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Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 11:27 AM
(Transferred from "Highest Level" thread)
I give example after example of people doing things at least beyond what I would consider normal strength, and you seem to suggest that those examples are probably not quite kokyu movement yet. Maybe if we try to define the term "kokyu" in terms of the power, i.e., "kokyu ryoku", we could get more of a consensus conversation, Rob. I did a quick Google on the term and I noticed that there are actually a number of definitions floated out there by "ranking" members of the Aikido community. I sort of surprised at how many people think kokyu power is focused on the inhale and exhale and how many suggestions revolve around "breathe in and then breathe out" when doing techniques. If that was the case, most sports people would exhibit "kokyu power" and it wouldn't be a very big deal.

How about if we take some basic kokyu throw, something simple, and discuss it in terms of how the power is generated in order to see if we can come up with a consensus definition? Just about any throw can be termed a "kokyunage", I suppose, so how about suggesting one that you think would be a fairly straightforward discussion because of its simplicity?

Incidentally, I found this quote from Saito that I thought was interesting and which has a direct bearing on kokyunage:
(from Traditional Aikido Vol. 5, p. 36,) "Aikido is generally believed to represent circular movements. Contrary to such belief, however, Aikido, in its true Ki form, is a fierce art piercing straight through the center of opposition."

Regards,

Mike

bkedelen
07-15-2005, 11:40 AM
Kokyu means breath. Read the Aikiwiki.

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 12:05 PM
Kokyu means breath. Read the Aikiwiki. Qi/ki means "air". Wonder why? Do you only breathe on kokyu throws? What is a kokyu-nage? Why would it be associated with "breath"? When I shut a car door, I tend to use "kokyu power" just for practice. Do you think I just "breathe" at the correct time?

Mike

bkedelen
07-15-2005, 12:06 PM
Many professional athletes study Aikido and/or it's principles. There is a notable Japanese baseball player who studied Aikido with Osensei for the purpose of improving his batting skills. I am not convinced that just because athletes utilize an Aikido principle, that principle ceases to become remarkable. Kokyunage is a catch-all technique name. Any technique that is not an obvious variation of a core technique is usually referred to as kokyunage. Indeed all Aikido techniques utilize breath power, and I do not believe that kokyu nage either uses kokyu more than other throws, or that it uses kokyu exclusively, ignoring other Aikido principles. Saying that we mis-define "kokyu" because kokyunage more than just breath power is like saying that we mis-define "irimi" because iriminage is more than just stepping forward.

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 12:14 PM
Many professional athletes study Aikido and/or it's principles. There is a notable Japanese baseball player who studied Aikido with Osensei for the purpose of improving his batting skills. You mean Tohei, right? I am not convinced that just because athletes utilize an Aikido principle, that principle ceases to become remarkable. Kokyunage is a catch-all technique name. Any technique that is not an obvious variation of a core technique is usually referred to as kokyunage. Indeed all Aikido techniques utilize breath power, and I do not believe that kokyu nage either uses kokyu more than other throws, or that it uses kokyu exclusively, ignoring other Aikido principles. Saying that we mis-define "kokyu" because kokyunage more than just breath power is like saying that we mis-define "irimi" because iriminage is more than just stepping forward. You don't know much about kokyu, Benjamin. Do some research.

BTW, I did some more googling. It's pretty amazing how many different definitions of "kokyu" there are. I found "momentum throw", "timing throw", "breathing throw", "breath throw", etc., so far. It's pretty interesting. I found some Ikeda students saying that Ikeda called it a "timing" throw, BTW. Get with the program.

Mike

bkedelen
07-15-2005, 12:24 PM
Mike, those are good questions. The idea of breath power itself must contain and rely upon other aikido principles. Breath has an inherent timing element, and therefore is almost synonymous with timing. In addition, humans cannot do many things very well while breathing in, so it is important to control your own breathing patterns in order to facilitate action and control tempo. As any athlete will remark, breathing speed and control is directly connected to relaxation, not just during meditation, but at all times. Someone who can breathe evenly during a tense situation can think more clearly, react more precisely, and can keep his body from becoming stiff.
Of course breath has a deeply spiritual element as well. Respiration is synonymous with life, and represents the ebb and flow of all things in the universe. Sound (especially vowel sound) is connected to divinity in all cultures, from the tetragrammaton (YHWH = IAUE, the name of the Hebrew god) to the kotodama of Aikido itself. Sound is only possible through breath, and sound can only be made during half of the breath cycle, which demonstrates the equal and opposite power of silence. Osensei believed that different movements were a physical expression of different holy sounds (vowel sounds and their combinations), and that all movements in the universe have sounds associated with them. This in and of itself is why every technique can be called kokyunage.

bkedelen
07-15-2005, 12:31 PM
In my experience Ikeda Sensei's kokyunage is such a delicate weave of so many different ideas, abilities, movements, and subtleties, that it utterly defies categorization.

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 01:23 PM
Just for starters, you might want to read some of Shioda's stuff on kokyu power and the way he attempts to break it down in his books (I feel pretty sure that Shioda had a more sophisticated understanding than is shown in the simplified writing in his books).

Also, this is pretty good, although it's so general I can't tell if the author understood much:

http://24.21.240.92/chinkon-kishin.htm

Here's part of an interview with Kenji Ushiro that I recommend you go to Aikido Journal to read: This "breathing," or kokyu, is not so much the kind of breathing that involves respiration by bringing air in and out through your nose and mouth; it's more the kind you do with your body as a whole. If you can cultivate that kind of kokyu, then energy (ki) begins to flow through your body and that flow of energy helps you develop abdominal and back strength. (Because this strength is created through the breath I refer to these as abdominal and back "power" instead of abdominal and back "strength.") This process leads to a kind of "zero power," that you can use, say, to neutralize the power of an incoming punch by just making light contact with it. Even if your opponent comes in with a strong, sharp attack, you simply absorb that energy. And if you absorb it with more energy than he is coming in with, he is suddenly and momentarily deprived of his breath, which immobilizes him there for a moment.

Striking using this kind of kokyu is also very different than striking that relies on the power of strength. A strike done with kokyu extends more than one done with muscle power, and it also doesn't incite any particular urge to block it in the opponent.

In Shindo-ryu karate we use kata to cultivate this kind of kokyu.

Moving from reliance on muscle strength into the realm of kokyu is an incredible turnaround, a wholesale change of method and effect. You could say that this is a kind of energy or potential inherent in traditional kata.

FWIW

Mike

akiy
07-15-2005, 02:55 PM
I've only trained with Ushiro sensei a few times during the past three Aiki Expos, but I'll get the chance to do so again in a couple weeks at the Summer Camp in the Rockies. I've also read a bit from his books (in Japanese), although not enough to make much comments. Mike, if you have any specific questions that you would like me to ask of him, please let me know and I'll see what I can do. (One clarification I did get from him a few years back was whether he meant purely "breathing" when he talked about "kokyu," since so many of the translators kept using the term 'breath" whenever he used that term. His answer was, as I expected, "no.")

As an aside, I remember the late George Simcox sensei (6th dan, Ki Society) talking about how he wondered if the physical breath really was tied into the ability to produce strength in the human body. He asked his son (who was either really into body building or weight lifting) to try lifting a heavy weight while breathing in, breathing out, and holding his breath. To his surprise, he reported that there really wasn't any difference.

And, as a linguistic aside, "kokyu" can mean much more than "breath." Simplistically, the "ko" in this term basically means, "to invite," and "kyuu" means "to suck." Interestingly enough, one of the definitions you can find of "kokyuu" in addition to "breath; respiration" is "knack; trick; secret (of doing something)." It's also used in phrases such as, "kokyuu ga au" (with "au," once again, using the same character as "ai" in "aikido") which basically means that two people's relationship/rhythm are very well matched.

-- Jun

Chris Li
07-15-2005, 03:06 PM
And, as a linguistic aside, "kokyu" can mean much more than "breath." Simplistically, the "ko" in this term basically means, "to invite," and "kyuu" means "to suck." Interestingly enough, one of the definitions you can find of "kokyuu" in addition to "breath; respiration" is "knack; trick; secret (of doing something)." It's also used in phrases such as, "kokyuu ga au" (with "au," once again, using the same character as "ai" in "aikido") which basically means that two people's relationship/rhythm are very well matched.

-- Jun

It can also be used as "timing", as in "aun no kokyu".

Best,

Chris

billybob
07-15-2005, 03:32 PM
Wow. cool discussion.

I enjoyed the excerpt from the article about ki power.

I would humbly add that half of ki is receptivity; in contrast with raw power, that has it's place, but ain't necessarily the best cut of meat off the cow.

Billybob

James Young
07-15-2005, 03:47 PM
For me Ushiro-sensei was definitely one of the highlights of the last Aiki Expo. Since my experience is limited in other martial arts outside of aikido, I didn't expect to see a karate teacher to emphasize kokyu so much, but he definitely has a level of kokyu mastery that most aikido teachers don't have, let alone karate teachers. I would definitely recommend him for anyone interested in the subject.

If we limit our understanding of kokyu to the more literal definitions of breath or breath timing I think we will be missing a lot. Obviously kokyu in the aikido context means so much more and has many more dimensions that it does become somewhat difficult to define succinctly. Although breath timing or breath power is important, it is only a small element of the big picture.

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 03:52 PM
I've only trained with Ushiro sensei a few times during the past three Aiki Expos, but I'll get the chance to do so again in a couple weeks at the Summer Camp in the Rockies. I've also read a bit from his books (in Japanese), although not enough to make much comments. Mike, if you have any specific questions that you would like me to ask of him, please let me know and I'll see what I can do. (One clarification I did get from him a few years back was whether he meant purely "breathing" when he talked about "kokyu," since so many of the translators kept using the term 'breath" whenever he used that term. His answer was, as I expected, "no.") Hi Jun:

I'd be interested, if it's possible without being pushy or undiplomatic, to get a sense of the tradition from which his kokyu training comes from. The Okinawan traditions related to ki and kokyu (note that it's no coincidence that everyone uses those same 2 terms to describe the same phenomena and abilities) are pretty much unapologetically derived from traditions stemming out of the Yi Jin Jing and also the Marrow Washing classic.

O-Sensei's ki and kokyu practices are purportedly derived from Shinto (specifically the Hada traditions of the Kojiki), but I think there are too many of his comments and practices that mirror the Chinese practices for the same skills to possibly overlook. Pictures of Ueshiba involved with the mudras, "powers" that exactly mimic Chinese descriptions of those powers, ki demonstrations that mirror Chinese demonstrations of and for the same things... it's simply impossible to wave those off as coincidence, particularly in light of the use of "ki" as a cultural basis borrowed directly from the Chinese. In short, Okinawan karate practices overtly come from China, Ueshiba's appear to come from China due to too many similarities, and I'm curious about what Ushiro Sensei will say about his traditions.

Incidentally while I'm thinking about it, "Fune Kogi Undo", while it is called a "rowing exercise" is such an obvious copy of a very common jin/kokyu/ki development exercise used in *many* Chinese arts, that I suspect it's basically a borrow, as well.

Given all the more-than-probable Chinese background, I look at the Dan Penrod article at
http://24.21.240.92/chinkon-kishin.htm and I read things like:

Ten-no-kokyu: Breath of heaven
The breath of heaven involves the deep inhalation, with the hands together in front of us, raising the hands in ten-no-kokyu (breath of heaven) posture, together and over the head. We then proceed to the breath of earth...

Chi-no-kokyu: Breath of earth
The breath of earth involves exhaling slowly and bring the hands down in chi-no-kokyu (breath of earth) posture. The hands are brought down the sides of our body as though pushing down the universe until the hands come back together in front of our abdomen to complete the circle.


Generally, the cycle of ten-no-kokyu and chi-no-kokyu is repeated 3 times in succession. When practiced by itself, there is usually a quiet pause of kishin at the end of the breathing cycle. When combined with the other exercises the transitions change and the kishin may move to the end of the combinations.

Furitama, torifune, and ibuki are often practiced together in various combinations. Sometimes the furitama is interwoven with ibuki. Other times furitama is interwoven with torifune. These practices vary a great deal from aikido association to aikido association as well as from dojo to dojo even within associations.

It's interesting to note that aikido associations heavily influenced by Koichi Tohei (Ki Society, AAA, Seidokan, etc...) practice a great many other kihon undo ki or aiki-taiso exercises that Tohei embraced and extended... said to help manifest ki and focus on the one point. As his interests shifted from the old Shinto ways and his attention became focused specifically on the principles of ki, he took some of the old chinkon-kishin exercises and modified them to compliment his newly codified catalog of ki exercises.


What I notice is the pictures and descriptions of the Heaven and Earth breathing and they are right out of very common Chinese practices. There's actually a lot more going on in that breathing with the circular exercises than just breathing and no, I don't want to go into them. It's a way of building up your power (if I explained it fully, everyone would say, "of course... that's obvious). So it's a power that is based on breathing practice to build it up (technically I think it could be a complex discussion because, as I've noted, you can build up ki without building up the kokyu power that the Chinese call "jin"). Obviously, O-Sensei did the more martial approach that practices both ki and kokyu-power in his exercises. So his power could easily be described as "breath power" involving "inhale and exhale" (remember "ki" and "air" relationship with "breathing") and of course when you use it you get most power on the exhale, so you have to be aware of the timing of that power.... i.e., there are indeed connotations of "breath" and "timing" in "kokyu", but it's just easier to skip all that and focus on the core power of kokyu and avoid the complex explanations.

Given the Chinese commentaries on qi, breathing, jin, etc., from which I'm fairly sure the Japanese practices derived, I'd bet with reasonable confidence that the relationship of kokyu power to "breath" is pretty much as I've laid it out. At least it's plausible, covers the conditions in place, and it gives a good target for people to try and work at and disprove. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 04:02 PM
Since my experience is limited in other martial arts outside of aikido, I didn't expect to see a karate teacher to emphasize kokyu so much, but he definitely has a level of kokyu mastery that most aikido teachers don't have, let alone karate teachers. That's exactly the point. There's too much control on the tap of knowledge for ki and kokyu development in Aikido... and it winds up making "most aikido teachers" look like chumps in the martial arts world.

Mike

tedehara
07-15-2005, 05:08 PM
In my experience Ikeda Sensei's kokyunage is such a delicate weave of so many different ideas, abilities, movements, and subtleties, that it utterly defies categorization.Then how do you analyze it? How do you expect to learn it? It's nice that you appreciate your sensei's aikido, but you're not there as a spectator. If you're a student, you've got to get down to the nuts-and-bolts of learning.

Several years ago I read Center:The Power of Aikido written by two of his students, then I went to Ikeda's seminar. What they wrote and what he did was significantly different. I hope that's not happening to you.

senshincenter
07-15-2005, 05:29 PM
What was said and what was different?

jimbaker
07-15-2005, 05:35 PM
Usually, I just translate it into Latin first, then English: "Kokyu"- "in spirare" - "inspiration".

I suspect that Ueshiba's use of "kokyu" was closer to way "spirare" came to be used, relating it to the indwelling of the spirit or to the breath of God. He had a Numious experience and used the language of his religion and martial culture to describe it. Perhaps he and the Western philosophers were describing the same experience, filtering it through their different languages and cultures.

Maybe it's a conspiracy, which is to say they "breathed together".

Jim Baker

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 05:58 PM
Usually, I just translate it into Latin first, then English: "Kokyu"- "in spirare" - "inspiration". The root word is "spiro, spirare" simply meaning "breathe". Like in "Dum spiro, spero" ("While I breathe, I hope", often translated as "While I live, I hope"). I suspect that Ueshiba's use of "kokyu" was closer to way "spirare" came to be used, relating it to the indwelling of the spirit or to the breath of God. He had a Numious experience and used the language of his religion and martial culture to describe it. Perhaps he and the Western philosophers were describing the same experience, filtering it through their different languages and cultures.

Maybe it's a conspiracy, which is to say they "breathed together".

Jim BakerDepends on what you're smokin', I guess. ;)

Mike "Try not to inhale so much" Sigman

Rupert Atkinson
07-15-2005, 09:18 PM
I see it this way. The exercises proabably came first and someone down the line probably thought what shall we call these? - "OK - kokyu exercises" etc, so I wouldn't get too stuck in translation of meaning.

To me, kokyu exercises compliment the techniques. They isolate certain movements and allow us to practise simple things - coordinating our bodies and getting our breathing rhythm in order. In Goju-ryu Karate they have Sanchin kata - their form of kokyu-ho, if you like, which is of course related to Karate movement - (shameless plug - in my book, I call that kind of training dynamic tension - full power slow muscle movement). And we have ours, which are softer exercises, yet, after training for some time, we become quite poweful. I say, and I say it strongly knowing some disagree, the power developed in kokyu-ho / kokyu-nage later crosses over to technique - to me, that is its purpose. And if done well, aiki develops. Aiki is a consequence of kokyu-ho/kokyu-nage (in Aikido), it is not a consequence of the techniques, which in the 'beginner' form, are just mechanical. Kokyu allows us to bridge the gap - to steal a phrase from Wing Chun. Further, to me, Aikido is now The Way of Aiki, and nothing else. No peace, no love, nothing else (there 'can be' just the same amount of love in any activity - even tennis etc). Develop aiki and put it into everything you do - Aikido, Jujtusu, Judo, Karate, whatever.That doesn't mean I am an expert, but this has become my direction - before, I was just lost for years, training hard and heading nowhere. I can see that clearly now. Kokyu-ho / kokyu-nage are very useful. In Japan, other Jujutsu arts all have their own versions, albeit with different names. I have a good collection but am always looking for more.

Mike Sigman
07-15-2005, 10:52 PM
I see it this way. The exercises proabably came first and someone down the line probably thought what shall we call these? - "OK - kokyu exercises" etc, so I wouldn't get too stuck in translation of meaning. Good start. To me, this all gets tricky because of the different levels of expertise, the different "grades" of kokyu, ki, manipulation, etc. What I think came first were skills derived from farming, repetitive labor, whatever, refined over a number of generations and added to with some combination/degree of voluntary control of normally involuntary body responses.To me, kokyu exercises compliment the techniques. They isolate certain movements and allow us to practise simple things - coordinating our bodies and getting our breathing rhythm in order. In Goju-ryu Karate they have Sanchin kata - their form of kokyu-ho, if you like, which is of course related to Karate movement - (shameless plug - in my book, I call that kind of training dynamic tension - full power slow muscle movement). And we have ours, which are softer exercises, yet, after training for some time, we become quite poweful. I think there's a couple of things here. Roughly speaking, Kokyu power has to do with using your middle to do things and letting your extremities (or any part of your body in many cases) act as "transmitters" of that power. But the power of the middle really comes from the ground and weight (even though some of this is referred to as "ki", real "ki" is sort of a separate topic from kokyu power... except in the ki paradigm, which is why it gets sort of confusing). If you let stiff joints or isolated normal movement get between the ground or weight and the middle.... or if you let stiff joints or isolated normal movement get between the middle and the hands (say you use your shoulders for power), you lose the purity of the kokyu power. Since different people will have different levels of this "purity", gradations creep in. Karate tends to use kokyu power combined with muscular power, resulting in a more linear/less-pure form of kokyu-power. Good Aikido is more toward the relaxed, "pure" use of kokyu power. Taiji goes for an even purer form. And so on. Who's right? Who's to say. The more subtle skills involving meshing of the involuntary body with kokyu useage anywhere in your body tend to be an aspect of "soft" and "relaxed" practice. Tohei goes toward the subconscious-weighted use/development of kokyu (I honestly don't think Tohei lets out a lot of what he does for the actual ki training). It's because Tohei approaches ki/kokyu development with that "subconscious" tinge that his Aikido might be considered by some to be somewhat different from Ueshiba's Aikido, which might be considered somewhat different from Shioda's Aikido, etc., but in the big picture I see them just as slight variations of the same basic theme.

Sanchin kata, which derives from Southern White Crane and related arts (Southern Mantis, etc.), is actually a "hard style" martial qi/ki development coupled with kokyu practice. The qi development is a hard qigong, based on the body "closing"... what softer styles would consider overkill and crimping the 'purity'. There are a number of approaches to ki and to kokyu and everyone thinks theirs is the best. ;) I say, and I say it strongly knowing some disagree, the power developed in kokyu-ho / kokyu-nage later crosses over to technique - to me, that is its purpose. Actually, in correct practice, you should be developing them at the same time. That's why Sanchin, for instance is done first, before the other katas. That's why you do standing, basic exercises, etc., at least a year before you're allowed to start pure Chinese martial arts. This idea that you learn the external techniques and guess the rest seems to be for the tourists. ;) And if done well, aiki develops. Aiki is a consequence of kokyu-ho/kokyu-nage (in Aikido), it is not a consequence of the techniques, which in the 'beginner' form, are just mechanical. Well, I think "Aiki" is a sophisticated and almost instinctive combination of your kokyu with the forces of an opponent/uke. First you learn kokyu and ki skills, then you learn sophisticated applications and power development which allow you to do powerful "aiki", IMO.

Rupert Atkinson
07-16-2005, 07:49 AM
All good points.

tedehara
07-16-2005, 08:30 AM
What was said and what was different?One of the things that struck me as different, was that there was no mention in the book about taking up slack before doing a technique. Ikeda Sensei specifically mentioned taking up slack in one technique. He didn't use those words, but indicated with a gesture and mentioned what he was doing. Since most techniques fail because slack is improperly taken up, I thought that was kinda important.

tedehara
07-16-2005, 08:57 AM
...Tohei goes toward the subconscious-weighted use/development of kokyu (I honestly don't think Tohei lets out a lot of what he does for the actual ki training). It's because Tohei approaches ki/kokyu development with that "subconscious" tinge that his Aikido might be considered by some to be somewhat different from Ueshiba's Aikido, which might be considered somewhat different from Shioda's Aikido, etc., but in the big picture I see them just as slight variations of the same basic theme...Much of what Tohei has written is introductory material. The idea being you join the Ki Society if you're interested in pursuing this activity to gain access to more information and have people to practice with. There are also several books which haven't been translated into English. His recent book on Ki Breathing came out within the last few months in Japanese.

Since he is a native Japanese speaker, and Japanese is considered a vague/poetic language, this might be the source of your belief he is "hiding" something. You might find William Reed's books (http://www.b-smart.net/writing.html) more precise for an English reader. Reed is an American who has worked as a professional translator and is a member of the Ki Society who has close access to K. Tohei.

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 09:50 AM
Much of what Tohei has written is introductory material. The idea being you join the Ki Society if you're interested in pursuing this activity to gain access to more information and have people to practice with. There are also several books which haven't been translated into English. His recent book on Ki Breathing came out within the last few months in Japanese.

Since he is a native Japanese speaker, and Japanese is considered a vague/poetic language, this might be the source of your belief he is "hiding" something. Japanese language has little to do with my impression. I'm just going by how little the Ki-Society people seem to know, by a lot of reading, etc. When I see things like this (from one of Reed's articles) my bullshit-meter begins to quiver:

Nevertheless, Ki testing is a skill which in the wrong hands can produce distorted results. Individual variations, carelessness, bad habits, and egos alike can interfere with Ki testing and reduce its value as a teaching tool. Without proper understanding these distortions become magnified over time.

Many students find that they can pass a Ki test in the dojo, but not at home. Or students become accustomed to the testing style of their own instructors, but find that they cannot pass the tests of a visiting instructor. The ultimate surprise comes when they find that what has worked for years in the home dojo doesn't work at all when tested by a visiting instructor from Tokyo. This can lead people to assume that Ki testing is either subjective or a matter of the instructor allowing the student to pass just to prove a point. Instructors should be careful to emphasize the objective and progressive elements of Ki testing, and not let it degenerate into a game of subjective feelings and vague notions.

You might find William Reed's books (http://www.b-smart.net/writing.html) more precise for an English reader. Reed is an American who has worked as a professional translator and is a member of the Ki Society who has close access to K. Tohei. I'm a player, Ted. Tell me which one of Reed's books you think is the best and I'll buy it. If I'm pleasantly surprised, like I was with the recommended Shioda tape and book or like I was with the recommended Sunadomari tape, I'll be more than happy to express my positive opinion. I'm also happy to personally meet with some knowledgeable Ki-Society member and give my opinion, as well.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 03:21 PM
The idea for this thread was to try and discuss what people say or think they are doing when they do a kokyu nage or they use kokyu power for something. I like the "beyond normal strength" idea in a way, but it's not very specific. Surely if someone is doing a kokyu throw, they can analyse what they are doing and describe why it would specifically rate a special name. If it's not different than a throw using "normal" body mechanics, there would be no need to call it a "kokyu throw".

I was trying to think of some one or two standard kokyu throws that would be easy to discuss because we don't want to cloud the discussion with overly complex body mechanics. How about the kokyu throw where you have uke's right wrist in your left hand, you place your right hand on the inner part of his right elbow joint and kokyu (like he did tsuki, you capture it during tenkan, turn him, place your right hand inside his elbow (or close by) and step/move forward and throw him sort of backwards with a kokyu throw? Would that one work? Is it clear enough? Anyone want to comment on how that throw should work in order to be a kokyu throw?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
07-16-2005, 03:29 PM
Mike - that description is hard to follow - got any video we can look at?

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 04:08 PM
Mike - that description is hard to follow - got any video we can look at?After I wrote it I realized it wasn't the world's best description, David. :) Sorry. No video... I was just trying to imagine a simple, discussable situation.

Let me try again. You're in ai-hanmi, right foot forward but with your right foot outside of his right foot.. You're holding uke's right wrist in your left hand and your right hand is placed on the inside of his right elbow so you can comfortably push straight ahead against his elbow, throwing him backward/downward. Alternatively, the push with the right hand could be against uke's chest. Hope that's a clearer view of the simple kokyu-type push/throw that will allow us to analyse what is kokyu, what's not, etc.

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
07-16-2005, 04:17 PM
I'm sorry Mike - I must be too dense to get the description. Apologies.

Let me try and participate with what I'm thinking anyways - please/thanks.



I want to say that this question is interesting and thus that I would like to participate in the discussion. Yet, at the same time, before I do, I would also like to say that while I am sure we may learn a lot by reflecting upon these things, we may in the end be making a bit too much out of nomenclature here. That is to say, the names of the techniques are fairly new and so the delineations between what is actually being prescribed may simply be reified (unnecessarily) through our opinions. That said, I am understanding the question to be: What makes a Kokyu Nage a “Kokyu Nage”?

I as well draw a distinction between “kokyu-ryoku” and “Kokyu Nage.” All waza should utilize kokyu-ryoku. All waza should utilize kokyu-ryoku to the same level (i.e. as much as possible). Thus, I do not delineate a “Kokyu Nage” but the presence of “kokyu-ryoku. Nor (inversely) do I delineate “Ikkyo” by the absence of “kokyu-ryoku.” Both include “kokyu-ryoku – as should striking, kicking, choking, cutting, stabbing, but also standing and sitting as well, etc.

