Kurai Dori

By Pete Reynolds

"Kurai Dori" is an important concept. Hatsumi Sensei has talked frequently about it as has Andrew Young , but what is "Kurai Dori"?

"Kurai Dori" literally means to take a position, but this only hints at it's full meaning. Does it mean to take a kamae? Yes. Does it mean to take a kamae relative to your opponent(s)? Yes. Does it mean to take a kamae relative to your opponent(s) and also physical objects around you? Yes. Is there a wall or a window behind you? Behind your opponent(s)? Are other people or animals around? What are the weather conditions? Is it raining? Is it day or night? Is the sun at my back? Is it windy? What is the effect of all these things? What is my relative position to my environment? "Kurai Dori" is all these things and much more!

Is your environment composed of only physical components? What about your emotional environment? Is your boss pleased or agitated? Is your spouse happy or sad? What is the emotional state of your opponent? Is he enraged? Cool and detached? Frantic? What is my emotional state relative to them? How does that affect things? This also is "Kurai Dori".

What about your spiritual environment? Do you have a pure and benevolent heart or are you spiritually hollow? Is your spirit strong? What about those around you? What is the nature of their spirit? Good, bad, weak, strong? What effect does their spirit have on your spirit, and yours on theirs?

Yes, "Kurai Dori" is taking a position, but it is doing it with a complete awareness of your environment on every level. "Kurai Dori" is the awareness and understanding that lays the foundation for "Koppo."