George S. Ledyard wrote:
What's your take on weapons work as related to breathing? I assume that it would be your position that just doing jo, bo, or sword work without some specific type of breathing work would not have the desired result... am I right?
Well, the repetitive weapons practices with jo and bokuto are, IMO, the major "workout" aspects of most martial arts. I tend to use bokuto swinging and pole-turning and pole-shaking as my major workouts. But just taking suburi as the example:
The breathing has to be done similarly to the exercise I mentioned in that thread Dennis Hooker started on deep breathing. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the essense. This is how the ki is really developed, in the "connection" sense.
The body has to be very relaxed
but connected so that a "sheathing" develops over time where you can truly feel a head-to-toe connection where if one part of the body is moving you can feel it pull and twist in every part of the rest of the body.
The forces moving the arms and body up and down are the kokyu/jin forces of the whole body.
There are a couple of cute store-and-release tricks that are done (it's part of the reason why the strength is said to rely on the big toe).
And so on. The actual swinging will outwardly look just like someone else doing externally "correct" swinging, moving their hips, etc., but inside everything is quite different.
And incidentally, I think the best way to start learning is with a very light bokken. Until you can move in this correct manner, using weights will only trigger the use of "normal" shoulder-muscle, etc. As you develop this kind of power you can use suburitos, tanden bo's, etc.