Aside from noting “Kokyu Nage” as a generic term that covers waza not in possession of their own nomenclature, for me, a “Kokyu Nage” is also a throw that tends to affect the geometry of Uke’s body by the physics of the encounter alone (or for the most part). For me this stands in contrast to waza that either divide the tasks of affecting Uke’s body by both a given tactical geometry AND a utilization of the physics present, or from those waza that are dominated more by a tactical geometry (with the physics involved playing a lesser or zero role altogether). In short, what one is noting the presence of a higher acceptance of energy prints as they are and a lesser presence of manipulating energy prints. Thus, for me, a trait of “Kokyu Nage” is that it is marked more by what can be called “Target Availability” and less by what can be called “Target Creation.” Therefore, one can see that (for me) a “Kokyu Nage” is not about how I present myself (i.e. with kokyu-ryoku) but rather about how I allow a certain tactical scenario to present itself to me. In the end, for me, the highest ideal is to make every throw a Kokyu Nage.

To (maybe) help what I am trying to get at here – please look at the following video;

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/kaitennage.html

For me, the first throw is a “Kokyu Nage” and the other throws could be called “Kaiten Nage.” In the first throw, Uke’s tactical geometry is ultimately deconstructed by the physics involved (more so than by a direct geometrical manipulation). In the following throws, Uke’s tactical geometry is deconstructed by the direct attempts to execute “kaiten” (e.g. Uke’s arm is always taken back and up over the top apex of the circle in combination with whatever else is going on).

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 04:34 PM
I'm sorry Mike - I must be too dense to get the description. Apologies. No, it's my fault. Basically I was trying to couch in terms of a throw or technique a push or something very simple, straight to the front. Personally, I would be just as happy saying, "Put your right hand on the wall in front of you and push the wall. What makes a push 'kokyu power' and what makes a push just a push? Where do you draw the line in definitions?" All waza should utilize kokyu-ryoku. All waza should utilize kokyu-ryoku to the same level (i.e. as much as possible). Thus, I do not delineate a "Kokyu Nage" but the presence of "kokyu-ryoku. Nor (inversely) do I delineate "Ikkyo" by the absence of "kokyu-ryoku." Both include "kokyu-ryoku -- as should striking, kicking, choking, cutting, stabbing, but also standing and sitting as well, etc. I completely agree. However, in leaving room for someone to offer a counter-position, I wasn't making a definitive statement. The point I was initially making was that, in my opinion, someone who uses real "kokyu power" in their waza and all movements should be able to easily do the "ki tests" that Tohei demonstrates. I.e., they're all the same thing. However, people may have differing views and rather than insist on the position, I was simply throwing it out for discussion. ;) Perhaps it would be simpler if I just dropped the term "kokyunage" and focused on "what is kokyu-power and how is it used in throws and movements?". Or something along those lines.

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
07-16-2005, 05:38 PM
Yikes! I would think kokyu-ryoku is even harder to define. But here goes:

For me, kokyu-ryoku is the perfect coordination of mind coordination and body coordination. “Perfect” here is defined as “in line with the principles or laws of Nature.” In waza, these two coordinations cannot be so separated (as they are fully co-dependent) but let us say that the “coordination of body” is referring to the coordination of tai-sabaki, ashi-sabaki, and te-sabaki – such that a sense of center becomes tangible, extendable, and grounded. A “coordination of mind” is a fully realized reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy – such that one’s sense of center adopts a kind of universal aspect and/or an aspect of Oneness. Thus, for me, a technique that contains kokyu-ryoku is a technique that has a very tangible sense of center, is very grounded, and extends along a continuity of Oneness.

I am afraid that I am not very versed in “ki tests,” as I am more interested in the religious and social or interpersonal aspects that come to me via the embodying of an extended continuity of Oneness. Therefore, I do not think I can comment upon the topic of “ki tests” and contribute anything worth reading or worth thinking about. Sorry.

Thanks,
david

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 06:00 PM
Yikes! I would think kokyu-ryoku is even harder to define. But here goes: "Kokyu", when you get past the people who think it just means "breath", "timing", etc., is (in the ki/qi paradigm) the physical manifestation of ki. That's why someone's "kokyu" can be seen in shodo, etc. Kokyu ryoku is using that physical manifestation of "ki" for power, like in a push, hit, etc., as opposed to just using it for movement, etc. Shioda tried to simplify what it was in some of the written descriptions in his books, but "simplify" is the operative word... in simplifying you seldom tell the whole story. For me, kokyu-ryoku is the perfect coordination of mind coordination and body coordination. "Perfect" here is defined as "in line with the principles or laws of Nature." In waza, these two coordinations cannot be so separated (as they are fully co-dependent) but let us say that the "coordination of body" is referring to the coordination of tai-sabaki, ashi-sabaki, and te-sabaki -- such that a sense of center becomes tangible, extendable, and grounded. A "coordination of mind" is a fully realized reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy -- such that one's sense of center adopts a kind of universal aspect and/or an aspect of Oneness. Thus, for me, a technique that contains kokyu-ryoku is a technique that has a very tangible sense of center, is very grounded, and extends along a continuity of Oneness. OK, but that doesn't tell me the answer to the question. How do you push a wall with kokyu power as opposed to a normal push? I.e., what are the factors that separate a kokyu-powered push from a normal push? I am afraid that I am not very versed in "ki tests," But I'm sure that you recognize Tohei's "ki tests" as simple kokyu demonstrations and that the relationship between his "ki tests", "kokyu", and 'kokyu ryoku" is no mystery. Let's just say that if someone really understands and uses "kokyu", they should understand amd be able to use it in simple "kokyu demonstrations" (no matter what they're called) and in Kokyu ryoku. They're all variations of the same basic concept, which is fairly easy to show, IMO. But the best way to approach the discussion is perhaps to start with an analytic look *functionally* at what is the difference between a simple kokyu push and a normal push. ;)

Mike

senshincenter
07-16-2005, 06:52 PM
Well I would think that one can just take the opposite of what I said in order to get at what I would think is a “normal push.”

For example, (pushing against a wall):

Not being in line with the principles or laws of Nature would be something like attempting to push a wall when barefooted and while standing on a large slate of ice (i.e. attempting a thrusting action with no friction to support it). Many people do things very akin to do this in their waza (i.e. attempting a thrusting action without an engaged based of support that can offer friction to the energy moving away from one’s center of mass). A lack of coordination of body would be for example a loss of Directional Harmony – having one part of the body going one way (e.g. the hips) and one part going the other way (e.g. the arms or hands); such that the body overall is “fighting” against itself and thus directing energy away from pushing the wall. A lack of coordination of mind would be for example an attachment or preoccupation with a subjective experience and/or idea (through things like fear, pride, and ignorance) such that one loses awareness of the total present moment; such that they cannot be totally present in the act of pushing the wall. Etc.

When one or more of these things (or things like them) are present, one is just pushing the wall (i.e. not pushing the wall with kokyu-ryoku).

Outside of these parameters, I am not too keen on saying, “To push a wall with kokyu-ryoku, you push it like this.” As abstract as my “qualities” may sound, or as contrary as these descriptives may be in comparison to a list of step-by-step directives (if that is indeed what you are looking for), for me they remain very universal and thus very concrete. Moreover, for me, I do not feel that one can really offer a list of step-by-step descriptives to aid anyone with developing kokyu-ryoku. So I am not at all sure what such a list would even look like. As you can see, in my understanding of kokyu-ryoku I have included a reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy. This aspect (among others) is not at all supported by any kind of listing of directives.

Having looked up some stuff since my last post… I would say that things like the “cool ki tricks” are not kokyu-ryoku – as understood by my definition. If anything, they entail only certain aspects of the totality of kokyu-ryoku. Just as a set of descriptives (e.g. put your foot here, bend your knees like this, extend your arm thusly, etc.) might get someone to demonstrate certain aspect of a coordination of body, such “tricks” can only assist someone with some of the aspects of a coordination of mind (e.g. relax) – not all of them. Thus, personally, I do not see Tohei’s tests as simple kokyu demonstrations (the one’s I now know of). I see them more as addressing relaxation, which, for me, is part of kokyu-ryoku but not all of it. However, I would conced that if someone can employ kokyu-ryoku they should be able to perform such simple tests of relaxation. By extension, again for me, kokyu-ryoku, if one was to attempt to identify it or to put it up for examination, is best witnessed under spontaneous training conditions.

eyrie
07-16-2005, 10:54 PM
Here's my lame attempt...

How about it's aligning your right hand, elbow, hips, hara, (right) knee and foot in a structure that makes it possible to use the ground force to transmit "power". The movement is like fune-kogi undo and identical to a jo tsuki.

The other part of the "trick" has to do with the other person's body alignment, and where their vertical stability is weakest, only that the trick is transmitting the power thru their elbow to their center and out their right knee in a spiral. ;)

senshincenter
07-16-2005, 11:07 PM
For me body alignment is not enough. It is only part of what is involved - as I've seen plenty of folks with the proper body alignment go floating across the mat when met by a resistance and/or bounce off a target they were trying to strike.

Mike Sigman
07-16-2005, 11:13 PM
How about it's aligning your right hand, elbow, hips, hara, (right) knee and foot in a structure that makes it possible to use the ground force to transmit "power". The movement is like fune-kogi undo and identical to a jo tsuki. "Align" is a tricky word. I often think that the best way to learn to hit or push with your middle is to use a "straight arm" ... the stiffened arm becomes then an undoubted "transmitter" and the "alignment" and muscular tension in the arm keep it strong enough so that you can hit indeed with your middle. But we can't run around straight-arming everything, every time we want to hit with the middle (but hey... it's a good way to get a feel for the idea at first). ;)

So like I've said before, the trick is to not only to learn to use your center but to condition the path to the extremities to (a.) coordinate the transmission of the force and to (b.) be strong enough to handle that transmission.

You can learn to coordinate that transmission with the mind/body things (obviously there are a number of favorite methods, some of which get fairly mystical, etc.)... but the training is usually what's "hidden". "Alignment" becomes what you will it to be.

If you stop and think about it, almost all of the "ki tricks" and kokyu demonstrations are really about strengthening some extremity to be able to convey the forces at the middle out to the extremity. The "jo trick" is an example of exhibiting training of getting kokyu power all the way out to a stick held in your hand. Standing on one leg while someone pushes your forearm is really only getting the power of the ground and middle to your forearm. The unbendable arm is about getting your middle out to your elbow. A kokyu throw is about getting your middle to touch your opponent via some part of your body and propelling him (well, there's some conditioning and maybe a couple of other tricks of training, but the central idea is the same). The being difficult to lift is about training your body to "sink" and yet automatically get your weight to wherever it is being lifted. It's all the same thing, if you think about it. ;)The other part of the "trick" has to do with the other person's body alignment, and where their vertical stability is weakest, only that the trick is transmitting the power thru their elbow to their center and out their right knee in a spiral. ;) Theoretically, all you should need to know is what his core forces are and adjust yours ("harmonize") accordingly through a good connection (well, if you really are an expert in the understanding and manipulation of someone else's core forces, I guess you could manipulate and throw them with some feints and not need a good connection... we could call that an "aiki" throw).

FWIW

Mike

eyrie
07-16-2005, 11:33 PM
OK, here's a really good way to see if one has the ability to transmit power from center to the extremeties. Have someone grab both your hands (one hand each) from the front and try to throw the person like a rag doll left and right. No straight/unbendable arm stuff, just transmission of power from center to hands, without moving the feet.

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 07:48 AM
OK, here's a really good way to see if one has the ability to transmit power from center to the extremeties. Have someone grab both your hands (one hand each) from the front and try to throw the person like a rag doll left and right. No straight/unbendable arm stuff, just transmission of power from center to hands, without moving the feet.Throw them how? Kaitenage? It's easiest to learn to bring power to your hands/arms straight ahead because there's less strain on the shoulders and elbows. Too much strain on the shoulders and elbows makes the normal strength kick in and you want to stay relaxed and avoid that.

I think the analysis straight ahead with a push is a fairly clearcut way to try and define what is kokyu power.. and then apply the basics to all directions. Although someone may have a better way they can suggest.


Regards,

Mike

sutemaker17
07-17-2005, 01:07 PM
Hi guys,
I have been reading this thread with interest mainly because I see in it one of my most frustrating problems in training: Being able to put into words what it is exactly that we do. Not just in our feedback to others but in our "self talk" when trying to explain the principals to ourselves.

Most of us can agree that Aikido can seem very complicated and even overwhelming at times. There are so many different aspects at work in a single movement that we must deal with them separately to really define and develop each one. (An argument for kihon perhaps?) This can be difficult because it is so hard to stick to the subject, so to speak, since many times once we think we have completely isolated and idea we find that we must further address several more aspects individually.

Moreover, since I am not Japanese and was not raised speaking or, more appropriately, "living" Japanese, this task becomes even more complicated. As a result, I find that it becomes easier to get the true meaning of these words from "inside out" as opposed to attempting to translate it to its English equivalent and then apply it to my physical practice. In other words, I find it much easier to develop an understanding of principals in Japanese terminology by allowing them to sink in through physical training. In this way my cognitive process begins to associate the Japanese terms we use to describe Budo principles with English terms that I am already familiar with.


Jason :)

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 02:00 PM
I find it much easier to develop an understanding of principals in Japanese terminology by allowing them to sink in through physical training. In this way my cognitive process begins to associate the Japanese terms we use to describe Budo principles with English terms that I am already familiar with. Well, I respect your right to an opinion, Jason, but I don't think we're having difficulty translating terms because we don't just practice enough, because they're foreign terms, etc. The real problem, in my opinion, is that despite many aggregate years of training by a number of people in western Aikido, no one showed them how to do some things and as a result they don't know how to do them and therefore it's hard to get substantive conversations off the ground. If all those years of practice by many people didn't work, over a couple of generations, now, do you really think the best solution is just to practice more? ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
07-17-2005, 02:22 PM
Mike,

What are these "some things"? Are these techniques, drills, practices, traditionally used for developing things like kokyu-ryoku? In some of your posts, you seem to be suggesting that - just wanting to make sure.

thanks,
dmv

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 02:39 PM
What are these "some things"? Lost me, David. Which message has the "some things" remark and the context? Are these techniques, drills, practices, traditionally used for developing things like kokyu-ryoku? In some of your posts, you seem to be suggesting that - just wanting to make sure. Certainly there are drills, practices, etc., specifically for developing kokyu-ryoku. All movements in Aikido, not just select few, have kokyu and by extension kokyu-ryoku in them. Aiki-Taiso are good examples. Suburi is another important example. Kokyu-ryoku is the power you develop from moving with kokyu-powered movements. Focused exercises and drills which utilize kokyu repetitively in basic movements (Hey!!! That's what the kihon waza are for!) speed up your development of kokyu power. Doing kihon waza without kokyu and the "Divine Will" (as O-Sensei called "intent") may lead to some kokyu over time, but probably not much. Waiting for your "ki to awaken" is another route where people need to get ready for a long fruitless wait. ;)

Ah... I think I see the "some things". What I meant was that people haven't been shown how to bring kokyu to areas of the body, haven't been taught how to train the body to "sink" effectively, and many other exercises. Most people don't complain. In fact, I think most people finish their Aikido careers without even a clue that they missed the basics because no one showed them or (in many cases) their teacher. My opinion.

Regards,

Mike

sutemaker17
07-17-2005, 02:53 PM
Mike,
Perhaps I was unclear or didn't understand the original intended subject of this discussion. If so, for that, I apologize.

I am getting the feeling that you took some of my ideas to mean that you are not training enough or properly or whatever. Is that right? If so that was not my intention. I simply wanted to explain a little about where my understanding of our principles comes from so y'all would know where I'm coming from when I posted about this subject again-sorta like introducing myself ;)

Correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that eastern teachers have intentionally withheld information from their western students, and that is why it is so difficult to pinpoint the meaning of/understand/practice Kokyu?

Regards,
Jason

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 03:10 PM
I simply wanted to explain a little about where my understanding of our principles comes from so y'all would know where I'm coming from when I posted about this subject again-sorta like introducing myself ;) No problem, Jason... perhaps I did misunderstand. If you would explain kokyu and it define it in terms of western terms, that was the question at hand. Correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that eastern teachers have intentionally withheld information from their western students, and that is why it is so difficult to pinpoint the meaning of/understand/practice Kokyu? Yes. They also don't tell all their eastern students, either. If you'll notice, a number of O-Sensei's students went to outside sources for ki and kokyu understanding because O-Sensei didn't show them. :)

Regards,

Mike

sutemaker17
07-17-2005, 03:43 PM
Mike,
I agree, to some extent, that there are teachers that intentionally keep "secrets" to inhibit some peoples progress, however I do not believe that this is the intention of the majority of teachers. I think the vast majority of teachers who fail to pass on these methods of training simply don't know them or have chosen to dismiss them or they don't see the connection ect. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with this sort of thing (that I know of -or not know of ;) ). If anything I have always had way more information than I could process.

Regards,

Jason

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 03:48 PM
I agree, to some extent, that there are teachers that intentionally keep "secrets" to inhibit some peoples progress, however I do not believe that this is the intention of the majority of teachers. I think the vast majority of teachers who fail to pass on these methods of training simply don't know them or have chosen to dismiss them or they don't see the connection ect. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with this sort of thing (that I know of -or not know of ;) ). If anything I have always had way more information than I could process. Hi Jason:

I pretty much agree with you and concur that a lot of stuff is not taught simply because people don't know. Worse yet, many of them have ignored pretty obvious clues that they don't know things. ;) Since you haven't had to deal with it, could you give us the breakdown on kokyu in western terms that we were looking for?? :)

Regards,

Mike

sutemaker17
07-17-2005, 04:53 PM
I sure will try to give you my take on it, Mike. Of course, this is just my opinion.

Well, as I said before there are several different things that need to all be right simultaneously to get that sweet spot feeling in our techniques that we are all looking for. Posture is one, if not the most important of these things without that you loose your abitily to sense your balance in relation to uke's balance/structure, deliver energy efficiently, make evasive movements and changes and breath freely.

Another is simply proper movement which is somewhat, but not not entirely, a result of proper posture. Proper movement in Aikido is accomplished by dropping weight, to move, by simply bending the knee allowing gravity to propel us forward as we position our forward foot and then recover the rearward foot as our weight settles to our new location. I know this sounds simple pimple but it does take some practice. Consider this, most people, before they step with one foot will shift their weight over the opposite foot before bending the knee to LIFT the forward foot. This causes a situation that directly opposes gravity on the body because the rear foot is thrusting the body's weight away from the earth in order to propel it forward essentially making the body much less stable. Totally different mechanics at work here. For a demo just push on a wall with your back leg thrusting and your torso leaning into it then try it by keeping your back strait extending your arms and simply bending your forward knee and let gravity do the rest. You can generate more force on the wall with the thrusting rear leg, head down, gnashing teeth way, but try em both on a wall that changes attitude on you (uke) and you'll see it is much easier to adjust to the moving surface from the proper posture and dropping weight.

Whew! I hope y'all can understand that cause now i'm not sure if I do.

Mull it over...anyway.
Jason

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 05:35 PM
I sure will try to give you my take on it, Mike. Of course, this is just my opinion. (snip) Fair enough, Jason, but "kokyu" includes various demonstrations like the jo-trick O-Sensei did, Tohei's "ki tricks", and so on and so on. I'm not sure how those relate to your "sweet spot", but if you could elucidate, I'd appreciate it. Incidentally, did you study from a western teacher or one of the Japanese teachers?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

sutemaker17
07-17-2005, 06:25 PM
Guy's I want to be clear on the fact that I am not a teacher and do not expect you all to follow this as if it were gospel. My main concern is to try to persuade people to open up a little and realize that the stuff we do is really not all that mystical when we describe biophysical phenomena in the light of the best way to apply the natural laws that we are all stuck with like gravity, inertia and goemetry. I would also like to hear everyone else's take. OK?

Mike,
I think we need to go backwards to a somewhat bigger picture if we are going to get into the ki demonstrations. The type of movement mentioned in my last post is only a small example of the total type of muscle training that must take place to be able to accomplish the types of tricks you're talking about. BTW I am not that familiar with all the various types of demos as most of the ki demonstrations I've seen are in the form of really nice techniques.
But, I am familiar with the unbendable arm cause I saw it in a book. :D

In the same way you use certain muscles to drop instead of thrust with the legs you also use different muscles to hold your arm straight and unable to be bent. Here's why. If I hold my arm out and flex it till ALL my muscles are rigid and then you come up and attempt to bend it by placing your hands in the crook of my elbow and oppose that by resting my wrist on your shoulder it will take very little force to bend my arm by overcoming the triceps because the biceps is opposing it. In other words, I am helping you bend my arm by flexing both the biceps and the triceps simulaneously. However, if I concentrate on flexing the triceps only you will not be able to bend it. That is why they tell you to focus the ki flowing out your hand like a hose because this picture tends to induce the triceps only flex. Simple. Another possibility that makes this even more effective is that while you were getting set up on the arm just before you get your posture and feet set up correctly to apply force the demonstrator has changed his position in relation to you very slightly (by taking a little weight off one leg or vectoring by pivoting the hips) and taken your balance so you cannot exert force from a strong position without first adjusting your feet.

Oh! And my teachers are all American Westerners.

What does everone else think?
Jason

Rupert Atkinson
07-17-2005, 07:07 PM
All movement is mechanical and can be explained. Once you mention the ki word, all logic goes out the window.

When I was young I had a job in a steelworks - I was a radiographer, lots of lifting stuff all day, but quite cushy by comparison to others. Occasionally, when we had little to do we were sent here and there to help out. A frequent 'excursion' was to the smelting area and I had to fill the crucible with small cut-offs of steel plate. It was only a small crucible and only took 1 ton of steel and the fork-lift truck couldn't get near it. I had to shovel the stuff in, walking back and forth. Needless to say, it was back-breaking work. However, the old-timers, many in their late 50s, would laugh at me. Indeed, they had done it twice a day for many, many years. My technique was really no different to theirs, rather, their bodies were accustomed to it. But in an Aikido context, lacking explanation, they would probably have advised me to - "Use yer ki lad!" And they would have been right, but I would have been none the wiser.

eyrie
07-17-2005, 07:45 PM
I agree Rupert. Using the "whole" body as a connected series of springs, fulcrums and levers is far more efficient kinesthetically. Can this be defined as "kokyu" then?

In answer to Mike's earlier question.


Throw them how? Kaitenage? It's easiest to learn to bring power to your hands/arms straight ahead because there's less strain on the shoulders and elbows. Too much strain on the shoulders and elbows makes the normal strength kick in and you want to stay relaxed and avoid that.

I think the analysis straight ahead with a push is a fairly clearcut way to try and define what is kokyu power.. and then apply the basics to all directions. Although someone may have a better way they can suggest.


Simple! No technique! Just use your kokyu power from center to hands and spiral the power left or right thru uke's center and manipulate their center thusly. My teacher Takeda Yoshinobu and some of my sempai can do, have done this to me. I have felt it. I'm close to doing it occasionally, but not as consistently as I would like. ;)

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 09:03 PM
Just use your kokyu power from center to hands and spiral the power left or right thru uke's center and manipulate their center thusly. My teacher Takeda Yoshinobu and some of my sempai can do, have done this to me. I have felt it. I'm close to doing it occasionally, but not as consistently as I would like. ;) OK, but let's forget the spiral for a second and just go back to the simple push. You have your hands on uke. How do you get his center and manipulate it... with just a push, even? What is the source of the power that is coming from your middle? What do you do with the opponent's forces, if he's not just standing there? Can you give us some idea of the difference between just pushing the opponent and using a kokyu force on him?

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
07-17-2005, 09:32 PM
OK, but let's forget the spiral for a second and just go back to the simple push. You have your hands on uke. How do you get his center and manipulate it... with just a push, even? What is the source of the power that is coming from your middle? What do you do with the opponent's forces, if he's not just standing there? Can you give us some idea of the difference between just pushing the opponent and using a kokyu force on him?

Regards,

Mike

Good questions. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can even satisfactorily answer these questions myself, much less explain it yet. I can only feel what I feel. ;)

OK, working on a simple push, let's say, yokomen-uchi kokyu nage irimi where you throw uke backwards. I contact the attacker's R forearm with my LH. And touch my RH heelpalm on the collarbone/chest.

The source of power comes from the ground up my back foot and big toe through the middle into my hand, and I "cut" thru uke into the ground behind uke (where the "hole" is).

My LH is also working in conjunction with my whole body and "feeling" for the connection with uke's center.

If I were to "push" uke simply from a straight arm using the shoulders, the "feeling" is different, and the effect markedly weaker.

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 09:43 PM
OK, working on a simple push, let's say, yokomen-uchi kokyu nage irimi where you throw uke backwards. I contact the attacker's R forearm with my LH. And touch my RH heelpalm on the collarbone/chest.

The source of power comes from the ground up my back foot and big toe through the middle into my hand, and I "cut" thru uke into the ground behind uke (where the "hole" is).

My LH is also working in conjunction with my whole body and "feeling" for the connection with uke's center.

If I were to "push" uke simply from a straight arm using the shoulders, the "feeling" is different, and the effect markedly weaker. I dunno. I can't fault the wording. But I reserve the right to wait and feel it. ;) I think you're off on the big toe thing... given Ueshiba's comments about six directions, given the jo trick, etc., I suspect the "big toe" comment refers to a manner of storing and releasing power that I would have thought was not given to the Japanese, but which, once again, I was probably wrong about. ;) If wisdom is learned through mistakes, I may be one of the wisest people you know.

Mike

eyrie
07-17-2005, 10:16 PM
:) You forget I am Chinese, doing a Japanese martial art. Most of what I "know" (which I use VERY loosely) comes from prior learning, thru what I've felt Takeda do to me, and from outside learning.

So, who knows where I actually picked up the connections, coz it sure as hell wasn't told to me specifically by Takeda (or any of his senior students). It was always a kind of unspoken, the "look" in the eye, inner "knowing", shared moment, thing, as is the Asian way.

I'm pretty sure I'm not all that good (maybe in another 20 years), but at least I "know" what I'm looking for when I train, and when I teach. ;)

Well, you'll just HAVE to come to Oz to visit then.... :D

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 10:28 PM
:) You forget I am Chinese, doing a Japanese martial art. Most of what I "know" (which I use VERY loosely) comes from prior learning, thru what I've felt Takeda do to me, and from outside learning.

