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Kuzushi (balance breaking)

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Kuzushi

It is frequently advantageous to break opponents' balance. This puts them off guard, and allows you to throw them or take them to a prone position.

Breaking balance is a matter of upsetting the body’s innate resistance to falling over. To control someone’s balance totally, you should aim to control their head.

Jitsu has a kata which focuses on the balance-breaking required in throwing. This kata is called kuzushi — the nine points of balance. You and your partner stand facing one another and take a right-handed grip. You then take the balance of your partner by guiding his or her body in particular directions.

You do the guiding by moving the arms and shoulders in the direction of movement and requires the co-operation of your partner to perform properly. You take them to the point at which his or her balance is broken, and then return to the first position of balance (standing straight). The directions are given below.

The arrows indicate the directions in which you guide your partner during kuzushi. After each movement, you return your partner to the central position (*) indicated in the diagram.

  1. N
  2. S
  3. W
  4. E
  5. NW
  6. SE
  7. NE
  8. SW

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