Surviving quotes by Grandmaster Mitsuyo Maeda, also known as Count Combat (Hirosaki, 1878 – Belém do Pará, 1941), are pretty hard to find in old Brazilian newspapers. That’s due in great part to the fact that he died when the Asian martial arts weren’t all that popular in the Brazilian media.
But one time, more than 60 years ago, Jornal do Brasil published a rare and luminous quote by Maeda in an article investigating the science of the Japanese arts. Maeda attempted to explain the philosophy of the art he had practiced with such success:
“Let’s say human strength is evaluated in units and that the strength of a man attacking me equals ten units, whereas mine reaches no more than seven units.
“If my opponent attacks me with all his strength, I will certainly be taken down, even though I’m also employing all my vigor.
“But if instead of opposing resistance to him, I yield to his attack, moving my body away from the reach of his impetus, the aggressor will fall forward, unbalanced by the absence of support.
“In this new position he would lose a great deal of his real strength, whose representation would dwindle, let’s suppose still, from ten down to three units.
“I, however, by conserving my balance, would maintain all my seven units of strength, thus attaining an advantageous position and having chances of beating the opponent without even needing to employ my maximum vigor.”
And there’s the science of the old samurai. Keep studying it wisely, and enjoy your training.