The throws of jujitsu are achieved by the mechanical force of your center of gravity playing against opponent's center of gravity.
The center of gravity is contained in the lower abdomen, therefore the proper disposition of your lower abdomen is the most important factor in any given trick.
Conversely the object of your exertions against an opponent is to out-think his center of gravity, by maneuvering him into a position where his lower abdomen is off balance.
An old Japanese master, mentioned in the chapter on "A demonstration in Pain-bearing" (which will follow in due course), told me once when I was very much discouraged at the progress was making, that
Hyaku ii-yasushi Ichi ii-gatashi. Which, being interpreted, means:
The hundred tricks are easy to learn But the one principle is difficult to learn. On asking him to be kind enough to impart this one principle to me, he informed me that that could only be acquired after years of practice.
This elusive principle, which the Japanese professors make you search out for yourself, this course imparts from the start by means of Stahara training.
HOW THE WORD "STAHARA" ORIGINATED
When I commenced to teach jujitsu in Yokohama, Japan, in every trick I showed how to use the lower abdomen, and how to maneuver opponent's balance. My first pupils were Japanese friends, and lower abdomen to them was shita hara.
Shita (pronounced sh'ta) and hara are two Japanese words meaning under or lower abdomen. The words shita hara mean to a Japanese what the words lower abdomen mean to us — and nothing more.
This word hara is the same word we meet in hara kiri — abdomen cutting — the Japanese method of suicide. Gradually as I evolved the idea of balance-control and abdominal power, I adopted the word shita-hara as a technical term for a new principle for which there was no name. When teaching the Doughboys, they called it "Stahara" and that is how it was finally written. It is an American word for an American idea. STA-HA-RA Sta — pronounced as in star. ha — pronounced as in harp.
ra — a has the same sound as in the first two syllables. Japanese teachers of jujitsu do not mention the Stahara when explaining a throw or trick to their disciples. They teach the use of the arms and legs, of the hips and shoulders, but do not show the principle of balance, which is the basis of the whole system.
It is therefore an average of ten years before a student of jujitsu in Japan masters these throws. It takes that length of time to acquire the scientific way, in common parlance, to "get the knack" of doing the trick. Jujitsu is not done with strength of arm or leg and this inability to grasp the underlying principle is why it takes so long to master it.
You must realize the importance of the Stahara. It is here the center of gravity lies. It is here the seat of the emotions lies. It is the most important part of the human body, and the most neglected.
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