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Old 02-09-2005, 08:03 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Breath, Aikido & Misogi

Shaun Ravens wrote:
Thank you for chiming in and bringing life back to the thread. In any case, while I don't necessarily disagree with you, I might have to not agree with it how you chose to make your points. One could say that it is a point of semantics, so please allow me to clarify my previous statement. If you note, the thread is entitled "Breath, Aikido & Misogi" indicating that there is a relationship intermingled between these three elements. Kokyu is breath power. Kokyu-ho is breathing method, kokyu-dosa is breath-exercise and kokyu-nage is breath throw. Of course, there is always flexibility when dealing with anything - including these definitions. Let's not forget any number of interpretations, too - both correct and incorrect ones. However we have to start somewhere
Hi Shaun:

Well, it's a good discussion that you started and I hated to see it sort of die away; and you're right, we have to start somewhere. A really good way for most people to get their foot in the door about "kokyu" is in the common practice of kokyu-ho-dosa. The essense of kokyu-ho-dosa in seiza is that the opponents push (as an example) is allowed to go to the ground beneath your knees and shins; your push or throw is allowed to originate from this same ground and should be manipulated with your waist, not your shoulders. In other words, the essence of kokyu practice, in this exercise and all others, is in learning how to use this body skill, in addition to adding the strength from breathing practice

Temporarily fixing these definitions as I have above allows us to have a concrete discussion using actual reference points rather than imaginary ones. Just to point out, these are not my definitions…
I understand that, Shaun, but allow me to at least put forward the possibility that things get lost in the translations, as I suggested before. Over the years, I've found that translations depend on one's knowledge of a language and also their real and full knowledge about the subject which they're translating. If someone doesn't understand about the paths of power through the body, then their translation will suffer accordingly. So I'm just asking that the possibility be left open that something may have been lost in the translation is just as important as "I heard it from..."

Essentially, we're not in too much disagreement, since you mentioned people being able to release power from any part of their body, etc.... that's kokyu, or "jin" in Chinese. My point was simply to add a few thoughts to liven up the discussion, nothing more.

Lastly, one minor point. Using Chinese terms (dantien & Qigong) to relate to the training might be a bit confusing. As you know the relationship between in (yin) & yo (yang) in the Chinese and Japanese explanations are 180 degrees out of sink. Neither is wrong, just that you can not go back and forth between them in the course of discussing the flow of ki within the body -- and from within the body for that matter. That does not take the different types of "jing" into account, nor how jing is not the same as its Japanese counterpart in this context.
Well these are interesting statements, Shaun. The Japanese borrowed the whole complex "qi"-paradigm from the Chinese and while there have been modifications over time, for various reasons, it's pretty difficult to actually get 180-degrees out of synch. Could you expand a little bit or even start another thread in this group about how you see the "flow of Ki", the Chinese view, and so on? Thanks.

With regards to the Jo "trick" as you put it, I patently disagree with your analysis of the mechanics of demonstration. However, I can agree to disagree for the time being, but more on that later. I will give you kudos on your understanding of kokyu, and not let the language or the semantics get in the way of acknowledging you for that. I think that you might agree -- in the end it is all kokyu, and it isn't O-Sensei's Aikido without it -- that being the (unspoken) point of my initial post. Glad you caught it.
Absolutely. I agree with you and I've said the same thing for many years. In fact, I can remember 20 and more years ago taking a lot of flack from Aikidoka for trying to express that general thought. The lack of knowledge about how these things work and the focus on technique or New Age mysticism, etc., within the Aikido community (in the 8 years I studied) is why I moved on and studied Chinese martial arts for the last 20 years. My contentions are (1.) that O-Sensei didn't do all of his Ki demonstrations as an interesting aside, he did them to make a point and (2.) that even the best technique done without the presence of Ki and Kokyu is not really Aikido because it is just external technique. However, that is my opinion, not something said in order to start a flame war.

I think I discussed the jo-trick in another discussion. Why not throw your thoughts about in there, rather than us trying to juggle too much in one thread?

All the Best

Mike Sigman
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