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Old 02-03-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
Byron Foster
Dojo: Aikikai
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 20
Proprioception Throws

There were a few threads that caught my interest, including the "don't throw to throw" thread.

There are apparently different types of throws. There are leverage throws, timing throws, power throws and then there are those really strange ones that a few people can do that leave you wondering what happened. I have heard them be referred to as proprioception throws.

This is how someone smarter than me explained it to me. There is no way that I would have thought of this on my own!

Theory: There are different nerves in our body with different functions. The nerves that we are consciously aware of are the ones that fire muscles, give us feedback on our muscles and give us pain (simplistically). There is another set, associated with the myofascia that help us orientate ourselves in three dimensional space. We are not really conscious of the feedback that these nerves give us. These nerves can be "tricked".

Demonstration: Stand on one leg, feel yourself struggle a bit to maintain balance. Then have someone stand beside you and hold up a sheet of paper. Touch the paper with one finger. Instantly you should feel more balanced. Obviously the paper is not holding you up, so why should you feel more balanced? You brain now has another set of data (fingers on the paper) to help it orientate itself in three dimensional space.

Step two of this demo will be to stand on one leg and then look away from the paper (or close your eyes). Have the person move the paper sideways while still maintaining contact with your finger. Your brain has already made a decision that your finger is touching a solid object that will not move, and you will not be able to process the data consciously, so you should not be able to tell that the paper is moving. Since your brain has orientated your body based on the "fixed" position of the paper and your finger, you will suddenly feel off balanced and "catch" yourself falling.

Application: This is apparently how Sagawa made his famous throws. He would pulse power into someone, mainly moving them off their center with Aiki-age (or kokyu-dosa in our case). The uke would then automatically try to correct their posture/position to get back to their center, but as they 'fell" back into position, Sagawa would maintain the original point of contact and float it into a new position. The uke's brain would process the original point of contact (say, holding his wrists), and then "forget" about it when he fell back into position. Uke's brain thinks that the pressure on his hands are a fixed point, just like the finger on the paper, but if Sagawa steered them into a new position, uke consciously could not detect it and fight or stop it. The movement was so profound that they would "catch" themselves failing. The tell-tale sign of this is the head snapping back, like whiplash. That is when Sagawa would cue off that it was time to put power into the throw and blam.

Step 1: Put uke off balance.

Step 2: Steer uke into new off-balance position not using power, but by being extremely soft and sensitive to fool uke's brain.

Step 3: Apply power and really throw the uke.

Some examples of the heads whiplashing around during throws are shown below.

Ikeda Sensei links:

Okomoto Sensei links:

Skipping over the really advanced ways that the sensei's above were generating power and putting it into the uke's let's just focus on step 2, the steering of uke as they "fell" back into position. This is really interesting. I use to think that in order to throw strongly, I had to be strong and focus on power. With this concept, now I think that maybe I can work on being sensitive, moving softly with uke, and still be able to throw well. It is an entirely new mental construct to play with.

When this was explained and demonstrated to me, it was a big eye opener. I thought I would share.

So, has anyone experienced this type of throw before, and is it something that you try to work on in your own practice?

Disclaimer: For those that see me at seminars, please do not ask me to actually demonstrate this type of throw. It would just be embarrassing.
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