Hang on Tightly, Let Go Lightly

Transitioning from Uki-Gatame to Juji-Gatame. 

Japanese judo sensei of old had a saying that translates roughly to: “Hold on tightly, let go lightly.”

The message is about the yin and yang balance between two ideas that seem juxtaposed to one another. The first being full commitment and the second being the flexibility to adapt and make a change. However, this balanced idea of “hold on tightly, let go lightly” is the very heart of not only the best martial artists but also the most successful people in life.

In attempting to effectively strike, strangle, or throw our opponent we cannot be “half hearted.” We must be fully engaged and determined in meeting the objective. We must make our best effort always. Like Kenny Rogers famously sang, “you have to know when to hold them…and when to fold them.” That is to say, when the technique is CLEARLY not working, won’t be working, and the attempt to make it work is only expending energy unwisely (and making you less safe), you must LET GO LIGHTLY. This is at the heart of the The Way of Gentle Flowing Power (Jukido).

We must be able to commit fully in one breath but at THE VERY SAME TIME be able to adapt as needed without unnecessarily “holding on tightly” to what isn’t working…and thus perhaps losing the momentary opportunity to make a successful adjustment in approach.

This can apply to testing in the dojo, long held ideologies, health, opportunities in life, approaches to business, and personal relationships. Fight for them! Make them work, be fully committed to success….but when success with that approach is no longer possible, don’t hold on…LET GO LIGHTLY.

Adapt, flow, maintain balance, stay strong.

Forever Strong.