[Approved] Ronri-tekina Shikō (Logical Thoughts) - The Nature of Taijutsu

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Crutch Kaguya

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Jun 23, 2009
Ronri-tekina Shikō (Logical Thoughts) - The Nature of Taijutsu

General Overview

Taijutsu, literally meaning Body Skill, is a basic form of techniques and refers to any techniques that involve martial arts or the optimization of natural human abilities. Taijutsu can be split into two general categories: techniques that require chakra and those that do not require chakra. Techniques that require chakra are utilized by special bio abilities that enhance the physical features or motions of the body, examples are Gentle Fist and Dead Bone Pulse. There are also other techniques that simply use pure chakra to enhance physical capabilities. The training of these techniques is to be handled by specialists of those bios, and this training does not pertain to those skills. This training is focused on the Strong Fist aspect of taijutsu. Taijutsu is executed by accessing both the physical and mental energies within the body, and relying on the stamina and strength gained through training. Strong Fist taijutsu does not require chakra. Taijutsu also does not require hand seals to perform, but does take advantage of certain stances or poses, and is much quicker to use than Ninjutsu or Genjutsu.

Importance of Description and Logic

What has been stated so far is the textbook definition of taijutsu. But taijutsu is not limited to specific definitions; taijutsu is an art form, and you are the artist. With taijutsu, the only limitations put on you are the limitations of natural physics and plausible motions of your body either in response to an attack or to attack. These topics will be discussed further in the following sections. The purpose of this section is to emphasize the “freedom” given by taijutsu; the “freedom” is essentially called “free form.” Though taijutsu does indeed have pre-prepared jutsu that can be used by a ninja, it is generally believed that each of these jutsu through the use of one’s own description and creativity can be recreated using free form to become even more useful and strategic in battle. This training is not meant to discourage one from using the pre-prepared jutsu, but to break down the fundamentals of each of these jutsu so that ninja can understand how they are physically performed. Even pre-prepared taijutsu that showcase the combination of several attacks can ultimately be broken down into a series of very particular and basic bodily motions. This training will discuss the very basic particular motions that essentially make up the prepared taijutsu so that ninja will not only be able to understand the taijutsu, but be able to analyze the logic behind the taijutsu. Because of this freedom given by taijutsu, it is the artist’s responsibility to describe how they perform their actions with clear and concise relevant detail. If you are not clear about the description of your move, then taijutsu cannot be correctly interpreted by your opponent, this will cause general confusion in their move which will result in the sequence of events becoming either unrealistic or implausible. Description leads to logical understanding, while ambiguity leads to personal inferences that may or may not match the intentions of the one who performed the attack. Why would we allow it to come to this position?

When you are using taijutsu, whether it be free form or pre-prepared taijutsu (keeping in mind that there are some pre-prepared taijutsu that must be posted when they are used because these taijutsu utilize special abilities that cannot be achieved using free form, though the techniques can then be further individualized with the user’s creativity afterwards i.e. I use Dance of the Clematis Vine to create a bone-spiked vine from my spinal cord, I cannot do this without posting the official jutsu, but I can then use the vine to the extent of my imagination) always pay close attention to the details that you state. Always state the details that you feel are most relevant to your actions. I will go over the basic details that are recommended to be described during your use of taijutsu overall, and will go into more detail for each specific motion when those motions are being described. The position of your body is an important aspect of taijutsu. You must state if you are in any specific stance or if your left arm is behind your left leg or behind the left side of your head. The position of your body both plays an important role in which spots you have openings that your opponent can exploit, and also emphasizes what motions are easily useable by your body. For example, if my right arm was in front of my body when my opponent uses his left arm to give me a side hook punch, I can use my right arm to come inside his left arm to redirect his punch to my right then I can also follow up by extending my right arm to give him a direct punch to the body or head depending on where I wish to attack. But if my right arm is behind my back when my opponent launches a sudden direct jab punch then I would not be able to bring my arm back up in time to defend against the punch and will be forced to use my left hand to block. This will create a small opening which my opponent can exploit since my left arm is across my body and my right arm is still behind my back. Of course, you can move your right arm to the front to counter any proceeding attacks, but within that instance in time, the position of your body played an important role in how you could defend. As such, the position of your body does not only limit itself to where your arms are but almost every relevant aspect of your body. Which foot is in front of the other, which direction your head is facing (this is important for vision which will be discussed in a later section), and the list continues. What is described depends on the unique situation and what is relevant in that situation.