So, who knows where I actually picked up the connections, coz it sure as hell wasn't told to me specifically by Takeda (or any of his senior students). It was always a kind of unspoken, the "look" in the eye, inner "knowing", shared moment, thing, as is the Asian way. Well, I'm not Asian, but I have known a whole raft of Asian instructors. Generally, my impression is that the more they know about how these things work, the more analytical and studied are their comments and explanations. In fact, the ability to analyze even static structures in the realm of mechanics by some of the experts has intrigued me... even ones without any formal training in physics and statics. So I'll counter your "look in the eye" and suggest that you should still be able to track the thread of logic and mechanical analysis, regardless of genetics. ;)

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
07-17-2005, 10:32 PM
Does not that "jo-trick" fall outside of basic biomechanics however (if you do believe in that sort of thing)?

According to how I have attempted to define "kokyu-ryoku" and according to what others have said thus far - the "jo trick" seems to fall outside of such understandings.

Truthfully, I do not trust that trick - as it came at a time when Osensei was being made into an icon and/or into a rallying point for a burgeoning "Aikido" identity. For better or for worse, many folks during that period took ukemi that they should not have. This is my opinion no matter how “famous” such Uke (or such students from that time period) may now be.

An interesting thing... Once I had an opportunity to talk firsthand to a student of a well-known teacher that does this trick currently. As things had turned out I had trained with this person for quite some time before I knew he had trained with this teacher and had actually been one of the uke "pushing" against the jo just before they went "flying." Later, I came across a video of this teacher doing this trick and there was my friend taking that ukemi! I was shocked. However, I was also very happy because here I was given the opportunity to ask one of these “uke” if he was really pushing or not. So I went and asked him and guess what? He dodged the question like you could not imagine. (Please do not give me that “Well maybe he felt you wouldn’t understand” response. He and I had talked about many topics up to that point – including highly abstract ones, etc. He was just plain embarrassed and the silence was totally related to a desire for not being asked any more.)

Another kind of related point – for me at least – is that I would like to leave space for the fact that basic waza are themselves outlets for developing kokyu-ryoku (as many have said). The flip-side of this is to note that while someone might be able to do the “unbendable arm” under its normally accompanying conditions such a person is not then primed to demonstrate kokyu-ryoku under more intense or spontaneous conditions. The same thing can of course be said for training in kihon waza, but it would seem that such “cool ki tricks” have even further to travel before they could really demonstrate a kokyu-ryoku that is of actual value (e.g. operable under spontaneous martial conditions) and/or REAL.

Mike Sigman
07-17-2005, 11:02 PM
Does not that "jo-trick" fall outside of basic biomechanics however (if you do believe in that sort of thing)? Not really. It's the same basic idea of bringing "that from which the center is drawing its power" (in this case, the ground) to some part of the body or a weapon being held by the body. It's an extreme trick. When someone originally asked me about how to do the "jo trick", I was thinking of some pictures I had seen in books where a student was pushing from the front. After I realized that they were referring to something different (I have been out of the Aikido mainstream for a long time) I joined AikiWeb and Aikido Journal forums to see if someone could privide pictures. Watching the videos of O-Sensei, I knew immediately what he was showing, but because I couldn't believe he had access to the sort of training it usually comes from, I began formulating ways that he might have been able to approach the trick differently. Now, after having had a lot of information input from books, videos, members of this list, etc., I just accept that he had access to a certain method of training, which is a surprise to me.

But basically, the answer is that the jo-trick is just another variation of kokyu tricks, of which the "ki tests" are also a member. So is any kokyu throw or any other movement in Aikido. The argument would be how sophisticated the level of kokyu skills must be to be considered "acceptable". ;) An interesting thing... Once I had an opportunity to talk firsthand to a student of a well-known teacher that does this trick currently. Watching O-Sensei do the trick, it was legitimate, even though the uke(s) were over-acting. However, having seen too many cases where bona fide demo's were faked by some teachers and students, I can't just accept out of hand that this "well known teacher" was legitimately also doing the same trick. Frankly, I'd be interested in who the teacher was... if it was a westerner, my warning flags would go way up because to do the trick legitimately would take knowledge of something I don't think is very commonly known, even in Japanese Aikido circles. I'd like to see/feel him do the trick. Another kind of related point -- for me at least -- is that I would like to leave space for the fact that basic waza are themselves outlets for developing kokyu-ryoku (as many have said). The flip-side of this is to note that while someone might be able to do the "unbendable arm" under its normally accompanying conditions such a person is not then primed to demonstrate kokyu-ryoku under more intense or spontaneous conditions. The same thing can of course be said for training in kihon waza, but it would seem that such "cool ki tricks" have even further to travel before they could really demonstrate a kokyu-ryoku that is of actual value (e.g. operable under spontaneous martial conditions) and/or REAL. I agree with you. I was just saying that someone with "really good" kokyu skills should be able to do ki tricks without too much difficulty because he/she would understand how fairly pure kokyu skills work. Knowing how kokyu works and having some reasonable skills will not allow you to do the jo-trick because that involves a kind of training that enhances the "strength" of the connection from the center of the body to the extremities. So it's a matter of conditioning level, but not a matter of any difference in the basic principles. :)

FWIW

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
07-17-2005, 11:49 PM
This is my take:

Kokyu-ryoku is just pushing. Kokyu-nage is pushing combined with a little skill - taking uke's balance. If you take uke's balance too much, it is too easy - uke almost falls over. If you take none at all he won't budge. So, to develop the 'ryoku' (or power) you need to take his balance just enough so you are still required to give him a good push. Of course, taking more balance and doing it easily might seem to be the logical approach, but if you want to develop 'power' then you need something to push. (By develop, I mean train the power). The problem is, however, a push is not always just a push, just as a shovelling (see above) steel plate 'feels' different to different people. For example, although it is a push, you can't practise this on a wall. The 'other end' needs to be alive. But you can practise it by yourself, to a certain degree.

sutemaker17
07-18-2005, 12:09 AM
Rupert,
I agree with you that you cannot practice kokyu ryoku on a wall. I was using that to try to get the picture of how to set up proper body mechanics to deliver energy and partly because someone else had mentioned it earlier. I'm not sure I understand the technical part of what you were saying about pushing a little to take balance and then pushing alot???

Ignatius,
Could you explain in more detail exactly where the power in your push comes from again in terms of body mechanics describing uke's stance also. Just curious.

Anybody,
Please explain the jo trick. Nothing fancy, just what happens as I really have no idea.
Thanks,
Jason

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 12:37 AM
Well if one wants to use the expression of “the same basic idea,” I would say that it is an over-exaggeration of that same basic idea. For it may be true that one may be dealing with a centered power or a power that is emanating from a center, but at the same time it is an example of violating the physical laws that pertain to leverage. In this latter sense, the jo trick is in actuality something entirely different. It would be the same with any version of Kokyu Nage that attempted a similar thing (e.g. where Nage attempts energy in one direction and Uke ends up traveling in harmony with an energy that would actually be going the other way). In fact, this is the nature of the jo trick itself (i.e. what makes it a trick), that it appears to defy normal physics. What we are seeing, or what someone is trying to show us (better said), is that with “kokyu-ryoku” one can defy the natural world. For me, that goes against my suggested notion of kokyu-ryoku being in accord with the principles and laws of Nature.

Mike, I am getting the feeling that you feel there are these drills or techniques out there that stand over and above normal training (e.g. kihon waza training). Or, better said, that waza training alone is not enough or even couldn’t possibly be enough (e.g. “couldn’t believe he had access to the sort of training…”). If that is the case, I would have to disagree. In my opinion, while waza training may not be enough for some, it is enough for others. Or, better said, if one trains correctly and fully (i.e. meeting every tenet) in waza, one will cultivate kokyu-ryoku. Inversely, if one does not practice their ki tests or ki tricks correctly and fully, these things will not cultivate kokyu-ryoku. For me, this means that it is about how you are doing what you are doing and not just about what you are doing. That said, again, in my opinion, no matter what one might be doing; I am going to push that jo from the side of anyone that might be holding it – including Osensei. Those uke were faking it for Osensei just like my acquaintance was faking it for his teacher – my opinion. In contrast, the unbendable arm is something completely different in my mind – even in principle. It is, as was explained above, in perfect accord with the natural world (i.e. the antagonistic relationship between muscle groups, etc.).

However, I am more than willing to change my mind if I could see something first hand or better yet experience something first hand (something that would also account for why the jo itself does not break should it be unable to leverage itself forward (and all kinds of other things like that).

eyrie
07-18-2005, 12:41 AM
Ignatius,
Could you explain in more detail exactly where the power in your push comes from again in terms of body mechanics describing uke's stance also. Just curious.


Sorry, don't know the jo trick and haven't seen it to be able to comment.

The "power" comes from the ground thru the "whole" body. Fune-kogi undo, sayu undo and ikkyo undo is a good way to feel where the power is coming from. But like Rupert says, you can't do this on an inanimate object. (Note, some uke's are LIKE inanimate objects....).

Imagine every major joint in your body from your feet to your hands as a series of spring loaded fulcrums, and the long bones as the levers. Using the ground reaction force, transmit and amplify the force through this series of "springs" as you transmit it from your feet, knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands.

Then try short-cutting the path just feet to hands, or hip to hands.

At least, this is how I understand it. YMMV...

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 12:41 AM
The Jo Trick:

Osensei holds one distal end of a jo and about four or five young men get on the side of the jo (at a perpendicular angle to Osensei) from the near end (next to Osensei) to the far end (the other distal end that Osensei is not holding) and attempt to push the jo from the side forward and away from them with both of their hands, bodies, and legs, etc. The jo will not budge until Osensei "releases" it - and the men go flying.

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 12:59 AM
I saw the trick being performed by Osensei in a video I have somewhere - sorry can't remember which off the top of my head. Here is the best pic I can find of it on the Net on the quick. I tried to blow it up a bit but it lost some resolution. However, combined with my description, one should be able to figure out what is being discussed here.

Drew Scott
07-18-2005, 08:32 AM
I wish we could see the event in this picture from various angles. To me, it doesn't look like they are perpendicular to the Jo at all. The angle of the Jo and the differences in body positions between the Uke's makes me think the actual line of force is at a slight angle to the Jo's long axis. Numbering the Uke's 1, 2 and 3 moving outward from O'Sensei, I note that 1's hands are not equidistant from his center, but the hand closest to O'Sensei is in fact further forward, implying to me that the force is not truly "perpendicular" to the Jo. As you move to 2 and 3, the angles become even more exaggerated along the vertical plane as well as the horizontal. This looks a lot more complex to me than the traditional description I've heard which involves four Uke standing perfectly perpendicular to a completely level Jo pushing with all their force. Thanks for posting this image, it's fascinating.

This reminds me of something one of my sensei's showed me once. We were doing work on maintaining a strong center in seiza, and I was sitting on the floor with a partner pushing on my shoulders from the front. Although I could maintain my posture, it was a definite effort. Sensei came over and said "align your forearms under his and lift gently as you do this" and as I found the alignment he was talking about, suddenly the pressure redistributed and the whole exercise became easier. When my turn came to provide the pressure to my partner, sensei showed him the same thing and I was amazed at how well it distributed the force I was trying to apply. It wasn't mystical "Ki" stuff, it was utilizing leverage and body mechanics, though from the outside, it might well have looked like some kind of mystical power, as the change in position was fairly subtle. Looking at this image, I have to wonder if there is something similar going on. O'Sensei's lifetime of martial study had to have given him an immense understanding of the forces the human body can exert and the limitations of our physical structure.

Interesting stuff.

Regards,
Drew

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 08:35 AM
Kokyu-ryoku is just pushing. It can be pushing, pulling, lifting, or downward. Or any reasonable combination of those force directions. If you move your hand in a circle, it should contain all four of those forces .... a good example of using the example of a circle would be the full arm circle made in sayo undo or when a calligrapher draws a circle on a piece of paper.For example, although it is a push, you can't practise this on a wall. The 'other end' needs to be alive. But you can practise it by yourself, to a certain degree. Huh? I can break a door with kokyu ryoku and the door is certainly not alive. :)

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 08:52 AM
(re the "jo trick")For it may be true that one may be dealing with a centered power or a power that is emanating from a center, but at the same time it is an example of violating the physical laws that pertain to leverage. How are the laws of physics being violated? What we are seeing, or what someone is trying to show us (better said), is that with "kokyu-ryoku" one can defy the natural world. For me, that goes against my suggested notion of kokyu-ryoku being in accord with the principles and laws of Nature. No, all Ueshiba was showing was the extent of the powers he had built up using his special training methods (which he obviously didn't pass down to most of his Aikido students, right?). Granted his students over-dramatised the demonstration a bit, but the ability to withstand forces from the side is a well-known kokyu/jin demonstration. I can think of about 10 people, off the top of my head, who can withstand sideways pushes on their arms or weapons pretty well. It's just a demonstration of the power that they have built up, coordinated with their skill in jin/kokyu. Nothing more. Mike, I am getting the feeling that you feel there are these drills or techniques out there that stand over and above normal training (e.g. kihon waza training). True. Kihon waza is usually done without any idea of what kokyu skills are, so kokyu training should be added to the kihon waze, the Aiki-Taiso, Tai-sabaki, etc. Or, better said, that waza training alone is not enough or even couldn't possibly be enough (e.g. "couldn't believe he had access to the sort of training…"). If that is the case, I would have to disagree. In my opinion, while waza training may not be enough for some, it is enough for others. Well, I guess we disagree. Or, better said, if one trains correctly and fully (i.e. meeting every tenet) in waza, one will cultivate kokyu-ryoku. And if you poll western Aikidoists and ask how many of them train kihon waza correctly, the overwhelming answer would be what? And if you then tested western Aikidoists to see how many actually have bona fide kokyu skills, you'd find what? ;) Those uke were faking it for Osensei just like my acquaintance was faking it for his teacher -- my opinion. In contrast, the unbendable arm is something completely different in my mind -- even in principle. It is, as was explained above, in perfect accord with the natural world (i.e. the antagonistic relationship between muscle groups, etc.). OK. I understand your stated position and how you see things. However, I am more than willing to change my mind if I could see something first hand or better yet experience something first hand (something that would also account for why the jo itself does not break should it be unable to leverage itself forward (and all kinds of other things like that). Frankly, if I was studying Aikido, there are enough clues out there about the importance of ki and kokyu that I would be asking every "teacher" (particularly the original uchideshi, etc.) I could find, in order to get information or at least the indication that it was a hidden topic. I.e., I would be actively chasing information. Wait.... that's what I did. :)

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 09:04 AM
I wish we could see the event in this picture from various angles. Try this video clip: http://www.neijia.com/jotrick2.avi Bear in mind that Ueshiba is old and the uke is over-acting. However, at a couple of moments you can see that Ueshiba is indeed setting up a resistance despite the amount of moment-arm working against him. And he is relaxed while doing it. I suspect he was better at it when he was younger and stronger.... but it's still an overdone example, IMO, of the power you can develop with certain training methods.
This reminds me of something one of my sensei's showed me once. We were doing work on maintaining a strong center in seiza, and I was sitting on the floor with a partner pushing on my shoulders from the front. Although I could maintain my posture, it was a definite effort. Sensei came over and said "align your forearms under his and lift gently as you do this" and as I found the alignment he was talking about, suddenly the pressure redistributed and the whole exercise became easier. When my turn came to provide the pressure to my partner, sensei showed him the same thing and I was amazed at how well it distributed the force I was trying to apply. It wasn't mystical "Ki" stuff, it was utilizing leverage and body mechanics, though from the outside, it might well have looked like some kind of mystical power, as the change in position was fairly subtle. Looking at this image, I have to wonder if there is something similar going on. O'Sensei's lifetime of martial study had to have given him an immense understanding of the forces the human body can exert and the limitations of our physical structure. Good point. In some ways, kokyu tricks do indeed involve shifting force directions and responsibilities, but not quite in the way you're talking about. But you should indeed always be sceptical and analytical. Here's a discussion of such tricks that is worth reading:
http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/tech/magic/TheFeatsoftheMagneticGirlExplained/Chap1.html

Regards,

Mike

Drew Scott
07-18-2005, 09:31 AM
Try this video clip: http://www.neijia.com/jotrick2.avi

ARGH! It won't play on my system. I've saved the file so I'll work it out. Thanks very much!

Good point. In some ways, kokyu tricks do indeed involve shifting force directions and responsibilities, but not quite in the way you're talking about. But you should indeed always be sceptical and analytical. Here's a discussion of such tricks that is worth reading:
http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/tech/magic/TheFeatsoftheMagneticGirlExplained/Chap1.html

Regards,
Mike

That is a GREAT link and is going in my permanent file. Should be required reading for all Aikidoka, regardless of their position on Ki, etc. Thanks for being patient with a noob. I'm willing to accept the possibility that virtually anything is true, but I'm fundamentally an empiricist and skeptic, so my first instinct is to look for clear explanations and reproducible results.

I'm interested in your thoughts on the "shifting force directions and responsibilities" of "kokyu tricks" beyond, or in contrast to, the kind of exercise I described above.

Thanks much,
Drew

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 09:47 AM
I'm interested in your thoughts on the "shifting force directions and responsibilities" of "kokyu tricks" beyond, or in contrast to, the kind of exercise I described above. Just as a rough idea of "shifting force directions and responsibilities, try this:

Take something about the weight of a half-gallon jug of milk in both your hands and hold it comfortably out in front of your chest about 12-16 inches from the chest about throat high. Notice that normally the body is sort of a "tower" and the shoulders hold the arms and then the weight/object. Now without moving too much, kind of "get under" the weight of the object so that the weight of the object is sitting directly on the legs and feet. Relax your body and feel the difference when you let the legs hold the object. You just shifted the load-bearing responsibilities by adjusting the force vectors within your body. Your "mind" arranged it.

FWIW

Mike

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 10:15 AM
I wish we could see the event in this picture from various angles. To me, it doesn't look like they are perpendicular to the Jo at all.


This pic is from the video clip that I have seen - which is different from the one Mike has provided. Still - they are the same kind of demonstration. This pic is from the part right as or right before Osensei attempts to throw them - so the angle is a little different than I described it (because they are in the process of falling. However, in the total video from which the pic is taking, and in the one that Mike has provided, you can see that Uke is/are perpendicular to Osensei. There is no shift in angles or "lost" position that the picture or the video/pic is hiding. It is what is, and (sorry to say) it is as I described it.

Your other example Drew, I would say, is different from what Osensei was doing - in that the positing of your hands/arms allows for you to capitalize upon uke's energy such that it now pushes you downward instead of just backward. In my opinion its a variation on "A" frame architecture. We build structures according to that technology all over the place. It is quite a well-known part of the natural world. What Osensei is attempting to convince us of is that the short end of a lever can maintain a mechanical advantage over the long end of the lever and/or that via some kind of "energy' an inanimate object can be structurally rienforced (i.e. a jo should break if the short end of the lever were actually strong enough to maintain a mechanical advantage over the long end of the lever - just stick a jo in a vice and and push on the distal end and see what happens!). It is these things Mike that I say go against the law of physics, the Natural world, etc. I can grasp that kokyu-ryoku can allow one to withstand more horizontal resistance than usual (i.e. than without kokyu-ryoku), but once you start reversing distal-end lever concepts and/or the structural integrity of a one inch diameter piece of wood that is 51 inches in length - that's another thing entirely.

I'm afraid we will also have to disagree on your take of "Western" practitioners. It seems my experience has been the exact opposite of yours. When I trained in Japan it had only cemented for me the position that true Budo (of which kokyu-ryoku is a part) was more in the West (and practiced by more westerners) now than in the East.

As I said, this jo trick stuff was being practiced at a time when Osensei was being put up as a political/social/cultural icon. Uke were faking things for him all over the place at this time. This was not the time of Osensei when he was 68 and demonstrating at Asahi Shinbun (I believe he was that old at that time - maybe he was 48). Once you start faking things, you don't really have a place where you can stop and say, "Oh wait a minute - this is TOO fake." Rather, you just start going with it, working more to find ways of including it along the lines of what you have already done. In this way falsehood perpetuates itself. It is like this with a commitment to Truth as well. Once you start a path of Truth and accuracy, it keeps going and you keep making decisions based upon what is more truthful and more accurate. Our modern sensibilities and our good faith in the history of art almost force us to look for things that are not present in these examples. We seek out explanations (i.e. there must be a slight angle difference than what the camera's eye is showing, etc.) and/or even suggest that such things are beyond our comprehension (i.e. we no longer have access to this kind of development, etc.). In addition, we often try to understand things symbolically and/or metaphorically - as a way of leaving things with enough validity that we can actually accept them though we would reject other like things in nearly any other place. An example of the latter would be Osensei's meditation/purification rituals that were aimed at spirit possession. We would like to think of these practices as insights into our subconscious or as commentaries relative to the universal nature of Man and/or the Cosmos - but I'm sorry, they were all about trying to get possessed by a spirit. Spirit possession was a big part of Omoto-kyo discourse. In fact, there would be no Omoto-kyo if it were not for spirit possession.

thanks,
dmv

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 10:41 AM
This pic is from the video clip that I have seen - which is different from the one Mike has provided. Still - they are the same kind of demonstration. I'm not totally sure that's true because it is easier to set up a vertical kokyu demonstration (stopping them from pushing down) than it is to set up a horizontal demonstration. But it's not important enough to go off on another tangent. :) What Osensei is attempting to convince us of is that the short end of a lever can maintain a mechanical advantage over the long end of the lever and/or that via some kind of "energy' an inanimate object can be structurally rienforced (i.e. a jo should break if the short end of the lever were actually strong enough to maintain a mechanical advantage over the long end of the lever - just stick a jo in a vice and and push on the distal end and see what happens!). In that case, a weight-lifter is trying to convince us that the laws of gravity don't work, David, according to your logic. I.e., O-Sensei is doing no such thing... he's simply showing the level of his strength, with the assist of a few well-meaning uke's. Insofar as shear-loads on the jo, do the math... that part of your debate won't sustain even mild scrutiny. ;) It is these things Mike that I say go against the law of physics, the Natural world, etc. Yeah, but we could also say that a weight-lifter lifting a barbell is going against the laws of physics, the Natural world, too. It just ain't nacheral for weights to go up in the air. Heck, while we're liftin' them weights up we might even see an airplane in the sky and lord knows that if we'd been meant to see airplanes we'd a had eyes placed in the top of our head! Land Sakes! ;) (sorry David... I'm cursed with a bizarre sense of humour) I'm afraid we will also have to disagree on your take of "Western" practitioners. It seems my experience has been the exact opposite of yours. When I trained in Japan it had only cemented for me the position that true Budo (of which kokyu-ryoku is a part) was more in the West (and practiced by more westerners) now than in the East. Well someone should pass this on to Abe, Sunadomari, and others that they're missing out on the good stuff in the West. ;) As I said, this jo trick stuff was being practiced at a time when Osensei was being put up as a political/social/cultural icon. Uke were faking things for him all over the place at this time. This was not the time of Osensei when he was 68 and demonstrating at Asahi Shinbun (I believe he was that old at that time - maybe he was 48). Once you start faking things, you don't really have a place where you can stop and say, "Oh wait a minute - this is TOO fake." Rather, you just start going with it, working more to find ways of including it along the lines of what you have already done. In this way falsehood perpetuates itself. It is like this with a commitment to Truth as well. Once you start a path of Truth and accuracy, it keeps going and you keep making decisions based upon what is more truthful and more accurate. In other words, in real Aikido, uke's don't take dives for nage's? I think you just made a profound comment about Aikido as a whole, David! The fact that O-Sensei's uke's were cooperative with O-Sensei in those demonstrations was different from a lot of Aikido in what way? :)

Regards,

Mike

Drew Scott
07-18-2005, 12:06 PM
Just as a rough idea of "shifting force directions and responsibilities, try this:
[example snipped]
You just shifted the load-bearing responsibilities by adjusting the force vectors within your body. Your "mind" arranged it.

FWIW
Mike

This makes a lot of sense to me and seems to fit in line with what I described earlier. You are realigning your body so as to maximize the efficiency of your musculature, skeletal structure, etc. If I'm understanding the example correctly, it seems to me to be a physical phenomenon based in understanding your body and the forces being exerted on it and then applying your increased understanding and improved mind-body connection to make it possible.

However, in the total video from which the pic is taking, and in the one that Mike has provided, you can see that Uke is/are perpendicular to Osensei. There is no shift in angles or "lost" position that the picture or the video/pic is hiding. It is what is, and (sorry to say) it is as I described it.

Using VLC I was finally able to watch the video. To my eye, it appears that Uke is dropping down into a "lunge" position and exerting virtually no lateral force on the Jo. I'd have to compare this to the same demo being done in O'Sensei's younger days, as his age and reputation may have changed the nature of it, but it looks pretty unconvincing in that PARTICULAR clip.

Your other example Drew, I would say, is different from what Osensei was doing - in that the positing of your hands/arms allows for you to capitalize upon uke's energy such that it now pushes you downward instead of just backward. In my opinion its a variation on "A" frame architecture. We build structures according to that technology all over the place. It is quite a well-known part of the natural world.

I guess what I was getting at is that so far in my limited experience, my sense of much of the "power" of Aikido is that it could be expressed as a deep understanding of the structures and forces at work in both participants, combined with a relaxed unification of strength and structure within Nage to produce the maximum effect on Uke with the minimum localization of effort in Nage. If that makes any sense... I don't have all the vocabulary I need for some of this, and my experience is limited.

I can grasp that kokyu-ryoku can allow one to withstand more horizontal resistance than usual (i.e. than without kokyu-ryoku), but once you start reversing distal-end lever concepts and/or the structural integrity of a one inch diameter piece of wood that is 51 inches in length - that's another thing entirely.

I'd sure like to submit these demonstrations to some scientific process. Without more data, however, these videos raise a red flag for me. However, I'm not sure that the theoretical forces involved would actually be beyond the capacity of a jo or bokken to withstand. I've put a heck of a lot of force on them attempting to straighten unwanted warpage... they're tough.

As I said, this jo trick stuff was being practiced at a time when Osensei was being put up as a political/social/cultural icon.
[snip]
Once you start faking things, you don't really have a place where you can stop and say, "Oh wait a minute - this is TOO fake."
[snip]
In this way falsehood perpetuates itself.
[snip]
Our modern sensibilities and our good faith in the history of art almost force us to look for things that are not present in these examples. We seek out explanations (i.e. there must be a slight angle difference than what the camera's eye is showing, etc.) and/or even suggest that such things are beyond our comprehension (i.e. we no longer have access to this kind of development, etc.).

Please forgive the self-serving "snips". I think you make valid points here, and I'd like to emphasize the phrase "our good faith in the history of the art". Just as falsehood tends to self-perpetuate, so too does "faith", and for similar reasons. The more you place your "faith" in something or someone, the harder it becomes to accept information which runs counter to that faith. Aikidoka are not alone in their tendency towards this. I think it's part of human nature to seek information which confirms our own beliefs and to avoid information which conflicts with them.

