Re: Kokyu explanation
Giving mystical connotation to kokyu does nothing but confuse so the above explanations are excellent. For me, kokyu training is just getting your breathing in rhythm with your movement and the purpose is for martial movement. Swimmers, runners, and others all do it -- they train it a little, but after awhile it all becomes natural. The mistake would be for them to overly concentrate on it and give it mystical connotations. Imagine, if you would, if Lance Armstrong attributed his success to ‘over'-training his breathing. Many cyclists might suddenly start overdoing it -- though it was not the true secret (which of course would be to cycle a lot everyday).
The purpose of kokyu exercises is the get your breathing to match your physical movement. Once co-ordinated, your flow of power becomes more efficient. The obvious thing now is to add speed and power to that equation -- not just to concentrate forever on breathing co-ordination. Accordingly, I believe it to be a mistake to overly concentrate on kokyu, to the expense of speed and power training exercises. Once the breathing is in order, it is in order, and you can forget about it. You can't train it more than that. Instead you train to maintain it. I think that the mystique leads people to search for what is not there. For example, many of the points talked about above, all of which are good, would probably best be called something else, i.e., not kokyu. Lacking a name, it falls under kokyu. But kokyu is not a technique, rather it is movement-breathing co-ordination. The above explanations are technical.
What you can do is work on your power and also work on getting that power transmitted efficiently to uke -- once you have your breathing sorted. Kokyu is part of that, but is not all of it. I love to train in kokyu exercises and feel I get a lot from them that I can put into my technique; my advice is to try to put it into the techniques so that kokyu and technique merge, thus kokyu is there all the time because you are breathing in rhythm with the movement. So, I am saying that more emphasis needs to be placed on taking what you learn in kokyu and putting it in your techniques (rather than concentrating on kokyu and just hoping something might one day just happen out of the blue).
An unfit overweight beginner who concentrates on kokyu will get nowhere fast. S/he needs to get fit and healthy, stronger, and then work on getting their breathing sorted out. Sure, they can do kokyu stuff from day one but the result is they may fall for the mystique that attaches itself to martial movement. Send them on five mile daily runs for six months first.
Another mystery of kokyu is that people believe it to be the source of how the small and weak can overcome the big and strong. Not quite so; the small, strong, and co-ordinated can overcome the big, strong, and uncoordinated. Think about it.
I say the above not as a teacher, but rather as a frustrated student who has constantly been misled by many high-ranking misinformants whom I no longer trust as sources. I welcome the above ideas in posts above.
Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 10-19-2005 at 10:01 PM.