The Power of a Falling Tree
Classical Martial arts are full of comparisons, analogies, and examples of the sheer power, grace and speed of nature. The gracefulness and balance of a crane, the supple crushing power of moving water, the strength and ferocity of a tiger, the silent, unstoppable power of a falling tree crashing to the ground, leveling everything in it’s path. Ok, maybe you’ve heard of most of these, so what’s this crashing tree all about?
In Okinawa te, most are familiar with the intricacies that make Okinawan karate distinctly ‘Okinawan’. That is, the body conditioning, strength training, various ‘hojo undo’ implements, joint manipulation and control (tuidi), along with the principles of gamaku, chinkuchi, etc. Lesser known is the practice of ‘tokiho’ the principle of engaging your opponent, gaining the advantage through balance manipulation, and ‘hineri’ or twisting, simultaneously launching a penetrating angled attack with the crashing force of a falling tree.
These photos are not a tutorial on ‘tokiho’ just a sampling from a set of photos taken for a publication with Takamiyagi Hiroshi (Hanshi, Goshukan-Ryu) back in October of 2016. I’m unsure of the availability of articles, books, or literature in the English language, but I will say, from experience, that this is better explained hands-on, that is, ‘tokiho’ is more accurately felt than academically studied.
For decades, I have trained quietly, and taught what my teacher has allowed me to share; with the passing of time comes maturity of age and skill level, and it becomes necessary to pass on the rare, lesser known principles to the next generation. For Goshukan-Ryu, this time is the present.
There is nothing new in martial arts. There are no secret,, missing, or undiscovered techniques, principles, or concepts; there are only the ones we’ve yet to be taught.