Ellis Amdur wrote:
Going back to one of Mike's previous posts, it is unlikely that Shioda developed his kokyu/ki through sword practice/suburi. Pre WWII uchi-deshi did little sword training. In the mid-thirties, a lot of what they did was kendo (which would not develop "sinking.") Shioda was not known as having skill with a sword. One of his exact contemporaries, Shirata Rinjiro spresented some sword exercises that he developed (quite interesting in their own right) and I heard him say in a class, "These probably look different to you from what you've seen from people like Saito sensei. Back when I studied, Osensei hadn't really developed much training with a sword." So however Shioda accomplished it, it wasn't likely through suburi or other weapons training.
Thanks for the info and thoughts. Just to be clear, I was mainly talking about Shioda's sudden-down ability, which he appears to have developed pretty well (again, I'm somewhat stymied in judging his actual power by his tolerance for over-dramatic uke's).
Since all ki and hence kokyu can be viewed (in the ki paradigm) as coming from the hara, downward kokyu is technically not viewed as separate from kokyu that goes vertically up or away from the body or toward the body. In the real world, though, you have to train it somewhat differently. You can develop pretty good kokyu and ki skills in all non-downward directions using standing, hitting/pulsing practice, Aiki Taiso, etc., but downward takes something else, some other training method. There's a natural progression of going from large movements to small movements to "stillness" (unseeable movements) and Shioda's skills indicates he was fairly well along in his practice, whatever it was, with the caveat being again that the overly cooperative students obscure exactly what he could do.
Since I saw so little sophisticated ki and kokyu skills among western (and a lot of Japanese) practitioners and since I had only limited information about the early Aikido days, my perspective of Japanese knowledge of ki and kokyu things was skewed. I still haven't seen anything of really sophisticated jin and qi skills, but in comparison with the normal skills you see good Chinese martial arts, Shioda and Tohei (and by inference, some others) aren't too shabby, either. The bad side of this observation is that a lot of dedicated students have probably unknowingly been somewhat short-changed by the typical Asian reticence to completely disclose how these skills are done..... worse yet, so many people seem to be totally unaware that they're missing anything. Even worse than that, they defensively deny that they could be missing anything.
Reading some of the side anecdotes in "Aikido Shogyu" about what O-Sensei and what Shioda Kancho could do would be enlightening to the true seekers, IMO.