View Single Post
Old 02-19-2011, 09:03 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Defining 3 Basics of Aikido: Kokyu Power

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think that necessarily we need to consolidate some of our terminolgy and better define those terms. For some reason aikido has avoided the codification process. I guess because its more art than science. The three principles of aikido are kokyu-ryoku, tai-no-sabaki, and ki-no-musubi.ce or whatever the excuse. At some point we need to press eachother to better define what we are doing and why.
The instructors I appreciate most can both do aikido, and explain it. Its become cliche now, but Einstein's quote about explanation is very true. I think some of us have become more armchair and less quarterback. I think it reasonable for students to A. Expect an instructor to comptetently demonstrate aikido and B. Expect an instructor to competently explain the demonstration. I would argue that we have many instructors out their spreading aikido they do not understand, or aikido they cannot do. And to be clear, I think that this is not bad because it is part of the learning process to explore what you do not understand. However, we need to set some precedent of expectation when we will "get it".

Again, I think some of these issues come from pushing aikido people into the real world. What would happen is a karate instructor could provide a better explanantion for aikido than we could? I have a couple of decent judo books that cover many aikido pricniples better and aikido books that talk about the same principles. In fact, an important personal discovery for me came from reading a judo lesson from Mifune Sensei. How does our instruction stack up against other arts? How can we trash talk that neanderthal UFC guy when his coach can not only hand us our lunch, but he is better at explaining what is going on. Dang.

Mike has a point about our precision. Sometimes we are over vague in our aikido. Am I doing tenkan? Or, am I doing ushiro ayumi ashi tenkai? Similar movement, but two different things. Am I extending palm up? or palm down? We need to be prepared not only to assert a preference of movement but also a reason why. I believe this is most important because I believe the deep parts of aikido (the "ura") are in the "why" of the technique. How can you learn bunkai if you don't care why you are doing the kata? How can you learn kaishiwaza if you don't care why your structure is compromised?
Broke this from the "Future of Aikido" thread in order not to go O.T.

Ikeda Sensei shows a number of basic techniques using "ki" and/or "aiki" and/or "kokyu-ryoku" (they're all elements of the same basic thing) and a few were discussed pretty functionally in the now-defunct thread "Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki". In a very real way, Ikeda Sensei can be viewed as trying to use simple demonstrations to focus on the basics of every Aikido technique. As Jon mentioned above, the three basics of every Aikido technique are: kokyu-ryoku, tai-no-sabaki, and ki-no-musubi. In other words, kokyu-power, body movement for correct position, and joining-together the two bodies into a unit. The examples discussed in the early parts of the "Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki" are very simple examples of the 3 principles of Aikido, with emphasis on the use of kokyu-power.

Currently some people are using the term "aiki", but "aiki" is just a usage of kokyu-power. Kokyu-power is sometimes also called "ki strength". There is also a tendency to talk about using "internal strength" and "Internal Power", but in reality Ueshiba's nomenclature kokyu-ryoku (kokyu power) already covers the basic principle of "I.P.", "this stuff", "internal strength", and so on. In other words, a lot of the currently trendy terms are probably redundant, plus they tend to leave many people with the impression that some new or forgotten factor is being introduced into Aikido. Looking at Ikeda Sensei's examples, he is using kokyu-power as he moves into position with Uke to make a unit-body connection and then Ikeda moves the combined new unit with his center. When Ikeda Sensei joins his body to the body of Uke via a solid connection and moves his center/intention, that is "aiki". I.e., nothing has changed since O-Sensei laid out the 3 basic principles.

I agree with Jon that there needs to be some clearer definitions and I think (IMO) the place to start is with "kokyu". A lot of people in Aikido, a few years back, simply defined "kokyu" as "breath", but the actual definition as being an element of internal-strength has become clearer over the last few years. Come to think of it, there were a number of posts/threads getting more into the explanation of "kokyu" a number of years ago, but "kokyu" apparently didn't ring the bell, so a number of people are now chasing the term "aiki" without understanding that the core of "aiki" is actually "kokyu-ryoku". If there is going to be a discussion on defining the facets of Aikido, IMO the place to start is with the term "kokyu". Come to think of it, that seems to be what Ikeda Sensei is attempting to do.


Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote