Re: rowing exersize
I just figured out that in BJJ we do a standing up swimming exercise where you and your partner move your arms over and underneath each others arms. The goal of this exercise is to acheive dominance in the clinch with underhooking your opponents arms. (ikkyo).
Done correctly, it is rythmic and you must breath correctly and move from your hips with balance.
We do this exercise sometime for like 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of class.
I never really thought about it before, but it really is kind of the same thing except done with a partner. It helps you figure out how to connect your movements, breath, and move from the center...all necessary elements of kokyu.
sometimes I will have my BJJ students practice the rowing exercise as a warm up, especially when they are being external in their approach to study. It helps them find their center and attach their feet to the ground and become more aware of the source of their power.
I don't explain anything to them about it, nor do they care much...they just do the exercise for a few minutes and then we move on to other things. I think it helps them, even if they don't tacitly understand what is going on.