BUDO/ENGLISH

THE JAPANESE ART OF MA-AI (5). When rhythm dominates, action is good

otsuka_miyamoto_musashi The physical characters of Japan influence its culture of strategy in its sense of anticipation. For centuries in this country, the lack of space was compensated by the capability of acting within precise micro-rhythms. Because space deprives margin to move, the palliative consists in finding ways combining knowledge, skills and sensitivity to take the slightest time opportunity when manifested. To do that, intuition has to be trained intensively. Such perspicacity allows an actor, individual or collective one, to act when future is to come with the accuracy of a surfer marrying the wave on its birth. The strategy of anticipation is prospective. It acts on the change and structures forces and means through innovative concepts, new managing principles, brand models or values that strengthen the group’s cohesion and human determination[1].

In Japan, space is so carefully organized and time so efficiently divided and subdivided so that it provides… space! Rhythm is central within Japanese strategic culture. Musashi in its Gorin-no-sho recommended identifying it everywhere. One might observe it in the seeking for fluidity within the enterprises’ atmosphere in Japan. Rhythm ensures harmony within communities and foster efficient operational coordination. It is necessary to distinguish between the upward rhythm and the declining one. Knowing the concordant rhythm allows to conceive the contrary one. It is of the main importance to distinguish the rhythm, which matches well, the rhythm to be seized according to opportunity and the opposing one. Narrow or broad rhythms, slow or fast are characteristic of the tactics. When the opposite rhythm is not seized, the tactics will not be on solid bases.

Musashi recommended the empty rhythm, born from intelligence, and which appears as unexpected by the enemy. To seize the rhythm of the opponent, one has to develop aptitude to put him-herself completely at the opponent’s place in order to overcome his-her intentions before they come to reality! Above all, initiative has to be kept, unceasingly taking the rhythm of the adversary with opposite course and by modifying tactic as much as necessary till victory is achieved[2]. Permanent reference to face-to-face duel, gives a tactical, even operational connotation to the Japanese culture of the strategy.

Pierre Fayard (Dunod 2006). Le réveil du samouraï. Culture et stratégie japonaises dans la société de la connaissance. Bucarest, Polirom (2007) : Trezirea samuraiului. Cultura si strategie japoneze in societatea cunoasterii. Porto Alegre, Bookman (2010). O modelo inovador japonês de gestao do conhecimento. Lisboa & Beijing, to be edited in 2015.

[1] Bernard Nadoulek.

[2] Idem.

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