In case your statement about "angle difference" is in reference to my posts, I'd like to clarify that I have no stake in the validity of the Jo exercise demonstrated. :-) I am intensely curious about it, however, and I'm therefore (as far as I can tell, being inside my own motivations) looking for as much information as possible about what is physically occuring in the images presented. I'm aware that is exceedingly difficult without context (such as the information that the image I was seeing was at the point of transition into a throw).

Spirit possession was a big part of Omoto-kyo discourse. In fact, there would be no Omoto-kyo if it were not for spirit possession.


Is it possible for an individual to be expressing something they understand to be literal truth which is, in fact, merely an image/metaphor they have unconsciously adopted in order to make sense of their experiences? For example, I find that some techniques do seem to require less physical effort when I imagine, for example, that "energy is flowing out the ends of my fingertips". Although I suspect this is simply a physiological change being created as my mind attempts to externalize the metaphor, I can imagine that after years of using the metaphor and experiencing results, I might easily come to believe that there actually is invisible energy flowing from my fingers (whether there is or not, I can't confirm from experience).

This is a long-winded way of saying that it may be possible for us to experience what the original practitioners believed was possession by a spirit, but dispense with their unconsciously adopted metaphor due to our new context. Similarly, we may be able to experience the supernormal feats of our predecessors, but find physical principles at work where once we required a mystical context for understanding.

Or maybe I'm just finding more ways to justify the delusions. Great conversations though. Apologies if anything I'm inserting into this dialogue is unwelcome.

Regards,
Drew

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 12:24 PM
This makes a lot of sense to me and seems to fit in line with what I described earlier. You are realigning your body so as to maximize the efficiency of your musculature, skeletal structure, etc. If I'm understanding the example correctly, it seems to me to be a physical phenomenon based in understanding your body and the forces being exerted on it and then applying your increased understanding and improved mind-body connection to make it possible. True. Let me shift to the oft-seen picture of Tohei standing on one leg while a cooperative partner pushes against his forearm. That demonstration is really just a variation of the example I just gave with the weight held in front of the chest. True the force is horizontal against Tohei, rather than vertical, but the idea of shifting the load-bearing responsibility to the foot/leg is exactly the same. A beginner can be shown how to do these things in fairly short order, but one of the factors affecting a beginner's performance is the stress on the shoulder joint. He will tense his shoulder joint pretty quickly, thereby diluting the demonstration and also adversely affecting his training. So it is important that a beginner not have much force put on him while he is training to do these kokyu movements, etc. Secondly, it has to be recognized that conditioning the connection from one's center to the force is an important criterion. As relaxed as Tohei is in the demo I'm talking about, his shoulder and back are conditioned by training in order to allow him to transmit the direction of that force vector from his forearm directly toward his middle.

O-Sensei's jo-trick is simply another example of the same idea, but it involves the stresses coming in a different angles in relation to the body and with a little thought you can realize that the important aspect of the jo-trick is that somehow O-Sensei's connection to his center (and thence to the ground) is unusually strong... so strong that he can appear to be somewhat relaxed when he does it. That's the part of the magic trick people should be thinking about. How did he train that sort of connection? :)

FWIW

Mike


**First let me dispose of the idea of Tohei leaning into the push... that's not the idea; if the pushing partner suddenly releases from his push, Tohei should not fall forward.

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 01:04 PM
In my opinion, a weight lifter lifting weights and airplanes flying are both things of the natural world. The jo trick is more akin to holding that the Earth is flat when it is not: It is based in the natural world but it is so unfounded that it proves to be false. In lifting weights, the force of gravity is overcome when the engine being used can generate more energy than the weight involved. An over-exaggeration of this principle, and something very akin to the jo trick, would be to suggest that a two year old could lift a car. Such a position violates the known ratios concerning mass and energy. In that, such a position violates nature and proves to be false.

It is true that at some level Osensei is attempting to demonstrate his capacity to generate remarkable levels of mechanical advantage. In doing so, as you say Mike, he is attempting to use the same principles relevant to all mechanical advantages. However, he is also going beyond that (i.e. over-exaggerating – now entering falsehood). He is not just saying that with kokyu-ryoku one can offer more resistance to horizontal energy than without kokyu-ryoku (which would be true). He is saying that with “kokyu-ryoku” one can overcome the horizontal energy put out by three extremely fit and strong young men. In saying this, he is also saying that not only can he overcome the horizontal energy output of three fit and strong young men BUT that he can also give them the long end of a lever and still offer more resistance. If he was not already in the land of “fake” before, he certainly is now when he offers them the longer lever.

Moreover, (and this seems to be the point I am not explaining too well) in saying that he can give three young men the longer lever and still overcome their horizontal energy output, he is asking us to believe that said three young men cannot break a jo when the shorter lever proves to be stronger than the longer lever. What is an over-exaggeration here – what is a departure from the Truth here? Two things: That three strong fit young men cannot generate more horizontal energy using a longer lever and all of their body than a frail old man can using a shorter lever and his one hand; and that three strong fit young men cannot break a jo by pushing on the longer end when the shorter end of the lever proves to be (for some reason) the more powerful end. Though this latter point is proving difficult to explain, one can simply experience it by sticking their jo in a vice and getting two friends (no training is necessary – believe me) to help you push on it latterly. SNAP!

Like I said, my experiences in Japan seem to be different from yours Mike – assuming you trained with Abe, Sunadomari, and others. Still, I am not the only one that holds such a position concerning the state of Budo in the West and in the East – including Japanese shihan who have practiced and taught in both places. To be sure, what those Uke are doing in those old tapes of Osensei when he was older IS very much like what one sees in many places today. That don’t make it right. If anything, for me, that makes my case more valid: They, and he, shouldn’t have been doing that. (I often wonder how different the world would have been if Osensei wasn’t turned into an icon and political and culturally prompted to put on such demonstrations.) This is only my take on things – and my opinion is not worth crap in the world of Aikido. I can only run my dojo according to such a perspective. Thus, in our dojo if the geometry and the physics is not present, and we are not addressing the learning curves of a beginner, if Uke “takes a fall,” that uke did something wrong. He or she was not being cooperative, not blending, not protecting themselves, not in harmony with Nage, he or she was not following Nage’s lead, he or she was not being affected by Ki, etc., - they were just plain ol’ faking it. They are told then not to do that, and then they are guided in how to reconcile the supporting fear, pride, or ignorance that is supporting such falsehood.

Anyways, Mike, I loved the humor – keep it up. Thanks for the laugh.

Drew, you as well, in my opinion, make some fine points. What you say at the end there is what I think we tend to want to do: find some way of making sense of such things. Only, it is pretty hard to do that in this case when it is clear that what one is seeing is clearly a belief system – not just a discourse. Normally, I’d be right there with you, that something else is going on, etc., but here we are in fact talking about good ol’ spirit possession.

Thanks guys for the reply, much appreciation – great posts.

dmv

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 01:17 PM
In my opinion, a weight lifter lifting weights and airplanes flying are both things of the natural world. The jo trick is more akin to holding that the Earth is flat when it is not: It is based in the natural world but it is so unfounded that it proves to be false. In lifting weights, the force of gravity is overcome when the engine being used can generate more energy than the weight involved. An over-exaggeration of this principle, and something very akin to the jo trick, would be to suggest that a two year old could lift a car. Such a position violates the known ratios concerning mass and energy. In that, such a position violates nature and proves to be false.

It is true that at some level Osensei is attempting to demonstrate his capacity to generate remarkable levels of mechanical advantage. In doing so, as you say Mike, he is attempting to use the same principles relevant to all mechanical advantages. However, he is also going beyond that (i.e. over-exaggerating -- now entering falsehood). He is not just saying that with kokyu-ryoku one can offer more resistance to horizontal energy than without kokyu-ryoku (which would be true). He is saying that with "kokyu-ryoku" one can overcome the horizontal energy put out by three extremely fit and strong young men. In saying this, he is also saying that not only can he overcome the horizontal energy output of three fit and strong young men BUT that he can also give them the long end of a lever and still offer more resistance. If he was not already in the land of "fake" before, he certainly is now when he offers them the longer lever.

Moreover, (and this seems to be the point I am not explaining too well) in saying that he can give three young men the longer lever and still overcome their horizontal energy output, he is asking us to believe that said three young men cannot break a jo when the shorter lever proves to be stronger than the longer lever. What is an over-exaggeration here -- what is a departure from the Truth here? Two things: That three strong fit young men cannot generate more horizontal energy using a longer lever and all of their body than a frail old man can using a shorter lever and his one hand; and that three strong fit young men cannot break a jo by pushing on the longer end when the shorter end of the lever proves to be (for some reason) the more powerful end. Though this latter point is proving difficult to explain, one can simply experience it by sticking their jo in a vice and getting two friends (no training is necessary -- believe me) to help you push on it latterly. SNAP! David it's like watching the strongman at a circus. He is certainly strong, but he since he adds a little bogosity to his act by inflating the numbers on the weights, you're discounting the act. I see that he's strong. You see that he's faking a part of the act. Yes, O-Sensei had overly-cooperative uke's.... but most Aikido dojo's would be hypercritical to complain about that, I think. What I see, through a number of demonstrations, is that O-Sensei could indeed demonstrate that he had the traditional power and skills from trained ki and kokyu practices. Thus, in our dojo if the geometry and the physics is not present, and we are not addressing the learning curves of a beginner, if Uke "takes a fall," that uke did something wrong. He or she was not being cooperative, not blending, not protecting themselves, not in harmony with Nage, he or she was not following Nage's lead, he or she was not being affected by Ki, etc., - they were just plain ol' faking it. What if they do everything right but they run into someone who understands body mechanics they're not familiar with? That's the essence of kokyu things and why they're not openly taught, BTW. :)

Mike

Drew Scott
07-18-2005, 02:24 PM
Drew, you as well, in my opinion, make some fine points. What you say at the end there is what I think we tend to want to do: find some way of making sense of such things. Only, it is pretty hard to do that in this case when it is clear that what one is seeing is clearly a belief system -- not just a discourse. Normally, I'd be right there with you, that something else is going on, etc., but here we are in fact talking about good ol' spirit possession.


Fair enough. I have very little knowledge about O'Sensei's belief system, so all I can contribute are generalities about human nature. :-)

Regards,
Drew

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 02:33 PM
Fair enough. I have very little knowledge about O'Sensei's belief system, so all I can contribute are generalities about human nature. :-) "Spirit Possession" is just as valid a term as "ki", I suspect. I just look at the results. Here's something from an interview with Tohei (I editted it for conciseness):

When do you think Ueshiba Sensei mastered that "art of relaxing?"
I think it was probably when he was living in Ayabe and heavily involved with the Omoto religion. Ueshiba Sensei often told a story about one day when he was standing by a well wiping himself off after training and he suddenly realized that his body had become perfect and invincible. He understood with remarkable clarity the meaning of the sounds of the birds and insects and everything else around him. Apparently that state lasted only for about five minutes, but I think it was then that he mastered the art of relaxing.
Unfortunately, he always talked about that experience using religious-sounding expressions that were more or less incomprehensible to others.

On one occasion the prince pointed at Ueshiba Sensei and said, "Try to lift up that old man." Four strong sailors tried their best to lift him but they couldn't do it.
Sensei said of that time, "All the many divine spirits of Heaven and Earth entered my body and I became as immovable as a heavy rock." Everybody took him literally and believed it. I heard him say that kind of thing hundreds of times.
For my part, I have never had divine beings enter my body. I've never put much stock in that kind of illogical explanation.

Once when I was with Sensei in Hawaii, there was a demonstration in which two of the strong Hawaiian students were supposed to try to lift me up. They already knew they couldn't do it, so they didn't think much of it. But Sensei, who was off to the side watching, kept standing up and saying, "Stop, you can lift Tohei, you can lift him! Stop, make them stop! This demonstration's no good!"

You see, I had been out drinking until three o'clock in the morning the previous evening, and Sensei knew what condition I had come home in. He said, "Of course the gods aren't going to enter into a drunken sot like you! If they did they'd all get tipsy!" That's why he thought they would be able to lift me.
In reality that sort of thing has nothing to do with any gods or spirits. It's just a matter of having a low center of gravity.

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 03:07 PM
David it's like watching the strongman at a circus. He is certainly strong, but he since he adds a little bogosity to his act by inflating the numbers on the weights, you're discounting the act. I see that he's strong. You see that he's faking a part of the act. Yes, O-Sensei had overly-cooperative uke's.... but most Aikido dojo's would be hypercritical to complain about that, I think. What I see, through a number of demonstrations, is that O-Sensei could indeed demonstrate that he had the traditional power and skills from trained ki and kokyu practices. What if they do everything right but they run into someone who understands body mechanics they're not familiar with? That's the essence of kokyu things and why they're not openly taught, BTW. :)

Mike

Well upon this we can agree. I think we are focusing then upon different aspects of the same act. You seem to be seeing a strongman, and I seem to be seeing a strong man that is inflating the numbers. For me the "inflating" detracts from the point being made since the inflation has been presented as the point (which is then subject to the charge of "falsehood"); for you the inflation does not seem to affect the point being made.

I am into the purity of a thing - for me therein lies the beauty of any thing or any idea, therein lies what is worthy of appreciation. This is why I can appreciate Osensei's Asahi Shinbun demonstration of an earlier era but not the jo trick of his later years. For me, if a thing is true it is great, and if a thing is great it is true. When things have to be inflated, it is only because they are not so great. It is like when a truth can be whispered and still have a great impact. A falsehood can be yelled and its volume only adds to its impotency. The inflation in the jo trick is actually deflating for me - it is negatory/nullifying, not substantiating. For me, it says something that when Osensei was younger he just chucked folks all over the place; when he was older he did "jo tricks."

That's the beauty of honest ukemi. You do not have to understand what is happening to you for your body to be affected by the physics involved. If you are not faking ukemi, and someone throws you for real, you will be thrown regardless of your comprehension levels. What we are trying to avoid is NOT the additional understanding of greater parts of the natural world. What we are trying to avoid is the false universalizing of a given training culture - one where folks go flying under the justification that such things are alike in principle with actual throws (i.e. are an inflation or an over-exaggeration).

Again, nice way of putting things - thanks,
dmv

sutemaker17
07-18-2005, 03:09 PM
"Once when I was with Sensei in Hawaii, there was a demonstration in which two of the strong Hawaiian students were supposed to try to lift me up. They already knew they couldn't do it, so they didn't think much of it. But Sensei, who was off to the side watching, kept standing up and saying, "Stop, you can lift Tohei, you can lift him! Stop, make them stop! This demonstration's no good!"

You see, I had been out drinking until three o'clock in the morning the previous evening, and Sensei knew what condition I had come home in. He said, "Of course the gods aren't going to enter into a drunken sot like you! If they did they'd all get tipsy!" That's why he thought they would be able to lift me.
In reality that sort of thing has nothing to do with any gods or spirits. It's just a matter of having a low center of gravity. [/I]
[/B]

Well guy's,
That puts a little different perspective on things for me.
J

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 03:16 PM
For me, if a thing is true it is great, and if a thing is great it is true. When things have to be inflated, it is only because they are not so great. It is like when a truth can be whispered and still have a great impact. A falsehood can be yelled and its volume only adds to its impotency. The inflation in the jo trick is actually deflating for me - it is negatory/nullifying, not substantiating. For me, it says something that when Osensei was younger he just chucked folks all over the place; when he was older he did "jo tricks." When O-Sensei was younger, he just chucked folks all over the place; when he was older, people took dives for him because his powers were fading and he was an old man. Yet I still see the Aikido, regardless of whether people took dives for him when he was old... I don't discount Aikido or its strength as being fictitious just because of a bunch of politie fakery by students in a culture that value old people. :)

Granted the jo-trick was a bit of a stretch... but coupled with the other things he did over the years, all I see is various kokyu demonstrations and the surety that he had pretty good kokyu powers. In terms of "purity", none of us can claim that, I think. I once had a teacher who was pure and perfect except for the one flaw of being too humble. ;)

Mike

senshincenter
07-18-2005, 03:40 PM
I wouldn't want to make any such statements about Aikido either - I'm simply referring to the jo trick. I wasn't referring to the whole of Aikido or even the whole of Osensei's personal practice, etc.

Personally, I think we are seeing a bit more than just a cultural value on old folks. All of those uke, especially those in Tokyo who did not train with the founder all that much (relatively speaking), had a great stake in two things: making Osensei an icon worthy of everyone rallying under; and then setting themselves up to determine how everyone should be lined up under Osensei. In my opinion, the discourse on respecting one's elders was used here, as was the one on respecting one's senior, to give all this self-interest a larger "social" purpose.

I think what we are seeing in the Tohei interview is the gap that exists between one man that believes in spirit possession and one man that does not. Tohei is demonstrating our modern sensibilities and thus our usual attempt to understand such things more metaphorically. Osensei on the hand was quite serious and quite literal about what he was saying. Look - if there is one thing that a drunk man can do, it's relax. For folks of Omoto-kyo, it was held that one's capacity for spirit possession was relate to one's state of purity and pollution. Under such a cultural paradigm, Tohei was in a polluted state - hence, for Osensei, Tohei was incapable of being possessed by spirits, and thus for demonstrating "other worldly" heaviness. For Tohei, operating under a modern cultural paradigm, he just had to be able to relax - end of story. Osensei was not saying that Tohei's problem was that he could not relax. He was saying he was in a polluted state and thus incapable of being possessed by a spirit, etc. We may want these things to be the same thing - as Tohei did - but these are our modern sensibilities coming through as we are on the other side of an epistemic shift - one that no longer allows for spirit possession.

sutemaker17
07-18-2005, 05:10 PM
When O-Sensei was younger, he just chucked folks all over the place; when he was older, people took dives for him because his powers were fading and he was an old man. Yet I still see the Aikido, regardless of whether people took dives for him when he was old... I don't discount Aikido or its strength as being fictitious just because of a bunch of politie fakery by students in a culture that value old people. :)

Granted the jo-trick was a bit of a stretch... but coupled with the other things he did over the years, all I see is various kokyu demonstrations and the surety that he had pretty good kokyu powers. In terms of "purity", none of us can claim that, I think. I once had a teacher who was pure and perfect except for the one flaw of being too humble. ;)


Mike,
Don't take this the wrong way but given the context the use of the word "powers" here sounds a little like an episode of Superfriends, man. ;)

I agree with you, Mike. Osensei was human. And like other humans he made mistakes, craved affection, enjoyed having an audience...ect. I am not trying to take anything from him, mind you, he was an exceptional person, no doubt. I just think its necessary to keep things in perspective. I don't have "powers" and neither did Ueshiba sensei. He had unrivaled discipline, inpeccable training habits and as a result he developed had extremely superb technique that allowed him to do some things that seemed magic to some. It is easy to admire these qualities and human nature to want to emulate them because we, as humans, want to be admired. But its alot easier to live with ourselves, not having achieved these things, if the guy who does acheive them has special "powers". :hypno:

We agree on alot of things here. In my opinion, caring for and respecting our elders is an admirable quality and Osensei was lucky to be surrounded by students who loved him. I also think Osensei could have done just as well and had just as dedicated and admiring a following without the suspect demonstrations.

I have realized that I do disagree with you on one thing. I don't think its people keeping secrets that makes it so hard to learn and describe kokyu ryoku. I think its because people who don't know what they are lookin at/feeling get really mixed up when they see things like the jo demonstration and have it explained that "a bunch of ghosts jumped into my body".

Just my humble opinion. I could be wrong.
Jason

sutemaker17
07-18-2005, 05:20 PM
David,
I agree 100%.

Jason

Mike Sigman
07-18-2005, 05:20 PM
Mike,
Don't take this the wrong way but given the context the use of the word "powers" here sounds a little like an episode of Superfriends, man. ;) Well, I see your point. Someone familiar with literary illusions will recognize "powers declining" as a common phrase related to the aging process (do a Google on the phrase, if you're interested); people used to reading mostly comic books might immediately connect the phrase with "Superfriends". :D
I don't have "powers" and neither did Ueshiba sensei. He had unrivaled discipline, inpeccable training habits and as a result he developed had extremely superb technique that allowed him to do some things that seemed magic to some. It sounds like you're misapplying my usage of "powers". :)
I have realized that I do disagree with you on one thing. I don't think its people keeping secrets that makes it so hard to learn and describe kokyu ryoku. I think its because people who don't know what they are lookin at/feeling get really mixed up when they see things like the jo demonstration and have it explained that "a bunch of ghosts jumped into my body". Maybe so. I don't think Tohei and others were misled by the kami explanation of Ueshiba... they realized that whatever it was, he wasn't teaching it too freely so they went out and got it from outside Aikido. However, this thread is only a stab at trying to get consensus on a definition. If few secrets were kept, I'm sure it should be an easy task to define "kokyu" in western terms.

Regards,

Mike

sutemaker17
07-18-2005, 06:37 PM
All right, Mike-you got me. :D
I guess I am a little sensitive to "hero worship" so, to me, things like that stick out .
Regards,
J :cool:

davidafindlay
07-19-2005, 08:59 AM
Cooperative uke aside (right, all of you, over there, on the left! ;) ) and looking again at the video, its interesting to note Ueshiba's feet. The way they are adjusting appear that they seem to be the weak link in the chain of force beeing applied (ie, the push on the jo is exceeding the friction between the feet and the mat).

Its especially noticable just as the commentator finishes "...this is our frail old man..." where it seems that Ueshiba's posture stays firm, but its his feet that skid on the mat. Almost spinning on an axis centred somewhere between his feet. Uke may be over-acting, but he is still providing force, and enough of it to move Ueshiba. If nothing else, it demonstrates significant unity of Ueshiba's body - through the jo, arm torso/hips and legs. Especially given he is holding the jo in one hand.

Granted he's wearing tabi and they are pretty slippery (seriously no pun intended), but still for an old dude he's doing ok ;).

Dave Findlay.

Mike Sigman
07-19-2005, 09:17 AM
Cooperative uke aside (right, all of you, over there, on the left! ;) ) and looking again at the video, its interesting to note Ueshiba's feet. The way they are adjusting appear that they seem to be the weak link in the chain of force beeing applied (ie, the push on the jo is exceeding the friction between the feet and the mat). [QUOTE] Well, my read is that he shifts his feet when the rest of the chain simply can't hold that amount of moment-arm. Granted, the ultimate responsibilty will be his feet in terms of lateral force components and the coefficient of friction of his soles.. however, the greatest strain is from his lower back out to his forearm, wrist, hand, the equivalent of the strain on Tohei's shoulder/back area in the one-legged push I mentioned before.

Ueshiba's just asking too much of his training, etc., even with uke putting in a bit of dramatics. If you draw a diagram of forces, most of the push has to resolve in Ueshiba's back foot, but that puts quite a strain on the rest of his body configuration, regardless of the training he's obviously done in some form of "standing".

My 2 cents.

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-19-2005, 09:42 AM
In Goju-ryu Karate they have Sanchin kata - their form of kokyu-ho, if you like, which is of course related to Karate movement - (shameless plug - in my book, I call that kind of training dynamic tension - full power slow muscle movement). Incidentally, Rupert... even though a lot of people do Sanchin as a dynamic tension exercise, it's more subtle than that. I suppose the best way to point it out would be this: when you're performing Sanchin, a lot of times an Okinawan instructor will come up and push/hit/kick your frame trying to make you wobble out of the solid posture. Most people think that they need to increase their dynamic tension training to increase their solidity (all westerners I've seen do just that). In reality, the training is supposed to be a form of kokyu training. That's why you run into karate instructors with terrific kokyu powers and western karate practitioners that are doing macho role-playing, talking about how much they can bench-press, etc.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
07-19-2005, 11:40 AM
Well, if can all agree that the degree of the jo-trick was taken too far (as David points out it should snap) then I agree that someone good a kokyu skills should be able to perform most of the ki-tests (where they don't bend the laws of reality).

My current take on aikido period is that you need to unify, thrust, and cut. Many people cannot hold their body in a unified enough way (this is kind of the static kokyu resisting a push stuff that Mike talks about), so we practice movement drills to make the set up easier for the novice (meaning up to sandan at least). Once some form of unification with the partner is established, then the thrust happens. This is where I would say the majority of the two person kokyu stuff happens. A direction needs to be set. Hips and arms actually tend not to move in the same direction to allow the connection to continue, the arms to stay relaxed between the hands all the way to your center, and this is also where the majority of the dynamic listening to the partner and adjusting needs to be done. I find that most people do not listen long enough while thrusting. They are too impatient and they prematurally cut (or unreasonably lift to cut). The patience thing is huge. I'm sure there is something similar when tai chi people do push hands. I agree that aikido is a bit too perscribed - and that aspect is tricking people - but that's really up to the level of honesty the people have with themsevles and their partners. We should be doing waza that cannot work using normal strength against anyone else who has 2 weeks of training in resisting (in a level appropriate way of course).

By the way, in that Chin Kon Ki Shin - Shinto Elements in a Modern Warmup page
http://24.21.240.92/chinkon-kishin.htm
the author wrote " The hands are placed together with the right hand over the left." and the picture of O-sensei clearly has his left hand on top because you can see his right hand's finger tips (at the expected different lengths). Another problem is people's ability to percieve what they see and explain it clearly.

Rob

Mike Sigman
07-19-2005, 01:01 PM
Well, if can all agree that the degree of the jo-trick was taken too far (as David points out it should snap) then I agree that someone good a kokyu skills should be able to perform most of the ki-tests (where they don't bend the laws of reality). Are you really an engineer, Rob? Do the math on why a jo should snap and tell us the parameters you're assuming when you say it should snap. And a hand does not present the force dynamics of being in a vise, anyway... I thought that was so obvious, I didn't bother to coment. :cool: Unless someone wants to tell us exactly what the forces being applied by the uke's was, it's a silly discussion. Ultimately, the jo-trick is just a variant of a kokyu/jin demonstration showing how strong the connection is between the center and the extremities.

Anyway, the jo-trick is not impossible to do, it's just impossible to do at the level a lot of people assume it's being done at when 3 lads are pushing and you assume they're using full force.

