In order to apply technique correctly there are many points of study which are actually much more important to understand . In fact the technique is only another form or frame with which we can study the application of these concepts. Although many metaphors transcend the physical it is a primary way that we can communicate and come to understand and transfer knowledge. For example when we speak about flexibility most beginning students of the martial arts may think the reference is to the body only. Flexibility in thinking may be more practical in aiding someone to flow then a limber body. A foundation is critical, but to deviate from the foundation or form is art. Through the practice of technique and the proper understanding of the application we ultimately learn how technique is developed from the fundamentals. It should be the ultimate goal of any martial artist to forget technique after it has served its purpose of exposing and allowing the practice of the fundamentals such as listening with the body, following your opponent’s movement by sticking to ultimately lead to the application of technique. These concepts are difficult to explain without metaphor, technique and forms training. The transmission of this knowledge is non verbal and so almost impossible to describe without a reference point.
In Zen the process teaches, not in words but direct pointing or engaging in a game with ourselves in which the only answer is a new level of consciousness. And so just as in Zen, martial arts training is a game of insight where we can discover who we are underneath the masks and roles that we call personality as well as finding our way to the core principles.
As a student of Budo one can chose to just memorize technique or find the source. Understanding the source is the difference between being and artist or painting by the numbers. Both will get you a nice picture to look at but in Budo could get you killed. I am talking about the deconstruction of technique rather than the focus. In order to build new mental pathways we must practice form. We learn concentration and awareness as we become conscious of our physical transformation. One of the core areas of study is the concept of Juppo Sessho.
Movement like good calligraphy should continue with the mind. We do not overextend our body but as we regain balance we must also be concerned with momentum of the body, mind and spirit. Being rooted can be a good place to strike from but can lead to an inability of flow. So how do we balance and root while sticking and following? How do we find the tempo so we may change the timing to leading by following? Ko means tiger and Ryo means dragon, so in some ways this term means combining the physical power of the tiger which is known for its powers of prediction and hunting prowess along with the non-physical or spiritual world of the dragon. We have an image of these two worlds coming together as the world in which we live and the world that permeates us. If you look at koteki as the way a tiger strikes with total abandonment living in the moment, and ryoda as the dragon capture, this combination is a method of interchange between two realms, as the battle that exists within us all of truth and falsehood.