Guest Columnists - Nu-Ki

Nuki translates as 'stealth' and/or 'pierce'. However, if we refer to the concepts of 'Nuki' within Wado movement, this can be explained quite easily (I hope).

If we look at say Shotokan (I have to compare with Shotokan, nothing personal, but they do seem to perform with the extreme, almost opposite, concepts of the way we move and practise). Each move is emphasised separately, and has very little, if any flow. Power is held and there are many long pauses, especially after and during a delivery at a Kiai point. When observing other styles while they practise their Kata techniques, when each 'individual' technique is performed, it seems to almost finish at that technique. In the 'extreme' cases, as I mentioned, during the point of any Kiai. When they have the Kiai there is a 'holding' of the power within that technique to almost over-emphasise the strike, etc..

However, in Wado, we do not 'hold' onto the Kime or overemphasise any technique, during Kiai or normal practise (this is known as 'disconnecting your power'). We attempt to move in a flowing manner from technique to technique in the same way as normal training, when the Kiai is expressed do not hold onto the Kime, but just simply move on as if there were no Kiai. Ohtsuka Meijin rarely (if ever) expressed Kiai at certain techniques, this is because he did not want the 'false power' to be reflected, or the flow to be 'deliberately interrupted' by a 'false' pause due to an ‘emphasis’ of power. All Wado Kata should flow from move to move without the use of unnecessary amounts of power or tension. Do not hold onto your power, but release this power prior to finalisation of each technique, this would then allow you the freedom of movement to the next technique without tension or restraint.

Nuki is probably one of the most complicated aspects of Wado-ryu Karate. The method of striking, in order not to generate over exertion of power is very difficult. Additionally, to create power and release this power ‘prior’ to the extension of the technique takes a lot of skill and timing to perfect.

As you use your 'initial' power to generate your technique, release fractionally 'prior' to the finalisation of the technique. This then releases the momentum. From here you can decide what you want to do with it - next move, pull back, etc..

In respect to the Kiai correct ‘timing’ is important; in this situation, Kiai at this initial point of the technique, rather than at the point of ‘final delivery’.

My interpretation of Nuki is this - It is almost like pushing a car whilst in a Junzuki stance - use your strength to push the car until it moves then let go of the car (retaining a Junzuki posture rather than leaning forward) - the car would then continue to move slightly until it came to a standstill. To continually push the car forward in Junzuki-dachi you would repeat the process. You would release the power, momentarily, during a step in order to move forward, and then continue to use spontaneous power to inert the force again. Think of your Chi pushing the car (initial element of technique), then release and watch your efforts continue through. Spontaneous energy release followed by continual motion.

Now think of a bucket full of water .... Punch the surface of the water and pushing the technique through to the bottom creates a lot of splash. Alternatively, punch the surface of the water and allow the fist to stop, or pull back, very quickly after just touching the surface, this then creates the desired 'ripple effect'. We create a ripple effect on the opponent's body with our strikes. If we have Nuki we can also start a 'pull-back' process earlier. Using this concept to cause more injury would only require a slightly deeper striking technique. The deeper the strike, the more damaging the effect on the opponent.

The thing about Wado is that we should use 'spontaneous' energy as opposed to 'continual energy’. Continual 'motion’ can be achieved through ‘spontaneous energy’. Also, power is achieved through speed and focus, rather than strength.

When I look at striking techniques I feel that there are three ‘potential’ elements within the technique. If we were to look at the basic punch we can change the ‘energy’ of the punch in three ways.

  1. Continual Energy.
    We can use continual power and allow our Ki to continue the flow of the strike from the point of ignition of the strike to the flow of the movement and extent this energy out through our technique and onwards (almost projecting the energy to continue out of the strike (often demonstrated in Tameshiwara - punching through the obstacle)).
  2. Nu-Ki.
    Creating the ignition of the strike, then detaching the energy, and allow the flow of the strike to continue on its path to the target.
  3. Secondary Power.
    With the use of the initial ignition, within Nuki, we can use a ‘secondary’ source of energy (as used in Nuki) to create renewed power for another strike (or even the same strike to increase impact). We are using a form of this, and would probably best be explained, by using feinting techniques as an example. When kicking to make a Maegeri (feint) and Mawashigeri (follow-up with same leg) to strike the opponent, for this we are using a form of ‘secondary energy’. When doing this we create our secondary power for the Mawashigeri. We use spontaneous energy to initiate the Maegeri then detach the energy, as in Nuki, to redirect the kick using body movement. From here we then have to use spontaneous power to implement the secondary technique, the Mawashigeri. Energy can be used for initiating a Gyakuzuki then we can detach our power to then change our moving strike into a Uraken, for example.

Secondary power can be useful in many ways and for many things. For example, when we are
performing Kata we initiate power to create the technique and then we allow another energy to change the direction of our motion. This can also allow you to stop abruptly by using counter energy such as moving the hips to create hip-twist or even another strike, etc..

We are all already using a simple version of this in our fundamental techniques. We use 'spontaneous' energy to create the initial motion of our body movement then detach that in order to it to create energy for another, such as a strike, etc.. This ability to use spontaneous energy and instant release can be taken to many levels of movement and we can find ourselves using this spontaneous energy repeatedly during Jiyu-kumite, etc..

In Wado we must remain relaxed and only use energy for spontaneous initial ignition of the technique. We can also use this to our advantage as we can detach quickly and make use of secondary power in the same technique or change to another quickly. We should not 'hold on' to our energy or have tension within the technique, but allow ourselves the ability to release this just after ignition - here we can also make use of Henka-waza more effectively.

Gary E Swift, 8th Dan.
Chief Instructor to the British Wadokai Karate-do. British Wadokai

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