(snip something about unifying, thrusting, and cutting that I couldn't follow) By the way, in that Chin Kon Ki Shin - Shinto Elements in a Modern Warmup page
http://24.21.240.92/chinkon-kishin.htm
the author wrote " The hands are placed together with the right hand over the left." and the picture of O-sensei clearly has his left hand on top because you can see his right hand's finger tips (at the expected different lengths). Another problem is people's ability to percieve what they see and explain it clearly. Well, I was only interested (on that page) in seeing some pictures of O-Sensei doing exercises that I'd not seen the pictures of before. Regardless of someone trying to say Fune Kogi Undo is mentioned in the Kojiki, it's basically a common ki-building exercise seen in China. Furitama is a common movement in numerous Buddhist qigongs. So common that it's not much of a discussion among anyone who has a modicum of experience in that area. Men place their left hands over their right when doing these kinds of Buddhist qigongs; women place their right over their left. O-Sensei is doing it correctly. ;)

FWIW

Mike

senshincenter
07-19-2005, 05:44 PM
Wow! I'm on the other side of "obvious" here. You got the long end of the lever NOT traveling around the shorter end of the lever. This is happening because the short end is (supposedly) providing more energy (to stay still) than the longer end is (to move) AND because the jo's structural integrity is maintained throughout the application of the two energies. Basically, the jo is staying static via the energy that is at one of its ends (the short end/at the hand of Osensei) - a vice secured to a work bench provides this same energy (only in actuality). If you put a jo in a vice that is secured and you get three men to push along the length of a jo (perpendicular to the vice), that jo will break regardless of the fact that we can't here provide the average tensile strength of the average white oak jo nor the average thrusting power of three adult men. If you got some other insight on the mechanics involved Mike, please don't consider it "silly," for I would certainly like to hear more on such things.

Maybe we need to set up some video here - three guys pushing on a jo that is secured at one end to a vice grip that is secured itself - seeing the jo breaks or if it holds. I've just seen jo break from a lot less energy.

Anyway, I think Rob is saying what you are saying when he says "too far" and you say "it's just impossible to do at the level a lot of people assume it's being done at when 3 lads are pushing and you assume they're using full force."

dmv

Mike Sigman
07-19-2005, 08:54 PM
Wow! I'm on the other side of "obvious" here. You got the long end of the lever NOT traveling around the shorter end of the lever. This is happening because the short end is (supposedly) providing more energy (to stay still) than the longer end is (to move) AND because the jo's structural integrity is maintained throughout the application of the two energies. Basically, the jo is staying static via the energy that is at one of its ends (the short end/at the hand of Osensei) - a vice secured to a work bench provides this same energy (only in actuality). If you put a jo in a vice that is secured and you get three men to push along the length of a jo (perpendicular to the vice), that jo will break regardless of the fact that we can't here provide the average tensile strength of the average white oak jo nor the average thrusting power of three adult men. If you got some other insight on the mechanics involved Mike, please don't consider it "silly," for I would certainly like to hear more on such things. Pass for the same reason I let it go the first time, David. We both know that the 3 men (there are a number of these demo's from 1 to 3 men, so it's not always 3) aren't pushing with full strength, but other than that you have no way of knowing what the exact force is on the jo nor where the focus is so we can determine the exact moment arm. If you think the shearing and compressive loads within a hand are the same as within a steel vise, you're betraying your lack of knowledge in this area... you have no idea what the load is on the stick and over how many square inches it's spread. In other words, you don't have anywhere near enough data to make the assertions you made. You don't even know for sure what kind of wood Ueshiba's jo was made of and that's a telling datum in itself. Maybe we need to set up some video here - three guys pushing on a jo that is secured at one end to a vice grip that is secured itself - seeing the jo breaks or if it holds. I've just seen jo break from a lot less energy. I have no idea what your point is when you make that sort of statement, if you consider what I said above. :)

FWIW

Mike

wendyrowe
07-19-2005, 09:41 PM
...If you think the shearing and compressive loads within a hand are the same as within a steel vise, you're betraying your lack of knowledge in this area... you have no idea what the load is on the stick and over how many square inches it's spread...

Please pardon the engineering, but I can't stand it anymore:

Yeah, I was thinking when I started reading this part of the discussion that a hand is so vastly different than a vice that the jo-breaking argument goes out the window -- a hand has a lot more "give" in it than a vice, and even a hand that stays still would absorb a lot of the force. It's the same idea as we learned in the "Physics for Biologists" course I took in college where we calculated that if you fall out of an airplane onto the hard ground from height X you'd die of compression of the spine whereas if you landed and let your knees bend even 10cm, you'd be OK -- a little "give" makes a huge amount of difference. So I'm not at all convinced that a hand-held jo would break on impact.

Furthermore, although I've never seen a jo break I have seen more than one bo break -- they're thinner and we use them in karate -- but a lot of that has to do with the speed of the impact as well as the small area of the impact, so you have a big force applied very quickly over a small area and that impulse exceeds the elastic limit of the bo. Snap! That's going to be much less likely with a jo, since they're made to be hit (the bo's we use in karate are for tournament whizzy stuff), thicker, and have several hands on them distributing the force and slowing them down. And from the photo, O'Sensei's jo looks more like mine, 1 1/4" diameter, which is significantly thicker than the 3/4" bo's I've seen break (besides being made of much sturdier wood since the jo is make to be struck).

We now return to your regularly scheduled discussion -- I just hope we can skip any more speculation as to whether or not the jo in the "jo trick" would really break if people were resisting fully, because I really think you don't have enough info to decide (and my engineer's "gut feel" is that it wouldn't).

I think this is a terrific discussion, though, so I hope you'll all keep working on it.

Mike Sigman
07-19-2005, 10:11 PM
a hand has a lot more "give" in it than a vice, and even a hand that stays still would absorb a lot of the force. Exactly.

If you remember the previous example I gave of holding a half-gallon milk sized weight at about throat level... the normal way involves your body as a "tower" and the kokyu way would be to "get under" the weight in your hands so that the legs and feet are supporting the weight (the upper body relaxes dramatically)... we could *simplistically* diagram it such that the resultant vector supporting the weight comes more or less straight up out of the shins for the kokyu approach but the resultant when held by the shoulders is quite different. All the body does is act as a piece of curved/angled material that conveys that resultant vector. Naturally the joints must be strong enough to play their part in that conveyance of force.

In the case of the jo-trick, it's the same thing. A resultant force comes directly from one of the feet (usually the back, away foot) directly to the point of impingement. You can "extend" your ki by accepting the incoming force at some way along a weapon, but there are limits. Ueshiba tries to push his limits... and hey, he may have been startlingly good at it when he was in his fifties or so, for all I know. The problem with the jo trick is the fact that he does pushes his personal limits of kokyu ability too far... it obviously exceeds his abilities, as good as they are. The joints of the body must be strong enough to propagate the vectored force; changing the force vector direction by dint of will can alleviate the angle of attack on the joints, BTW.

Ueshiba supposedly had an incredibly strong grip throughout his life, so that would be a contributing factor to consider. The real problem for most people would be from the hand to the lower back... that's the part that I recognize as commonly being strengthened by a type of standing training.

I'm a little rushed for time, but I hope that's a good enough comment for some of the engineering types, Wendy. ;)

FWIW

Mike

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 01:26 AM
I would agree, a hand cannot duplicate the energy of a secured vice (i.e. some engine capable of generating enough static force capable of robbing the longer end of a lever of its mechanical advantage) . However, that would mean that those men should be able to push the longer end of the lever around the shorter end (especially when that shorter end gave and/or absorbed their energy). Yet, in the example of the three men, this doesn't happen. The only way it can be explained is one of two ways: The hand is duplicating the energy of something like a secured vice (which then goes on to challenge the structural integrity of the jo) OR the trick is a fake (i.e. an over-exaggeration). Osensei can't have it both ways. He can't have his hand absorbing energy but the longer end of the lever not coming to dominate the shorter end - NOR can he have the shorter end maintaining it's structural position but not stressing the structural integrity of the jo. It's not a one or the other thing - Osensei loses on both accounts.

As I said, it's true we cannot provide real numbers here - especially concerning the actual men and jo that were involved, let alone what is measurable in Osensei's grip. That doesn't mean we are at a loss here - we are dealing here with a pretty big window of physical opportunity. Plus, before we say we can't figure such things out (i.e. knowing what the exact force is, where the focus is, what the shearing and compressive loads are, how much load is on the stick and over how many square inches its spread, the tensile strength of Osensei's exact jo) let us realize that if we can't make such a general proposition we are also in no position to say what we are seeing is an over exaggeration. One can surely say, if he or she were so inclined, we cannot say we are seeing an exaggeration because we do not know what the exact force is, where the focus is, what the shearing and compressive loads are, how much load is on the stick and over how many square inches is it spread, the tensile strength of Osensei's exact jo, etc. For myself, I would not be so inclined. Rather, I would be inclined to say that I could with one finger go the end of the jo and move it around Osensei's shorter end. :-)

wendyrowe
07-20-2005, 05:43 AM
...However, that would mean that those men should be able to push the longer end of the lever around the shorter end (especially when that shorter end gave and/or absorbed their energy). Yet, in the example of the three men, this doesn't happen. The only way it can be explained is one of two ways: The hand is duplicating the energy of something like a secured vice (which then goes on to challenge the structural integrity of the jo) OR the trick is a fake (i.e. an over-exaggeration)...
Isn't there another possibility? I may well be showing my ignorance here; but I've always assumed that rather than applying a static vicelike force via his hand, O'Sensei was in fact increasing his force to oppose theirs, resulting in an immobile jo that has large but balanced forces on it. He'd have an advantage in that there's just one of him and he's positioned exactly where he wants (and he's had lots of practice and I'll bet has a natural -- or learned -- aptitude for that sort of thing); which could well compensate for the mechanical advantage they have via the lever arm since it's extremely hard (perhaps impossible) for multiple people to coordinate their force that well.

Do you agree that might be what's happening? And if so, is his way of applying that balancing force the core of what we're discussing here?

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 07:52 AM
I would agree, a hand cannot duplicate the energy of a secured vice (i.e. some engine capable of generating enough static force capable of robbing the longer end of a lever of its mechanical advantage) . David, those are pretty troubling phrases to some of us. Vices don't have energy and you don't "rob" mechanical advantages. The idea of "secured vice energy" (SVE) might be something you want to pass onto the National Academy of Sciences. ;) If there's anything really cute going on here, it's shifting the fulcrums and thus the angle of attack on the joints. Plus some pretty tricky training to some unusual body aspects. That's about it. But you have to think what that means, with all its ramifications. However, that would mean that those men should be able to push the longer end of the lever around the shorter end (especially when that shorter end gave and/or absorbed their energy). Yet, in the example of the three men, this doesn't happen. The only way it can be explained is one of two ways: The hand is duplicating the energy of something like a secured vice (which then goes on to challenge the structural integrity of the jo) OR the trick is a fake (i.e. an over-exaggeration). Osensei can't have it both ways. He can't have his hand absorbing energy but the longer end of the lever not coming to dominate the shorter end - NOR can he have the shorter end maintaining it's structural position but not stressing the structural integrity of the jo. It's not a one or the other thing - Osensei loses on both accounts. I just explained the trick, if you'll think about... the same "trick" applies to a lot of usages of kokyu, if you'll just think it through and it's a very valuable trick, if you can do it. But like I said, there are limits and O-Sensei exceeds his... but that's like Tohei trying to do his immovable stance demonstration in front of a car; just because a trick has limits doesn't mean it's not valuable martially. As I said, it's true we cannot provide real numbers here - especially concerning the actual men and jo that were involved, let alone what is measurable in Osensei's grip. That doesn't mean we are at a loss here - we are dealing here with a pretty big window of physical opportunity. Plus, before we say we can't figure such things out (i.e. knowing what the exact force is, where the focus is, what the shearing and compressive loads are, how much load is on the stick and over how many square inches its spread, the tensile strength of Osensei's exact jo) let us realize that if we can't make such a general proposition we are also in no position to say what we are seeing is an over exaggeration. One can surely say, if he or she were so inclined, we cannot say we are seeing an exaggeration because we do not know what the exact force is, where the focus is, what the shearing and compressive loads are, how much load is on the stick and over how many square inches is it spread, the tensile strength of Osensei's exact jo, etc. For myself, I would not be so inclined. Rather, I would be inclined to say that I could with one finger go the end of the jo and move it around Osensei's shorter end. :-) You could tip Tohei over with one finger, too, if you take the right position. Anyway, I don't want to belabor this point. It looks like you don't understand the value of shifting the fulcrums and the angle of attack on various joints, so I'd suggest you might find that an interesting puzzle to sort out.

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 09:14 AM
Isn't there another possibility? I may well be showing my ignorance here; but I've always assumed that rather than applying a static vicelike force via his hand, O'Sensei was in fact increasing his force to oppose theirs, resulting in an immobile jo that has large but balanced forces on it. He'd have an advantage in that there's just one of him and he's positioned exactly where he wants (and he's had lots of practice and I'll bet has a natural -- or learned -- aptitude for that sort of thing); which could well compensate for the mechanical advantage they have via the lever arm since it's extremely hard (perhaps impossible) for multiple people to coordinate their force that well.

Do you agree that might be what's happening? And if so, is his way of applying that balancing force the core of what we're discussing here?

I would equate such an energy with the mechanical energy a wall can provide, such that for example the three uke in question would be pushing the jo as if it was pressed up against a wall - which would have the three uke pushing against the resistance the wall can offer. Only there is no wall here; only Osensei's hand is on the short end of the lever. So, if we want to say that Osensei was demonstrating a force equal to that of a wall that was in full-contact with the length of the jo, we would have have to say that he possessed the capacity to generate some kind of energy that could travel from his hand and up the length of the jo (i.e. reinforcing the jo's position in a way similar to what a wall would do). In which case, the demonstration would be neither fake nor an exaggeration. A question would remain however: Could Osensei, or any other human for that matter, project such an energy up the length of a static inanimate object by having contact only with the shorter end of the lever? My answer is, "No, no one can." BUT, if he could, you'd be right Wendy - this would be a viable mechanical solution in my opinion as well.

dmv

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 09:25 AM
David, you're using "energy" in such a vague way that it's not totally coherent. Energy is not the same thing as force. When you talk about O-Sensei "projecting" an energy, you can't mean energy, but it's difficult to say whether you're discussing a force or a strength skill on the part of O-Sensei in that case. You appear to think the world pivots around the jo in O-Sensei's well-known strong hand... the weak pivot, though, is probably the shoulder joint for anyone who has strong hands.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 09:37 AM
I've always assumed that rather than applying a static vicelike force via his hand, O'Sensei was in fact increasing his force to oppose theirs, resulting in an immobile jo that has large but balanced forces on it. It's more interesting than that, Wendy, and I just wrote out a very good explanation of how the process works in combination with several others.... but the explanation was so good and so revealing that I stuck it in my file of "notes for a book in the future if I ever write one". :D

Kokyu has a lot to do with changing force vectors at will. Even the Ki Society guys will realize that there are vector "paths" involved (BTW, the Chinese word "jin", which is the essence of "kokyu", actually includes as one of its definitions the idea of "vector force paths") if they stop and think that there's an incoming force and if the testee wasn't standing on the ground he'd move away from the push. If you change vectors in relation to a push, a joint lock, whatever, you change both the angle of incidence AND the resultant of all forces. That's the secret, academically. ;) It's not easy to train and takes a lot of work to train it into your unconscious movement.... which is why I don't respond a lot to the people who offer the idea that moving with kokyu is separate from being able to do static demonstrations. If you can honestly move with *real* kokyu power, you can do static demonstrations fairly easily. :) Moving powerfully and economically with a good command of the external techniques is not the same thing as having kokyu power.

My 2 pfennigs.

Mike

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 10:07 AM
The "energy" I am referring to is not a type of chemical energy (e.g. the burning of a fuel). I am using the word energy to denote the presence of a mechanical energy -- an energy that enables an object to apply a force to another object in order to cause it to be displaced.

We are not talking about the value of trick or even the underlying principles of the trick. We are talking about the over-exaggeration itself. That should be clear. The fact that you yourself Mike and I have called it an over-exaggeration (in one phrase or another) implies that the trick is false in some way. My efforts are set to explain what that falseness is. If your position is different in regards to what this falseness is, though your conclusion is the same (i.e. it's an over-exaggeration), I would certainly like to hear what you consider false in the trick. What is being over-exaggerated and how does one define that over-exaggeration scientifically or mechanically?

If Tohei were to do his immoveable stance trick in front of a moving car and the car stopped and he kept his stance -- THAT is what would be the same thing here. There, in a very similar way to not seeing the jo's structural integrity being affected in the jo trick, we might well end up asking, "Why if the car is using the full capacity of its engine did the tires not possess enough energy to move (i.e. spin) nonetheless under the friction caused by the car's weight?" If he stood his base and implied that he could do it against the full resistance offered by a car, and that car's tires did not burn rubber, we would be in the same spot: We would not be talking about the value of the trick nor the principles underlying the trick. We would be talking about the over-exaggeration of the trick and we would again be forced to define (without exact numbers!) that over-exaggeration scientifically or mechanically. This would still be a thing we could do without knowing the exact weight of the car in question nor the friction capacity of the average tire and/or concrete surface (I'm assuming here the neither Tohei nor the car is on ice and that the car's tires are not bald).

In tipping Tohei over with one finger that was in the "right place," I would be changing his trick. That would not be fair. I am not out to change the playing field or the rules of the game. I am accepting the conditions as they are being set in the trick itself -- or in the over-exaggeration itself. Thus, I would have to push where Tohei said to push (accepting and knowing that I could not push him over from there). In the same way, in the jo trick, I am simply taking that last uke's position (on the distal end) -- not a secret "right position" that is outside of the trick. From that position I can apply my one finger to capitalize upon the mechanical advantage offered by the longer lever and thus to move the distal end around Osensei's shorter end quite easily.

If the terms are getting in the way here, some video could settle things. There is an underlying or implied hint in your posts Mike that you can do the jo trick (i.e. that you understand its basic mechanics as well as its limitations, etc.). If that is the case, if I'm sensing this correctly, I would very much like to see a more contemporary demonstration -- especially one that would stay within the mechanical boundaries of its application. If you do not have access to a web site for posting -- I can post it temporarily on our web site on our video page (see signature below). You just have to email it to me -- you can get our email address from our web site as well. If we cannot take this to the next level of demonstration, I'm afraid we'll just be debating over terminologies -- and that ain't going to get us anywhere.

Still, I've enjoyed our conversation. Thanks very much.

dmv

ps. If my usage of the word "energy" is odd to you, I'm feeling the same way when you say "that one can move powerfully and economically with a good command" BUT without kokyu. Maybe that's what is at heart here - we don't even agree on what kokyu is (so we are talking past each other). For me, one can't move powerfully and economically with good command but without kokyu. For me, the static tricks are easier - just as kokyu-ryoku demonstrations are easier under controlled or predetermined conditions (e.g. kihon-waza). For me, the highest demonstration of kokyu-ryoku is moving powerfully and economically with good command under spontaneous conditions - especially spontaneous martial conditions. For me, kokyu-ryoku is not something extra or different or outside of moving powerfully and economically with good command.

sutemaker17
07-20-2005, 10:27 AM
For me, the highest demonstration of kokyu-ryoku is moving powerfully and economically with good command under spontaneous conditions - especially spontaneous martial conditions. For me, kokyu-ryoku is not something extra or different or outside of moving powerfully and economically with good command.

David,
I believe this also. You hit the nail on the head. If we are going to be able to define Kokyu we must all decide to adhere to this idea that Kokyu "is not something extra or different" or anything other than the use of proper body mechanics. Otherise, we will be "peein' in the wind" tyring to expain the supernatural which, by definition, is unexplainabe or debatable.
I could be wrong...
Jason :)

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 10:43 AM
The "energy" I am referring to is not a type of chemical energy (e.g. the burning of a fuel). I am using the word energy to denote the presence of a mechanical energy -- an energy that enables an object to apply a force to another object in order to cause it to be displaced. An energy is still not a force or vector force, David. It's easier to understand these things if we use precise terminology, etc. Obviously vague terms and old videos in which we can't gauge forces, etc., won't help the discussion. That's all I'm saying. We are not talking about the value of trick or even the underlying principles of the trick. We are talking about the over-exaggeration itself. That should be clear. The fact that you yourself Mike and I have called it an over-exaggeration (in one phrase or another) implies that the trick is false in some way. I disagree. We're trying to define kokyu and the discussion is becoming fixated on one trick. An exaggeration of abilities or working at the limits of abilities does NOT mean the abilities are false. Because Tohei cannot stop a truck while standing on one leg doesn't mean that he can't hold a person and that that ability is useless martially.
In tipping Tohei over with one finger that was in the "right place," I would be changing his trick. That would not be fair. I am not out to change the playing field or the rules of the game. I am accepting the conditions as they are being set in the trick itself -- or in the over-exaggeration itself. Thus, I would have to push where Tohei said to push (accepting and knowing that I could not push him over from there). I can push where Tohei says and push him over. But I recognize that he's simply demonstrating an interesting truth... the fact that I can push him over doesn't take away from the utility of the kokyu he can use.If the terms are getting in the way here, some video could settle things. I doubt it... video is what started the argument. If we ever meet and I've kept up my training, I'll show you the jo trick. :) For me, kokyu-ryoku is not something extra or different or outside of moving powerfully and economically with good command. Then we're talking about different things. :)

Mike

rob_liberti
07-20-2005, 10:49 AM
Oh my gosh! Give me a break. Yes, I'm really an engineer - so sure of myself, that I don't mind being corrected in my thinking.

Of course I was writing about the over-exaggeration when I stated that I agreed with David - since he was clearly writing about the over-exaggeration. I understand that less than 3 athletes who are not pushing with all their might is a more reasonable example.

I just was told that they did this jo-trick in jujitsu school O-sensei came from. I learn something new everyday!

An exaggeration of abilities or working at the limits of abilities does NOT mean the abilities are false.I do not think anyone is suggesting otherwise. I (and I assume David) just don't buy into the over-exaggeration.

Rob

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 10:51 AM
If we are going to be able to define Kokyu we must all decide to adhere to this idea that Kokyu "is not something extra or different" or anything other than the use of proper body mechanics. Otherise, we will be "peein' in the wind" tyring to expain the supernatural I think this is why most of western Aikido, karate, Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua, Jiujitsu, etc., is doomed to being mediocre, Jason. Basically everyone thinks that the things they know about movement are all there is to know... and anyone who tries to talk about something else immediately must be talking about the "supernatural". In reality, there's 3 categories: what you know; what you don't know; and then the supernatural. Most of the resistance I've seen in a lot of years has come from people who are convinced that there can NOT be many things they don't know and IF there's something they don't know, it must be trivial. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 10:54 AM
I just was told that they did this jo-trick in jujitsu school O-sensei came from. I learn something new everyday! Credible or "iffy" source?

Mike

rob_liberti
07-20-2005, 10:59 AM
Apparently it is written in Ellis Amdur's book. I didn't read it myself, yet. Everything I have read by him is pretty good so I'll get to it soon. - Rob

Adman
07-20-2005, 11:46 AM
Stonehenge Jo trick (http://www.fungod.com/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=15&pos=46)? :cool:

Ron Tisdale
07-20-2005, 11:51 AM
Hi Rob, You said the jujutsu school...do you mean Daito ryu? and which book in particular by Ellis?

Thanks,
Ron

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 11:57 AM
Apparently it is written in Ellis Amdur's book. I didn't read it myself, yet. Everything I have read by him is pretty good so I'll get to it soon. - Rob If the story is true, it raises some interesting questions. The training for the jo-trick involves more sophisticated knowledge of kokyu skills than most kokyu tricks because of the training for unusual strength. If Ueshiba learned this stuff from Takeda it's puzzling what, if anything, was involved in Omoto kokyu-training rituals that would have been new.

Mike

rob_liberti
07-20-2005, 12:26 PM
My assumption was that it was probably Dueling with O-Sensei; but I was hoping someone else would chime in. - Rob

rob_liberti
07-20-2005, 12:28 PM
Ron, I assume so. What does Daito ryu mean? great sword school??! (just curious) - Rob

James Young
07-20-2005, 01:28 PM
The "to" in the term "Daito" is the character for east, not sword.

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 02:01 PM
I am just using energy in the general sense here – it’s not this complicated, nor do such attempts to complicate things corrupt the insights into why Osensei’s jo trick is false and/or an over-exaggeration (i.e. false). “Energy” here is just “the ability to do work.” “Mechanical energy” is “the energy which is possessed by an object due to its motion or its stored energy of position.” No one is out to push Einstein to his limits and/or to demonstrate that he is either now irrelevant or remains relevant to the field of theoretical physics. :-) In addition, you are still invited to say why you think Osensei’s trick is an over-exaggeration. My terms should not be getting in the way of that effort.

For me: There is a reason why Osensei’s jo trick is an over-exaggeration and that reason is explainable mechanically. That is my position. I am not referring to Aikido, to Osensei, to the jo, to kokyu-ryoku, to Osensei’s level of kokyu-ryoku, to the means by which kokyu-ryoku is cultivated, etc. I am solely referring to Osensei’s jo trick, and in particular, I am referring to the one being demonstrated against three young fit and strong uke. In regards to that, your position now seems to be saying, “It is an over exaggeration because he didn’t have enough kokyu-ryoku (implying that kokyu-ryoku is something outside of powerful and economic movement – something external to mechanical issues).” This is why I suggested we probably could not have a discussion here – even if we could opt to use the same terminology and/or allow each other our particular and/or working definitions (which I was willing to do).

It is true the thread started out attempting to define kokyu, but for a while now the topic of this thread has been the exaggeration of Osensei’s jo trick. That should be obvious since not only I but also everyone else has also taken this as their point of discussion for quite some time now. In addition, relevance is still on this side of things, as this part of the thread has brought us full circle to a place where we can see that for you kokyu-ryoku falls outside of mechanical issues. That did not come out so clearly in the beginning of the thread when definitions were being posited.

As for video: Actually, it was through the video that we found our place of agreement: the jo trick is an over-exaggeration. Therefore, I am sorry you will not film yourself demonstrating the jo trick, delineating the elements involved and demarcating its boundaries. I still think that would have been very helpful. Without the video, this talk then will be doomed to the abstract – from there, it does not matter at all what we might be saying. Still, I thank you kindly for the gracious invite – maybe one day I can take you up on it (maybe at the next Aiki Expo, etc.). Again – thank you.

As I said earlier, I am personally not interested in the power issues related to kokyu-ryoku. I am not interested in doing tricks or in taking kokyu tests. In my understanding of kokyu-ryoku, I clearly connected kokyu-ryoku to issues of the heart/mind and in particular to the reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy. By extension, I said I was more interested in the relative social, spiritual, and religious aspects of kokyu cultivation. In other words, I am not interested if one can do the unbendable arm if one cannot duplicate its architecture and mechanics tactically under spontaneous martial conditions. Likewise, I am not interested if one can execute the architecture and mechanics of the unbendable arm tactically under spontaneous martial conditions if one cannot embody and practice its principles when it comes to the interpersonal relationships he/she has with a spouse, with one’s aging parents, with one’s children, or with one’s God.

