Why do you focus so much on learning to move one’s center? What’s the purpose? And also what training drills should I be doing to quickly locate my center? – Jared
First off we have two meanings when we use that word “center” for self defense purposes. One is the core of our spine and the other is our lower abdomen, approximately two to three inches below your naval. Both are extremely important in the type of jiu-jitsu we use with Freedman’s Method Ketsugo Jiu-jitsu.
So both centers are the core of all movement in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. We move from the core of our spine. One reason is back in the day before Jiu-jitsu was taught as an empty hand martial art Bushi or Samurai studied fencing known as Kenjutsu. They also used long staffs known as the bo staff. The spear was common as well as the knife.
If you were in battle and being cut by a sword wielding opponent you had to move from the core of your body. If for any reason any part of your body lagged behind… whatever was left unguarded was cut. A good example of this is where an opponent does a number eight sword cut straight down to the top of your head to split your skull in half like a cantaloupe. Perhaps you lean back to prevent your head from being cut. However, your upper chest and waist area will still be exposed to this vertical downward cut. By pulling from your spine and using your foot work instead of simply leaning back your entire body moves all at once. This prevents any exposed body parts from being cut.
At Combat Science we teach people to move from their spine and to lower their body in a semi-squat position. This lowers your center or “hara” which enables much faster body movement. This also adds tremendous power to all your movements and techniques. For example, this works wells for throws or locks. It also works really well for striking or escaping holds or locks. By training in a semi-squat it also strengthens your knees and hips.
A good self defense exercise to practice is the foot movements that we teach in Freedman’s Method Ketsugo Jiu-Jitsu. You first need to learn these foot movements by memorizing them. Then try to do them without missing a beat. This means you can perform all foot movements without pausing or forgetting any of them. Once this is accomplished do the foot movements while wearing a weighted vest. This will teach you to move from your center. The last thing we add on is a weighted headband. The purpose of the weighted headband is to prevent you from leaning over while doing your foot movements. Most people bend over, leaning with their head. This diminishes the effectiveness of moving with your spine. It also sets up some bad habits that could come back to hurt you if you ever need to use this jiu-jitsu system for self defense in a real life encounter.
I hope this answered your question. Practice every day.
Grandmaster Peter Freedman