After my daughter’s Shotokan class last night, her Sensei, Sensei Brian Power, made a comment that got me thinking…again. He was teaching his class about timing, and after class he noted the Book of Five Rings: “Timing. It’s all in the Book of Five Rings. The Samurai had it all figured out, and so did Nishiyama Sensei and others like Avi Rokah.”
We had a little discussion about this, and it prompted me to revisit the book that I’ve already read a couple of times. Here is one of my underlined passages from Musashi: “You win in battles with the timing in the Void born of the timing of cunning by knowing the enemies’ timing, and thus using a timing which the enemy does not expect.”
Timing in the Void. Timing of cunning. Timing which the enemy does not expect.
There’s enough to study in that one statement alone to keep a Martial Artist busy for a very long time. Karate without understanding timing is like a Corvette with a flat: looks good but isn’t getting very far. Recognizing the Void, the space where there is an opening (subtle dead time), can be like catching a rotating fan with your hand: it won’t work if you aren’t committed.
I’m not well enough advanced yet to write a full blog on timing…I’m just thankful for the reminder about the importance of timing and about Musashi’s book. After all, there’s lots to learn about karate outside the Dojo, as long as you’re taking it into the Dojo to truly figure it out.
(I was introduced to the Book of Five Rings years back by Sensei Bruce Lee. Sensei Lee always caries a copy in his briefcase.)
“Timing in strategy cannot be mastered without a great deal of practice.” M Musashi