Shizentai no ri - The principle of a balanced body
Balance is essential in Martial Arts. A balanced posture is an indication of expertise in the art. Such stance indicates the practitioner’s maturity and control.
In Judo & Aikido, Kenji Tomiki wrote about shizentai no ri, he called it: a natural posture.
Shizentai no ri is not the posture itself, it is the concept idea “how to keep the posture”. It explains how the body has the natural “tension - tonus”.
• It is not limp (lacking internal strength or structure)
• It is not tensed (especially muscles stretched tight or rigid)
But this also applies to the mind. You must practice with mindfulness/awareness.
The idea of mushin mugamae is mostly translated as “empty mind empty posture”, but this is not presenting correctly how we have to keep our mind and body.
When we have the “shizentai” concept in our behaviour, we are mushin mugamae. Mind and body can react instantly to every action from the opponent. Mind and body are not empty, neither full. There is a balance.
In our our training we are using more than 1 basic posture, but all contain the concept of shizentai.
More than 100 yrs ago, the importance of a balanced body is shown in a book on jujutsu for women (1906).
Tori’s body completely upright, full control of uke.