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Not Yet, Not Yet, Not Yet...

I remember when I first learned from Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato in Okinawa. When I would move from one position in a kata to the next, he would say, "not yet, not yet, not yet..." Then, when I had shifted so much weight to one leg in the direction I was going to move that I thought I would literally fall down, he would say, "now!"

Since there are many movements in a kata, I would hear, "not yet, not yet, not yet..." many times.

I first met Shinzato Sensei seven years ago. I remember that the Winter Olympics were on. The Japanese television would show all the Japanese competitors, even if they were in 40th place.

When we move, there is a tendency to move and shift weight together -- 1, 2, 3. But when we do this, our movement will be slow because it takes time to shift weight. The way to move quickly is to shift the weight but delay the execution of the technique as long as possible ("not yet, not yet, not yet..."). By the time we execute the technique, the weight will already be shifted (or mostly). The execution of the technique is like tripping a mouse trap. Snap!

The rhythm of shifting the weight is slow. The rhythm of executing a technique can be very fast. By pre-setting the weight shift, the execution of the technique is freed.

Hearing Shinzato Sensei say, "not yet, not yet, not yet..." was one of the first things I heard and learned from him. It is still something I think about and teach all the time, thanks to him.

Don't rush. Take your time. "Not yet, not yet, not yet..."


Charles C. Goodin