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Kuzushi: Destabilise your opponents and win

Concepts vs Techniques

If you're one of my Karate students or if you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know how much importance I attach to concepts rather than isolated techniques. And for good reason: knowing a multitude of techniques is useless if we don't know how to apply them effectively, especially in unpredictable situations. This is where concepts come into their own, as they are more accessible and allow us to adapt our knowledge to different circumstances.

The crucial importance of Kuzushi in your practice

For example, if you're familiar with the "push/pull" concept, if someone tries to push or pull you, you won't try to resist. You'll use the opposite principle. When someone tries to push you, instead of resisting, you pull them, using their own strength and weight to reinforce your technique. And if you get pulled, you reverse the situation by pushing and integrating an appropriate technique, using their strength again. This is also the fundamental principle of psychoverbal self-defense, which I created and have written several books about.

The Kuzushi concept

Imagine for a moment being able to use your opponent's strength to your advantage, without trying to resist in a crude manner. With Kuzushi, you can exploit this fascinating "pull/push" idea to make each technique even more formidable.

Today, I'm going to delve into the concept of Kuzushi, which is the ultimate expression of this 'pull/push' idea. Kuzushi, a term that literally means 'to collapse' or 'to disintegrate', refers to 'disturbed equilibrium'. It represents the moment when your normal, stable body position breaks down or fragments, causing an imbalance. In martial arts, mastering Kuzushi is essential to destabilizing your opponent and gaining the upper hand in a fight.

Creating an imbalance

Kuzushi is a Japanese term used in martial arts to designate the technique of throwing an opponent off balance, leaving him vulnerable to an attack or hold. It is often used in judo, jujitsu and aikido, but can also be applied in other martial disciplines."

Using the opponent's strength against himself. Kuzushi is usually accomplished by using the opponent's strength against himself. By directing his strength in an unexpected direction, lifting him or pushing him out of his balanced position, you can throw him off balance and leave him vulnerable to an attack or hold.

Defense and advantage. As well as being an offensive technique, Kuzushi can also be used to defend against an attack by anticipating the opponent's movements and using your own strength against them. It is a crucial technique in martial arts, as it allows you to neutralise your opponent while maintaining an advantageous position.

How do you apply Kuzushi in your practice? Follow these key steps*:

  1. Analysing the opponent's movements: to apply kuzushi, it is important to understand the opponent's movements, position and strength..

  2. Identifying opportunities for imbalance: once the opponent's movements are understood, it is possible to identify opportunities for imbalance by using the opponent's strength against himself.

  3. Using the opponent's strength against him : by using the opponent's strength against him, it is possible to throw him off balance by pushing, pulling or lifting him out of his balanced position..

  4. Anticipating the opponent's movements : to apply kuzushi, it is important to anticipate the opponent's movements and react quickly to throw the opponent off balance before they can prepare for an attack.

Training and success

Kuzushi is an advanced technique that requires precision and perfect timing to be effective in combat. Train regularly with specific imbalance exercises and simulations of real fights with a partner. By mastering Kuzushi, you'll be able to gain the upper hand in combat and neutralize your opponent effectively.

Now that you know the concept of Kuzushi and have the tools to apply it, all you have to do is take action. Practice, explore and experiment with the power of Kuzushi in your Karate practice. You'll be amazed at the results you get from using this powerful concept. So what are you waiting for? Embrace Kuzushi and make your next fight a true revelation.

Gaëtan Sauvé

*To be able to use this principle in the Kyokushin style, it is essential that your school is open to this practice. The practitioner must know how to control the throws so as not to injure their partner, especially if there is no mat and the floor is made of concrete. Old-school Kyokushin, in which I was lucky enough to participate in the 1970s, included throws, grabs and punches to the face. However, many Kyokushin schools forbid these techniques, simply because they are banned in competition. But Kyokushin should not just be a sporting discipline, but also a budo, a martial path. This should not exclude these techniques from the dojo. I'm not going to go into more detail on this subject, as I've already discussed it in other articles on my blog.

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