A person's unbalance is the same as a weight

Bill Mattocks

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One of the codes of karate that I am most impressed by is this: "A person's unbalance is the same as a weight."

I understand this to mean that stealing a person's balance is the same as forcing them to carry a heavy weight while still trying to fight you.

From what I've read, learned, and observed, when a person loses their balance, the very first thing they do is try to regain their balance. Everything else is secondary to that primitive survival urge, including fighting. A person who is slipping on ice will fling valuable items in the air as they flail about, trying to keep from going down. Nothing matters in that moment except not falling down. It's instinctive.

So I always attempt to steal a person's balance. It doesn't have to be a big obvious thing like a leg sweep (although of course that works too). It can be as little as trapping a punch and pulling them slightly off-kilter, or pushing, or hitting them once to unbalance them and the second time to do damage, and etc. Lots of ways, big and small, to steal balance. Even if it's just a tiny disturbance in their equilibrium, even if they don't consciously realize that they've lost their balance, the primitive part of their mind knows and attempts to regain that balance.

Secondarily, this is also part of the reason that stance training is so important; so you don't lose your own balance.
 

Gyakuto

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Kuzushi in Japanese, but it doesnt only refer to physical equilibrium. The use of kakegoe (shouting), for example, can perturb psychological equilibrium which can lead to physical imbalance. A penetrating metsuke can do the same thing.

But, I have to be honest, imbalance only occurs when one tries to remain rooted on the spot in the face to pressure from ones opponent and how its demonstrated with ones knee pressing into ones opponents popliteal fossa (or similar). A minor stagger or reposition of a foot will reestablish ones balance in a moment. Look at nami ash in Naihanchi (Teki) kata where this interpretation is demonstrated.
 

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The toes are usually a good indicator of balance if they are up off the floor, then your opponent is off balance and on their heels.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Once kazushi is broken is such a great time to strike, messes them up big time
Do you want to punch on your opponent's head when he has

- good balance, or
- bad balance?

If your opponent

- has good balance, 100% of your punching power can get into him. A - 0 = A
- is falling back, most of your punching power will be cancelled out by his backward motion. A - B < A
 

wab25

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But, I have to be honest, imbalance only occurs when one tries to remain rooted on the spot in the face to pressure from ones opponent
I am not sure I understand what you are saying here....

There are lots of ways to achieve imbalance. In training, we train to move while maintaining balance.... which means there are ways to move in imbalance.... (watch the new white belts for examples of moving in a state of imbalance) In Judo, they teach to push when pulled and to pull when pushed. Your opponent pushes you... you yield to the push, moving your feet, and pull your opponent.... your pull adds to his push, causing him to be in a state of imbalance.... this is the first step of a throw. In Aikido, they have those big showy dance type techniques... however, uke is coming in, on balance, to grab a wrist and then to follow up with some other technique.... tori, blends with uke's movement and takes their balance... causing the rest of uke's dance steps to be done in a state of imbalance. In fact, the rest of uke's movement is an effort to regain that state of balance.

I do agree that imbalance can and does occur when you try to remain rooted when facing pressure. However, imbalance also occurs in motion, whether you are pushing or pulling, advancing or retreating....
 

wab25

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Do you want to punch on your opponent's head when he has

- good balance, or
- bad balance?

If your opponent

- has good balance, 100% of your punching power can get into him. A - 0 = A
- is falling back, most of your punching power will be cancelled out by his backward motion. A - B < A
Why is off balance only in the direction away from the punch? If he is falling toward the punch, then you would have A + B > A
 

Dirty Dog

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Kuzushi in Japanese, but it doesnt only refer to physical equilibrium. The use of kakegoe (shouting), for example, can perturb psychological equilibrium which can lead to physical imbalance. A penetrating metsuke can do the same thing.

But, I have to be honest, imbalance only occurs when one tries to remain rooted on the spot in the face to pressure from ones opponent and how its demonstrated with ones knee pressing into ones opponents popliteal fossa (or similar). A minor stagger or reposition of a foot will reestablish ones balance in a moment. Look at nami ash in Naihanchi (Teki) kata where this interpretation is demonstrated.
Right, but I don't think anyone is suggesting standing there while they fix their balance. I think the idea is to follow up after taking their balance with something more... long lasting.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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Why is off balance only in the direction away from the punch? If he is falling toward the punch, then you would have A + B > A
You are right.

- Head on collision is the best situation for striking art.
- Rear end collision is the best situation for throwing art.
 

Bujingodai

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Do you want to punch on your opponent's head when he has

- good balance, or
- bad balance?