As you’ve noticed so far, you can see that I describe which arm or which leg I am talking about. While normally with the use of other techniques, ambiguity can be held as harmless, due to the close proximity of taijutsu, the user must be precise in what parts of the body they are using and from what direction they are using those parts of the body. If I am using my right arm I can punch you directly or I can punch you from the side from the right. I cannot though punch you from the left with my right arm. Though with the correct description I can, it would require the distortion of the position of my arm and my elbows and my wrist, I will not care about that in the context of this training as this is meant to teach basic taijutsu, and such motions would be more advanced. For the purpose of this training, we will consider it as punching from the left side with your right arm is not impossible, but rather very inconvenient. As such you do not want to make this mistake. This can be solved by logically analyzing what part of the body you are using and how it can be used. And the same way as you analyze what parts of your body you are using, you must do so with the opponent’s move. By doing so, you can create a realistic set of physical actions that do not break basic logic and can be believed to be possible to perform with a human body. Think of whatever action you are about to perform in your head, imagine it, visualize it, then put it into writing the best that you can. You final goal is that you have described well enough that your opponent views the same image when they read your descriptions as the image that you saw in your head even before you started typing.

Following Basic Physics: Momentum and Time

When you are performing taijutsu, you must follow basic physics. This will not be a physics lesson but rather a short explanation of the aspects of physics that are required to have basic understanding how the mechanics of how taijutsu works realistically. The first concept of physics that you should keep in mind while performing your taijutsu is momentum and more importantly its conservation. There are two types of momentum that will be briefly explained that correspond with the basic principles of taijutsu. There are other types of momentum but they will not be covered. The first type of momentum is linear momentum while the second type is angular (or in layman’s terms, rotational) momentum. For the purpose of this training, the scientific definition of momentum will not be explored, but instead the term momentum will be used to refer to loosely to the current state of the motion of your body and where this motion will take you. Momentum essentially is used to describe logically how previous motions of your body affect the following motions of your body. This is due to the conservation of the momentum of your body. Momentum cannot be created or destroyed. And from this we can come to the conclusion that you cannot stop your motions just because of the counter measures that your opponent has taken. There are some actions that must happen and cannot be stopped because you put yourself into that position.

An example of this in the situation of linear momentum through the usage of taijutsu can be seen in even a simple punch. Imagine that you are heading closer toward your opponent and then “launch” yourself at the opponent aiming to punch them in the face. Now look carefully at that word “launch” as it is the most important term in analyzing how your momentum will further dictate the following logical sequence of events. Since momentum also relies on direction, since you launch yourself in the opponent’s previous direction, we can saw that all your momentum is headed that way. Now we can take the term “launch” if further explained properly with descriptions and consider that it means you basically some control over your motion after it has been started. Consider this as a real world situation, you run forward at full speed for a short distance then jump forward, someone comes into your path, you cannot just stop in mid-air and land before them. You would obviously go crashing into them unless you contort your body to “slide” past them. That is the same way you cannot stop your punch mid-way. Say you opponent redirects the punch and moves out the way, you cannot stop right there and attack them, you have to go past them, at this point; you can change the position of your body to land in a beneficial situation. You can also use your momentum to your favor in using it to promote another motion that can be easily blended in.

