The hub of the wheel that drives the five interlinked theories for controlling the flow of motion when fighting is controlling the sphere or diameter of the sphere.
The sphere is the personal space around a person which moves and rolls attached to their spines and pelvis. Taking control of the rolling of an opponents sphere is the basis for throwing and uprooting.
Attaching to the sphere is done by contact at first. Grabbing arms, legs, clothing, etc. Skillfully done this is a beautiful example of martial art. The ideal is to attach to the opponents sphere and roll it in any way you choose to destroy their root and twist them into a knot. Lifetimes can be spent in the study of martial application in this way.
A more subtle method is to roll the sphere without physical attachment to the opponent. This is done by positioning, stepping, feinting, and so on. Ideally this can cause an opponent to lean back from on attack only to lean directly into another.
This attaching to the opponent however can continue to be looked at from many angles. For example if we replace the words attach and opponent and instead say: fully engaging in a situation in this way can allow one to steer the outcome of the situation.
So we play chess. Go. Weiqi. Read authors like sun tzu and mushashi and ideally bring a larger picture to view. This should allow us to bring this into conversation and even debate. But most importantly it should give us a mirror to look at ourselves and see if we are really just role-playing at this or actually doing the work to see what is being transmitted to us.
Can we, the current living practitioners of these arts, understand them well enough that we can pass them on? Have we done everything we can to not ‘seek to be like the masters of old, but seek what they sought? “
Some of us middle aged, but still definitely young masters, better take a moment and look in the mirror.
To our students we are what they are trying to be.