Thread: Defining Kokyu
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Old 07-18-2005, 09:15 AM   #70
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Drew Scott wrote:
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.


David M. Valadez
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