An example of this situation of angular momentum through the use of taijutsu can be seen in a simple spinning kick. The word “spinning” is what we look at when we think about angular momentum. The same way as linear momentum is conserved, angular momentum is also conserved. Though we do not live in an idealistic world were energy is conserved forever because of the other external forces that take energy, in the movements of something such as the human body, this loss due to external forces can be seen as negligible. Let us consider that I run toward my opponent then jump and spin clockwise and attempt to hit my opponent with the back of my right heel to the right side of the opponent’s neck area. If the opponent was the bend toward below my swinging leg, then my angular momentum would generally continue. This does not mean that I will continue spinning forever, but it does mean that I will at least continue spinning for at least one more rotation, thus turning my back to my opponent. This is where the understanding of angular momentum is important, you cannot simply say that you stop spinning because you know that due to out of character knowledge that your opponent can hit you in the back, you need to maintain the rotation and then use it either to your advantage to escape or attack again using some other part of your body.

To conclude on momentum, remember that momentum can be transferred. The situations mentioned above is when momentum stays where it started. You can transfer linear momentum that is pushing your lower body into your arm to increase the strength of a punch and to stop the movement of your lower body for other actions and so on. If your attack lands on the opponent, the momentum and force is generally turned into the impact and is transferred out into them so you no longer have that same momentum in your own motion.

Because timing is an issue that is covered in all aspects of battle, the material on timing will be shorter than that on momentum. Timing is generally considered to be the amount of time it takes to perform an action and the amount of time there is to counter an action. Because taijutsu is much faster and closer combat then Ninjutsu, the timing for taijutsu must be taken into more careful account. Essentially what should be taken account with timing is what actions can and cannot be performed, or in fact if any actions can be performed (though in this case, the end result will usually not be fatal). The timing of your and your opponent’s moves should take account to what parts of your previous moves can be completed in response to the counter and what parts cannot be completed, and how in this time you can counter. Consider this to be a situation, my opponent must take off bandages on their arms in order to perform a certain set of attacks (this can be seen with Rock Lee’s techniques where he wraps his opponents with the bandages around his arms), now imagine that I am 1 or 2 meters away from my opponent. He definitely doesn’t have enough time to take off the bandages if I choose to attack him, causing him to either stop to defend or get hit with the attack. Now imagine that I am about 5 to 7 meters away from my opponent when they take of their bandages. This is where I must take account of the timing of my move. The opponent is still able to take of those bandages for later use and then be able to block my attack or using the bandages, actually use my attack against me and counter strike. To conclude on timing, simply use it to realistically understand what you can and can’t do with the time that you are given.

Limitations of the Body and Positions

You can only do things in taijutsu, either free form or pre-prepared, that the body is physically capable of doing or that what is allowed by the technique. Keep this mind when you are using taijutsu. There needs to be clear understanding that you cannot perform actions that are physically impossible. This concept again can be combined with the belief that efficient usage of taijutsu is a result of basic logic. Now there are certain techniques that physically allow you to alter your body such as Dead Bone Pulse and there are other techniques that can increase the range of motions of your body such as Gentle Fist, but using only open free form, you cannot achieve actions that are considered to go beyond the scope of what can be performed using only description. Limitations of your body also are important in the reach of your attacks. Your punches can only go as far as your arm can reach. If the opponent bends backward so that if you aimed to punch them in the head, their head is beyond the reach of your arm, then you cannot hit them. This is plain and simple to see. But there are other cases when the limitations of your body determine the whole manner in which you can counter an opponent’s response. This is when there is actually no physically limitation that is inherent to your body such as the length of your arm, but when there is a limitation that is forced onto your body because of the position that your body in currently. It is important to always keep track of the position of your body relative to your movements and relative to the movements of your opponent.

Imagine the same situation in which you run turn the opponent and try to hit them with a side hook right with your right arm. The opponent instead of trying to direct your hook out of their side with their left arm instead directs the hook to the inside while pushing your arm to their right to cause your body to turn. The position that your body is now is probably sideways with your right shoulder facing your opponent. The opponent then chooses to take advantage of this position and tries to punch you with their arm to the side of your head or kick you in the back with their left leg. Why did I mention two scenarios, it is because there is no way that you can use your left arm to block either of their attacks in that current position. Using your legs in a traditional sense also cannot help you block either of those attacks. We are stuck in a situation where the position of our body is preventing us from defending. But by understanding the position of our body, we are able to change its position in order to defend. The best thing to do is to continue the spinning motion that our opponent kindly started for us and instead of just turning half way, turn in a complete circle so that you are now facing them. In this seemingly neutral position you have the option of using your left hand to block that punch or using your legs traditionally to block that kick by moving your leg to intercept the kick. This scenario shows how you can manipulate your opponent’s position to create an opening for your own attacks, and then manipulate your own position to defend.

