Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
[snipsky] The section heading in question (on p.129 of the Japanese text), reads "Ki to wa baransu no kesshuu". (Ki is the concentration/marshalling together of [the elements of] balance]). "Baransu" is written in katakana and is the Japanese version of "balance". Notice that there is no talk of kuzushi.
A little further on, on p.130, we have: "watashi wa, ki to wa baransu no kesshuu" da to kangaete imasu." (My thinking is that ki is the concentration/marshalling together of [the elements of] balance).
"Tadashii shinsei to kokyuu, sore ni shuuchuuryoku kara umareta bakuhatsu ryoku." (The explosive power which is created from the concentrated power of correct posture and breathing. Literally: Correct posture and breath: added to this the explosive force of the concentrated power [of these]).
"Chuushinsen no chikara mo sou dashi, taimingu mo ki no naka ni irete ii to omoimasu." (The strength of the centre line is also produced in this way. I think it good to include also timing within ki). [snip again]
Thanks for the quotes from the original text, Peter. The point is pretty clear that "balance" is being idiomatically used to indicate a balance or admixture of factors, not equilibrium or stability. As is usual, the description may be accurate, but the actual "how" is not very clear.
Shioda is using "ki" in a very narrow sense of power/force, in this particular description and "breathing" can actually mean several things, as he uses it. It's a puzzle what he's saying precisely, but the general drift isn't that hard to grasp.
There are things he obviously doesn't say in his descriptions. Watching his use of downward kokyu on DVD, it's obvious that he doesn't tell all the ways that he trains, but it's clear that he's spent a fair amount of time doing standing postures and practicing some of the things he personally uses. Probably he shared most of these things with his senior students. I'd be interested to see if Shioda ever talks more about breathing or kamae in other sources. Does anyone have any more good sources?
Ron, I can't comment on the levels of power Shioda generated, based on an account from a student. As I've mentioned before, I was a little frustrated that Shioda's students were a little dramatic in their reactions to his techniques... something that always obscures exactly what's happening, but you have to live with the dramatics whenever you're involved with Asian martial arts and demonstrations, so I'm sort of neutral about it.
In terms of striking with the back, it's not very hard to do in comparison with striking with the chest or some other areas. The question is what kind of additive factors you add to your chain of power in the strike. The back offers its own additive factor that other body areas don't have and it can be fairly powerful even if you don't have any ki or if you don't have the skills to slip in some of the power boosters. If someone is interested in how to start training (without the ki and boosters), I'll try to describe it.
What's interesting is that we're looking at power generation techniques in Aikido... a surprise. A second interesting point is to read some of Shioda's descriptions of what O-Sensei could do with his ki abilities. I had underestimated (based on the information available to me) the amount of ki things in Aikido, previously. However, if I underestimated the amount of ki things used by O-Sensei et al, that only reinforces the point that most people doing Aikido are missing out on the contribution of ki-training to Aikido.