Watching Space

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu Resources' started by MattK, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. MattK

    MattK New Member

    This may be a hard one to explain but i'll give it a go.

    Recently during training i have taken a little time aside to watch other people, mainly to observe movements, but i came across something which struck me as pretty interesting. I noticed that watching the emptyness/ space between/ around people will often give thier intentions away. So in games where either can attack its often possible to see who will attack before they do. Its hard to really explain unless you have seen it...hopefully someone will know what im on about.

    Anyway, i have been in barcelona for the last week, and was warned about pickpockets. I thought i'd turn it into a bit of a game, and when we sat on the main street for lunch each day, i decided to try and tell who was a bit dodgy before anything really happened. One day i was watching 2 guys chatting, and i said to my girlfriend "watch there, somethings not right". For some reason the space had changed. About 5 seconds later a fight broke out.

    Hopefully im not wandering too off track here, and im certaintly not suggesting any kind of "special power". But the idea of space was something i hadnt really looked at before, and i was amazed at what i learnt.
  2. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Not sure why this one really belongs in the Ninjitsu forum?

    What your on about is very valid in general though. It's something that police officers, soldiers in extended tours of duty and people living in the inner city often develop a feeling for.

    As well the people that are often employed in the UK to watch certain sections of town on the CCTV cameras are people who receive a certain amount of training in what to look for in movements of individuals and small groups prior to confrontations, violence and muggings. There was recently a bit on the BBC about the people manning some of these cameras in the rougher areas.. many were former criminals and street toughs...and they'd been employed precisely because they new how to pick up on the cues that the shizznizz was about to the hit the fan.

    It's like the next level up from being aware of your surroundings. People are generally predictable creatures of habit... this is why furtive movements and quick movements of erratic motion tend to stand out in public.

    Most people don't normally move that way. So when they do... it shows up on many peoples radar. Generally people who work as beat officers have a good feeling for when things are about to get out of hand.

    Probably a good term for it would telegraphic movement. A group of people about to mug someone are keyed up... because of the adrenalin and the positiong that need to happen in order to mug someone they will tend to do a set pattern of movements... a telegraph of sorts to anyone that is keen enough to pick it up.

    When you see riot situations and demonstrations you will almost always see a police officer or several with video cameras taping everything.. even when there is no violence... they use this footage for several things... once to cover their ass if things get out of control and the footage can show that they were right to use force (though this has worked against them in the past as well) - but they will also use some of this kind of footage as training for younger officers to show how a situations escalates from a normal situation to one of violence or conflict.

    A similar phenomena can be seen when watching time lapse footage of underground stations and city streets... watched in real time it's boring but when you watch the same thing again as super fast speed... you can start to discern patterns that you'd never be able to see in real time.

    The same applys to playing chess... you can play chess in 10 or 20 min. bouts... but there are certain patterns for the first 5-6 opening moves that you will begin to notice much more easily if you play hundreds of 1 min. games (blitz chess).
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  3. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6

    Because he's talking about something very important to understanding taijutsu as Hatsumi soke is teaching it.

    And, no disrespect intended, but your post and descriptions indicate that you're not getting what MattK is talking about at all.
  4. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Ok, then why don't you take a stab at breaking it down for me in terms that someone who isn't a card carrying Ninja can understand.:D

    Seems to me that what I posted actually has quite a bit of relevance to what MattK's original post was on about...

    But I'm waiting to hear your expert explanation.... please enlighten
  5. Davey Bones

    Davey Bones New Member

    And what he described isn't used by police officers, soldiers, and other MAers around the world. Riiight.
  6. specourt

    specourt Hero in a half-wit shell

    Just to clarify for us dim ones, is this kukan or shiki you mean? :)
  7. Shizukanaarashi

    Shizukanaarashi New Member

    I'm almost always surprised by what I learn when I sit and watch training for a while, that goes for watching it on telly too. I recently watched some cage fighting and although I'm not really into competitive MA, I got loads out of it.:)

    I guess any insight into what happens in a fight is worth having. In this case, is it a clarification of peripheral awareness, but from a third party perspective? When you're not really sure what your uke is going to do, say in randori, you try to make your awareness as open as possible and I suppose then one of the things you're subconsciously monitoring is the space your opponent may move into.

