Practice | Research | Session

In this article I wanted to think (out loud) about a very important topic – I basically address in every beginner’s coaching: separating exercise from sessions. This is very important to know, in which modality we are right now. But today I want to go beyond that dichotomy – to expand that concept for more advanced students.

So, if you have been in the beginner’s WS, I advised you to separate exercise and session. Often enough we do not do that…

But actually, we have to talk about three forms:

  • Exercise
  • Research
  • Session


By exercise I mean the exact repetition of the exact form. Painting by numbers. The Kata-ashi practiced exactly as shown in the workshop. Five each of Futomomo, Ashi-shibari, Gote, and Armbinder a week…

No variation, no improvisation. The picture is a Karate-ka… Moving forward in a marching block – all do the same punch, kick, block. Not funny – but this is the only way the body gets used to the movement. This is the only way the rope flows out of our hands…


I would like to reintroduce this modus to operate Kinbaku. Because that is what we should do when we are not beginners anymore – but no master’s yet (and who is).

Research means taking controlled steps into the unknown. That is the exciting thing: controlled and unknown. These two antagonisms must be united. Too much control, we become stiff, dogmatic, boring. This is in a way the unspoken “reproach” to all that “Ryu”. Especially the modality “we” reproduce here in Europe, there is a tendency towards becoming schematic (in my opinion).

But the unknown is risky. Too much too quickly leads to injuries – especially if the basics are not right.

That’s why the laboratory exists. This is the core of it. Being safe enough to leave the rigid forms.


In my opinion, the session is the goal. Why else would we go through the trouble?

A good session happens when things develop according to the mood, emotions, intentions, etc. without being limited by technical problems. That is the ideal!

Practically, this means staying a little bit below the absolute knowledge and performance limit available at the moment.


So, in my opinion, when we advance in our knowledge, we need all three modalities to “practice” Kinbaku. Or, in other words, only keeping exercise alive plus adding certain research will make the session good!