Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Defining Kokyu
In my opinion, a weight lifter lifting weights and airplanes flying are both things of the natural world. The jo trick is more akin to holding that the Earth is flat when it is not: It is based in the natural world but it is so unfounded that it proves to be false. In lifting weights, the force of gravity is overcome when the engine being used can generate more energy than the weight involved. An over-exaggeration of this principle, and something very akin to the jo trick, would be to suggest that a two year old could lift a car. Such a position violates the known ratios concerning mass and energy. In that, such a position violates nature and proves to be false.
It is true that at some level Osensei is attempting to demonstrate his capacity to generate remarkable levels of mechanical advantage. In doing so, as you say Mike, he is attempting to use the same principles relevant to all mechanical advantages. However, he is also going beyond that (i.e. over-exaggerating -- now entering falsehood). He is not just saying that with kokyu-ryoku one can offer more resistance to horizontal energy than without kokyu-ryoku (which would be true). He is saying that with "kokyu-ryoku" one can overcome the horizontal energy put out by three extremely fit and strong young men. In saying this, he is also saying that not only can he overcome the horizontal energy output of three fit and strong young men BUT that he can also give them the long end of a lever and still offer more resistance. If he was not already in the land of "fake" before, he certainly is now when he offers them the longer lever.
Moreover, (and this seems to be the point I am not explaining too well) in saying that he can give three young men the longer lever and still overcome their horizontal energy output, he is asking us to believe that said three young men cannot break a jo when the shorter lever proves to be stronger than the longer lever. What is an over-exaggeration here -- what is a departure from the Truth here? Two things: That three strong fit young men cannot generate more horizontal energy using a longer lever and all of their body than a frail old man can using a shorter lever and his one hand; and that three strong fit young men cannot break a jo by pushing on the longer end when the shorter end of the lever proves to be (for some reason) the more powerful end. Though this latter point is proving difficult to explain, one can simply experience it by sticking their jo in a vice and getting two friends (no training is necessary -- believe me) to help you push on it latterly. SNAP!
Like I said, my experiences in Japan seem to be different from yours Mike -- assuming you trained with Abe, Sunadomari, and others. Still, I am not the only one that holds such a position concerning the state of Budo in the West and in the East -- including Japanese shihan who have practiced and taught in both places. To be sure, what those Uke are doing in those old tapes of Osensei when he was older IS very much like what one sees in many places today. That don't make it right. If anything, for me, that makes my case more valid: They, and he, shouldn't have been doing that. (I often wonder how different the world would have been if Osensei wasn't turned into an icon and political and culturally prompted to put on such demonstrations.) This is only my take on things -- and my opinion is not worth crap in the world of Aikido. I can only run my dojo according to such a perspective. Thus, in our dojo if the geometry and the physics is not present, and we are not addressing the learning curves of a beginner, if Uke "takes a fall," that uke did something wrong. He or she was not being cooperative, not blending, not protecting themselves, not in harmony with Nage, he or she was not following Nage's lead, he or she was not being affected by Ki, etc., - they were just plain ol' faking it. They are told then not to do that, and then they are guided in how to reconcile the supporting fear, pride, or ignorance that is supporting such falsehood.
Anyways, Mike, I loved the humor -- keep it up. Thanks for the laugh.
Drew, you as well, in my opinion, make some fine points. What you say at the end there is what I think we tend to want to do: find some way of making sense of such things. Only, it is pretty hard to do that in this case when it is clear that what one is seeing is clearly a belief system -- not just a discourse. Normally, I'd be right there with you, that something else is going on, etc., but here we are in fact talking about good ol' spirit possession.
Thanks guys for the reply, much appreciation -- great posts.