I have seen many people do the unbendable arm under its test conditions only to have no sense of extension and/or of relaxation come spontaneous martial conditions (conditions that through our attachment to fear, pride, and ignorance force us to disconnect from our true center and instead adopt a mere egocentricism). There is a lack of spiritual maturity that can hide in such static demonstrations. This lack of maturity cannot so easily hide within spontaneous martial conditions. Why is this so? Because of the role the heart/mind truly does play in our physical mechanics and thus in our cultivation and application of kokyu-ryoku. The heart/mind, in particular its lack of cultivation concerning non-attachment and the reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy, is not so “pressured” within the static and/or test conditions of these demonstrations. Still - it is the same with those that may be martially skilled (i.e. effective).

Within the training environments wherein one cultivates martial effectiveness, the lack of development concerning the spiritual maturity of the heart/mind can still find space to function because it is not so challenged by that which it is experiencing. However, come, for example, the total investment of being and of self-identity, etc., as experienced in the interpersonal relationships that construct the world that we are living, the heart/mind that is immature in its spiritual cultivation will prevent us from demonstrating relaxed non-threatening and non-threatened integrity with our body (i.e. our actions). We thus become light as a feather, ungrounded, de-centered, and thus often we are possessed by the accompanying emotional states of anger, frustration, jealousy, hatred, fear, pride, etc. We fall from Center to egocentricism (i.e. a false center or an over-exaggerated sense of self – which is another way of understanding Osensei’s jo trick!).

That said, concerning kokyu-ryoku: In attempting to define the term, I do not care how unbendable our arm is under static or controlled conditions. In addition, ultimately, I do not care how much we can maintain kokyu-ryoku within spontaneous martial conditions. If we are concerned with kokyu-ryoku, really attempting to understand it here and/or define it, I care about how we act with our loved ones, with our fellow Man, with our God. Is the relationship of the heart/mind to the body supernatural? Nope. Is it something that cannot be witnessed on video? Nope. (Check out this link for how the heart/mind affects our tactical geometries: http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/earlylearningstage.html) (Check out this page and these other videos for further explanation and for contrasting examples: http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/metsukeangleofdeflection.html) Do we have to look at each other here and accuse each other of being ignorant and/or of even being incapable of understanding such things? Nope. In fact, if there is one thing that we should be cautious about when we are claiming to attempt to define something, it is suggesting that folks just cannot understand what they do not know, and that even if they could (by some act of miracle!) that we cannot explain it to them. For if any position might be supported by fear, pride, or ignorance, it would most likely be this one – this one wherein we demonstrate no capacity at kokyu-ryoku where it would actually be of any kind of real value.

My opinion,
dmv

(p.s. You are right Rob in assuming that I am right there with you.)

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 02:39 PM
I am just using energy in the general sense here -- it's not this complicated, nor do such attempts to complicate things corrupt the insights into why Osensei's jo trick is false and/or an over-exaggeration (i.e. false). "Energy" here is just "the ability to do work." "Mechanical energy" is "the energy which is possessed by an object due to its motion or its stored energy of position." No one is out to push Einstein to his limits and/or to demonstrate that he is either now irrelevant or remains relevant to the field of theoretical physics. :-) In addition, you are still invited to say why you think Osensei's trick is an over-exaggeration. My terms should not be getting in the way of that effort. My point is that O'Sensei did not project energy and that your parsing what energy means still doesn't clarify what you said. I was trying to keep the discussion clear. And I posted reasonably accurately what the problem was, as I saw it, with O-Sensei's demonstration. For me: There is a reason why Osensei's jo trick is an over-exaggeration and that reason is explainable mechanically. That is my position.OK. I understand your position.your position now seems to be saying, "It is an over exaggeration because he didn't have enough kokyu-ryoku (implying that kokyu-ryoku is something outside of powerful and economic movement -- something external to mechanical issues)." [QUOTE] No I didn't say that or even seem to be saying that. His ability to transmit forces was pretty good, but the demonstration was just more than he could handle. That's not "false". Besides... he was old, which probably affected the demonstration. [QUOTE]...we can see that for you kokyu-ryoku falls outside of mechanical issues. That did not come out so clearly in the beginning of the thread when definitions were being posited.[QUOTE] How can you see that? Show me one post that indicates a belief on my part that kokyu-ryoku falls outside of mechanical issues. I think the problem is that you and I have quite different ideas of what kokyu ryoku is. As I've said, anyone who has a real grasp of kokyu ryoku can easily do these simple static tricks (allowing for degree of conditioning, obviously). [QUOTE]In my understanding of kokyu-ryoku, I clearly connected kokyu-ryoku to issues of the heart/mind and in particular to the reconciliation of the subject/object dichotomy. By extension, I said I was more interested in the relative social, spiritual, and religious aspects of kokyu cultivation. In other words, I am not interested if one can do the unbendable arm if one cannot duplicate its architecture and mechanics tactically under spontaneous martial conditions. Likewise, I am not interested if one can execute the architecture and mechanics of the unbendable arm tactically under spontaneous martial conditions if one cannot embody and practice its principles when it comes to the interpersonal relationships he/she has with a spouse, with one's aging parents, with one's children, or with one's God. OK. Well.... this is all getting a little off topic then. Let's move on. Kokyu power has physical explanations. Simple kokyu demonstrations, which you seem to trivialize, are the most suitable examples for analysis and exposition of kokyu, just like in the thread title. There is no difference between the kokyu used in demonstrations and the kokyu used in movement and martial techniques. If you think there is a difference (and the term kokyu is applied to them both, so that would be odd indeed), can you explain *physically* why? If not, it's pointless to use vague terms, spiritual ideals, etc., in this sort of discussion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 03:16 PM
Well every one else got what I was saying - even those that offered other mechanical possibilities (critiques of my position). Still, I will take responsibility here for the vagueness you are feeling.

Back to topic…

Nope, I do not think there is a structural difference in kokyu. That has been might point all along – that is why I do not give preference to ki tricks and/or “secret training techniques” or “techniques not handed down to Westerners” over kihon waza (for example). However, that was an impression I was getting from your earlier posts. The reason, for me, why Osensei’s jo trick is an over-exaggeration (i.e. false) is precisely because it violates mechanical laws relative to what is present – mechanical laws that are universal to both ki tricks and kihon waza. When it comes to kokyu-ryoku demonstrations, I merely prefer kihon waza over static ki tests; spontaneous martial applications over kihon waza; interpersonal real-life applications over spontaneous martial applications. This I do for the simple but huge role that the heart/mind plays in our capacity to cultivate and apply kokyu. My personal preference in regards to demonstration is not based upon a difference in the nature of the kokyu involved. It is a preference based upon the maturity of kokyu-ryoku or the capacity to apply kokyu under more real-life (i.e. less determined, more personally invested) conditions AS SUCH THINGS ARE RELATIVE TO THE SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION OF THE HEART/MIND.

Along the same lines, as I said earlier, I would never suggest that a person that can do the unbendable arm under ki test conditions can therefore demonstrate such kokyu-ryoku under spontaneous martial conditions and/or in real-life conflicts relative to their interpersonal relationships. In short, the nature of the kokyu-ryoku may be the same but the maturity of it is almost guaranteed to be different. One can think of this like two trees: An old mature tree and a young tree. Both are trees, but only the mature tree has the likely tenacity to endure the trials of the changing seasons.

By the same reasoning (i.e. that the kokyu in ki tests and in kihon waza are not inherently different), I would never say that one could move in a powerful and economic manner with command but not be employing kokyu. Such a statement, to me, seems to merely be a way of wrongly raising a person who cannot move powerfully, economically, and in command under semi-martial (e.g. kihon waza) and/or martial conditions (e.g. spontaneous) but can do “ki tricks.” It seems to be a way of denouncing the obvious from the martially effective in the face of and for the benefit of someone that is either too old, too out of shape, too injured, and in possession of too few of training hours particular to given martial pedagogy, etc. Moreover, it does this all for the “hidden,” but somehow more “real,” reason that what appears to be less is actually more. Such reasoning is not my thing – not what I am into.

Thanks again for the reply,
dmv

James Young
07-20-2005, 03:47 PM
I would never say that one could move in a powerful and economic manner with command but not be employing kokyu.

This is an interesting statement which I believe was used earlier. I suppose it depends a bit on what your definition of "move in a powerful and economic manner with command" and "employing kokyu" mean to you, but by my personal interpretation of those terms I'm not sure about that. I have experienced (i.e. been thrown by) some very good and powerful aikido teachers that really knew how to use the correct angles and use their power generated from their hips turning, etc to create some powerful throws. Don't get me wrong, their aikido is good and they aren't using incorrect technique, nor muscling through anything, but I didn't really feel the kokyu connection and power I have felt from some other teachers. That is why I think a person can move powerfully without necessarily using kokyu. However, that being said I also think it has limitations, and the addition of kokyu power is another level that lets you get beyond just that good technique. The teachers that I have experienced that did use kokyu power were powerful as well, but in a different way which can be difficult to be put into words.

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 03:53 PM
Hi James,

Noting that we are still within the realm of kihon waza, any chance you might be able to elaborate on what this difference might be? Any chance you could provide any video of the teachers in question so that we might be able to put some action to some feelings?

dmv

James Young
07-20-2005, 04:19 PM
Sorry I don't really have any video or anything like that to offer. As with many things in aikido and of this nature, video may not be particularly helpful since kokyu power is somewhat not readily visible, but if you are feeling it the reality of it is unquestionable.

Since Ushiro-sensei was mentioned earlier in the thread and I offered my opinion that I felt he had a mastery of kokyu I'll share one example that I think illustrates it. At the last Aiki Expo he demonstrated a punch with kokyu power behind it. What he did was he made a fist about one inch or so in front of a person. Then with very little body movement he closed the space (one inch or so) and struck the person in the chest and sent the person flying back several feet. Under normal striking methods a person can't generate enough energy or velocity to strike with that much power in only an inch or so of space, but yet the resulting power that he generated was as if he had wound his arm back and struck the person with a full-on punch. Granted the person on the receiving end was not expecting to be struck that powerfully from such a small-distance punch so the result may have had a more dramatic effect than if he knew otherwise what was going to happen. However, I know it wasn't fake or an over-exageration because I know the person who got punched and he has no association with Ushiro-sensei before and he confirmed to me the experience of the kokyu power he felt being transmitted into him.

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 04:32 PM
Since Ushiro-sensei was mentioned earlier in the thread and I offered my opinion that I felt he had a mastery of kokyu I'll share one example that I think illustrates it. At the last Aiki Expo he demonstrated a punch with kokyu power behind it. Hi James:

Good story. I agree with you in the sense that if you haven't felt kokyu, you probably have little concept of the fact that it's distinguishable.

However, just to interject a quick point, almost all expert hits using kokyu power are going to add one of two (or three or four) embellishments to the technique which add considerably to the power. The "kokyu" can be looked at as the very solid path of relaxed power, but it would probably be slightly inaccurate to attribute all of a good hit strictly to kokyu. I can hit extremely hard with just my fist (or palm) resting against someone and I use kokyu as the basis of the power... but to be clinically accurate, there are additive components, even if I don't appear to really move.

FWIW

Mike

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 05:59 PM
Hi James,

For me that "one inch punch" demonstration - which is something I have done and have had done to me - is still not something external to body mechanics. I'm not saying that kokyu-ryoku is not present - I am saying that because kokyu-ryoku is present, the proper body mechanics are present BUT more importantly I'm saying the vice versa is true. I would never qualify that demonstration as something outside of or separate from proper body mechanics. Any person that claims to be demonstrating proper body mechanics and thus claiming to be in possession of kokyu-ryoku should be able to send a person "flying" who is standing naturally by hitting them in the upper chest area with a punch or with a palm heel strike closer than one inch or less - no problem. I cannot agree with your interpretation of "Under normal striking methods a person can't generate enough energy or velocity to strike with that much power in only an inch or so of space, but yet the resulting power that he generated was as if he had wound his arm back and struck the person with a full-on punch." Also of note, I would guess that Ushiro could hit a lot harder still if he threw the punch from even greater distance.

It's not my cup of tea that kokyu-ryoku is invisible to the eye (or the camera's eye) or to a third party - just as one can look at a finished piece of calligraphy and be able to tell if it was drawn with kokyu or not. However, okay, that's your take James and it excuses a lot once granted. However, you should be able to find some video of something that you feel is demonstrating good body mechanics and/or that is not demonstrating good body mechanics and/or that is demonstrating good body mechanics but no kokyu-ryoku. Aikidojournal.com is sure to have plenty of folks to choose from. An example here would do a lot to pinpoint your position. Because right now you are kind of just flying in a like a dive bomber out of nowhere (i.e. "I know different, but I cannot show you, or demonstrate it.") I'd rather not have to ignore your point but if we cannot move beyond the claim then all we can say in light of your contribution is, "Well...okay..."

Maybe you can at least say who was throwing you with good body mechanics but no kokyu - letting us find the video ourselves and letting us take our chances with what we see. Alternatively, or in addition, maybe you can say who was throwing you with kokyu - such that we can again find the video ourselves and again take our chances with what we see.

For me, I think it is pretty easy (obvious) to see the interdependent relationship between good body mechanics and kokyu-ryoku, particularly concerning martial applications. In that light, I suggest we could all take a look at page 8 of the video section over at AJ.com - there as a good example of this interdependence one can see Tissier, Ikeda, Shirata; on page 10 one can see Yamaguchi. As questionable and/or as exaggerated examples - where the tactical employment of body mechanics is less then stellar and thus the presence of kokyu-ryoku itself becomes questionable and/or exaggerated - see page 10 for Tekeda and page 6 for Yamano.

I did not try to exhaust the video library at AJ.com. I just looked randomly and tried to get folks of different styles and/or applications real quick.

dmv

Rupert Atkinson
07-20-2005, 07:17 PM
Would you be happy if I solved your jo trick?

Mike Sigman
07-20-2005, 07:33 PM
Would you be happy if I solved your jo trick? Hey, go for it. ;)

Mike

senshincenter
07-20-2005, 08:31 PM
Just put it on video. :D

James Young
07-21-2005, 02:03 AM
I'll take a couple moments to address a couple of points brought up here in regards to my post.

However, just to interject a quick point, almost all expert hits using kokyu power are going to add one of two (or three or four) embellishments to the technique which add considerably to the power.

Agreed. I just wanted to make the point that it was a technique that utilized kokyu power, i.e. went beyond just typical readily visible technique mechanics. I think that was Ushiro-sensei's point in demonstrating it as he wanted to emphasize the kokyu power that comes from sanchin. However, I believe that you are right that there were likely other less visible elements beyond just pure kokyu power that made it even more effective.

I would never qualify that demonstration as something outside of or separate from proper body mechanics.

I didn't say, or at least didn't intend to imply, that it was outside of or separate from body mechanics. Kokyu power can only come if you have good control over body mechanics, e.g. good posture, relaxing muscles like the shoulder, etc. Contrary perhaps to some of O-sensei's assertions I don't believe in some supernatural diety or force enters the body to produce kokyu power. It's all in the realm of body mechanics and people with enough practice and training should be able to do it and people with the right knowlege should be able to explain how the power is generated in body mechanical terms. There person though is certainly not me. The only caveat I would make is that it's not in the realm of the common use of body mechanics, i.e. just using muscles, etc. that most people depend on.

I cannot agree with your interpretation of "Under normal striking methods a person can't generate enough energy or velocity to strike with that much power in only an inch or so of space, but yet the resulting power that he generated was as if he had wound his arm back and struck the person with a full-on punch." Also of note, I would guess that Ushiro could hit a lot harder still if he threw the punch from even greater distance.

In my experience most normal people cannot generate that kind of power in only an inch or so of space, so to me that is an unusal skill and I think beyond most people's normal striking skill. Perhaps the circles you are in people already know how to incorporate that power as part of the normal way they do strikes and it is less extraordinary for you. Undoubtedly you are right that if Ushiro-sensei threw the punch from a greater distance with that kokyu power behind it, it would be even more powerful.

It's not my cup of tea that kokyu-ryoku is invisible to the eye (or the camera's eye) or to a third party - just as one can look at a finished piece of calligraphy and be able to tell if it was drawn with kokyu or not.

I didn't intend to say it was invisible, it's just not readily visible to most people unless you know what to look for. Using your shodo example, most people don't know if a certain piece was drawn with kokyu or not unless they have an understanding of kokyu and its effect on shodo beforehand.

Maybe you can at least say who was throwing you with good body mechanics but no kokyu - letting us find the video ourselves and letting us take our chances with what we see. Alternatively, or in addition, maybe you can say who was throwing you with kokyu - such that we can again find the video ourselves and again take our chances with what we see.

Actually the people in the former category I was thinking of are mostly some past teachers of mine who aren't well-known, so you won't be able to find any video of them. I could think of some more famous teachers as possible examples, but I would be reluctant to put out names because that only stands to offend certain people who may be connected with them and I would be drawing a conclusion on my experience that was limited with them (i.e. just a seminar where I've been thrown a couple of times or something like that), therefore I don't think I could confidently say they don't use kokyu power in their technique because my experience may be an isolated example where they just weren't emphasizing it. As for the latter category I'm sure you can find video of people like Abe-sensei or Ikeda-sensei who do focus on kokyu power more, but then again the video you have access to may or may not demonstrate that point well. I apologize if I can't substantiate my points more solidly with video examples or other references, but these are really just my opinions based on my observation and experiences, so if you feel it doesn't hold weight for you then please feel free to ignore it.

Abasan
07-21-2005, 03:47 AM
Hi James,

Noting that we are still within the realm of kihon waza, any chance you might be able to elaborate on what this difference might be? Any chance you could provide any video of the teachers in question so that we might be able to put some action to some feelings?

dmv

Ok I like to add also that I have sometimes felt that kind of overpowering feeling when training with certain senseis. This feeling is like when you are catching their hand (even powerfully) they somehow managed to leech your power away from you.

I'm not talking about being unbalanced per se, but yes it has that element to it as well. Some of the senseis are powerfully built, some are frail and old. They taste different but at the point where they initiate a technique (even from static) it feels the same i.e. power leeched, and I'm on my toes.

Can that be the application of kokyu? Because to me, it certainly goes beyond conventional mechanics and strength.

One way of describing it is, with other ukes, I might be able to control their hand and body from the moment I catch them. If they were physically stronger, they would fight that control and I can feel their strength and the counter action. But when it came to those particular senseis, I do not feel a counter action or strength play, yet I could not move or control their hand much less they center. And when they move their hands/body to initiate the technique I am incapable of resisting that movement short of releasing and sometimes when they do it fluidly I can't even release (or maybe I didn't have time to release).

Does this describe it enough?

rob_liberti
07-21-2005, 09:15 AM
I think that when you look at rowing there is of course a time when your hips and arms are moving together. But also, when rowing fluidly, there are also moment when the hips have changed direction (because they are leading) and the arms are still going the previous direction. I think this is an important point. Tenchinage ura needs this kind of hips going away from arms until you feel feel something else catch (like your unfied body's movement of transporting your weight down such that it seems to catch the the uke). Otherwise, the uke can simply let go and smash you. The way I am suggesting leaves your relaxed arm in their danger zone so that they really don't want to let it go.

I thnk the more I play around with the idea of using this kind of coordination to empty my arms out the more I agree with most of what I read here about kokyu. My question is: when I'm not using my flexed tricep muscle to hold my arm out, but it is resisting somehow anyway, what is going on? Is that muscle doing just enough (the bare minimum)? Are their smaller muscles I don't know about helping out withing holding a position (I know of some in the back that do this for some arms positions).

Regardless, can we from now on assume some talking about "the jo trick" is refering to the idea of 3 athletes pushing as hard as they can? If we want to talk about a more reasonable example then let's call it "jo trick-light" or something like that. Otherwise, I might start making some good claims myself like: I just did the jo trick myself - I used a pencil and let my 1 and half year old son do the pushing! He couldn't move it anywhere! Tomorrow I'll try a ruler and 2 toddlers!

Rob

Mike Sigman
07-21-2005, 09:48 AM
I think that when you look at rowing there is of course a time when your hips and arms are moving together. But also, when rowing fluidly, there are also moment when the hips have changed direction (because they are leading) and the arms are still going the previous direction. I think this is an important point. Tenchinage ura needs this kind of hips going away from arms until you feel feel something else catch (like your unfied body's movement of transporting your weight down such that it seems to catch the the uke). Otherwise, the uke can simply let go and smash you. The way I am suggesting leaves your relaxed arm in their danger zone so that they really don't want to let it go.

I thnk the more I play around with the idea of using this kind of coordination to empty my arms out the more I agree with most of what I read here about kokyu. My question is: when I'm not using my flexed tricep muscle to hold my arm out, but it is resisting somehow anyway, what is going on? Is that muscle doing just enough (the bare minimum)? Are their smaller muscles I don't know about helping out withing holding a position (I know of some in the back that do this for some arms positions). Let me offer some very valuable information. Don't do it that way. Until you begin to actually have some kokyu, you're wasting your time worrying about being "fluid", just as you'd waste your time working out with weights.... all you do is stay within the "normal movement" mode because your nervous system triggers the muscles the way it always has. You have to slow down and start slowly from scratch. When you see a video of Tohei knocking out Fune Kogi Undo's at 1-per-second, you're doomed if you don't realize that he's showing the end-results of many hours of slow practice, not the way to really practice.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
07-21-2005, 10:28 AM
Alright, I'll try your advice out. Is there anything in particular from your experience that someone should be looking out for for positive or negative feedback? -Rob

Mike Sigman
07-21-2005, 11:09 AM
Is there anything in particular from your experience that someone should be looking out for for positive or negative feedback? -Rob I would actually start out with my hands/arms out in front of me, fingers relaxedly pointed forward and *without moving my arms at all in relation to my torso* push my body forward 4-5 inches and then pull my body backward 4-5 inches. Back and forth, trying to keep the push and pull of my hands totally the power of my torso-middle, which in turn is driven by first the back leg and then the front leg. It's like feeling for the push and pull of the middle in the hands. Push with the middle (the arms and torso) are simply conveyors so that your middle can be felt in the hands. Pull with the middle (feel like there's a rope around your lower back that is pulling your hands). Pretend that your hands/arms are pushing and pulling through water, powered by the middle.

After a few days of occasional practice you'll feel pretty good about putting the middle in your hands and *keeping it there for every increment of movement* and you can begin moving the arms/hands in relation to the torso, but only a few extra inches..... still trying to feel the power of the middle is pushing and pulling for every inch in the movement. Over a period of time you can move the arms more and more naturally, but the critical thing is not the movement, it's how purely you keep your middle in your hands. Ultimately you'll train your body to automatically move the hands and arms with the power of the middle instead of the power of the shoulders, elbows, etc. But you can see that it's a matter of re-patterning how you power your moves (and this is just in one plane).... which is not something you can do in a few minutes, 3 evenings a week.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-21-2005, 11:22 AM
Oh, and pretty relaxed, too. Tension = letting the body's normal strength interfere with the re-patterning process... which is why using weights or tense speed is a no-no.

FWIW

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
07-22-2005, 01:04 AM
Just put it on video. :D

I was rather perplexed by all the jo-trick talk as to me it seemed not much of a big deal although I had never actually done it.

Well, I brought my camera and jo to work today and got two of the office lads to help out. Not only do I show the jo trick at work, but I also got one of the lads - with absolutely no experience - to do it well too.

I'll put the vid on my website in a couple of days but will only send the link to those who pm me specifically - downloading bandwith is a problem here. I figured it out by just thinking about it. If you watch carefully, you'll figure it out too.

Afterthought: Now - I'll have to train it some and then go around pretending to be a master.

Rupert Atkinson
07-22-2005, 08:51 PM
When I give you a link, right-clicking on the mouse and downloading seems to be the best way to view them. They work in Windows Media Player.

Mike Sigman
07-22-2005, 09:11 PM
When I give you a link, right-clicking on the mouse and downloading seems to be the best way to view them. They work in Windows Media Player.Hi Rupert:

Just to be fair and to cut to the chase, I think it's a cute idea, but having people lean into the jo holder, i.e., pretending to push ahead while obviously pushing to the left (I can't tell whether you mean this as a joke or not, so I'm pre-empting any shots at you) is not particularly hard to do nor is it particularly hard to spot. The pushes in the real jo trick are orthogonal to the jo. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
07-22-2005, 09:24 PM
That's is it. It is just a trick. But, I did not tell these people (can't really call them ukes as they don't do martial arts) what to do - they themselves were astounded. Basically, I conned them - but I can't con you :) It's a trick.

If you look at my vids, I instruct the ukes to walk straight forwards, not around the jo. In order to get them to go straight, I tell them to go towards the camera. In this way they try to cut through the circle and run right into my power. It is easy to go around the circle - but in Aikido logic that would be moving away from tori - not the desired effect for a pseudo attack. Also, I start with the jo at a slight angle away from the camera - not 90 degrees - maybe 70 or 80 or so. Anyway, it has a kind of kokyu nature to it and is not much different form an unbendable arm trick. At one point, (not on the video) one of the ukes pushed so hard that he bounced off to the side and had he been an Aikidoka, would have probably done a rolling breakfall a-la kokyu-nage projection.

Anyway, I have never seen Ueshiba do it - only a pic - so I only had my imagination to go on.

Mike Sigman
07-22-2005, 11:17 PM
Anyway, it has a kind of kokyu nature to it and is not much different form an unbendable arm trick. Oh, I agree you were using some kokyu power when they pushed *toward* you, but that's fairly easy to do (still... good for you). Now see if you can figure out how you ground a push that is *somewhat* orthogonal to a straight in push toward you. :) Ueshiba actually had some pretty good power, but when he showed that trick he tipped his hand about what he was doing and what he knew/trained. And incidentally, putting him back at let's say 55 years old and not having dive-bunny uke's, I suspect his power was a great as anyone's kokyu powers *in that direction* that I've ever seen (and I'd have to caveat that someone as powerful as he was with as short limbs as he had [it really affects the moment arm] would have an easier time of doing that trick than most people).

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
07-22-2005, 11:56 PM
Not sure what orthogonal means.

Anyway, the result is that these guys were pushing towards me, but the trick is that they did know know that. In fact, they were indeed pushing straight ahead but the nature of the circle meant much - certainly not all - of their force went into me. It still requires a lot of effort, as you can see. But if trained one would certainly get better at it. That was the first time I have ever done it and the ukes were not Aikidoka.

mikeym
07-23-2005, 01:55 AM
Orthogonal in this context means at a right angle.

- Mike

aikiSteve
07-23-2005, 02:50 AM
I don't know how the heck O'Sensei does this where he just stands fairly still and they push on the Jo. But I've seen Sensei Baker at Norfolk Virginia Aikikai doing a similar technique against 3 ukes. His explanation is that he pretends like the jo is twice as long and the pivot point is not at his hands, but at the end of the jo. By pivoting around that point everyone is on the same side of the jo as he is and he claims it's really easy.