I’d also like to briefly go over stances, which are predetermined body position. I will not go into any stances but will explain their purpose. A stance is basically a predetermined position that you use to provide some sort of benefit, either in the manner in which you attack or how you defend. There can be defensive stances or offensive stances. You can actually not use a stance at all if you wish; this is more prone for fluid fighting styles as they cannot lock themselves into a particular set of movements. I will take this as an opportunity to explain the Drunken Fist, it is not exactly a stance in how it is represented as a pre-prepared jutsu in our role-play, but is seemingly used as a stance or better yet a pseudo-state-of-being in our role-play (you must post the Drunken Fist technique, it allows your body to do things it normally cannot). The Drunken Fist allows you to perform loose fluid almost unpredictable movements. You can use this to avoid attacks you normally couldn’t but obviously keep it within reason and detail. The technique is not a means where you can avoid any offensive taijutsu attack from your opponent by stating you are using Drunken Fist; nor does it make the opponent completely unable to defend against you. It grants you access to such movements but these movements cannot fool what your body can do. Stances simply promote certain already possible movements, they do not grant you access to impossible movements.

Awareness of Surroundings: Perception and Vision

You cannot react to what you cannot see based on visual perception (which can be considered to be the interpretation of what you see to understand what is going on), and you can’t choose not to see what is in front of you arbitrarily. That is the theme for this section. This section is meant to be somewhat of an extension to the limitations of your body, in that your vision is derived from your eyes which are a part of your body. This section will not be as long as the previous sections but will simply cover those two basic statements that I started this section with. Before that is covered, I will simply focus not on the aspect of perception but literally your field of vision. Your field of vision depends on the direction of your head, which unless specific otherwise, is the direction of your body. If you are running straight at your opponent you can only see what is in your field of vision in front of you, you cannot actually see what is behind you. There are other ways to understand that someone is behind you, such as sound or smell, or just straight out sensing, but in this case sight is not one.

A more relevant situation in which the direction of your head is important in taijutsu is when you are in close combat and your opponent causes you to turn around facing away from them, in this case you must either turn your head to see them or turn your body so you are facing them. If you do not do either of these actions, you cannot perceive the opponent’s actions and cannot block them. This is what is meant by you cannot react to what you cannot see in such situations. Certain eye techniques such as the Byakugan and sensing skills completely bypass this as those users have a field of vision of 360 degrees or “detection” methods of things around them.

When your opponent performs actions that are specifically designed to draw your visual attention to a certain movement, you cannot simply pass this off and ignore that movement. Taijutsu pertains to basic physical reactions to events. Your eyes are not excluded. If your opponent choses to throw a kunai that goes past the left side of your head ever so closely only missing it by inches, then this would definitely cause you to glance at the kunai as it passes by to your left, essentially drawing your vision away from your right. The opponent can then use this as an opening to attack you from the right. Though the end result is that you are unaffected by the kunai, this does not mean it does not trigger a response. Ignoring that response is poor taijutsu skill. Instead counter by blocking the kunai before it passes you so that you perception is drawn to the front so that you can still see if your opponent attacks from the right.

Attempting to manipulate your opponent’s vision to create openings for your attacks is a basic aspect of taijutsu as you cannot expect to use straightforward attacks and just wait for your opponent to take them. Carefully understand what you can and cannot see during a fight. Vision and perception are usually one of the unspoken aspects of taijutsu as its knowledge can be seen in the following actions, but keeping a mental note can help you devise strategies for combat.

Questions to Ask to Yourself
What part of the body is being used?
Where does the power, if any, come from?
What does the motion achieve?
What are the repercussions of the motion / what openings do you create for the opponent?
Advanced Question - How can the motion be built upon for a coherent sequence?

