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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,681,171


In General Good teachers. Great teachers. Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #22 New 10-01-2010 10:45 AM
Good teachers. Great teachers. My first teacher Kinjo Asoh Sensei (7 dan) was maybe a little unusual when he started aikido in the 1950s. He was 53 years old. The younger students were in awe of this older guy who trained even harder than they did (I know because some of them told me). They called it eight days a week then. Every day once plus one extra training.

There are celebrations next year for the fiftieth anniversary of O Sensei's trip to Hawaii. So he went in 1961. Asoh Sensei went to see him off. O Sensei called him aside and told him he had to do everything he could to catch kokyu ryoku. "Kokyu ryoku is everything," he told him.

O Sensei told him that several times over the years but Asoh Sensei remembered that time especially. He told me the same thing. I have to get kokyu ryoku. Kokyu ryoku is everything and without it aikido is nothing. My second teacher Sadateru Arikawa Sensei (9 dan) told me almost the exact same thing.

So what is it? Kokyu ryoku. Breath power. O Sensei said it was everything. If you can catch it aikido becomes so easy and so simple.

To get it you have to lose power. All power. If you try to do a technique with even a little power still remaining you will block yourself and block your own progress.

A jujutsu/judo teacher showed me a technique from a kata recently. The technique was completely effective. There was no weak point (suki) anywhere. But it hurt. I have noticed this before with senior koryu people. You can't reverse the technique. Everything is accurate. But taking the ukemi hurts. It's not their fault. If that's all they've ever seen or ever felt that's the way they are going to do the technique.

But one day you will feel real aikido. Real breath power. It won't hurt. Anywhere. You don't know what's happening. You follow the technique because you don't have any choice. Not because someone is making you do something but because that's what you want to do. The technique feels good. Wonderful even. The difference between uke and tori becomes blurred. You're the uke but you're part of the technique. You're doing the technique together. Time stops. It's a kind of magic.

So that's how you can tell the difference between a good teacher and a great one.

And how to lose power? Well that's your problem.

Very, very cool ink work: 'Irimi, the union' used by kind permission of BudoK chan 0_o.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/mononokenjoy/4718719681/, photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/mononokenjoy/. Thanks!

© niall matthews 2010
Views: 8005 | Comments: 23

RSS Feed 23 Responses to "Good teachers. Great teachers."
#23 08-14-2011 10:30 AM
niall Says:
I don't think hours are important - just keep training. Kokyu ryoku is the real power and essence of aikido. O Sensei told my teacher Asoh sensei he had to get it by all means.
#22 08-14-2011 05:24 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Thank you Niall, I hope so, but I never will reach the training hours you have, it would be very nice and kind of you if one day you could write a post or column about kokyu ryoku, I understand that it must be very difficult to describe, ok meanwhile I just can imagine how it would be.
#21 08-13-2011 11:08 AM
niall Says:
(cont) Then kokyu ryoku is another level completely. It will take many many years of training. But then when you get it everything becomes so easy. It doesn't feel real but the uke is already thrown away. So keep training sincerely. I'm sure one day you will get it.
#20 08-13-2011 11:07 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Carina. That article is interesting but a little superficial and not much use for practical breathing. But you can learn breathing. It's a technical skill. For example if you do a long karate kata using aikido-style breathing you will probably run out of breath.
#19 08-05-2011 12:51 PM
guest1234567 Says:
You had the best teachers of the world and my colleagues who are training with mine since 10 years and more and for me too our teacher is the best, he told us to breathe out by falling and always to think about that, to breathe in is natural, we do it instinctively and here a nice article about Breathing Mechanisms in Aikido
#18 01-04-2011 08:00 AM
niall Says:
Arikawa Sensei was a very kind person. But he didn't throw soft very often!. Yes, that kokyu ryoku sure is powerful...
#17 01-04-2011 07:15 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Arikawa Sensei could throw hard or soft, depending on the uke, but still we felt the power, even in 3 o clock class which I think must have been easier than the evening classes. One of the other young women tried to describe one of the kokyu/irimi nages and ended by saying boom! rather softly and shyly but she meant that kokyu ryoku sure is powerful. She got the point across even though I don't know much Japanese.
#16 01-04-2011 06:49 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Ohayo gozaimasu again, Niall. I've been looking around in your blog. So Asoh Sensei was already in his seventies when I visited Hombu. He was taller than most, which was easier for someone who was tall to practice with, and so kind and elegant. White hair, but powerful, so that's kokyu ryoku.
#15 11-12-2010 09:40 AM
niall Says:
You may be right...
#14 11-12-2010 07:15 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Yes it is, although you better don't say so in the forum
#13 11-12-2010 02:56 AM
niall Says:
Thanks, Carina. That's a thoughtful article. Nice coincidence - he talks about the silences in music and I also did in the MAD music/aikido/dance post. Most people forget about them. Kokyu ryoku is more than your own power, I think. It's catching some greater power.
#12 11-12-2010 02:10 AM
guest1234567 Says:
Yesterday I discovered the translation in spanish of a reflection of Frank Noel sensei, Cesar's teacher, I like to share it with you in french Arrêter de souffler , I did not find it in english http://aikido.noel.pagesperso-orange.fr/Souffler.html
#11 11-12-2010 02:10 AM
guest1234567 Says:
In my first course with the teacher of mine, César he told me to breath during the aikido technique, it was the first time.. I think Kokyu Ryoku is also release of the own power and sincerely trust oneself in the point of contact with your partner, then both are unified and the technique will be perfect.
#10 10-05-2010 08:52 AM
niall Says:
Thanks for telling that story, Billy. All the best, Niall
#9 10-05-2010 07:40 AM
Makochan Says:
I love this blog! One Sunday training with Niall in Tokyo, I felt this. I asked Asoh Sensei a question (Niall's idea I think). Sensei said let's try. I attacked katatedori, I landed where Sensei was standing, he looked down and smiled, "are you OK"?, I replied, gasping for air, "I will be in a minute or two". I felt nothing until I arrived on the mat. It was truly wonderful, such power, where did it come from. No other Aikido teacher has ever done that to me!! Thank you Niall. Billy

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