Square peg, round hole

There is more than one way to skin a rabbit and there is more than one way to defeat an opponent. In the matter of life and death, doing whatever works is what counts. On a good day, your opponent may fall onto his own sword, while on a bad day you may fall onto your own. With so many variables at play, chance always deals a hand and there is no prospect of a guarantee. However, we train to raise our odds by working with what we know and have control over. We study how to defeat uke’s body, mind and spirit, we learn how to protect our own, and we train to recognise and command the relationships between them to win the advantage.
If what works counts, then taking advantage of conditions to achieve ‘what works’ is the object of our training. Our methods need to be adaptable and repeatable, and so we should realise the great benefits of basing adaptable taijutsu on strong foundations.
Good training requires that we train both with and without form, and we begin to realise that one exists within the other. There is no form but function, and the expression of function is form. Sounds deep, but this unites the ideal and the real within our training so that we are free to run without falling over.
We practice set techniques (form) to develop movement, position, timing and tactics and as we progress we also discover the inner principles, feelings and subtleties. Consistent practice develops our capacity for formlessness, and through this we can realise our ability to respond appropriately and utilise conditions freely.
Training should begin with the practice of form to build a good foundation. With correct training, things will develop from here if the student takes ownership of their taijutsu. Improvement continually depends more and more on the student. It is easy to teach movement, but difficult to create a perceptive, creative and free martial artist.