    Maybe it's like body conditioning, only in this instance it's awareness conditioning. The more training/fighting you are exposed to, the more likely it is that you'll get a clue as to your opponents intentions. As you learn more about your opponents clues, the better able you are to avoid making your intentions obvious, like when real class kendo masters appear to freeze in time as they fight.

    For myself, I'm always getting clobbered, :( so I think I might start watching those spaces a bit more closely - thanks for the tip!;)
  8. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    What was described by Slipthejab Probably is BaiKaiGuy but as Dale said what MatK is on about isn't what Slipthejab was talking about.
    I do belive we 've entered the Kukan zone :D

    Am I right Dale????
  9. MattK

    MattK New Member

    Have i bitten off more than i can chew here?

    Kukan and Shiki are things iv heard in passing, but always made my head go "ow"
  10. MattK

    MattK New Member

    Just to Clarify Slipthejab seems to have misinterpreted what i was aiming at. Maybe it was my fluffy choice of words. Sorry.
  11. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    :D Yep know what you mean!!

    Luckily for us we have a number of people on here who have a much better grasp of Kukan and such so with any luck they may be able to help us with our head pain :D
  12. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Seeing the Space

    SpookyFBI is correct. What Slipthejab is describing is used by cops, et al. as BaiKaiGuy suggests. But how Dale (and I) read MattK's comments is not the same thing.

    While I'm not Dale, you are correct. :D

    Dale and I share a similar perspective on the idea of seeing the space. The best way of describing it is to IGNORE the person and instead focus on the space. Over time, you will be able to "read" the space and understand precisely where the uke will move/punch/kick BEFORE the movement begins. This is different from "sensing" something is "not right" about a person before he acts.

    Once you can see the space, you can learn to manipulate it. This is very different from controlling the uke through manipulations. And it starts to go into the "mind control" type of stuff that Soke and the Shihan can do. Basically, you end up punching or kicking where THEY want you to punch/kick, not where YOU want to punch/kick. :D

    I encourage people, such as Matt, to spend a lot more time on this type of stuff during their training. Instead of looking at the opponent who is coming to attack, focus on the space. If you assume that you start out in a "safe place," which is accompanied by space of a certain shape and size, then as the uke comes to attack, making your place "unsafe," then you will know where you need to go to keep your place "safe." Just move there. :D

    Eventually the uke will become "trivial." You are not fighting arms and legs. You are fighting to keep the space safe.

    Does that make sense?

  13. r erman

    r erman Valued Member


    Sounds like the spatial and mental misdirection that is a hallmark of aiki-based jujutsu.

    I've seen glimpses of 'aiki' operating principles in taijutsu for a long time. It seems to me that Takagi Yoshin is an 'aiki' based system, and the Shirabe Moguri kata from Kukishin speicifically seem to manipulate space in a similar manner. I know many classical systems use different names for what is considered aiki, where does the principle(s) of kukan come from? Is it Gyokko? Or something Hatsumi has fleshed out of all the lineages and given name to?
  14. cj256

    cj256 Valued Member

  15. Davey Bones

    Davey Bones New Member

    Sorry, but I doubt this is specific to what you guys do. But whatever, we'll go discuss the same theory over in another forum. Cheers.
  16. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6

    Didn't really intend to just drop a bomb and run, but I had to leave to visit the instructor group for my employer's executive/dignitary protection training programs, out at the Stockton police training facility. The 12-day basic course just ended, and today is day 2 of the 3-day Advanced Protective Firearms course which immediately follows it. 2 students from my dojo just graduated from the EP course Friday and are going through this course as well, so I & my wife also wanted to watch and see how they're doing.

    Anyhow, to make a long story short, Spooky and Ben Cole are correct.
  17. Goju

    Goju Yellow Belt

    Not at all, to me anyway.

    I don't understand how observing the space around a person could reveal their intentions and soon-to-be thrown techniques better than observing the person themselves. What I mean is, for instance, when I'm sparring I watch a person's torso, I really focus on it because it performs these certain movements that I can read and figure out what the opponent is going to be throwing. How can you watch the space around a person and get the same effect?

    (no offence intended, I actually don't get it and I want to know what you mean by this)
  18. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥

    Your idea reminds me of an art technique.

    Its called negative space.

    Sometimes when drawing an object, in order to get the proportions right, you shouldnt draw the object, but draw the spaces in between the parts of the object.
  19. Keikai

    Keikai Banned Banned

    Nope you have entered a higher area of learning thats all.
  20. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter


    Thank you for your definition. :D

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