Drew Scott wrote:
This makes a lot of sense to me and seems to fit in line with what I described earlier. You are realigning your body so as to maximize the efficiency of your musculature, skeletal structure, etc. If I'm understanding the example correctly, it seems to me to be a physical phenomenon based in understanding your body and the forces being exerted on it and then applying your increased understanding and improved mind-body connection to make it possible.
True. Let me shift to the oft-seen picture of Tohei standing on one leg while a cooperative partner pushes against his forearm. That demonstration is really just a variation of the example I just gave with the weight held in front of the chest. True the force is horizontal against Tohei, rather than vertical, but the idea of shifting the load-bearing responsibility to the foot/leg is exactly the same. A beginner can be shown how to do these things in fairly short order, but one of the factors affecting a beginner's performance is the stress on the shoulder joint. He will tense his shoulder joint pretty quickly, thereby diluting the demonstration and also adversely affecting his training. So it is important that a beginner not have much force put on him while he is training to do these kokyu movements, etc. Secondly, it has to be recognized that conditioning the connection from one's center to the force is an important criterion. As relaxed as Tohei is in the demo I'm talking about, his shoulder and back are conditioned by training in order to allow him to transmit the direction of that force vector from his forearm directly toward his middle.
O-Sensei's jo-trick is simply another example of the same idea, but it involves the stresses coming in a different angles in relation to the body and with a little thought you can realize that the important aspect of the jo-trick is that somehow O-Sensei's connection to his center (and thence to the ground) is unusually strong... so strong that he can appear to be somewhat relaxed when he does it. That's the part of the magic trick people should be thinking about. How did he train that sort of connection?
**First let me dispose of the idea of Tohei leaning into the push... that's not the idea; if the pushing partner suddenly releases from his push, Tohei should not fall forward.