one).
Every motion should create, maintain and exploit advantage.
Cheating is always allowed.
Better to be the hammer than the anvil.
It’s always better to hit them than not hit them (i.e. an imperfect punch is better than no punch).
To unbalance, push or pull at ninety-degrees to the line of feet.
The angle in kata is the angle we are attacking the enemy from; it is not the angle the enemy is attacking us from.
To take the enemy to the floor, we need to take the centre of gravity outside the area covered by the feet. To stop the enemy readjusting their feet, we need to disrupt consciousness, block the path of the corrective step, lift the feet, or disrupt posture.
The non-striking hand is either telling us where the enemy is or clearing limbs out of the way.
In a fight, there are only two things that are still: People who are unconscious, and people who are about to be unconscious.
Always end the fight NOW! Flow is the management of a failure to do so.
And so on.
RULE 1: I’d like to avoid the thread getting derailed into detailed conversations on any rule. Brief clarifications are fine, but ideally, I’m after a long list of martial proverbs :-)
RULE 2: While the past masters have loads of these kinds of things in their writings, I am keen to avoid those as I want OURS. In many cases this may be a different way of saying the same thing, but I still want these to be our own or our teacher's.
RULE 3: We don’t have to agree on all of them! I’m not looking for a consensus or “group approved list”. Just a list that we and other readers can ponder over.
So throw some at me! :-)
All the best,