If your opponent

- has good balance, 100% of your punching power can get into him. A - 0 = A
- is falling back, most of your punching power will be cancelled out by his backward motion. A - B < A
i wouldn't punch in the face when he is falling backward that would be counter intuitive
I'm thinking more when off balance they are not focused on protecting themselves, like when I reap and hit the side or neck with a inside thumb knuckle strike. Or when throwing them a planted grab drive would also lend itself decent.
Just different application, different focus.
 

isshinryuronin

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when a person loses their balance, the very first thing they do is try to regain their balance. Everything else is secondary to that primitive survival urge, including fighting.
Breaking the opponent's balance is one of the prime goals, IMO. But this does nothing if there is no immediate follow up - The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself (another of the isshinryu codes). Loss of balance = opportunity.
Kuzushi in Japanese, but it doesnt only refer to physical equilibrium. The use of kakegoe (shouting), for example, can perturb psychological equilibrium which can lead to physical imbalance
Yes, good point. Breaking non-physical equilibrium is at least as important, directly or indirectly. Often easier, too. Many ways to do this.
Do you want to punch on your opponent's head when he has

- good balance, or
- bad balance?
I want to do this anytime there's opportunity.
 

O'Malley

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One of the codes of karate that I am most impressed by is this: "A person's unbalance is the same as a weight."

I understand this to mean that stealing a person's balance is the same as forcing them to carry a heavy weight while still trying to fight you.

From what I've read, learned, and observed, when a person loses their balance, the very first thing they do is try to regain their balance. Everything else is secondary to that primitive survival urge, including fighting. A person who is slipping on ice will fling valuable items in the air as they flail about, trying to keep from going down. Nothing matters in that moment except not falling down. It's instinctive.

So I always attempt to steal a person's balance. It doesn't have to be a big obvious thing like a leg sweep (although of course that works too). It can be as little as trapping a punch and pulling them slightly off-kilter, or pushing, or hitting them once to unbalance them and the second time to do damage, and etc. Lots of ways, big and small, to steal balance. Even if it's just a tiny disturbance in their equilibrium, even if they don't consciously realize that they've lost their balance, the primitive part of their mind knows and attempts to regain that balance.

Secondarily, this is also part of the reason that stance training is so important; so you don't lose your own balance.
If you can manipulate that reflex you can do all sorts of silly things.

 

Taiji Rebel

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Everything is based on simple principles. The aim is to embody and apply them instantly. Drill the skills over and over until they become immediate-action responses. Partner exercises, randori, sparring, push-hands, chi-sau etc are good for improving your sensitivity and muscle-memory.
 
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Gyakuto

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I am not sure I understand what you are saying here....
Imagine a tall wooden column sitting on the ground. A small perturbation applied to the column will cause it to teeter and fall over. Now imagine the column balanced on your finger tip, in a dynamic equilibrium. If the column is pushed and the finger tip is moved to keep the centre of mass of the column within the columns foot print, it will not fall. The stagger in response to being pushed is a means of keeping ones centre of mass within ones foot print and maintaining balance. Yield to the push in a controlled manner and you will not be unbalanced.
 

punisher73

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In Isshin-Ryu (to use a common example) the kata, Wansu, is famous for its "dump". One of the things that we try to integrate into any physical technique is how it can be applied in everyday life on a mental or emotional level.

Good practice to figure out how to take someone's mental balance in a disagreement or their emotional balance. Many times knowing how to do this can lead to a de-escalation so it doesn't get to the physical.
 

wab25

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Imagine a tall wooden column sitting on the ground. A small perturbation applied to the column will cause it to teeter and fall over. Now imagine the column balanced on your finger tip, in a dynamic equilibrium. If the column is pushed and the finger tip is moved to keep the centre of mass of the column within the columns foot print, it will not fall. The stagger in response to being pushed is a means of keeping ones centre of mass within ones foot print and maintaining balance. Yield to the push in a controlled manner and you will not be unbalanced.
The stagger in response to being pushed.... represents the time that you are in a state of imbalance. Further, during that stagger, you can only go in the one direct to restore balance and I know where you are going.

If I can get your upper body to move forward enough, you will have to take a step forward to regain your balance... to keep your center mass within your foot print. If I move your upper body forward enough that you need to take that step, and then prevent that step from coming forward.... I have achieved one of the many hip throws.... if I prevent that foot from reaching the ground, I have achieved one of the many foot sweeps.... These all happen to an imbalance caused by the person not rooting into the ground against the force... they happen in motion.

Here... watch him create imbalance in the other guy, through and during movement. The other guy is not rooting in place against him.... or when he does, he changes direction to create the movement and then the imbalance.

 

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