Ignatius Teo wrote:
My question is "what are the foundational elements?"... and "what is the essence?"... to me, this "essence" is the baseline skills we are talking about....
Incidentally, to get it on the record, someone sent me a copy of a breathing technique Tohei espoused in the 70's, I think. I actually have the book from which the technique(s) were copied, but I glossed over them in re-reads because they're surrounded by the "Ki of the Universe" stuff (which I don't quibble with; it comes from a legitimate early view of Ki/Qi... I'm just not interested in that perspective so I tend to ignore it). Anyway, I missed it and conversations with experts in Tohei's methods indicated that the breathing was more for mental stuff, so I missed that one until it was pointed out to me.
Tohei offers "Tohei Style Breathing Methods" which are (at least 2 of them) legitimate power-building gungs. The only problem is that he's not fully explicative about them so most people would just copy "deep breathing" and external stretching movements.
Oh... and although it's not obvious, the "Sanchin Kata" that Ushiro Sensei teaches is actually related to the breathing exercises and movements that Tohei teaches.... the underlying principles are the same.
Just to offer a perspective (an inescapable one to anyone with the background), the kokyu/jin stuff and the ki/breathing-exercises stuff are inextricably intertwined. There is a reason why "kokyu", though essentially the jin-forces, is also the breathing-skills-forces. One is the support of the other and therefore one of those strength-skills is bound up in the developmental level of the other.
So the "baseline skills" I'd suggest for any listing would include the sort of breathing training that Tohei suggested in his earlier book(s). Like the mind-manipulated forces, though, you can't just learn it from copying the poses of Tohei in books... you need someone to show you.
Anyway, my 2 cents FTR.