The Upper Body

Closed Fist Direct

The part of the body that is used is the arm. The parts of the arm specifically are the fist, closed of course, the elbow, and the shoulder. The power from the direct punch comes from the thrusting motion of the shoulder and the extension of the elbow. The muscle in question is the triceps which deal with the extension of the air, the shoulders are also involved. The direct punch means a punch that goes straight, nothing more. It can be considered to be the most straightforward upper body attack. The motion achieves brute force. When brute force is mentioned in taijutsu, it generally means that the impact causes deformation of its landing point. The kinetic energy from the brute force is transferred into that object and is converted into energy that physically deforms it i.e. breaking the opponent’s nose and deforming the previous structure of their nose. The motion being direct will make it easy for the opponent to see what you are doing and counter.

Closed Fist Side

The part of the body that is used is the arm. The parts of the arm specifically are the fist, closed of course, the elbow, and the shoulder. A side-punch essentially means there is no extension of the elbow. Torque is generated from the shoulders as you swing your arm which provides the power. The muscle in question is the biceps which are tightened when you swing your arm. The motion achieves brute force. When brute force is mentioned in taijutsu, it generally means that the impact causes deformation of its landing point. The kinetic energy from the brute force is transferred into that object and is converted into energy that physically deforms it i.e. breaking the opponent’s nose and deforming the previous structure of their nose. The motion comes from the side so you can draw your opponent’s vision to that direction, but you also leave your other side and your front open for attack. This is also loosely referred to as a hook.

Open Palm Thrust

This motion is exactly the same as the Closed Direct Fist in all but the fact that it uses open fists. The fists are not balled up when performing this action, but the palm is left open. This action is not one of brute force but more thrusting force. When the palm strikes, it doesn’t cause deformation, but instead pushes the point of contact away. This type of force is not used to cause great physical damage but to “stun” the opponent. The way the power is generated, the openings it creates, and the parts of the body used are mostly the same as the Closed Direct Fist.

Rising Uppercut

This motion is similar to the Closed Fist Side in the muscles used and how the power is generated. The only difference is the direction in which the attack comes and how that affects the motion. This motion involves a closed fist going from the ground up. The user creates torque by moving their shoulder up while having their elbow bent at a right angle and their knuckles facing upward. This is a motion that produces brute force. The main opening created by this motion is that the user’s momentum most of the times will carry them upward if the attack does not land, forcing the user into a precarious situation.

Shoulder Thrusts

The main part of the body that is involved is the shoulder but in reality your whole body is affected by this motion. Essentially the power for this motion comes from the lower body; the legs are used to push the ground to provide force with which the shoulder can slam into the target. This is ultimately a thrusting motion. The main repercussion with this motion is that because it involves using your lower body to push off the ground, you generate a lot of full body momentum. That means when you thrust yourself at the opponent, if they move out the way, you cannot just stop, you momentum will carry you slightly beyond at which point you can alter your body to adjust to the situation.

Elbow Thrusts

The parts of the body involved are the elbow and the alternating forearm. If the elbow thrust is simply bending the elbow then thrusting it at the target, then it does not involve the forearm. But if it requires bending the elbow, turning the body sideways, thrusting the elbow at the target with your fist on the arm in question balled up, you can use the forearm of your other arm, to support the elbow to give it more force. In this case, the forearm of your open hand is used to create a more forceful impact. This is indeed a brute force motion because of the general sharpness of your elbow which results in a lot of pressure. Though capable of devastating power, because the second version while involves turning your whole body sideways to take advantage of the power created and the generally momentum of your body, the motion is hard to stop once started or once you get close to your target. The target can redirect it using your own momentum.

The Lower Body

Front Kick

A Front Kick is the simplest of all lower body offensive movements. It, like all other kicks, requires the usage of the legs. Since this is basic knowledge, unless stated otherwise, it will be understood by default for all proceeding kicks, and only other specific parts will be mentioned when needed. The power for this motion is created when the leg is extending toward the opponent. For simplistic purposes, we will consider the Front Kick to both include the actual front kick where the foot is vertical and the motion is almost a forward stomp, and the kick where the foot is turned horizontal and the body is turned sideways as well. This is generally because both result in kicks heading straight toward the target. All kicks generally have both brute and thrusting force; this will also be understood by default in the future. Kicks both cause physical deformation and cause the opponent to be pushed away. In both of the above situations, the straightforward attacks allow the opponent to easily counter your attack.

