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Old 02-29-2008, 09:14 AM   #11
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 930
Re: Is it kokyu-nage if you don't use kokyu-power?

I hesitate to step in here, but against my better judgement...

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I think what really happens is that many westerners learn some Japanese words as names for things. A rei is a bow. A hakama is a black, cool-looking samurai pants. A front-punch is a Tsuki. And so on. Just names. A "kokyu" throw is really just a general name to the vast number of westerners who practice Aikido.
I would offer that sometimes "big" terms like "kokyu" can indeed take on specific "smaller" meaning. Putting aside any value judgment on that, I'll offer an example from my sword ryu-ha. In almost every kata, after the final cut, we have a small movement before the chiburi where the sword is pushed forward a few inches. This is a very specific movement, the tip cannot raise or lower even though the act of extending the arms will raise the tsuka slightly. The movement also has to be slow like you're stretching through something. This movement is called "zanshin". Now in the general world of budo, "zanshin" has a much bigger meaning than simply extending your sword forward after finishing an (imagined) opponent. Even in our sword line, "zanshin" carries that larger more primary meaning. But it is entirely possible to do "zanshin" (pushing the sword forward) correctly without any "zanshin" (larger remaining mind). Conversely, one could do "zanshin" (pushing the sword forward) incorrectly while maintaining amazing "zanshin" (remaining mind).

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
What I'm getting at is that "kokyu" is not just a name applied vaguely to some sort of techniques. It's a defining criterion of those techniques. If, as some people suggest, the defining criterion is not really necessary, then it's pointless calling it a "kokyunage". Call it what you want. It seems that many people in Aikido simply define things like they want to anyway and claim that it's "just as valid" because they "feel it" so strongly.
Well, that's actually how the naming came about in the first place, different students of Ueshiba just started calling things by different names to remember them, so it's very difficult to associate name with (Ueshiba's) intended lesson. By all accounts, OSensei didn't really name them. The effects of this can be seen in all of the different names that different lineages call things. Many of the "kokyunage" throws that we did at my last Aikido dojo had different more specific names at my first Aikido dojo (zemponage, sayonage...). At my first Aikido dojo, kokyunage referred almost exclusively to a single specific throw. There was not a very big movement from nage to finish the throw, and nage was expected to exhale forcefully at the same time as the throw. But as you and Lynn pointed out, it's become a rather catch all term, generally for non-kansetsu waza throws.

Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
But at some point in time the question arises about the people who claim to love and cherish Aikido as Ueshiba's art. If they care so much, why do they just shrug when others of the community treat Aikido like a New Age plaything?
Well the problem is that Aikido had taken on a life of its own long before OSensei had even died. One could actually make the argument that OSensei's Aikido (even his vision of Aikido) began and ended with him. I believe Aikido today is more a representation of his student's (and very significantly his son's) vision of Aikido than it ever was his. A lot of folks don't really like to even hear that though.

To go back and answer your initial question however, "can kokyu-nage be done without kokyu?" I would have to ask, how do you define kokyu? Please don't reply that you've been perfectly clear about that in the past and that it's been well covered, or that we should all understand that already or we're not worth talking to. You seem to be making the assertion that "kokyu" is a well understood and specific concept in Asian martial arts. If so, please do me the favor of offering your definition (or your paraphrased version of a definition) so that we can speak more clearly to each other. You spent some time in your post discussing how many people (seemingly incorrectly or incompletely) understand/define kokyu, but I don't really see your version. Until I know what you mean by kokyu, I don't know how I could respond.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
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