Granted, don't get me wrong, it's not the same thing that O'Sensei is doing, but i think it's along the same line.

Steve

Mike Sigman
07-23-2005, 11:17 AM
Granted, don't get me wrong, it's not the same thing that O'Sensei is doing, but i think it's along the same line. Without seeing and feeling what your sensei was doing, I wouldn't hazard an opinion. However, part of the trick of "ki" is to get the body to coordinate unconsciously as a unit in some respect... and various people use various visualizations to get there. If you take my tiresomely repeated example of Tohei being pushed on the forearm, you want to accept the push in the back leg but you don't want to stiffen the shoulder, back, etc., because you want the mind to handle all of that part of muscle, etc., recruitment as it sees is best. However, there are ways to condition those areas that contribute to the "unconsciously assigned areas" and in the case of the jo trick the stresses are too much for someone who hasn't done some specialized conditioning. Because of that factor, I would *guess* that your sensei is not doing the same thing, but he may be doing some portion of it (I don't know, tho).

The mental idea of the pivot being out past the push makes the mind adjust the musculature in a certain way, so it's in line with a lot of visualizations (although the vague ones of "relax and it will happen" don't have as good a successs ratio as the more specific ones like your sensei uses or "water through a hose", and so on).

Hey.... how 'bout dat Cooper River Bridge?!

FWIW

Mike

aikiSteve
07-24-2005, 10:12 PM
hehe, i just moved from Charleston about 2 months ago. I haven't updated aikiweb yet. Boy the Cooper River Bridge is HUGE! My friend David and I used to drive over the old bridge twice a week to go practice with Alan Jackson and his crew. We watched them build the Cooper River bridge from the water up, twice a week for about a 1 year and a half. It was wild.

Now I'm in Norfolk, VA with Jim Baker. This "trick" he's doing is less of a mental trick and more simple mechanics of the human body. At least that's how he's described it in the past. All the normal Aikido 'tricks' are in play. Keep your hands in front of your center, moving from your hips, creating a spiral. It's probably just one of those things that just takes 30 years of practice to figure out and nothing you can say will make it go any quicker. Maybe after 60 years you can do it one handed, perpendicular, standing on your head. Hell if i know. I'll ask him to demonstrate it again tomorrow. Maybe take a couple pictures.

You could always come join us for a class and try it out yourself. :-)

Steve

Mike Sigman
07-24-2005, 10:57 PM
hehe, i just moved from Charleston about 2 months ago. I haven't updated aikiweb yet. Boy the Cooper River Bridge is HUGE! My friend David and I used to drive over the old bridge twice a week to go practice with Alan Jackson and his crew. We watched them build the Cooper River bridge from the water up, twice a week for about a 1 year and a half. It was wild. Heh. I cut my teeth on the old bridge, driving illegally at 15. We used to see how many cars we could pass. Now I'm in Norfolk, VA with Jim Baker. This "trick" he's doing is less of a mental trick and more simple mechanics of the human body. At least that's how he's described it in the past. All the normal Aikido 'tricks' are in play. Keep your hands in front of your center, moving from your hips, creating a spiral. It's probably just one of those things that just takes 30 years of practice to figure out and nothing you can say will make it go any quicker. Maybe after 60 years you can do it one handed, perpendicular, standing on your head. Hell if i know. I'll ask him to demonstrate it again tomorrow. Maybe take a couple pictures. Pshaw. I hope it's not something he's witholding from the class. Land Sakes! The thought of it! ;)

Regards,

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
07-27-2005, 08:06 PM
I have been having trouble with bandwidth etc. so Joep Schuurkes has kindly taken the trouble to upload my vids to his website - here they are:

http://users.telenet.be/j19sch/aikido.htm

dyffcult
07-29-2005, 12:15 AM
Mike –

Maybe not what you were looking for, but I will add my two cents. I don’t speak Japanese, don’t know what the words mean other than the general understanding of any Japanese martial arts student.

Kata dori kokyu ho. I never quite seemed to understand this technique. I could do it with power if I had weak ukemi, but against an uke who knew how to resist the technique, nothing. Never worked.

Then I had the luck to train with a partner so ridiculously high above me I refuse to explain. We did not speak the same language. He demonstrated how the technique was done. He taught me thus:

He shook himself slightly while breathing obviously out. He stepped in, inhaling, executed the technique, exhaling. No matter how strongly I resisted, he executed the technique...like butter.

I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Failure. He then put his index finger on my elbow and gently bent it. I threw him.

Strangely enough, what I took from that class was not the bent elbow, but the breath. The gentle power of his breath, controlled through every technique practiced that night.

I have since found that control of breath permeates every technique I execute. The more I focus on the breath of a technique of which I have some understanding, the easer it is to execute said technique, regardless of the resistance. Breath always helps me to overcome resistance. Or maybe I should say “blend”.....

Mike Sigman
07-29-2005, 08:29 AM
Kata dori kokyu ho. I never quite seemed to understand this technique. Maybe it's too early in the morning, Brenda, but my mind is just not picturing a technique or practice called kata dori kokyu ho (not that I ever did, IIRC). It's a same-side shoulder grab obviously, but I'm missing how it becomes a "kokyu ho" or what the purpose is. Could someone explain to me please? Strangely enough, what I took from that class was not the bent elbow, but the breath. The gentle power of his breath, controlled through every technique practiced that night.

I have since found that control of breath permeates every technique I execute. The more I focus on the breath of a technique of which I have some understanding, the easer it is to execute said technique, regardless of the resistance. Breath always helps me to overcome resistance. Or maybe I should say "blend"..... OK. So looking at your post I read to inhale on the entry and exhale on the technique, bend the elbow, focus on the breath, breath helps you blend. It's not very clear about the "how's" or "what's" though. Can you make a stab at telling us physically what you feel like you've discovered? :^)

Regards,

Mike

dyffcult
07-31-2005, 01:46 AM
Sorry Mike....

One should not post in the wee hours of the morning after one has had one (or four) too many beers (at least, when one is not an Aussie or a Kiwi <grins at all those down under>) ....especially when one is trying to remember something that happened over fifteen years ago and one has not practiced in the intervening years, thereby depriving one of one’s aikido terminology....

Sigh....I know better than this (that or the other)....

I meant “morote dori kokyu ho” ... Sorry Mike.

And what I meant to express was that it was not so much someone teaching me that bending my elbow would help my technique as the fact that watching his breath during that technique and then others taught me so much more....

Through each step of the technique and each technique thereafter, his breath was so obvious and so .... I was going to say controlled, but I think that conscious is a better word.

Through each portion of every technique that night, his breath was conscious. He knew when he was breathing in and when he was breathing out.....Rather than being a result of doing a technique over and over, he knew when to breathe in and consciously chose to do so. And when to breath out.. Or so it seemed to this then rank beginner.....

I am an Iwama style practioner and was then practicing in Iwama. How do I explain without offending???? What I saw and felt that night was not some strange otherness. I saw a man breathing in and out....consciously. And no matter how hard I resisted his technique, he breathed and then executed. Granted, he could have just executed, he was that strong, but he always breathed. And his breath was obvious to me.

I have always believed that his obvious breath was an attempt to teach me. He was sufficiently ranked that he could have executed technique without any obvious signs, but he elected to obviously breath on each technique that night. So I emulated him and breathed as he did on each technique.

That night I learned to breathe consciously with ever technique. I learned that there was power in breath properly applied.....I hope that makes sense.

With each and every technique, conscious breath improves execution. And properly applied breath increases the power of the technique....so I learned that night.

When I don’t think about breath, I can execute the technique if my uke is sufficiently below me. However, where an uke offers me good resistance, and I know the technique, but it doesn’t seem to be working, taking a moment to add a focus on the breath along with the technique always seems to prove successful.

I’m sorry Mike. But I just can’t explain it better than that..... Hope it helps.

Mark Uttech
07-31-2005, 07:20 AM
The baseball player who came to Aikido to improve his batting skills was named Sadaharu Oh. He became famous for hitting homeruns standing on one leg. He broke Babe Ruth's record and also
Hank Aaron's, and became the world's top hitter. He attributed his success to what he learned from Koichi Tohei.

Mike Sigman
07-31-2005, 09:50 AM
I am an Iwama style practioner and was then practicing in Iwama. How do I explain without offending???? What I saw and felt that night was not some strange otherness. I saw a man breathing in and out....consciously. And no matter how hard I resisted his technique, he breathed and then executed. Granted, he could have just executed, he was that strong, but he always breathed. And his breath was obvious to me. You don't have to worry about being offensive... you're just discussing a topic and feeling around how to say it. No biggy.

The inhale and exhale of air. I mentioned this once before in another post. Qigongs and Breathing exercises are more than just "breathing in and out", getting into a trance, etc. They're conditioning exercises and they're used to strengthen the body in a special way. Let me compare that special useage of the body with a muscle (although it's not a muscle we're talking about). The inhales stretches and pressurizes that "muscle", the exhale contracts and "tightens the weave" on that muscle. It's a big part of "ki". You adjust your entry and execution of technique with the correct useage of this "muscle". Someone who doesn't know about this thing will focus on the "Breathing" or the "Breath" and miss the fact that something else is going on (hey.. you can't see it, so...). It's where the idea of "breath power" comes from. And it's why "breath" can be a misleading translation of "kokyu".

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
07-31-2005, 11:48 AM
The baseball player who came to Aikido to improve his batting skills was named Sadaharu Oh. He became famous for hitting homeruns standing on one leg. He broke Babe Ruth's record and also
Hank Aaron's, and became the world's top hitter. He attributed his success to what he learned from Koichi Tohei. Which pretty much assures you that one of the training things Tohei had him do was to stand on one leg. It's a very good part of someone's training.

FWIW

Mike

Alfonso
08-01-2005, 08:05 PM
Is breath a necessary component of Kokyu ? Is conscious control of breath in timing benefitial / necessary?

For the purpose of this discusssion I'm assuming the definition of Kokyu is along the lines of an expression of relaxed "power", or "not major muscle group" power, not going into other aspects of Aikido.. or does Kokyu also encompass what happens at a distance. pre-contact (as in dueling with swords for example)? Or would that be a mix up of more than one concept, like "Aiki" and so on, which would be another interesting discussion to me.

To transmit to/from the ground I understand we're using our frame as a vehicle; are we using a "skin"-like part of our body as well?

as an aside Henry Kono sensei visited our dojo a few years back and I had to relearn how to take Ukemi in a way that I really became conscious of keeping my balance under my hips and driving "from center". An unintended consequence for me was that as uke I started break falling less and less; really a choice only now. This also improved my overall balance as Nage..

Kokyu requires balance no? Some people can be very balanced in some very strange positions .. reminds of me of Saotome sensei doing Kotegaeshi standing on one leg using the other leg as the application of technique..

sutemaker17
08-02-2005, 01:03 AM
Some people can be very balanced in some very strange positions .. reminds of me of Saotome sensei doing Kotegaeshi standing on one leg using the other leg as the application of technique..
Alfonso,
There is a difference between balance and posture. If you loose your balance and keep your posture you may still fall-just with posture. If you loose your posture you will still fall-just with gravity.
Just my thoughts
Jason

James Young
08-02-2005, 02:13 AM
Through each portion of every technique that night, his breath was conscious. He knew when he was breathing in and when he was breathing out.....Rather than being a result of doing a technique over and over, he knew when to breathe in and consciously chose to do so. And when to breath out.. Or so it seemed to this then rank beginner...

I think this is a good point Brenda about controlled breathing which we see more advanced people employ. That is, they'll consistently be trying to exhale when throwing, and then going a step further they'll be timing the throw to when the other person is trying to inhale. One of my former teachers talked about this concept a bit. If you can do this it definitely adds some power to many kokyu-nage techniques. I think this is also part of the power of kiai, i.e. to force one to exhale. Other people will even take this further and employ staggered breathing and such so that it is not easy for their opponenent to read and catch their rhythm. I think all of this breathing stuff can be valuable to work on as part of one's technique, but as Mike mentioned, it is only one portion of using kokyu power but I think certain breathing exercises definitely help to cultivate it.

James Young
08-02-2005, 02:24 AM
For the purpose of this discusssion I'm assuming the definition of Kokyu is along the lines of an expression of relaxed "power", or "not major muscle group" power, not going into other aspects of Aikido.. or does Kokyu also encompass what happens at a distance. pre-contact (as in dueling with swords for example)? Or would that be a mix up of more than one concept, like "Aiki" and so on, which would be another interesting discussion to me.

You may be right that it is outside this discussion's take on kokyu, but it is my opinion that kokyu applies to other martial arts where direct contact may not be involved as well. For instance how one swings a sword, i.e using just arm muscles vs using the whole body with kokyu power behind it. I'm not a kenjutsu expert or anything, but I've heard discussion of kokyu in circles of those who practice the sword arts (outside of the aikido context). But I think it can even apply to how one's footwork is established, i.e are you using your leg muscles and kicking off the ground to move fast or are you manipulating your center of gravity to move? Like I said it may be a misapplication of the term, but I've heard the kokyu used to describe such things.

rob_liberti
08-02-2005, 09:07 AM
There is a difference between balance and posture. If you loose your balance and keep your posture you may still fall-just with posture. If you loose your posture you will still fall-just with gravity.
They are related in a pertinent way. Excellent posture can be defined by holding yourself in the optimal way to not interfere with your reflexive movements. That reflexive movement is an integral component of balance. As a matter of fact, I would say that this is an approach (maybe not the only or optimal, etc. approach) to getting some conscious control over some body functions which would typically be considered involuntary.

Rob

Abasan
08-03-2005, 04:08 AM
About breathing,

I just remembered reading somewhere in an interview that Seagal sensei said he used to keep his single breath even doing multiple techniques on several ukes. The idea was that he did it fast enough and wanted fluidity.

I guess that is what I'm trying to get at. Mayhaps the technique required has to have such a fast response time to an quick attack that if we are to maintain that breath in-breath out timing, it would not be appropriate. I suppose it would be better served during training on a more step by step approach. If we did try to keep at it, I would suppose you would find yourself hyperventilate if the uke came fast enough at you.

My thoughts anyway.

Luuz Zwalve-van Minos
12-18-2005, 09:34 AM
For me, kokyu simply means: power for the body. Such as gas for the engine. So, the quality of this power (i.e. breath) is also very important for the purpose in what you want to do with it.

ikkitosennomusha
12-18-2005, 11:01 AM
As mentioned somewhere earlier, I have always took Kokyunage as to mean "Timing or a breath throw". I seriously think timing and our breathing are very much correlatted.

Usually of some attacks I breath in during the deflection and throw upon exhalation. Obviously this could be different in certain situations but this is an example. Now, during exhalation, I am also generating ki. The result is a powerful throw indeed.

So, kokyunage not only is timing as related to the phases of your technique but it is also a breath throw in relation to ki.

DH
12-18-2005, 10:40 PM
Timing has nothing to do with it, and the control of their postural integrity does not require specific breathing on your part either. Though there are things you can do in that regard that will enhance things .
The single most important thing in my opinion is that your body can connect with the ground and then with whatever you are connecting with in them..and with nothing stiffening or inhibiting the flow in between. Its like making a river or what we call "a current" in you-that gets transfered to them. It is hard to explain. Well it can be explained but you really have to feel it to learn it.
At a certain point you should be able to feel the stiffness in them and help them to make it go away. ;)
Anyway, timing is...well timing. Great stuff for fighting-but not required as a piece of the puzzle here.
The Seagal single breath through multiple movements for fluidity I discount as well. You should be able to breath naturally through movement and connection and then to breath ..well differently- by choice for certain things
cheers
Dan

Upyu
12-19-2005, 04:52 PM
Timing has nothing to do with it, and the control of their postural integrity does not require specific breathing on your part either. Though there are things you can do in that regard that will enhance things .
The single most important thing in my opinion is that your body can connect with the ground and then with whatever you are connecting with in them..and with nothing stiffening or inhibiting the flow in between. Its like making a river or what we call "a current" in you-that gets transfered to them. It is hard to explain. Well it can be explained but you really have to feel it to learn it.
At a certain point you should be able to feel the stiffness in them and help them to make it go away. ;)
Anyway, timing is...well timing. Great stuff for fighting-but not required as a piece of the puzzle here.
The Seagal single breath through multiple movements for fluidity I discount as well. You should be able to breath naturally through movement and connection and then to breath ..well differently- by choice for certain things
cheers
Dan

hear hear :D

guest89893
12-19-2005, 10:31 PM
Nicely written Dan.
FWIW I completely agree.
Gene

ikkitosennomusha
12-20-2005, 10:31 AM
I still stand behind my ealier post. As in bodybuilding or lifting weights, you brreathing must be controlled to generate the necessary power for the lift. The rule of thumb lets say for example on the bench press, you have a slow inhalation as you lower the weight down to your chest in a controlled movement. Next, you have a forceful exhalation as you blast the weight up and contract the muscle.

The same in aikido occurs. As I recieve nage, I am controlling my breathe, taking in oxygen, etc etc, and when I throw, I exhale to relase the air yielding a forceful throw that works in synergy with my hips/body movement.

I believe controlled breathing is very important. Breathing is also important in meditation and heavily related to aikido training as well. Just my opinion.

Adman
12-20-2005, 11:12 AM
I believe controlled breathing is very important. Breathing is also important in meditation and heavily related to aikido training as well. Just my opinion.
Yes. Breathing, and learning how to control it in what ever way your training dictates, is important. However IMHO, the power needed to execute an aikido technique shouldn't require anything other than a calm or natural breathing pattern. Like Dan said, no need to time the breath.

thanks,
Adam

ikkitosennomusha
12-20-2005, 01:06 PM
Yes. Breathing, and learning how to control it in what ever way your training dictates, is important. However IMHO, the power needed to execute an aikido technique shouldn't require anything other than a calm or natural breathing pattern. Like Dan said, no need to time the breath.

thanks,
Adam

Perhaps this is true as I do not disput the ability to do so. I only notice that in the moment when you are actually throwing nage, I tend to exhale. Do any of you do the same? Especially if you "kiai", this requires exhalation. I think one purpose of the kiai is to release the power steming from your diaphram. I could be wrong? However, I feel that if one were to inhale while throwing nage, it wold be unnatural. Anyone ever do a really heavy deadlift? Did you ihale or exhale? I think more power comes from exhaling. Am I wrong? I appreciate hearing everyone's perspective on this as it is an interesting read.

Misogi-no-Gyo
12-20-2005, 01:22 PM
The Seagal single breath through multiple movements for fluidity I discount as well. You should be able to breath naturally through movement and connection and then to breath ..well differently- by choice for certain things
cheers

Happy Holidays,

Dan, unless you learned the specifics of this from Seagal Sensei directly, I would venture to say that any understanding you might have acquired from outside sources is at best incomplete. Studying at his Dojo it took me quite a few years to understand the reasoning for the type of breathing he demonstrated.

A few caveats


I do not believe that Seagal Sensei's breathing method to which you may be referring has anything to do with Kokyu, Kokyu-Ryoku, or his Kokyu-Nage or other techniques on anything other than a purely practical level. No mysteries there...
this particular breathing method (along with several other physical-based approaches not related to the breath) develops effectiveness for one to be able to eliminate the breath (so to speak) from the technical equation.
More specifically - If I have only ten breaths before I am "out of breath" prolonging the time it takes to exhaust each breath is one of the desired results of this method. This method is directly opposed to connecting the breathing to the technique as a manner of increasing the power of the technique - something I believe you are in agreement with. I However disagree with this theory for reasons I have gone into before and probably will at some point again in the future.
One of the natural reactions of the body is to stop breathing when initially hit, shocked, scared ...etc. Therefore, training in this manner can afford one an effective means to manage one's own natural defense mechanisms.
I would not venture to guess Seagal Sensei's non-physical components, nor how or even if they correlate to breath. However, having the shallowest of understandings of any advanced Tantric or Buddhists (or Taoist, etc.) breathing methods, or even any pranayamic or mantra-based practices, but knowing that Seagal Sensei may, indeed, delve deep into one or more of those subject matters, I would be inclined to believe that he may currently be drawing parallels between things physical and non-physical through unification principles rooted in breathing.


My own personal view on the subject, having practiced the techniques of his old Aikido Tenshin Dojo is that the waza was not based on Kokyu at all. I won't state upon what I do believe they are based simply because I have no way of confirming my opinions at the moment. On a small scale, and people are certainly encouraged to provide opinions either for or against this view, is that breathing is related to movement in that when one breathes, one moves ever so slightly. However slightly it may be, it is detectable, for lack of a better way of stating it, both on a conscious and subconscious level.

You should be able to breath naturally through movement and connection and then to breath ..well differently- by choice for certain things
I did like and do agree with both of your points here. However, from what Matsuoka Sensei has been demonstrating of late, it has become blatantly obvious that what is natural is not necessarily what we do, or even intuitively understand at any level - even upon deep study and reflection. What has come up is that to do something naturally, one has to be very controlled. However the method of "control" used at each measurable increment of time and or distance is inversely proportional to our desire for success, completion or effectiveness of movement, ergo waza as the "natural" extension of all movement in any martial context.

May everyone find one moment of true peace sometime over the holiday season. Oh how rare and special it really is.



.

roosvelt
12-20-2005, 03:24 PM
My own personal view on the subject, having practiced the techniques of his old Aikido Tenshin Dojo is that the waza was not based on Kokyu at all. I won't state upon what I do believe they are based simply because I have no way of confirming my opinions at the moment.



If you don't want to share, why bother mentioning it?

I remember a few old posts from you with similar theme "i know this, but i won't tell you because ..."

No offence intended. Just having seen a few similar tone from you make me wonder why you bother posting at all.

eyrie
12-20-2005, 04:27 PM
Perhaps this is true as I do not disput the ability to do so. I only notice that in the moment when you are actually throwing nage, I tend to exhale. Do any of you do the same? Especially if you "kiai", this requires exhalation. I think one purpose of the kiai is to release the power steming from your diaphram. I could be wrong? However, I feel that if one were to inhale while throwing nage, it wold be unnatural. Anyone ever do a really heavy deadlift? Did you ihale or exhale? I think more power comes from exhaling. Am I wrong? I appreciate hearing everyone's perspective on this as it is an interesting read.

Well, lifting weights ain't quite the same as doing ai-ki-do.... ;)
As Dan and others have said, breathing has got very little to do with the power in kokyu nage. The power has more to do with using the ground and connecting in the way that Dan described.

Personally, I tend to hold my breath at the moment of kake as it allows me to "pressurize" the power more.

Mike Sigman
12-20-2005, 04:31 PM
Perhaps this is true as I do not dispute the ability to do so. I only notice that in the moment when you are actually throwing nage, I tend to exhale. Do any of you do the same? Especially if you "kiai", this requires exhalation. I think one purpose of the kiai is to release the power steming from your diaphram. I could be wrong? However, I feel that if one were to inhale while throwing nage, it wold be unnatural. Anyone ever do a really heavy deadlift? Did you ihale or exhale? I think more power comes from exhaling. Am I wrong? I appreciate hearing everyone's perspective on this as it is an interesting read. I agree with you for the most part, Brad. Even if you don't exhale while doing a throw, the "squeeze down" of properly executed musculature will do pretty much as it does in an exhale. However, there are a lot of people who throw or do things with local musculature, so an exhale may not be as important to them (particularly in Aikido where sometimes the "cooperative training" ensures that Uke will take the fall without a lot of exertion).

On the other hand, there is a certain power that is developed by breathing the air (which is what "Ki" really refers to) in certain ways. If you have built up this 'strength' through breathing, you don't necessarily have to use the training-process (the breathing) when you utilize it.

FWIW

Mike

ikkitosennomusha
12-20-2005, 05:11 PM
Thanks Mike and to all who add their insight. In the moment of truth, there is nothing quite like an explosive "Kiai". During this forceful exhalation, feel the energy flow through you. Do you get the same energy when holding the breath or breathing in? Just curious.

ps. There is no right or wrong from one individual to another as I believe what ever works for you, you should explore.

However, I can relate to most points here. When I was a beginer as I would like to think I am still, I hadd no concept of breathing. Now that I am aware, I try to pay attention to what my norm is while performing a technique. My observations are that when I am in a very light training mode, I breathe as usual and do not pay attention to it really. When I am exerting more power and training more forcefully, I notice when I kiai, I exhale and usually have more power in my technique.

If anyone knows the golden law on breathing while being nage, lets have some quotes so I can see if I need to be training differently?? :)

eyrie
12-20-2005, 05:19 PM
I think you missed Mike's point. When you can feel the energy flow, you can pretty much command it "at will". At the risk of sounding obtuse, it's like reading a book. Once you have gleaned the essence of the book, what need do you have of the book itself?

Misogi-no-Gyo
12-20-2005, 05:23 PM
If you don't want to share, why bother mentioning it?

I remember a few old posts from you with similar theme "i know this, but i won't tell you because ..."

No offense intended. Just having seen a few similar tone from you make me wonder why you bother posting at all.

This is the time of year where everyone gets a pass, so no offense taken... In any case, being a valid retort, since you ask why, I offer this reasoning for my actions:

As I was stating my own personal viewpoint versus encapsulation of material that was explained directly to me by my teacher for the sake of being able to pass it on to others, I did not find it important to state an opinion on something that I have yet to be able to confirm about which I may have some understanding. Seagal Sensei at that time did not teach in such a direct method. What he is doing now I truly could not say. I was not trying to hide anything, nor infer that I knew then or know now anything that anyone else who hasn't traveled a similar path wouldn't easily discover.

Of course, as you have mentioned, I have in the past mentioned things by way of inference. I have done so intentionally simply to encourage anyone interested to write me privately where many of these matters are more appropriately discussed. I am sure there are many here on Aikiweb that would hold up a hand to denote receiving vary candid replies to simple questions posed publicly or in private. This being true whether I knew them previously or not.

I often times reply to private messages at length on points that may seem like mere differences in semantics, but having once spent several hours debating how best to clarify a small aspect of the term "shugyo" for one of our dojo newsletter magazines only to have Seagal Sensei say that the determination that I made based upon the brief comment he made I could not have possibly come up with. So I would say that I do feel the cause is certainly worthy of the effort. I reserve the right to continue my practice of inference at any time, but I ask that if you see me do so, and if you feel inclined or obliged to call me on it that you do so privately, with questions about what it is that I had written so that I may answer you with all of the slatherings of a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Day dinner extravaganza...

So by way of return, Mr. Roosvelt, while I am curious to read Dan's reply because it was his comments to which I replied, did you have any comment what was in the post?


.

Misogi-no-Gyo
12-20-2005, 05:29 PM
I think you missed Mike's point. When you can feel the energy flow, you can pretty much command it "at will". At the risk of sounding obtuse, it's like reading a book. Once you have gleaned the essence of the book, what need do you have of the book itself?
Ah, perfect... the answer to your question is to discover that which you wholeheartedly believed you didn't miss. Of course, that realization always comes much, much later.