Spinning Kick

A Spinning Kick in this sense will be used to represent any kick in which you must spin your lower body, but not restricted to only your lower body as you could spin your entire body as well, during the course of the kick. The power for this kick comes from this spinning motion from which it is named. The last point on this kick is that the spinning motion is a case of rotational momentum. You cannot stop the spin in mid-air because you choose to, you must describe a realistic set of actions which take advantage of the spinning motion, or at the very least, takes account that the spinning motion does indeed continue.

Jumping Kick

A Jumping Kick in this sense is simply the user jumping toward the target with their leg extending and hitting the target with their extended leg. The key point to note about this motion is that the power is created from the jump. But because of this, you put yourself in an airborne position. Once you go airborne, it is not a matter of whim on whether you can change direction. If you intended to jump 5 meters then if something happens where that distance is not safe, you cannot just increase the length of the jump to 10 meters after you are already in the air. This is one of the more dangerous situations you can put yourself in as you are trapped in the mercy of the laws of physics.

Leg Sweep

A Leg Sweep is a simple motion and thus will not be explained as much. It simply involves moving your leg low to the ground to usually attack the opponent’s legs to cause them to fall or lose their balance. The power of a leg sweep comes from its rotational motions where you must move your leg from one side of your body to the other. By focusing on the opponent’s lower body, you also open up your upper body. As such an opponent can jump above the leg sweep since it is such a low attack, and is free to attack your upper body. This does not actually have any brute force or thrusting force, it just makes the opponent lose balance in their legs.

Skyward Spike and Axe Kick

I have combined these two together because they are like yin and yang. The Skyward Spike, a term that I coined as a combination of its direction and its comparison to volleyball, is a kick where the user lowers their entire body, especially their back, to the ground then extends their leg upward while pushing off the ground to create even more force to combine with the extension. This will spike the opponent upward. An Axe Kick is somewhat the opposite. The user lifts their leg all the way up so that it is almost pointing toward the sky, and pulls their leg to the ground like an axe. This smashes the opponent into the ground. The advantage of both of these motions is that they produce great results. The difficulties are the positions of the body required to perform the actions. Maintain awareness of your body position when performing these motions. There are no true opening created as there are many ways to defend against these kicks, so keep your range of motions open.

Knee Thrusts

A simple thrust of the knee. This requires the leg to be bent and takes advantage of the sharpness created by the bent leg with the knee being the point. This motion can either be used as a stationary knee thrust, or as a launching knee thrust. The second case is where the user runs toward the target and jumps and thrusts their knee into the opponent. In this case, the motion is not limited to only the knee but the entire body. So momentum is an issue on this subject. You cannot just stop yourself in mid-air, but you can manipulate your body position and get rid of the momentum in other ways through your interaction with the surroundings. The first case is stationary and in close range is a quite effective attack. It does not create any true openings, though this does not mean there are not openings.

The Coherency of Combinations and Afterword

Notice that throughout the entire process, not once was this referred to as a guide. That is because to be blatant it is not a guide. It is a collection of my logical thoughts on the usage of taijutsu. Using my logic, you can make inferences to your own thoughts and how you believe things should realistically work in taijutsu. The basic motions that I have broken down should be seen as a sign that every pre-prepared taijutsu, with respect to that it does not exceed the boundaries of open description, can be broken down into these individual motions and are in the end nothing more than combinations of individual motions. Now, I will never go over all these combinations as the possibilities are endless. It is your job to understand how these motions work, so that you can combine them together logically. I can’t teach you how to be good at taijutsu, I can’t teach you to want to use taijutsu, and I probably can’t teach you to do a lot of other stuff. What I can do, is share my thoughts, and allow you to educate yourself as you wish.

"Only limitations placed on oneself are given the power to bind."

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