Erick Mead wrote:
Please favor us with a similarly detailed version of your understanding of the practical forces underlying "kokyu." Your response indicates distinct scepticism as to kokyu as a useful working concept. Fair enough -- detail a better set of alternative premises that we can judge on their own merits. Rebuttal to demonstrate a different case will advance the discussion far more than unsupported denial based on unspecified opinion.
I think I've spent a lot of time laying out pretty detailed explanations and illustrations around the classical idea of "kokyu" forces, Erick... it's all archived. Pretty much everything I've said can be checked against the classical usages and derivations, using the same terminologies, etc., that Ueshiba used. Of course, if you want to argue that Ueshiba used the same terminologies from classical Chinese and used the standard demonstrations of kokyu power, etc., that the Chinese terms/demos used, but he actually derived his forces in another manner (i.e., his Chinese-based stuff was coincidence), I'd be happy to see it.
Insofar as "Your response indicates distinct scepticism as to kokyu as a useful working concept", that's erroneous. If anyone on this forum has promoted kokyu as a working concept, then I have... all I'm saying is that you're laying out a theory from nowhere and asserting its validity but offering no more than opinion to back it up.
The "Ten chi jin" idea is fairly complex and pretty well documented. It pervades all Asian martial arts, as far as I can tell, and the theories and practice are fairly well known in Asian martial arts, even though they're obscured in a lot of western practice of those martial arts. The "Eight Powers" you referred to are about how the core powers/forces of ki/kokyu forces are used/practiced/developed. Your theory of joints and gyro-dynamics isn't needed to explain that at all. But it's an interesting theory; I disagree with it and prefer to stick as close as I can to the classical theory and the practical demonstrations (which include the same demonstrations both Tohei and Ueshiba made). If you'd like to see what I consider a fairly pragmatic description (although still vague, partially due to the translator maybe) of the forces and "aiki", take a look at this old interview from Aikido Journal of Inaba Minoru:
Many people think they cannot use "aiki" technique because they do not have as much strength as their opponent. Then they start weight training. They cannot use "aiki" technique because they cannot judge timing in distance. They form a bad judgment of the situation.
So, what are "timing" and "distance?" We cannot measure these with a clock or ruler. Timing and distance have to be grasped through each person's intuition. If you are nervous or worried about something, this will cloud your intuition. But some tension is necessary.
You need cleansing, or purification (harai) training, as in Shintoism. You have to make your mind clear, like a mirror. There are many different ways to express how to grasp timing. I think when you purify the body and mind, then you can grasp timing.
However, even if you grasp timing, if you don't focus your power or energy you cannot do anything. In the human body the area to focus power is the lower abdomen (kafuku tanden).
Power focused here is defensive power; power going out is offensive power.
How can you put forth offensive power? The first thing you have to do is to focus the power in your center. Offensive power will naturally flow if you focus your power in the center. That is forceful power (iryoku). It is a condition of focused energy that becomes center energy. In budo, people use the terms "bui" or "iryoku", don't they? Most important in martial arts is "iwoharu," showing this powerfully focused energy. It's not good to pretend that you have energy (karaibari). Try to use the energy in the lower abdomen. You can call this energy focused "ki" energy. If you don't have center energy, you are bluffing. Really, you have to develop this energy. The energy will flow naturally if you can focus it in the lower abdomen. If you understand this point, you will understand how to develop your body and mind and how you should train.
If you forget this essential point, you'll think only about winning, and you won't have the power to keep centered. This power won't be released and you will be destroyed.
You do exercises to straighten up your back muscles and relax your shoulders. Drop your focus to your lower abdomen. If you do that, you'll find your center point and you will produce center energy. If your center is not developed, you won't have ki energy available to project through your fingers.
If you take excess energy from the upper body and train the lower body as in sumo wrestling, and if you train the energy of the lower abdomen, you will develop your center energy. You use that power wherever necessary.
Even though you focus the energy in your lower abdomen, you will not be able to move the energy to the area where you need it right away. You have to think about how you are going to move it. You have to think about two things, gathering and filling up the power, and then moving the power to where the opponent will attack. Also if you have a weapon, you have to project energy through the weapon. If you understand this point, you'll know how to train and what you need to develop. At the same moment you meet your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power of "aiki."
I think that's why it's really important to develop the mind and body foundation. That is true not only for "aiki." In karate when you strike you step in with your foot. It's the same with kendo and sumo. I recommend sumo training. Sumo still includes basic body training for bujutsu.
There's no mention or need to mention the ideas of gyro-dynamics, etc., to arrive at "aiki". There's no need to have to mention "spiralling". There may be some usage of the body's joints around the axes at some times and sometimes (often) there is "spiralling" use of the forces... but that's not the essence of what "kokyu" and the "ten chi jin" forces are.