.

Mike Sigman
12-20-2005, 09:20 PM
This is the time of year where everyone gets a pass, so no offense taken... In any case, being a valid retort, since you ask why, I offer this reasoning for my actions: At this time of year, Shaun, I think everyone is grateful that you didn't come down too hard on poor ignorant Roosvelt. Merry Christmas and may the joys of the season be on you, too. These are not just hollow, pretentious words... I'm sincere about them. ;) Of course, as you have mentioned, I have in the past mentioned things by way of inference. I have done so intentionally simply to encourage anyone interested to write me privately where many of these matters are more appropriately discussed. I am sure there are many here on Aikiweb that would hold up a hand to denote receiving vary candid replies to simple questions posed publicly or in private. This being true whether I knew them previously or not.. Those lucky chaps who have been under the light of your benevolence!!! Just out of curiosity, why is it that you feel you can't state your views in the public forum, Shaun?

God bless you, lad. And I'm sincere about that.

Mike

roosvelt
12-20-2005, 11:03 PM
So by way of return, Mr. Roosvelt, while I am curious to read Dan's reply because it was his comments to which I replied, did you have any comment what was in the post?

.

No. I have no comments about Mr. Seagal's technique. It never occured to me to look up Mr. Seagal's technique as good/bad example.

What I'm interested in is your take on the title of this thread: kokyu. You sounded you had a different opinion.

Right now, Mike, Rob, Dan and others seem have an agreement about kokyu. I believe they're right. What if they're wrong? It may not matter to me at my current low level. But I'd like to hear different opinion, even the same opinion with different perspective.

DH
12-23-2005, 05:11 PM
Shaun
I read what you described- it just doesn't relate to what I understand to be a more proficient use of breath. The use of which is not major or out of balance to body work and mind work- it is just another piece and its not a single thing either-as in "I always breath like this."
FWIW, I don't see any of this as boooga-booga "cosmic stream" stuff. I think it is all natural-just not well known. For me breathing isn't just in- and-out nor that the diaphram "always" does this or that. There are ways to breath.
Sounds funny doesn't it. But so does moving while being still and being still while moving and "loading" myself by not doing anything. :D All of which are a staple to understand anything relating to center and connection.

Breathing out... and whether or not it is continous through a series of techniques in a single breath is rather meaningless to me. But I think I could show you different ways to breath out-and into, and/or though someone, around someone or down someone. Things which will be rather meaningless for a while.
The diaphram. Seems a shame to reduce breathing to a single organ. There are more subtle things to do with your "breath of life." more expansive, contracting, or compressing. But my argument for the "air" heads (sorry can't resist a good pun) is that it is only a piece of the puzzle and it won't cut it all by itself.
Maybe some will argue.... but I'll argue back.Otherwise all the belly-breathers would be some major martial people- which they are not.

I have always liked the depth, fluidity and expansiveness of transparent power-that feeling of just being "out there-in here" But I think the cart has to come before the horse. Motion in stillness and stillness in motion is a staple of some schools of Daito ryu. I suggest that bodywork training comes first then -a lot- of mental training. Otherwise all someone does -is- breathe. which is just more hot air and a waste of breath..gees I can't stop with the puns
Ok What I mean is there are ways to teach this stuff that can help someone be martial and solid throughout the process so that they are not lacking as they get in touch with how their body connects to the ground, to itself, then to others, then how to push out in a much broader sense.Pretty mundane language for some things that have taken me half a life to learn and I still am.
Again -none of this is booga booga star wars energy you reach out and grab as it flow through you. You practice very hard at it and fail and get better.
cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
12-24-2005, 10:36 AM
Otherwise all the belly-breathers would be some major martial people- which they are not. Hmmmmm. "Ki" is about breathing. Kokyu doesn't have to be about breathing, but you never develop much power in kokyu without the breath training. I don't know of any great Asian martial artists that were NOT breathers, Dan.Motion in stillness and stillness in motion is a staple of some schools of Daito ryu. Strange, it's a common thing in Chinese martial arts... the exact same thing. Yet you say DR is purely Japanese!!! ;)

Personally, I think you're misunderstanding what the breathing is about, Dan, but that's just my opinion.

Regards,

Mike

DH
12-24-2005, 03:06 PM
Dan Harden wrote:
Otherwise all the belly-breathers would be some major martial people- which they are not.

Hmmmmm. "Ki" is about breathing. Kokyu doesn't have to be about breathing, but you never develop much power in kokyu without the breath training. I don't know of any great Asian martial artists that were NOT breathers, Dan.


Never said they were the same. and you can call the methods and results whatever you wish. And if you are inferring all great asian martial artists are just belly or diaphram breathers...... you would be wrong. There is more to it than that. And since you know that it is true..... it leaves your statement to speak for itself. ;)

Quote:
Motion in stillness and stillness in motion is a staple of some schools of Daito ryu.

Strange, it's a common thing in Chinese martial arts... the exact same thing. Yet you say DR is purely Japanese!!!


Regards,

Mike


***********************************

Actually.and for about the fourth time I have told you (why aren't you hearing me?)
1. I was open to considering that it all came from China when we first talked on this topic
2. Then after reading more I said I now believe it did come frm China
3. Then we discussed its influence on Ueshiba-with me stating that much of what ueshiba was talking about was in fact in Daito ryu all along.
4.You just didn't know about it.

Case in point was the stick push and/or manipualtion work. Work which has a photographed, and documented hereitage through Takeda to Sagawa to Kodo and Ueshiba. Something which really isn't open for debate..Its simply there. Whether it was widely known or not really doesn't matter. and assuming he got "it" from purely chinese origins is erroneous. Stan addresses this well and dismissed the Chinese idea through his excellent research. Which should lead you back to considering DR as a source ... or maybe not.
How complete or encompassing the internal work of two schools of DR who have it as compared to Chinese stuff I don't know-but then again -neither do you.....yet Honest and earnest researchers will leave that door open for further exploration.


Personally, I think you're misunderstanding what the breathing is about, Dan, but that's just my opinion.

Well thats declarative. So I will give you another option
Maybe you are not fully understanding me. Maybe I have not been forth coming, but then neither are you. :rolleyes:
Tell me what you do that is the declarative "the breathing."

What I do with breathing has little to do with just using the typcial relaxation, abdominal breathing thing, although its a part and sometimes its opposite to what many would think to do voluntarily-though they do in fact do it at times. The belly-breathing limitations comment was obvious for most people reading. Other things are more like breathing with your whole body. I tried to explain this to you once with what I do with a massage technique and how we use it against punching and kicking. Something which at least one reader here knows I do from last year. And I won't go into any detail of what I call loading....

Merry Christmas and.good luck in your training.


Rob
I opened that file showing the squating exercise. You should know that there are core trainig exercises that echo these for deep squats
One of which and I am practically quoting....
is to keep the back line straight, the tail bone tucked in and your head up. Lift one leg and extend it in front of the other. balance on your foot and let the quads take the load as you squat. Sink to the floor till you think you will fall down and extend your arms out. let your arm extension make you balance so you don't fall. lift and settle while keepin the knee and shin as straight as possible

Oh..you have to do them on a stair or one of those step aerobic thingy's, otherwise your heel on the extended leg hits the floor
I can tell you that no one I know can do these with anything more than 10lb weights. They kill me!!
I don't think they have a clue as to what other benefits are derived from it. I was intrigued by something you said about tension which I will P.M. you on. I think it is related to what I call loading. I reffered to one of these earlier as a method I do as a "sneezing" example with stick.
Cheers
Dan

Upyu
12-25-2005, 02:37 PM
One of which and I am practically quoting....
is to keep the back line straight, the tail bone tucked in and your head up. Lift one leg and extend it in front of the other. balance on your foot and let the quads take the load as you squat. Sink to the floor till you think you will fall down and extend your arms out. let your arm extension make you balance so you don't fall. lift and settle while keepin the knee and shin as straight as possible

I don't think they have a clue as to what other benefits are derived from it. I was intrigued by something you said about tension which I will P.M. you on. I think it is related to what I call loading. I reffered to one of these earlier as a method I do as a "sneezing" example with stick.



Sounds like a screamer! :D I'll have to try it out. That description is probably one of the better ones I've heard (for being pulled out of an exercise manual or something)
Tho the side benefits are hard to realize unless you start understanding exactly which connections you're working, there's still much to be gained from doing that kind of exercise with the total intention of keeping the spine straight etc. :)
Btw, its funny you mentioned the dancer example awhile back(how you'd like to train one and turn him into the next Tito :-D ) since I was thinking the same thing for a while now.
PM me with your tanren methods? I definitely want to compare notes :)
Btw, the loading methedology you mention, rather than get into complex mechanical explanations now, it wouldn't have anything to do with "loading" the structure, (kind of like a bow), but when you release you still keep some of the "load" in the legs as you strike? (If that makes any sense).

Btw, I just picked up the latest issue of "Hiden" magazine over here in Japan. Pretty typical Aiki stuff of Okamoto Seigo caught on high speed camera, and having them reduce it to the typical vector/timing explanation <yawn>
What was more interesting was the article on Kyudo. They show this Kyudo dude's back when he's holding the bow taught and.....wooooooooow....
That "#$"# looks mad hardcore. I'll see if I can't get a pic of it.
Anyways looking from the front, his chest is completely relaxed,
but the back is drawn together (still soft) to the center, with elbows dropped etc. Personally I thought it was a rare look into what a person's body looks like when executing a certain tanren hou (body training method). Physiology of the guy also reminds me of the Kongourikisi (Buddha attendant Statue) I posted before, and that I saw in Nara.
Totally bujutsu teki na karada. You look at his face tho, and he looks like your typical oyaji. コワ! :crazy:

Oh yea, and for those that read Japanese, this month's issue on the Kyudo stuff would definitely be worth reading. Asides from the picture they do go into some depth about how the breath is used to "train" the body to get the skill needed to fire a bow. Basically additional ideas to play around with for those that already have their own tanren methods :)

oisin bourke
12-26-2005, 08:06 AM
"Btw, I just picked up the latest issue of "Hiden" magazine over here in Japan. Pretty typical Aiki stuff of Okamoto Seigo caught on high speed camera, and having them reduce it to the typical vector/timing explanation <yawn>"

Hi Robert,

As A DR practicioner, I'd be interested in your opinions on Okamoto Sensei's technique. What do you think about what he does?

I've read the latest "Hiden", and yeah, that Kyudo guy is scary! That photo of the arrow impaling the helmet!!!
(Brrr....)

"Oyaji-poi" desu ne?

Oisin Bourke

Upyu
12-26-2005, 03:44 PM
As A DR practicioner, I'd be interested in your opinions on Okamoto Sensei's technique. What do you think about what he does?

I've read the latest "Hiden", and yeah, that Kyudo guy is scary! That photo of the arrow impaling the helmet!!!
(Brrr....)

"Oyaji-poi" desu ne?


Actually I thought what they showed of Okamoto Seigo was pretty interesting since most of the stuff captured showed him being mostly in Shizentai. Of course I'd want to feel it for myself, preferbably in a format other than what was shown in the demo. :D

Btw that demo where they show'd him doing it where someone "suddenly" grabs him, I think there's much more to it than the stupid "timing"/"awaseru"/vector explanation that they gave in the magazine. It's also an extremely hard trick to do. The second someone slams down on your wrists (instead of simply gripping) your muscles tend to react and get in the way. If he does it that smoothly it implies that his body/musculature doesn't react to the oncoming force the way a normal person's would. Soutou tanren siterun janai? ;) Tanren no nakami ga siritai na, waza nannka doudemo iiyo :D

Not that you took it as such, but my comments about Okamoto Seigo were directed more towards the explanations they gave in the magazine (which I think were crap) and don't really serve to bring anything in the light.

Hellz yeah that Kyudo guy's back is scary. Kao ga kanari oyajikusai kedo, kyudo sika yattenai toha ie, zettee aitenisitaku neee www :crazy: Butsubusaresou :)

DH
12-26-2005, 05:08 PM
Hi Rob

The "instant on" from a wrist grab has more to do with breath >and< a connection from your center to your hands than it does with any timing. Its very "ghosty" in feel. We do it with shoves, gi grabs, and tackles as well. In fact IMHO the body work is far easier than hand grabs. most guys tend to muscle up the closer their hands are to their wastes. I know I know sounds wierd. Ya'd think it was easier closer to the waste but from my experience...wham...muscle. Usually shoulder and bicep or shoulder and tricep, depending on whether your pullling or pushing. If they're pushing on your hands...kind of like slamming down to grab. You can use your pelvis and hip/ back to draw down, and then go over the top with your breath (remember that loading?). Its funny as they don't know why they are slamming into the ground. I think we do something similar to the CMA with the breath to "fill the hand" as well. That dynamic is very different from what I described above.
For demos I have a fun experiment were I let guys pound the shit out of my stomach then I "touch" them on the head and they slam into the mat. The more they lean in and really pound -the easier it is to connect and take them. Its just the same principles applied differently, sometimes with an added weight transfer to the front leg. The demo is actually two very different things going on. One out the other in, one out the other down.
Training freestyle with turning and single/double leg diving and shoving and then the old rote gi grab stuff really helps stay super relaxed and flowing. There is an instant feedback if anything is "stuck" and in the way. I think its fun, mentally relaxing and a good work out for the guys doing the shoving. which we trade off on.
The punching /kicking throwing isn't so much fun...for them. I love it as it is my lab.

Cheers
Dan

Upyu
12-26-2005, 06:39 PM
Hi Rob

In fact IMHO the body work is far easier than hand grabs. most guys tend to muscle up the closer their hands are to their wastes. I know I know sounds wierd. Ya'd think it was easier closer to the waste but from my experience...wham...muscle. Usually shoulder and bicep or shoulder and tricep, depending on whether your pullling or pushing.

Think we're on the same page. It actually does make sense. The hand is the furthest point from the body, so there's more stuff to "get in the way" along the path. And like you said, the shoulder/bicep/tricep area is prone to "react", which blocks power from being sent. If you do body work, the areas most prone to being reactive "the shoulder/arm area" are eliminated.
But because its the hardest venue to do the trick that it becomes tanren :)

eyrie
12-26-2005, 07:22 PM
Heh heh, makes you wonder why so many of the basics are from wrist grabs huh?

oisin bourke
12-26-2005, 09:32 PM
Actually I thought what they showed of Okamoto Seigo was pretty interesting since most of the stuff captured showed him being mostly in Shizentai. Of course I'd want to feel it for myself, preferbably in a format other than what was shown in the demo. :D

Btw that demo where they show'd him doing it where someone "suddenly" grabs him, I think there's much more to it than the stupid "timing"/"awaseru"/vector explanation that they gave in the magazine. It's also an extremely hard trick to do. The second someone slams down on your wrists (instead of simply gripping) your muscles tend to react and get in the way. If he does it that smoothly it implies that his body/musculature doesn't react to the oncoming force the way a normal person's would. Soutou tanren siterun janai? ;) Tanren no nakami ga siritai na, waza nannka doudemo iiyo :D

Not that you took it as such, but my comments about Okamoto Seigo were directed more towards the explanations they gave in the magazine (which I think were crap) and don't really serve to bring anything in the light.

Hellz yeah that Kyudo guy's back is scary. Kao ga kanari oyajikusai kedo, kyudo sika yattenai toha ie, zettee aitenisitaku neee www :crazy: Butsubusaresou :)

Hi Rob,

Thanx for the comments.

Short comments on the web are obviously open to interpetation, but I didn't mean to come across as affroted by your comments. I've never even practiced with Okakmoto Sensei! I certainly would be stupid to feel affronted on behalf of someone I don't even know!
(Though he is on my list of "people I'd like to grab")

I actually understood that your comments were geared towards the magazine, but I was, and still am very interested in your comments about Okamoto's technique, as a DR practicioner. mainly becuase his waza is widely available for examination.

So, I guess this being a Kokyu thread, it might be fun to discuss his waza from that perspective.

"Soutou tanren siterun janai? ;)
Tanren no nakami ga siritai na, waza nannka doudemo iiyo "

Sore ja... What do you think of Okakmoto's "core" (Is that a good translation?)

Happy new year

Oisin Bourke

Upyu
12-26-2005, 10:17 PM
Short comments on the web are obviously open to interpetation

I actually understood that your comments were geared towards the magazine, but I was, and still am very interested in your comments about Okamoto's technique, as a DR practicioner. mainly becuase his waza is widely available for examination.

"Soutou tanren siterun janai? ;)
Tanren no nakami ga siritai na, waza nannka doudemo iiyo "

Sore ja... What do you think of Okakmoto's "core" (Is that a good translation?)

Hehe, like you said it's open to interpretation so it was just a harmless pre-empt. I wasn't sure if you'd studied with Okamoto before or not ^^;

Hard to tell what Okamoto's "core" is like unless I were to actually feel him. But from the stuff he shows, or at least the manner in which he demo's stuff suggests that the components are all there. Most of his stuff is done from a simple standing position sans stance, which implies he's focused on doing it almost soley using the Kokyu paths.(i think)

Btw, the picture in Hiden showing him having his students lift him up, and then flooring his students from an elevated prone position was one of the demos that Mike mentioned a while back.
Its interesting to watch it in a frame by frame manner.

Upyu
12-26-2005, 10:24 PM
>and< a connection from your center to your hands than it does with any timing. Its very "ghosty" in feel. We do it with shoves, gi

I feel you on the "ghosty" feel :-D
The second you actually try and put "power" into it, it rebounds into you and causes your muscles to seize up (at least in what I've been doing so far)

Quick question for you Dan,
you done a lot of experimentation with pushups? Most of the tanren, body work has to do with training the lower body. But I've been experimenting with training the upper body in a similar manner as well. I can do one set of about 15 pushups using maximum intention (especially around the back of the knees/spine/upper and lower center area) that will totally tax me out (I can push out about 60-70 meaningless ones btw, just as a yardstick). Breath work is also involved of course, but I've still got a nagging concern that pushing against the ground will feed some "habit" into the muscles and make it more prone to that "rebound" effect.
Of course I try not "pushing" the ground when I do the pushup, but still... ^^;

Any comments, or exercises? (Not relegated to pushups necessarily)

DH
12-27-2005, 07:14 AM
Hi Rob

I sent you a long reply with some examples of what I use for paired work and my views on the push ups as well as Okomoto's work and Shioda. The deconstructing work in the lift that Okomoto does you already now how to do!! You just never did it that way is all. I put some hints in the reply. Just think of the connection points- not the whole picture. Ask Ark I am sure he can pull it off.
It's what I meant when we yaked months ago when I wrote you can manipulate without the ground...in you. Connection is many things
No sense clogging the thread with this stuff.

cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
12-27-2005, 09:36 AM
you done a lot of experimentation with pushups? Most of the tanren, body work has to do with training the lower body. But I've been experimenting with training the upper body in a similar manner as well. I can do one set of about 15 pushups using maximum intention (especially around the back of the knees/spine/upper and lower center area) that will totally tax me out (I can push out about 60-70 meaningless ones btw, just as a yardstick). Breath work is also involved of course, but I've still got a nagging concern that pushing against the ground will feed some "habit" into the muscles and make it more prone to that "rebound" effect.
Of course I try not "pushing" the ground when I do the pushup, but still... ^^;Hi Rob:

Pushups using the paths are fairly common, but also there was a lot of stuff done with the feet propped up on say the third step of a staircase and the hands down on the floor. Same idea ... running a path from the ground to your center (not to your shoulders). Anytime you move, whether with the hands or the legs, there is a path from ground to center.

Dan and you both seem to use one of the old Shaolin bases for training, which probably points to something in DR. This goes back to the discussion of what Ueshiba used. What I'm beginning to suspect is that there is still more support for the idea that Ueshiba knew *something* of the Shaolin methods of training nei-jing, but he may have picked up a new way to do it via a connection in Omoto-Kyo. It would explain a lot of things, if it's true. Functionally, comparing a purported "harder" style of training (like I'm suggesting in DR) and a "softer" style of training (in the proposed scenario with Ueshiba), it could still be argued which way is the best. I.e., if you manipulate paths and you surround it with 'hard' training and if you manipulate paths surrounded by 'soft' training, which way is best? As you see, it can become moot. ;)

FWIW

Mike

DH
12-28-2005, 08:07 AM
Rob,
I have read enough lately to understand what Mike refers to as the "southern styles" are are the lesser of the styles and are generally considered to be more "hard" style and not soft.....hence less internal.. Personally, I find comments for the body work I have been doing for years as "hard style" hilarious.

Did you get the P.M.?

Mike Sigman
12-28-2005, 09:08 AM
Rob,
I have read enough lately to understand what Mike refers to as the "southern styles" are are the lesser of the styles and are generally considered to be more "hard" style and not soft.....hence less internal.. Personally, I find comments for the body work I have been doing for years as "hard style" hilarious. I'm not sure what you "understand", Dan, but the predominant spread of Chinese martial arts has always been from the southern Shaolin roots. Look at the trade and shipping routes and you'll understand why (maybe). In fact, the predominant martial arts practiced in the current Chinese army have strong southern Shaolin roots.

Instead of just saying how "hilarious" you find a comment relating to what "internal", etc., means, why don't you see if you can argue the point with some facts. I'll bet you can't even define what "internal" means, just to throw a conversation starter out there. Nothing personal... but there's your challenge to see if you can deal with facts and not personalities.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
12-28-2005, 04:46 PM
Mike
This is where I say I won’t.
Then you say I can’t
And you yourself…………….never do.
You offer nothing here or elsewhere beyond the same generalities some of us offer. At least Rob and I talk about some exercise and certain things we do…something…anything.....beyond telling everyone else they can’t understand internal skills. Makes me wonder why you’re fishing so hard.

As for the “personalities” comment in your reply.
Seems whenever and wherever people disagree with you they are often accused of attacking “you.”

Oh…….almost forgot…..this is where you write…
“See like I guessed, you can’t describe internal skills.”
And this is where you do_______________________________________________not either.

Pleasant but transparent game.
Dan

Mike Sigman
12-28-2005, 05:10 PM
Mike
This is where I say I won't.
Then you say I can't
And you yourself…………….never do.
You offer nothing here or elsewhere beyond the same generalities some of us offer. At least Rob and I talk about some exercise and certain things we do…something…anything.....beyond telling everyone else they can't understand internal skills. Makes me wonder why you're fishing so hard. As someone once commented to me offline, Dan, you apparently have never read many of my posts. I explained many of these things *exactly*. I'm not sure why you keep insisting that I "never do" when the archives show that you're completely wrong. Oh…….almost forgot…..this is where you write…
"See like I guessed, you can't describe internal skills."
And this is where you do_______________________________________________not either.

Pleasant but transparent game.
DanOddly enough, I've described before exactly what "internal" means, Dan... either on AikiWeb or the Aikido Journal forum. So.... I already have. You can't, it seems obvious, since you've dodged direct questions so many times. Let me suggest again, though, before this gets too far off base, that there is nothing really new in the recent martial arts, whether it's Daito Ryu, Aikido, Taiji, Hun Gar, Wing Chun, Six-Harmonies Mantis, or whatever. In other words, this style-fixation you have about Daito Ryu is somewhat beside the larger point. The larger point, in regard to your "internal" and "external" paradigms (you really should dig into this one, Dan, since it's important to where you're trying to come from) is that the principles are the same, despite the variations in approach and development. Again, the real question is whether Ueshiba got access to one of the differing approaches. Based on what Rob indicates about Akuzawa and based on what details you've mentioned, it appears that Ueshiba *did* do something different from the Daito Ryu approach (caveat: I don't have any input from truly knowledgeable DR people, so I'm suggesting probabilities).

Regards,

Mike

GeneC
11-30-2008, 08:18 PM
There is on other perspective. The producers of Keijutsukai Aikido says that the Kanji symbols for Kokyu can also mean (which they accept) to be in harmony (meaning tapped into) the powers of the Universe.

Chris Li
11-30-2008, 09:37 PM
There is on other perspective. The producers of Keijutsukai Aikido says that the Kanji symbols for Kokyu can also mean (which they accept) to be in harmony (meaning tapped into) the powers of the Universe.

Sort of - "kokyu" means "breathing" (as in "respiration"), and saying that people's "breathing" "matches" is another way of saying that they get along well together (ie, they are "in harmony"). I wouldn't read too much into it, anymore than I would to the phrase "get along like a house on fire" :).

Best,

Chris

GeneC
11-30-2008, 11:24 PM
I don't know, but Mr. Makiyama, a Japanese person ,who developed Keijutsukai Aikido, who's been teaching it to the Japanese Police for the last 30 yrs says the Kanji characters have another meaning.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=73

Chris Li
12-01-2008, 12:13 AM
I don't know, but Mr. Makiyama, a Japanese person ,who developed Keijutsukai Aikido, who's been teaching it to the Japanese Police for the last 30 yrs says the Kanji characters have another meaning.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=73

Yes, I know who he is - I posted his obituary here in Hawaii when he passed away a few years ago.

In any case, the "other meaning" is as I described it previously, an idiom - the kanji themselves still mean "breathing".

I'm not necessarily saying that the usage is irrelevant, but there is a big difference between an idiomatic usage and a separate meaning for the characters themselves.

Best,

Chris

Mike Sigman
12-01-2008, 09:22 AM
Has anyone asked Kenji Ushiro what his definition of "kokyu" is? He obviously means it as some kind of power/strength in relation to karate and Aikido. Obviously Hiroshi Ikeda agrees with him, etc. Maybe someone should try to pin down the meaning (it's obviously idiomatic) through them, in order to get a better feel?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

GeneC
12-01-2008, 10:13 AM
Ko has 10 different meanings, ki has 5. Most words in this language and most other languages (including English) have words that mean different things, so then it becomes the burden to extrapolate the context from surrounding words and the general tone of the conversation. This is why I find it interesting for someone to adhere to a single meaning of a foreign word. Luckily, in English, we have words to express exactly what we mean.

Chris Li
12-01-2008, 11:53 AM
Ko has 10 different meanings, ki has 5. Most words in this language and most other languages (including English) have words that mean different things, so then it becomes the burden to extrapolate the context from surrounding words and the general tone of the conversation. This is why I find it interesting for someone to adhere to a single meaning of a foreign word. Luckily, in English, we have words to express exactly what we mean.

The Kojien, which is pretty much the standard for Japanese dictionaries, lists 4 meanings for "kokyu". None of which are "tapped into the powers of the universe".

Now, it's common in Japanese to make points through diagnosis of individual kanji or through idiomatic usage, the problems start occurring when people think that kind of word play constitutes an actual definition. Otherwise I'm going to argue that "martial" artists actually worship an ancient Roman diety :).

Best,

Chris