Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 ways to improve your chisao

1. Intentionally lose. Let the other person win but keep your attention on the other person. Watch how they win. Concentrate on your balance and staying relaxed while they do whatever they want.

2. Make sure you aren't leaning at all. All your weight should be balanced in the middle of the foot. You should conceive of your arms and your body as being in front of you. Move the whole body forward from the bottom, not from the top by leaning. Don't lean ever... at all. Well ok, once you totally understand how balance works, then lean all you want. I promise I won't say anything.

3. Don't move until you are connected. Move the body forward until you can feel your partner's core down to the ground. At that point, (if your arms are relaxed) you should feel where to move almost as though your arms are moving themselves. Work on improving connection rather than your arms' position in relation to your partners'. Also, don't pull away from your partner to get a move off.

4. Don't speed up or do series of moves. Stay in the moment and do what you are doing at that moment. Don't speed up in order to get a move to work. Don't practice a series of moves to do something fancy. Just do what the system created by the connection between you and your opponent tells you to do.

5. Don't look down until you don't have any urge to look down at what is going on with the hands. Even then, nothing special to see.

6. Concentrate on your opponent as a whole body, not on his moves.

7. Don't look for openings or ways to "get" or hit your opponent. Keep connected and take ground. The good stuff will happen naturally.

8. Try chisaoing with only one foot touching the ground at any given moment. Make sure you are relaxed and "seated" on the leg. Change legs at any time as often as you like.

9. What attitude or emotion or mental state do you decide to have when you chisao. Try answering this question and changing it up frequently.

10. Treat chisao as an experiment. Decide how you will change your approach each time you do it before you begin. Try relaxed, stiff, fast, slow, hard, soft, intentionally bad, leaning, moving forward, stationary, aggressive....try anything and everything you can think of. Do things no one else would ever try. See how it works. Change it up even more based on what you learn from your experiments. Most people just try their hardest each time. Trying is for people who haven't decided what to do.

Ok, here is a bonus point.

Don't stop when you manage to hit or push your partner or get hit yourself. Continue working. If you are much better than your opponent, you can see openings but not take them and just work to deepen the connection. Keep the connection and flow going as long as possible.

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