My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
Ken-po Goku-i Non-Literal View
This is to provide you with "possibilities" when studying the goku-i and incorporating into karate practice. It is my standpoint, my view, my practice and training so take it with a grain and always allow for your personal view, standpoint and interpretation. This is only meant to open the mind and allow for thinking outside the box.
Hard, soft, this can mean striking hard with chinkuchi or it can mean parry a strike by deflection with soft palm parry to the forearm. This is the literal meaning or at least one of them to consider.
Something to consider beyond the literal is the transitions between soft and hard of the mind. Extend this into the soft or hard strategies you utilize in actions. If you are resolute in using karate literally then your mind is hard. If you are open to all the possibilities beyond just techniques then your mind is pliant/soft and allows for this type of action. Somewhere in the middle, equilibrium of soft/hard mind allows you to shift in any direction (fifth pome).
Offense and defense can be either hard or soft as already mentioned. Our body language, what we project in addition to our voice can be either hard or soft and is determined by the tactics used as indicated in our overall strategy.
Our tactics can be karate techniques or simply our way of speaking or reacting to an attacker. Many injuries are avoided; many conflicts are avoided by understanding this before hard acts are committed.
There is a time for our minds to be hard and a time for them to be soft/pliant to allow for alternatives. We can literally "spit/hard" into an attackers face or we can "drink/soft" in the alternatives that de-escalate or avoid conflict. We all have the choice and with knowledge achieve greater tactics, both hard and soft, to achieve our goal on non-violent alternatives to conflict.
A person's unbalance is the same as a weight does not always mean literally to be physically unbalanced so they fall to the ground. Unbalance starts with the mind. To get your attacker/opponent to lose confidence in their ability is to unbalance their mind. This results in their minds leaving the moment and start to "think" which distracts and delays allowing you to strike first (remember this could be an opening to de-escalate vs. strike with fist, etc.).
If you are resolute in your readiness and have practiced diligently with present moment awareness you will "see" and/or "hear" opportunity to achieve unbalancing of the opponent in their mind that the rest follows and also becomes unbalanced. Their confidence will leave and allow you to dominate in a positive way.
Do not let your mind succumb and be unbalanced, remain resolute in action and thus through the strength of your eyes, face and mind cause the other to lose or unbalance their mind allowing you to strike first, fast and completely.
Changing Directions at any Time does not always apply to the literal change of the body using stance transitions, etc. but can also mean to change the direction of your strategy. You can actually shift from defense to offense or offense to defense as required. The body will change instinctively in regard to whether you are attacking or defending. This also equates to the changes in mental states. Remaining positive and acting positively is paramount and drives how you apply either defense or offense.
Changing the way your body language talks to others is also applicable. If one approaches you with intent to do harm you can change they way your body projects your intent. It is best to find balance in this to not project weakness but still project non-violent intent while at the same time projecting strength of character and strong attitude that causes the other to pause and take another look at the actions they take.
Sometimes this change in direction which equates to the way your body, face, and eyes talks to others can mean the difference between avoidance and peaceful resolutions vs. conflict and injuries, etc.
Opportunity does not always mean an opening in another defense to actually strike with intent to injury, etc. Opportunities to those who truly practice the way of the empty hand can be found long before anyone actually comes to blows.
Find the opportunity to strike in a manner that prevents conflict, that is the ultimate goal. A sophisticated defense can prevent the attack thus the attacker never gets the chance to touch you. This is striking before being struck (striking does not have to mean actual striking; striking with words and such to prevent striking is best). Call it a positive defense utilizing your eyes and ears.
We tend to focus too much on the physical strike when other strikes should also be a part of our repertoire of techniques. The technique of the mind is far more powerful than the arm or leg, foot or hand, elbow or knee. One must be taught from the novice level in the fundamentals that to strike with the mind at the first opportunity is far better than resorting to violence.
Seventh and Eighth Pome (Active Seeing; Active Listening)
The eyes must see all sides. The ears must listen in all directions.
Do we take these literally of can we also take them both beyond the literal? When we "see" or "hear" things are we actually seeing it truly; hearing it clearly? Questions that a karate-ka/person must answer in both conflict and life.
When we see or hear something most times we see the surface or hear the words but in almost all cases this is a cover that does not always convey truth. We see someone with a scowl on their face as they approach us and we might think that this guy is going to attack us. But if we truly "see" beyond the obvious we may determine that they are totally consumed with some thought and simply pass us by. We must see everything which means not only the facial expressions but how the eyes convey messages. We also have to see the body language that goes along with the face and eyes. We must see beyond the outer veil and into the inner truth to truly understand. Our imaginations will take us to the extreme so we need to temper it with knowledge and true active seeing.
This goes along with actively hearing. Sometimes the words are driven by the monkey brain which tends to send out anything and everything with out thought. This can be driven by some anger or fear but the words themselves may not be indicative of true meaning of the person. This is where active hearing must be coupled with achieve seeing so they both can be analyzed to determine the true meaning behind the words spoken and the body messages that are unconsciously provided by the person.
So, the pome of the goku-i, numbers seven and eight, must not be restrained in practice and training by the literal perception but taken beyond literal meaning and encompass the underlying information that will truly provide you with what is really necessary to overcome vs. the obvious and imaginations of the monkey brain.
To "see all sides" of the story, the body, the voice, the face and eyes, and truth will be seen. To "hear in all directions" is not just hearing sounds but hearing the subtleties of the persons spirit and the truth will be heard. Both will provide totality of any situation allowing you to practice the art of avoidance. To see and hear the truth allows you to provide appropriate actions, verbal and body language, to de-escalate vs. actions requiring the use of karate techniques.
The true art of the empty hand. A sophisticated defense can prevent the attack thus the attacker never gets the chance to touch you. This is striking before being struck (striking does not have to mean actual striking; striking with words and such to prevent striking is best). Call it a positive defense utilizing your eyes and ears.