Inyo kyojitsu

credit: Stéphane OzounoffThese days sensei speaks a lot about inyo kyojitsu. “inyo” is the Japanese name for yinyang and “kyojitsu” refers to falsehood/truth, similar to when we played with “menkyo kaiden” a few years ago.

Beyond these terms there is another reality that I would like to explore further.


Many things have been said about this Chinese principle on which Taoism is based. The first thing you should know is that those two concepts should never be separate. Where there is in, there is yo. In ancient China (as the kanji shows) these words defined the two sides of the sacred hill. They were created to define the two sides of a mountain: the sunny side (yo) and the darker one (in). It is impossible to cut the first one from the other. If you could split a mountain into two parts you would still have a dark side and a sunny side! This inyo principle is like the two sides of a sheet of paper, or a coin, one side implies the other. When you say “in AND yo” you create duality and do not see the whole picture.

The two kanji gives us more information:

The kanji for yo is 陽 and it is composed of three groups of strokes. The one on the left side looking like a “B” symbolizes the sacred hill where rituals were performed. The second group of two characters one on top of the other, is made out of  hi, the sun (日) on top, and of ame the rain (雨) below. They are separated by a horizontal bar meaning that things are changing and that after rain (dark time) the sun is coming (light time). This is not a judgment on things but merely an observation of the natural evolution of things in Life.

The kanji for in is 陰 and begins with the same “B” showing that the two are linked together. The group on the right is also made of two characters. On top is ima (今, now), and below is a simplified kumo (雲, cloud). It means that clouds are building up now and that change is being expected. This in is quite similar to the “I” of the I Ching used to indicate “a change, a transformation”.

The clear meaning of inyo therefore is that Life is changing permanently and switching from one state to the other. There is nothing negative or positive in this inyo (conversely to the understanding commonly used in the West), it is only a crystal clear observation of nature’s cycles (seasons, days, weather). Remember that the Chinese never invented the gods as we did in the rest of the world. For them Nature was permanent and evolution, and change was its main rule. They invented the I Ching in the first place to help make decisions on agricultural matters and render the invisible world (implicate) visible (explicate).

This is what sôke means when saying: “art is the ability (saino) to render the invisible, visible”.

Kyojitsu is another nice concept. Kyo is 虚 “false, untruth” and jitsu 実 is “truth”. Linking them both gives the idea of playing with falsehood and truth to deceive the opponent, or better, to confuse him so that he is always taking the wrong decisions.

Sometimes in Japan, during classes sensei speaks of “kyojutsu” instead of “kyojitsu”. Truth (実, jitsu) is then replaced by martial technique (術, jutsu). But as it goes with the inyo concept false implies the existence of truth too. Defining something also defines its opposite. As they say “badness is an absence of goodness”, cold creates hot, dark creates bright, female defines male etc. Interestingly, it is always the negative understanding of things that defines the positive understanding as if we were programmed to be optimistic. I use here the terms “negative” and “positive” not in opposition but in the same merging approach as in inyo, this is like the bipolarity of the magnet.

So when they speak of kyojutsu you should understand it as “kyojitsu no jutsu”, jitsu being created by completing kyo. Read between the lines. This is the definition of balance. Inyo kyojitsu allows us during training to understand the permanent flow of changes in Life and on the mats the nagare between uke and tori. Actually all our actions have to be balanced (kyojitsu) to be able to switch naturally into the inyo. Balancing everything we get rid of the thinking process and develop the ability (saino) to react to the non manifest aspects of things. Thinking would stop this process and prevent us from reaching what sensei tries to make us understand this year with rokkon shôjô, the logical consequence stemming from the saino kon ki of last year.

Having developed the ability (saino), and our spirit/soul (kon/tamashii), we encompass the container (utsuwa/ki). Please note that the bigger the container, the bigger the kûkan. Being alive in the kûkan we understand the balance of all things and react accordingly.

Having no intention we develop happiness and protect Life.

Rokkon shôjô

One Comment Add yours

  1. TomMartin says:

    Simple math- Before there was In- yo there was Do, Before there was duality there was Unity!


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