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Old 08-21-2022, 10:54 PM   #1
Craig Moore
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 35
Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

So there are lots of discussions on the sounds that are made when performing funakogi / torifune. Many different variations..... eay, ho / eay, sa / eeh, ho / yay, ho / ichi, ni / etc, etc. Some groups do left slow, right slow and then back to left fast. Some start slow and speed up. Some do just left and right at the same speed. All sorts of different vocalisation accompanying different speeds.

One element that is common (not always the case, but mostly) is that the first syllable is extended and the second is short. Irrespective of the style in local classes and seminars, I've always been shown the long syllable (eg. "eay") for extending the arms away from the body and the short syllable (eg. "ho") for drawing the arms back toward the body.

A while ago I did a double take while watching YT clips when I realised that it was being done with vocalisation in the opposite order - ie. long syllable for drawings the arms back toward the body and the short syllable for extending the arms away from the body. Since then I've noticed a number of clips with this order including classical misogi purification from "The Evolution of the Torifune/Funekogi movement in Aikido" clip that's been linked in other threads, as well as clips from seminars and demonstrations. I thought at one point I found a clip of O-Sensei doing it with audio (most have overdubbed music) but can't find it again now a days, so maybe not.

I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts about why it would be one way vs. the other?

And yes, I'm thinking link between breath action and tissue development..... but certainly open to anything else as well.
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Old 08-23-2022, 04:45 AM   #2
Dojo: Shoheijuku Aikido, Fukuoka
Location: Fukuoka
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 157
Re: Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

I don't have anything to add, but a funny story.

I've been to a couple of Dan Harden's seminars, and he taught how the exercise should be done, using the whole body, as one would from an internal art perspective.

I went back home and began doing it the way he'd taught (at least as far as I could remember -- I can't claim to be doing it correctly) and my instructor asked me whom I'd learned to do it that way from!

Naturally having something useful to say is like natural responses during training: It takes much practice.
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Old 08-23-2022, 11:10 PM   #3
Craig Moore
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 35
Re: Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

Thanks for the reply Currawong.

I would really like to see Dan's take on it. Was the use of breath incorporated in how he taught it? Accessibility has lead me down the Aunkai path as far as internal training is concerned.
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Old 09-02-2022, 07:47 AM   #4
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South
Location: Johnson City, TN
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,209
Re: Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

I haven't posted in forever because... life.


Think about torifune as a movement exercise, coordinating whole body explosion. If you have ever played with a child's toy that is a rubber cup that "pops" when you invert the cup and place the toy on a table... I think there is a good argument that torifune is more similar to yamabiko, rather that kokyu ho.

Dan still has some great archive posts on here about rowing exercises. It's a shame that you won't hear from him directly anymore on aikiweb.

My torifune...
1. I could care less about noise and I could care less about breathing. I reverse breath, just like when performing a strenuous activity... because I am performing a strenuous activity. I do not tie my breath to my motion because if I do.... 1. if I stop, my breathing stops; 2. if my breathing stops, I stop. Both outcomes are undesirable in applied movement.
2. Make power. The exercise is named after a physical activity. If you cannot make power, or if you do not know how to move with power, you're doing it wrong. Movement forward should be expressive in power (with stability), movement rearward should be the same.

There are several vids of O'Sensei performing rowing exercises on camera. In any number of them, his hands are different, his breath is different, his sounds are different, and his feet are different. Instead, find the goal you want and train to it. Imagine all that kinetic energy that explodes a child's toy into the air and now put that into your partner...

Jon Reading
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Old 09-05-2022, 08:18 PM   #5
Craig Moore
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 35
Re: Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

Jon, as always I appreciate your post. Thanks for the extra info - it's given me a bit more to think about.
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Old 10-14-2022, 08:38 AM   #6
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 802
Re: Funakogi / Torifune Sound Order

Is the guy ferrying Bruce Lee in Hong Kong harbour early in "Enter the Dragon" using this technique in real (ok, movie) life?

Doesn't utter a sound.

It could just be that various sensei were taught by their sensei who were taught by their sensei to say "ee - ho" or "ee-sa" or whatever, and it probably doesn't really matter as long as you're engaging your core muscles and connecting the feet to the "oar" through a "braced" body... Breathe naturally - get tired and let your body decide how to breathe after you stop thinking about how to breathe.

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 10-14-2022 at 08:42 AM.
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