In the Ninja's art of unarmed combat known as ninpo-taijutsu
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, or budo-taijutsu, there is the core lesson of kamae - the use of effective body positioning. While other martial arts might refer to this strategic positioning of the body as dachi or "stances," the Ninja sees his or her kamae as an outward manifestation of the inner workings of his or her heart, rather than a fixed position dictated by one's style.
Progress through any educational endeavor is often seen as merely learning the lessons that the teacher gives us. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Rarely does a student question the relevance of any given skill or its relationship to other skills and lessons being taught at the same time. And this is no different in the martial art world.
This is especially true when it comes to the skills commonly referred to as "the basics."
In fact, it's these "basics" that often go overlooked by students and teachers alike as being anything more than merely base elements of a particular style. In fact, they're often seen as nothing more than...
...the stuff to learn so we can move onto "the cool stuff."
I know that I
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, myself, used to believe that. That is, until I went from conventional, sport-oriented, martial arts, to the art of ninjutsu.
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, in the beginning of my training, kamae were just that...kamae. I really didn't see them as any different from the "stances" of my earlier training in karate, tae-kwon-do, and other arts. Even though my teacher spoke of "taking up" the kamae and repeating the "idea" of kamae as meaning "mind-body-spirit attitudes" - being the physical manifestations by our bodies of how we felt and what we thought we could do in any given moment.