The Kodoryu Karate and Kobudo Renmei has a large kata based syllabus that strikes a fine balance between the old and new. The antique kata (forms) are carefully researched, studied and preserved as well as providing the basis for several modern practices developed within the group. One of these practises central to Kodoryu Karate is pushing hands.
Pushing hands is a dynamic game where one person attempts to disrupt a partners concentration, posture and balance while maintaining their own. Using contact reflexes via the hands,wrists and forearms force is exchanged by pushing, pulling and twisting a partners limbs in a reciprocal fashion. Common to many empty hand Chinese Martial arts and some styles of Karate pushing hands differs in Kodoryu in that no claim is made for pushing hands training having any relevance or practical use for fighting or self defence. Free from the ideas of overcoming a person to win a fight and combative effectiveness the game takes on a new life which can be enjoyed by all and pursued from a variety of different perspectives. Examples of varying approaches are pushing hands as a physical art that aims for the spontaneous application of techniques and skills studied in various kata, or as a holistic exercise which works within the natural range of the body/joints and develops strength, posture and bodily awareness, finally as a moving meditation for developing mindfulness, intent and exploring different meditative states.
Each practitioner starts by learning the same basic forms/templates and techniques and gradually over time develops their own individual practise, this makes pushing hands a unique experience with every person practised with. One of the challenges that makes pushing hands such an enjoyable practise is finding rapport and learning to adapt to each individuals physical, technical and psychological characteristics. Constant effort is required to avoid falling into mindless routines and cycling the same patterns over and over again, this encourages students to become more creative with their technical repertoire and results in an ever evolving practise.
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