Paying Attention to Your Intention

By Glenn Catania, shidoshi

Your opponent is standing across from you. You're waiting in ichimonji no kamae, looking, watching for any sign that it is coming. They start to breathe; you see their foot begin to move. Here it comes, the moment you have been waiting for. Hey, why is his fist a whole foot from my face?

Doesn't that drive you crazy? It is like the scene in the movie Major League when Wesley Snipes steals 2nd base, but doesn't make it. The 2nd baseman waves him on, "C'mon! C'mon, you're almost there!" We have all been, at one time or another, the puncher on the other side, punching a foot from someone's face.

One of the most important points of training is intention. It is very important to give your opponent something to work with. Learning the technique is more difficult if the uke is like a reed bending in the wind. Yes this is important, to be receptive and not defeat the technique, but put some intention in your attacks. DON'T GO FAST, but allow your partner to practice as if there was a real attack.

On the other hand, don't muscle up; otherwise you will just break faster. This is not the easiest thing to do. If you work on your intention, your taijutsu will get better, just as working on your distancing and timing will make your taijutsu better. These all work together. A very easy way to practice your intention is feedback. Remember the person attacking is practicing just as much as the one applying the technique. Ask your opponent, "Did the attack make you move?" If they answer yes, you know you are improving your intention.