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Old 03-22-2005, 11:47 AM   #59
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Tenkan and Centrifugal Force

Alfonso Adriasola wrote:
I can follow this much. What you seem to call kokyu here is what I feel as a mix of Alignment, weight, balance, er.. the "apparent power" from Uke pushing against the ground through me and back through .. How does this relate to breath and intention is what I'd like to ask you, because that is what kokyu implies to me as well.
Literally kokyu is "breath" power and there is a sense of timing, but idiomatically it implies an innate power. Your idea of kokyu as a mix of alignment, weight, balance, and other things is sort of where I imagine the split may be between what Tohei is saying and what Shioda is saying and which Aikikai seems to have varying takes on. It reminds me of some of the discussions about "rooting" that goes on in the Chinese martial arts community... although a lot of people use the word, their varying takes on it can be stunningly different when you meet them in person; yet they can usually use their take on it to resist a push, to some degree, so they argue they are correct.

The power I'm talking about is something that I can manifest anywhere on my body and even move it around my body or use it to power my movements... all while standing still and not changing alignment, weight, balance, etc. Yet, someone can go through the alignment, weight, balance, etc., door and arrive there after a while, if they focus on relaxing and think about every movement. That's roughly how I see the difference between what Shioda says in his books and what Tohei says in his books, if it makes sense to you.

I'd recommend Tohei's old book, "This is Aikido" with his pretty clear pictures of the Aiki Taiso, although he calls them "Aikido Calisthenics". Tohei's "tests" that he shows are really all about doing what I mentioned above. It could be described as "bringing the one point to any point you want it" or it could be described as "bringing paths of power to where you want them" or "using paths of power to effect your movements or tasks". One of the Taiso that Tohei shows is actually what I would call "Tenkan Undo", but he calls it "kokyu-ho undo", which is technically exactly what I described it as in my lengthier post, earlier, when I was talking about keeping kokyu power through every bit of the motion. What I should have made clearer, I think, is that I bring the power to the wrist/hand which uke grabs.... i.e., my seika no tanden is at that point when I want it there.

The idea of moving these forces is the core of Aikido techniques, as I mentioned. It's like you're controlling a little mini-universe inside yourself and you use this power to "kokyu ho" or to "harmonize" with an opponent. The idea of using these mind-manipulated powers to control engagement with others is widespread in martial and philosophical arts in Asia and is considered sort of a universal or "natural" truth of some magnitude. Shioda's way, the way I sort of imagine you may be using also, is one way in the door. Tohei's way is another way in the door, but Shioda's has more surety to it... although it's not guaranteed by any means. But... it's something to think about when you slowly examine movement.
I guess I can understand Tenkan as being indepent of the application of force; since sometimes you can enter and turn behind and drop uke without the "apparent power" but by "removing the structural support" . I just wish I could get the labels right so I understood what other people are talking about.
This thing about what Tenkan is sort of boggles my mind. I used to read every book I could get my hand on and go to every seminar that was within range... the idea that tenkan is a method of entry and getting off the line of attack was, I thought, pretty basic and universally understood. Just the fact that "tenkan" is used not only for "centrifugal force" throws and for reversal/kokyu throws that have no centrifugal force is enough to tell most people, I thought, what the definition of "tenkan" was.

Again, thanks for posting that translation. It made me feel like my research into Aikido roots was worthwhile.


Mike Sigman
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