Za-Mutô-Dori (座無刀捕) Seated Without a Sword

Permission graciously given by David Esteban Guzmán to re-post this here. Edited by Luke Crocker

Among the positions of traditional martial arts there exist methods of Seiza-Ho (正座法), this could be interpreted as methods of sitting in peace, find a position where we sit on the floor and find inner stillness, a state of immutability and meditation where we liberate ourselves of all that we are not or want not to be.

How to understand this in the art and science of war?

kacem anza iai
Kacem seated in Anza with a sword.

First you have to understand that Western culture sitting on the floor is virtually non existent, and that Japanese culture to sit on the floor is the basic of the whole structure of martial arts movement and way of life.

How to find a state of inner stillness on the floor?

We must find ways in which the body does not speak to us (creat strain and tension), or in the case of many people, a position where the body did not scream in pain and muscle tension, and for this we have only one tool: serious and disciplined flexibility. We must persevere to train and tame the tensions of our physical and mental structure, which alignment and balance should be studied in depth in the different positions in which the martial art invites us to sit on the floor, in different schools of Bujinkan and Japanese traditionals schools we have this.

Why do we need inner peace in the art of war?

The real wars are concluded inside, Hatsumi sensei often repeats that “the heart of a martial artist are in his legs”. From the different positions of sitting on the floor one can gather the legs and hide their heartbeat (rhythm), thus if you learn to hide your movement from the floor you learn to hide your intention and emission of signals externally, you learn to control your body as a whole.

From the ground you must be able to respond to any attack without losing your center and safety, this connects with the art of Goshinjutsu in two aspects:

护身術 – protection techniques and anticipation to any external situation.
护心術 – Techniques to protect the spirit of ourselves and of the internal situations.

Remember that your movement reflects your inner state, so it is very easy to evaluate the level of depth in practice when seeing someone rise from techniques in the positions han/an-za (半/安座) (two knees, one knee ground, or half-lotus), this han/an-za can be interpreted as a form of sitting in peace and calm.

In peace and calm of what?

Shinden fudo ryu iaia kacem
Shinden Fudo-ryu Iai-za

First, it is peace and calm of ourselves, our ego, our bad habits of body and health. Please remember to be careful and patient with your body, treat it with great presence and affection, working from the ground requires a lot of patience and humility with many years of bad habits.

Remember that the body is the temple that houses your soul, guard it carefully and responsibly.

For this, Hatsumi sensei talks in the sanshin about the “heart of a child”, It is necessary to return the condition of our body to that of a three year old, his flexibility and the paradigm of falling and getting up in a natural way, but now with the knowledge of the movement found in the science of war.

Please I invite you to see the corporal habits of Hatsumi sôke, as he sits down on the tatami, as he keeps peace on the tatami, as he gets up from the floor, etc.

The habits of Ishizuka sensei are very similar.
What better example of health, flexibility and inner peace than this image?David Za Gamae


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