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Adaptability (ryote no heiho)

Ryote means two hands. On the surface it suggests being able to use both hands equally well. It also means using and switching between methods. It might mean offering juho (no active resistance to your opponent; pull when pushed or push when pulled) for a time then switching to goho (use your kime to move through the opponent).

An example of ryote no heiho would be defending yourself against a knife fighter by moving just out of the way of his flicking cuts, giving ground and then with one great kiai rushing in and overpowering him.

There is a story heard in England about two thieves who went up to a very gentlemanly dressed man, drew their knives and demanded money. The man smiled kindly and informed them to ““run along home lads,”” as he turned and walked away. The two thieves were stunned and watched him walk away. This itself is not ryote. What would make it ryote no heiho is if the gentleman could have handled an attack if the first strategy had not worked.

In a multiple attacker situation, this can mean being able to totally destroy the first attacker; perhaps a snarl on your face would scare the others in the group. You could also deal with the first attacker by effortlessly finishing your defense with a pinning technique, all the time smiling and speaking politely. This too may warn the attackers that you are more than they can handle. What is important here is that you are able to perform either type of example to fit the situation. At the first sign of failure, you must be able to switch to another strategy.