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Old 05-19-2012, 07:22 AM   #1
MM
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Breath and Kokyu

If anyone hasn't read through Chris Li's blog, I would suggest doing so. Perhaps these two are appropriate more than the others ...

http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...eng-ha-and-aun
http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...and-aun-part-2

(Hi Chris!)

Now, it is interesting to note in the first part, that "Gozo Shioda, who said that 'Ueshiba sensei was always talking about breath power, breath power (kokyu-ryoku)'."

If you read Total Aikido by Shioda, on the section titled "Kokyu-Ryoku" (page 16 in my book), we find:
"Breath power is what is developed at the point where our own focused power comes into contact with the other person. Here the matter of spirit and rhythm (timing) are of basic importance."

Side Note: The parenthetical "(timing)" is not correct here for rhythm. Shioda goes on in the next two paragraphs to define both spirit and rhythm. Spirit is not focusing on a technique, but being "empty" and reading the other person's movements. Rhythm is a result of your own breathing.

Back to the subject. Shioda goes on to state, "When feeling (sensitivity), breathing, and rhythm are brought together and become one, kokyu-ryoku, or breath power, is born. You and the other person become as one: where you lead you will be able to make uke follow."

Side Note: Interesting choice of words - "make uke follow". Not blend, not become one, but you make uke follow. Didn't Ueshiba state aikido is making the other person do what you want?

Back to the subject. You should read Chris' blog posts. Too much in there to actually put here. Basically, breath power is related to concepts that are not actually anything to do with the physical function of breathing. Shioda's words seem to uphold those notions.

It would seem that this "Breath Power" or "Kokyu" or "Kokyu Ryoku" doesn't have much to do with the actual act of breathing.

As students of aikido, how has kokyu, kokyu ryoku, breath throw, breath power, etc been explained to you?

Mark
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:39 AM   #2
Keith Larman
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Within Seidokan my teachers taught me that "breath" wasn't quite correct as a translation of kokyu. They used "timing" vastly more. Moving when it is "right". So breath wasn't emphasized (by my specific teachers, that is, or maybe better yet that wasn't what I took from it). Instead, it was about timing the throw/movement/whatever so it happened "at the right time". One day someone commented that you it's like timing a wave. At certain points in the wave you can go up, others you can go down, others are neutral. All are possible but each at the right time. I remember another person commenting that it's also "like" breathing (as in analogous, not due to). You exhale when the time is right. And that coordinating your breathing with your movement is important to moving well. But I didn't take from that anything about using the breath per se. Just that things are supposed to be "in sync".

And keep in mind that all this is what I took from it, not necessarily what they meant. I can be a bit dense sometimes...

FWIW.

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Old 05-20-2012, 08:44 AM   #3
chillzATL
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

The fact that most of us weren't given correct definitions of kokyu doesn't really say much. Who's to say that Shioda didn't choose the words he did because that was the best he could do too? It seems a mighty stretch to say that to Ueshiba and his aikido "breath" didn't actually mean breath and also suggest that what he did was a chinese by-product, where breathing seems to be a fairly integral aspect. So many of his students have various breathing exercises that came from/through him and they all seem to mesh with similar things you see in CIMA.

and at the same time, couldn't you look at some of that breath usage and say that it is also a sort of timing or synchronicity within the body? It's not like any one of his students understood what he was talking about to a degree that warrants such a seemingly drastic change.

If not, then how does it work and how does it fit into the history of "this stuff"?

Last edited by chillzATL : 05-20-2012 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:13 AM   #4
Michael Varin
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Mark,

Do you consider Shioda (or his book Total Aikido) a knowledgeable and reliable source of this type of information?

If so, I think you are making a mistake by not reading page 16 within the context of pages 14-24. In fact, I think you have quoted and/or paraphrased Shioda out of the context of page 16 alone.

What do you believe all this means?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Side Note: Interesting choice of words - "make uke follow". Not blend, not become one (emphasis mine), but you make uke follow. Didn't Ueshiba state aikido is making the other person do what you want?
Actually "you and the other person become as one" is exactly what Shioda said.

Your viewpoint of Aikido remains unclear. Do you believe the aim is to inflict yourself on another or on your environment?

For anyone interested, here is the entire section on kokyu ryoku:

Quote:
Shioda, Total Aikido, p. 16 wrote:
Breath power is what is developed at the point where our own focused power comes into contact with the other person. Here, the matter of spirit and rhythm (timing) are of basic importance.

The matter of the spirit is how to become "empty." You should lose the feeling of "I will try to do this…I will try to do that…" and instead simply be in a serene state of mind. You will then be able to read the other person's movement and understand the flow of energy. You will then naturally feel where your own line of attack will be.

In this way you can utilize different tempos and rhythms, not moving at one speed, but rather choosing the one that is most applicable to the situation between yourself and uke. Rhythm is a result of your own breathing. By breathing out when you should breathe out, and breathing in when you should breathe in, rhythm is created.

When feeling (sensitivity), breathing, and rhythm are brought together and become one, kokyu-ryoku, or breath power, is born. You and the other person become as one: where you lead you will be able to make uke follow.

It is not necessary to do any special training in order to get breath power, because breath power is something that comes out of your own feelings. If you continue to train conscientiously in the basics, you will eventually realize, "This is breath power." Once you have had that experience, by continuing your training you will increase its occurrence, until eventually it will become constant. Once that has happened, you will experience what Morihei Ueshiba called "becoming one with the universe."

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
gregstec
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Mark,

Do you consider Shioda (or his book Total Aikido) a knowledgeable and reliable source of this type of information?

If so, I think you are making a mistake by not reading page 16 within the context of pages 14-24. In fact, I think you have quoted and/or paraphrased Shioda out of the context of page 16 alone.

What do you believe all this means?

Actually "you and the other person become as one" is exactly what Shioda said.

Your viewpoint of Aikido remains unclear. Do you believe the aim is to inflict yourself on another or on your environment?

For anyone interested, here is the entire section on kokyu ryoku:
"You and the other person become as one: where you lead you will be able to make uke follow."

This is how I see it as well - once uke is part of you, they go where you go - big question is exactly how that becoming one is accomplished

Greg
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Mark,

I noticed a couple of sentences that intrigued me.

"Rhythm is a result of your own breathing."
"Make Uke follow"

I know this treatise in on kokyu breathing, but I think there is a missing factor in the equation.

It may be due to the limitation of words. But here goes...

I do not think you can make uke follow with timing and breath if we do not discuss "speed" during the execution of a technique. Surely timing is lost if I lag behind uke's reactions to my technique.
That doesn't mean I cannot do my techniques slowly, though. I just need to maintain connection

and timing so that use cannot get out of the technique.


Neither can I perform technique faster than uke can respond - even if my breath is perfect.
I will inevitable separate from him/her if I do.

So, IMO, timing also has allot to do with "going at the same pace" as uke is able to follow - neither faster or slower. In this way, connection is maintained and Kokyo breath enhances the connection and momentum.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by Chris Parkerson : 05-21-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:46 AM   #7
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Please forgive the misspellings, iPhone editing is quit difficult in the allotted time given to do an edit.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:34 AM   #8
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Breath and Kokyu

Kokyo to me means blending, timing and breath. It is the essance of letting go of the mind and becoming not separate from uke or the surroundings.

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