The Meaning of the Word "Myoyu":

The word "myoyu" literally means "the action of the mysterious". It's a zen term used by the samurai.

As logical creatures, we are accustomed to regarding the mysterious as imaginary (or at best, useless). But every so often, something happens that we can't explain (mysterious), and yet it happened. Maybe it was knowing what someone would say before they said it. Maybe it was throwing someone and feeling that they were as light as a feather. Or maybe it was getting the feeling that something wasn't quite right, slowing down your car and, on the other side of a hill, discovering a speed trap. This is the action of the mysterious. It's the intrusion of the mysterious into our lives, letting us know that it isn't useless at all... It can be a really worthwhile thing, worth cultivating and improving. This is the goal of your club, to develop technique so smooth that it eventually defies our own comprehension.

At first, it happens to you by surprise. You're working with someone in randori and get the urge to apply a technique. To your amazement, your opponent feels as light as a feather. He gets up off the ground and asks, "How did you do that!!!??". You give him that "Aw, shucks, no big deal." look, but inside, you're elated. But if the truth be known, that's the only way you could've responded, because you didn't really understand what it was that you did right.

Maybe a year later, it happens to you again. Then six months later. Then four months. Although you don't understand how it happened, continuing to practice seems to make it happen more and more often. Soon it's happening every-other practice, then every practice, then several times per practice.

You know that you've really developed myoyu when you go to a tournament, and people there make a special point to watch you compete, just in case you do something amazing. If it's the Nationals, people will come up to you afterwards and ask for your autograph.

You know that you've really developed myoyu when you're fighting, and everyone in the place seems to be yelling for your opponent, but you catch a throw so perfect, the entire crowd freezes in stunned silence. No one applauds, but it's not because they like your opponent, ... it's because they can't believe what they just saw. You return to your line, step back and bow, the referee awards you the match, and you walk off the mat, and still the crowd sits in stunned silence. Don't feel bad that no one applauded for you. Feel elated that your technique was so perfect, that it didn't even occur to them to applaud it.

Myoyu can be developed. In our club, myoyu will be developed. Myoyu is our goal. That's why it's in the name of our club.

That's also why the symbol for our club is harai tsurikomi ashi. (A drawing of this throw immediately follows this paragraph). Harai tsurikomi ashi cannot be taught, learned or done by logic or brute force. It can only be taught, learned and done by feel. It defies logical explanation. Every time you throw someone with harai tsurikomi ashi, you have defined the term "myoyu" to everyone who witnesses it.

"Mojo Dojo":

In a sense, "myoyo" bears a striking similarity to the English word "magic" and the African-American word for magic, "mojo". (You may have heard the song "I Got My Mojo Workin'".) Myoyu really is magic. The slight-of-hand practiced by magicians is developed in the exact same way, through repeated practice, practice and more practice. And when it's working right, it transcends logic and comprehension.

So it isn't a joke to say that another name for our club is "Mojo Dojo". It was, in fact, intentional that that parallel would be there.

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Last updated 03/26/1996.