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External Focus

One of our training members asked a question recently while we were experimenting with the body movement for slipping past straight punches coming toward our head. His question was about the sequence of body movements and which body part moved first. The question was a very logical question based on the steps of the experiment however it brings up an issue about focus.

Very often martial arts students as they learn new movements are focussed on themselves as they attempt to get their body to follow the instructions. This internal focus while important to understand what you are doing is not the correct focus for training in body movement. Your focus must always be connected to an external goal or target. Science has actually shown that externally focussed words used in instructions versus internal ones cause the body to move more efficiently.

Even when we are moving slow and really looking into the specifics of how a movement is done with the body the external goal must still be part of the experiment. Our dojo uses a formula as a description of how to use ninpo taijutsu in a fight. Within that formula is a constant goal that deals with unbalancing the other person. Any internal details of how we use our body must be seen within the external goal and not just looked at in a vacuum.

This can be seen in our everyday life. Many people will say things like “this is the way I do it.” The question is does “how you do it” match what is needed for the situation? Ninpo taijutsu is all about perceiving the situation as it actually is, seeing the potential of a different outcome, and then changing yourself to be able to achieve that outcome. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dangerous situation on the streets or a conflict at your job, being able to stay focussed on what needs to happen moves you toward a solution in the most efficient way.

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