Gallery − New York, July 2009
The training session on July 9, 2009 with my deshi Preston Flammang and Joni Warren, was focused on certain concepts of Tenshin (転身), which is perhaps the most important of the three basic elements of Ti. According to Onaga Kaichō, "Our bodies do not move back and forth, but left or right." The reasoning behind this approach is that we do not have four legs. We do not have front or back legs, only left and right legs.
Tenshin with Flanking #1
In my opinion, Tenshin must practiced by using Flanking. In other words, the body's impulse or momentum is generated either from the right flank, left flank or a combination of these two flanks. Let's consider the following questions:
In the example below, Flanking #1, the forward motion is generated from the left flank (Photos 1 & 2).
Next, the forward motion is generated from the right flank (Photos 5 & 6).
Tenshin with Flanking #2
In the example below, Flanking #2, the forward motion is generated from the right flank. The koshi (hip) rotation generates the accelaration to glide over the surface. The right flank leads the movement (Photos 9 & 10).
The retreating motion is generated from the right flank. The rotation of the right koshi (hip) generates the accelaration to glide over the surface. The right flank leads the movement (Photos 13 & 14).
Tenshin with Flanking #3
Flanking #3 is generated by connecting Flanking #2 plus Flanking #1 in one motion or in one breath. By using the correct body mechanics, we are able to capture the energy and the momentum from Flanking # 2 to generate a new impulse for Flanking #1 without stopping the movement. Flanking #3 is employed because the more acceleration we manage to generate from Flanking #2, then, the more difficult it gets to come to a sudden halt or to change directions.
In the example below, Flanking #3, the forward motion is generated from the right flank. This hip rotation with Flanking #2 creates enough momentum to generate a new impulse: Flanking #1 (Photos 17, 18 & 19).
Flanking # 3 using the left side of the body is not shown in the pictures below.
Tenshin with Flanking #4
Flanking #4 is generated by connecting Flanking #1 plus Flanking #2. Flanking # 4 doesn't use the front leg as an anchor or as an axis like Flanking #2 does. Instead, the leading flank (front leg) takes the initial step to generate the impulse required for tenshin. Flanking #4 tends to be much easier for beginners than the other flanking techniques.
In the example below, Flanking #4, the initial step generates an impulse from the left flank (Photo 23). This momentum is captured by the right flank by using the hip rotation to generate more forward motion (Photos 24 & 25).
Ushiro no Ten
In the photos below, we use Ushiro no Ten to switch between left and right Jigotai Stance, passing through Musubi Dachi. This command is generally known as Ashi Kōtai, which means to change sides or flanks. However, in the Shinjinbukan School we distinguish between different ways to change sides, of which Ushiro no Ten is one. We use Ushiro no Ten to move through these three positions in one motion (one impulse or one breath).
Mae no Ten
In the photos below, we use Mae no Ten to switch between left and right Jigotai Stance, passing through Heisoku Dachi. This command is generally known as Ashi Kōtai, which means to change sides or flanks. However, in the Shinjinbukan School we distinguish between different ways to change sides, of which Mae no Ten is one. We use Mae no Ten to move through these three positions in one motion (one impulse or one breath).
Neko Ashi Tenshin with Keri
We continued our session practicing combinations of Neko Ashi Tenshin (Cat Stance Movement) with Mae Geri (Front Foot strike). In training, we tend to execute our Keri (Front Strike) at eye-level. However, the real application would always aim at the groin section.
Below: Ms. Joni Warren doing some neko ashi free tenshin and keri combinations.
Tenshin & Maai — Time & Space
Maai (間合い) is defined as the distance between two opponents. This is a common concept in all traditional Japanese martial arts, especially in Kendo and Iaido. However, Maai could also be defined as the proper use time and space between two opponents. In the Shinjinbukan School, our Tenshin techniques represent the best solution to control time and space against our opponent.
Next, Preston Flammang and Joni Warren practiced several Tenshin drills to measure Maai (time and space). In the Shinjinbukan School, we use these drills as a process to learn Iri Kumi, or how to enter into the opponent's inner space.
For reference, see our Martial Arts Dictionary: Iri Kumi
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神人武館ニューヨーク支部道場、アメリカ合衆国 / Shinjinbukan New York Shibu Dōjō — United States
Shibu Chō: Jimmy Mora, Renshi, Roku Dan (6th Dan) ∙ © 2016 Shinjinbukan Foundation
Shinjinbukan.com is a free resource sponsored by the Shinjinbukan Foundation. The statements on this site represent my own personal understanding of Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō's teachings. Therefore, I do not claim to speak on his behalf. As one more of his students, I am eager to share his living and oral traditions. Jimmy Mora