Re: Defining Kokyu
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.