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Old 06-29-2011, 02:03 PM   #44
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,153
Re: Overcoming aggressive attack without superior strength

Mario and Jon, I like what you have said, it is kind of what I was thinking of when I started the thread: if you have an interest in being able to fluently maintain kuzushi (Jon), if you want to take "you" out of the equation (Mario), then how does aikido enable that? What about our art makes that possible? In other words, how does it work? Aikidoka should be able to say how "what we do" operates.
From a basic point of view, kuzushi is the state of unbalance, musubi is the state of dependency. Aiki is the entire interaction of connecting to you partner and maintaining that connection. I will also say that I believe there is a logical order of things: break your partner's balance, transition you partner's balance structure onto your balance structure, extend your movement through your partner.

I believe that the "connection" in aikido is simply seizing your partner's balance to be dependent upon your structure. Effectively, in this state of musubi (unification of center) your partner's balance and yours become one (your balance). Once joined, the kuzushi state is easier to maintain. So it is really not as much about removing "you' and is it about creating "us". Aikidoka like Endo Sensei or Saotome Sensei simply always are "us".

Second, kuzushi is about seizing balance and not giving it back. This sort of principle exists in many arts, not just aikido. I personally look to judo and daito ryu aikijujitsu because I think they have good fundamental techniques that illustrate this point. In fact, I think the old judo stuff better defines kuzushi than many aikido people.
In sticking with a judo illustration, I love to demonstrate this principle with harai goshi:
(I am not familiar with this judo club - I simply picked a youtube clip to illustrate the throw)
You can see in harai goshi, after nage seizes his partner's balance you have this obvious transition of balance from tori to nage; you can also see that tori's balance becomes wholly dependent upon nage. Finally, you see nage fit tightly with his partner, making nage's movement affect his partner. While not aikido, this is an example of kushi and musubi.

Now, aikido has more subtle interaction, but we have to start somewhere... Our kata needs to be precise. Almost palm up is not palm up. Left foot forward is not right foot forward. Kinda getting kuzushi and getting kuzushi are two different things. After we have precise kata and can perform kata no kihon waza with some success we develop these rough techniques. As we train and improve our techniques they will become more efficient, which means less force is required for the same effect.
I think a lot of the IS guys are going to advocate that we should already have a strong internal structure before starting waza, and I do not disagree.

Without wishing to tangent the thread, I think it is realistic to expect aikido people to know what it is they are doing, explain what they are doing, and solicit a desired response every time they do it. Aikido becomes a whole lot more complicated when you start throwing out zen koans and teaching by mystery. Not that aikido should not explore those things, but I think students have a right to receive clear instruction.

You have your balance; I am going to take that balance, make your ability to stand dependent upon my structure, then I am going to move you as I please.

Martial arts were made for people to fight against others who are in some respect a better fighter. A valid martial art must be able to prepare its students to deal with an opponent better then they [are].
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