How to Learn Martial Arts at Home
Part Four explains the seven principles of successful martial combat and how to apply them in chess. Each principle is derived I mm our extensive study of the martial arts, and represents the essence of the knowledge necessary to win in combat and on the chessboard. Each principle is introduced through the words of legendary masters of chess or the martial arts, and is illustrated by a classic game. The games are by champions whose styles are supreme manifestations of each principle. Finally, a series of ehess problems allows you to test your grasp of each principle. These are the Seven Samurai Principles
Morihei Ueshiba was an enlightened genius who saw beyond ihe win lose paradigm to the essential oneness of humanity. His philosophy true hudo is love led him to emphasize protecting the opponent a win win approach to resolving conflict without violence. Of all the martial arts, aikido is perhaps the most voived, inspiring, and difficult to master. Yet Ueshiba's emphasis mi harmony and love is frequently misinterpreted. Many people, including would-be aikido practitioners, view the art as a defensive, passive approach to martial encounter. During his lifetime, 1 ieshiba attracted an ever-growing number of followers, including many of Japan's leading practitioners of judo, ju-jitsu, karate, and kendo. These formidable and arrogant warriors became receptive to the founders sophisticated philosophies after he had It is a correct maxim that the best defense Is a good offense, Bruce Lee, Too ofJeet Kune Do
Hy to recover quickly and effectively from mistakes. Whatever your level, you will sometimes make blunders and mistakes. And everyone loses from time to time. But those wlro succeed in the long term in martial arts, chess, business, and life -cultivate the ability to recover quickly from errors and to learn from their defeats.
These days the strongest players have learnt as White the importance of patience. They defend carefully and await their chances. In effect, like a martial arts expert, they use the power of Black against himself 'You want to attack me Go ahead, but it will be on my terms'.
In the martial arts, intense training regimens evolved as a matter of life or death. Every great master is characterized by religious devotion to training. Yamaoka Tesshu, the legendary Samurai swordmaster (see pages 33 -35), led his senior students through a thousand days of continuous training followed by a day of seigan (vow). Participants in the seigan faced two hundred opponents in succession, with only the briefest period of rest. Graduates of this ordeal were invited to advanced training capped off by a second seigan, this time involving six hundred contests over three days. Survivors of the second seigan faced the ultimate challenge seven days, fighting 1,400 opponents in succession. Originally the standard Japanese martial arts uniform (gi) came with a white belt (obi), The tradition of the black belt derives from the effects of constant practice on the obi over the years it turned black from wear.
Bruce Lee, 'Tao ofjeet Kune Do, Santa Clarita, CA Ohara Publications, 1975. The martial journal of a genius. Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings, translated by Victor Harris, London Allison and Busby, 1974 Woodstock, NY Overlook Press, 1974. The classic of martial arts strategy, Belt-ranking system (martial arts), 35 Martial arts, 3,158, 223, 234-35 masters of, have presence, 144-45 modern, 32-40 staredown in, 143 Martial arts training, 122, 156 meditation in, 164 in martial arts, 122, 123, 156, 164 Thing, Hoanng, 13 Traps, 80-93
As a martial artist, or a chess player, most of your contests will be against others of similar level. But you will occasionally face those of lower rank and, if you are lucky, you will find opponents with superior experience. Indeed, sparring with seniors is the secret of accelerating progress in the martial arts. What, are the keys to facing opponents of differing rank, rating, or experience
In the martial arts, students master set techniques, known as kata, and test themselves in competition. As they improve, meeting the specific criteria of their art, they become eligible to test for tank. Judo's Jigoro Kano pioneered the modern kyu dan belt system of signifying rank. Although the different arts interpret the belt-systems in various ways, a general guideline for respectable schools is as follows. (Steer well clear of the many commercialized, bastardized teenage-mutant-ninja-turtle dojos who give out striped, plaid, and multicolored belts-of-the month to students who hand over the necessary cash.) Martial arts equivalent Bruce Lee the greatest modern popularizer of martial arts. Bruce Lee the greatest modern popularizer of martial arts.
Aerobic conditioning, weight training, stretching, and endless repetition of technique are the cornerstones of martial arts training. Martial artists aim to condition their physical reflexes for lightning response. Yet great masters emphasize that at the highest levels of combat the edge goes to the fighter with superior confidence and mental discipline. In the words of Morihei Ueshiba, When surrounded by a forest of enemy spears, enter deeply and learn to use your mind as a shield. In Zen and the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel describes the legendary Master Awa urging him to forget your physical strength and shoot only with your 'strength of mind.
Martial arts and mental sports represent refinements of1 the human urge to fight and destroy. Mental sports, such as chess and go, simulate war. Many leading military figures Napoleon, George Washington, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and, in our own time, Russia's General Lebed and Israeli Defense Minister Anatoly Sharansky have been avid players. (Sharansky even beat Kasparov in a simultaneous game in 1996.) Most modern martial arts, and certainly those derived from the Samurai tradition, began as systems for efficient killing. Nevertheless, the greatest masters Musashi, Tesshu, Kano, Funakoshi,
Meditation has always been part of martial arts training. Regular meditative practice cultivates equanimity and hence better decision-making in the face of attack, in his classic work The Relaxation Response, Dr. Herbert Benson reported an in-depth scientific study of the psychological and physiological benefits of various styles of meditation. He found that regular meditation practice can help to lower high blood pressure and to counteract the effects of everyday stress. Other researchers have shown that meditation improves reaction time and clarity of attention. Of course, when you hit the right rhythm, thinking about chess and, indeed, playing it can become a form of meditation.
In mid-seventee nth-century Japan Miyamoto Musashi, the invincible Samurai warrior, wrote Go Rin No Sho. A Book of Five Rings, a penetrating analysis of victorious Samurai strategy. For over three centuries this martial arts masterpiece remained a Japanese secret, but in 1974 it was discovered by the West. Almost overnight, the new translation sold more that 120,000 copies in hardback, catapulted to best-seller status in paperback, and drew lavish praise from leading newspapers around the world.
Every martial arts class begins with a series of stretching exercises. Besides preventing injury, stretching benefits your circulatory and immune systems. Practice simple stretching exercises before and after aerobic and strength training, upon getting up, and before every chess match. The secret to a good stretch is to take your time, bring your full awareness to the process, and allow easy release of muscle groups in harmony with extended exhalations, Never bounce or try to force a stretch.
So learn all you can about your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. What openings does he prefer How aggressive is he How well does he manage the clock Remember the words of Bruce Lee Half the battle is won when one knows what the adversary is doing. lb attack, you must study the adversary's weaknesses and strengths and take advantage of the former while avoiding the latter,
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