A study of the Kukishinden Ryu

By Clint Herring 7th Kyu Maai Hyoshi Dojos

From my studies so far, the Kukishinden Ryu has revealed to me this. As a strategy it is used to CREATE SPACE TO CAPTURE THE WRIST OF YOUR OPPONENT. Once I have the wrist USE IT.
So my first question is why capture the wrist? Because past the point of the wrist is the weapon. This may be a knife, sword, bottle hammer or anything but it may also just be an empty hand. Which is a weapon in itself and if I don’t deal with the weapon quickly and effectively then this leaves me open to more attacks.
I must disarm and isolate his armies, weapons and troops if I am to have a chance of defeating his fortress.
How do I capture the wrist? SPACE.
I need to create space to give me an opportunity to capture the wrist. I think the key here is that space is hidden in many different places. The most obvious space to create is to take an angle in which to create a hole between you and the attacker.
 An opportunity for this is to take a 45 degree angle back and away from the strike, coupled with a deep level change down gives me a space and an opportunity to capture the wrist. This is a big and obvious space which most will see.
I must note here an important rule of the Kukishinden Ryu is ‘DON’T GET HIT’.
The best techniques in the world are lost if the man trying to execute them is unconscious.
I have now moved and dealt with the strike as not to get hit, but have I got the wrist control I desire? The space I have created to evade the strike has helped me move from getting hit, but has now made it much harder to find and get the wrist. There is a big space and a small ‘fly’ that I am trying to ‘swat’ at.
I can hope to track the strike while I move to create space, but in real time that may not be possible and in taking a 45 degree angle away from the strike I am now on the inside line and fighting the enemy as a full man. All his natural weapons ‘strikes and ‘kicks’ can still be used against me.
My ideal position is to be on the outside line of the strike. This puts me in a excellent position to flank the enemy, giving me a better chance of gaining wrist control and most importantly I have turned him into a HALFMAN.
I think this strategy is one of the simplest and most effective I have seen so far. See a problem halve it makes it easier on me. I still must move and create space for the strike to come at me, but taking the outside line gives me more options and my opponent less options.
One move that may not lead to wrist control will lead itself into another move which may lead to it, and if it doesn’t, it will lead to many moves which could all result in wrist control - don’t panic. Many rivers lead to one lake as it were. The most important thing here is to gain wrist control.
So the next question I asked
What’s more important SPACE or WRIST? And can I have one without the other?
In the Kukishinden Ryu, you move to make space then capture the wrist. You are relying on the attacker to strike first, as mentioned earlier you may have to find different forms of space to get the wrist, but you need space! So my theory is this.
That hidden space is in every technique. The space exists in every school. So you can have space by itself, but in the Kukishinden Ryu you cannot control the wrist without space. The two go hand and hand. The initial space to create the opportunity to gain wrist control must come first! Even though space will turn up time and time again it must come before the wrist control opportunity appears.
                                               Space = Consciousness
                                               Space = Possible escapes
                                               Space = Opportunities
                                               Space = Wrist
                              Space and Wrist = Control.
Remember what Bruce Lee states “He who controls distance, controls the fight” Distance equals space.
Control is important if he has a weapon. Now that I have wrist control I can use may techniques. I may have to create an opportunity to create space. I have to lead him to realise he can hit me - the most obvious way to do this is to give hi a target. Giving him a target lets me have some control over the situation. Whilst letting him believe that he is in control of his choices and in this way I have played my first ‘Ninja’ trick. I have narrowed his options and hopefully corralled him down an ally way of my choosing. I am trying to dictate the fight before it has begun.
 In order to win a war you must control both, the offence and the defence.
Now he is at the edge of the so called ‘bridge’ and as soon as he launches his punch, he is well on the way to walking onto it.
By taking an angle and direction of my choosing and dealing with the strike, I have moved the target and this is my second ‘Ninja’ trick. I have disappeared. By conceding space I can look to gain wrist control. Now he is well and truly on the bridge and I have got my hand on the detonator. With my wrist control I can now execute my techniques and effectively ‘blow up the bridge he is standing on ’.
I know that this may not interest everyone but I see the water element playing a significant role in the Kukishinden Ryu. Starting with my Ichi Monji  defensive posture I feel gaining wrist control and making my way around the attacker like water is important so I can execute my techniques. Water can seek out of many spaces that a rock for example cannot. This gives me the ability to let my attacker choose his own demise. Once I have got wrist control, a reaction from him leads me easily into a finishing technique. If I stay rigid as a rock I may not feel these reactions and it now will be less about technique and more about a show of strength.
Remember what Bruce Lee states ‘When fighting, always be like water, fluid enough to fit any shape, but powerful enough to destroy rocks’.
Simply strategy is the key.
                             CREATE SPACE TO GAIN WRIST CONTROL
                                             ONCE I HAVE IT USE IT
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