By Cem Onur
Jee is the first set in Siljun Dobup. It means the set of earth. As is the case with all the other sets, Jee has its own state of mind; its own personality. Set Jee is the “earth” mindset; the foundation, the most solid, unbreakable, unchangeable one.
Easy to learn, yet difficult to master; these characteristics makes Set Jee the perfect learning set. The mentality and the solidity of this earth mindset will present itself in your speed, in your stance, and in your breathing. The reward at the end of the learning curve will be the foundation for all the others that will follow the earth set: water, air, fire…
Our introduction to Set Jee includes breathing patterns, well defined steps, and concise cuts with perfect angle in strict body postures. This is the solid set where everything is defined to the minute detail, making it the first choice for most of us in most situations. As it was in my first tatami cut, Set Jee will be the chosen opening act in the first cutting practice for most practitioners of Siljun Dobup.
For those like me, speed and agility will prove a bit problematic with the well-balanced and slow-paced rhythms of Set Jee. My most challenging aspect of this set was the stand-up straight and tall posture, and the steady fluidity of the flow in the cuts. Being an AikiJutsu Ka I have a tendency to stay low, closed, starting slow and gradually speeding up to an explosive cut. These features are not quite the mindset you need to establish in Set Jee, for one needs to stay balanced, relaxed, firm, and steady throughout the form. The true teaching in this form for me was the acceptance of its nature and dissolving the issues that I had in each cut, one at a time. Understanding and executing Set Jee in its simplicity gives me the foundation that enables every other form to build on easily.
Set Jee is the safe house for me. When we execute this form, we all do the same thing in the same way, speed, and flow. It’s unchangeable, solid, and powerful – like the earth itself. It needs no rush. It begs no personal interpretation, making it the “go to form” when performing a cut. This is the de-facto choice for my fellow friends and I when trying to cut through a 10″ tatami, or cut in one draw two 3″ tatamis placed 6 feet from each other, or when you are playing assassin game with bokkens requiring delivery of a decisive cutting form in a split second.