The 8 Directions govern practically everything in Martial Arts.
Picture a grid with its centre (you) as a starting point.
Familiarise yourself with all the different angles. The awareness of angles is vital to be able to read your opponent's movements and intentions.
Pick the right angle to execute or defend a technique.
If a straight jab is thrown towards you, you have 7 available head movements to move out of the way.
You can't use the front angle as it corresponds to the trajectory of the jab. However, you could use that front angle to attract the jab by leaning your head forward and then quickly slip into one of the 7 other angles to avoid the jab.
(possible if you are at the right distance in relation to your opponent in the first place).
Some Applications of the 8 Directions
- Head movements (bob & weave) in 8 directions
- Foot work (steps) in 8 directions
- Strikes (weapons, fists, feet) in 8 angles
- Grappling with 8 directions to break the balance (Kuzushi)
- Ground work with 8 pins, 8 Kuzushi
You can't implement any strategy with the techniques if you are unaware of the 8 Directions.
In our club we have the 8 Directions grid on the wall so that angles are always visualised and referred to with any technique we practise.