Tennen Do The Way of Spontaneity
is a blended martial art primarily rooted in Okinawan Karate. From
the Okinawan martial tradition it incorporates elements of
Matsubayashi Shonin-Ryu, tui-te (joint manipulation) and kyusho-jitsu
(pressure point striking). In addition Tennen-Do combines the
movement orientation of Russian Systema and the emphasis on balance
and sensitivity found in Tai Chi Chuan. In order to train the
practicioner in higher levels of muscle control and awareness Tennen-Do
ultilizes techniques of yoga found in the practices of the Kshatria
caste warriors of India and the meditation disciplines of the Japanese
In accordance with the Japanese/Okinawan understanding
of martial arts there are two key concepts. These concepts are Ji,
which is a definite technique with a pre-determined form, and Ri,
which is freedom from the restriction of technique. Ri is the
ultimate goal, but it has traditionally been achieved through the
refinement of Ji. This approach worked to the advantage of the
Samurai class with its emphasis upon discipline order and structure.
This tradition however is not the oldest martial tradition. The
ancient warriors were not soldiers nor were they class-advantaged
aristocrats. The ancient warriors were martially skilled individuals
who sought to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their
communities. As such these individuals gained martial skill via
experience, improvisation and creativity. This is the tradition in
which the concept of Ri is rooted. This is the tradition in
which Tennen-Do has its roots. Tennen-Do prefers to largely ignore
the cultivation of Ji preferring to go beyond the restriction of
technique through the use of spontaneous creative improvisation.
The guiding principle of Tennen-Do is that awareness is
the ultimate value. Training is focused on awareness. Awareness
develops openness and sensitivity integrated within fluid movement.
Fluid movement causes the proper execution of the technical aspects of
empty hand combat to be brought into play. From the perspective of Tennon-Do success in
conflict ultimately belongs to those who are most aware. Awareness
allows for openness within the framework of the combat environment. A
non-expectant openness to the requirements of the situation enables
the practitioner to adapt quickly and appropriately to the changing
demands of the conflict circumstance.
Being aware is an experiencing closely related
to movement and muscular sense. Movement is taught in such a way that
it is coordinated, flowing, integrated and connected to perceiving
with all of the senses. Awareness shifts with every movement in time
and at no time is this shifting awareness more consequential than in a
survival situation. Movement provokes awareness. Any change in
movement or its structure translates itself through a change of
attitude, posture and muscular configuration. Since all conflict is
mutual, changes in attitude, posture, and muscular configuration can
defuse conflict, initiate it, exacerbate it, or increase the
probability of victory or defeat.
Within the framework of training in Tennen-Do,
there are no incorrect movements, although some might be more
technically skillful than others. Movements flow in such a way as to
place the practitioner into a circumstance from which other movements
simply emerge. All movement grows out of an action context rooted in
awareness and emphasizing spontaneity and creativity. Appropriate
action is seen in Tennen-Do to arise out of awareness, spontaneity and
creativity. All movement is in effect spontaneously and creatively
improvised as the practitioner remains in a state of relaxed open
Kokoro Wo Tadase"
First purify your
While Tennen-Do does not emphasize particular
techniques, it does seek to embody in the practitioner certain
principles. The most important principle is, of course, awareness.
While awareness is fundamental, it can be hampered or enhanced.
Because we are embodied beings the physical orientation of the
practitioner is crucial. This brings us to the:
PRINCIPLES OF PERSONAL ORIENTATION
Breathe slowly and deeply
Relax release all psychological tension and all unnecessary
Proper Body Structure chest up slightly, hips tucked, knees soft
Move constant close quarter repositioning
Nonresistance move with rather than against force in such a
fashion that the force is either neutralized or adds to the
force of the response
The fact that combat is mutual brings us to the:
FIVE PRINCIPLES OF ENGAGEMENT
Avoid make the force miss
Absorb minimize the impact of the force
Control guide the incoming force
Disarm render the attack harmless
Disable render the attacker harmless
SUGGESTIONS FOR TRAINING:
Direct your attention to the quality of your
movement rather than its outcome.
Do everything softly with emphasis on expanding
Emphasize open awareness, silence and
non-attachment to outcomes.
THE CODE OF THE
The Tennen-Do Practitioner never initiates conflict, responds
to violence using the minimum amount of force necessary and acts to
remove the conditions which lead to conflict.
The Tennen-Do Practitioner defends the weak, protects the
innocent, cares for the Earth and reveres life.
The Tennen-Do Practitioner faithfully dischanges
responsibilities, is generous, compassionate, and honorable.
The Tennen-Do Practitioner is indifferent to personal suffering
exhibiting the virtues of courage, steadfastness, initiative, and
The Tennen-Do Practitioner realizes that ill will, selfishness
and poor judgment are the real enemies.
The Tennen-Do Practitioner does not tolerate those who would
put an end to tolerance and who prey upon the weak, attack the
innocent, ravage the Earth and destroy life.