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Old 07-21-2005, 02:47 AM   #126
Abasan
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Hi James,

Noting that we are still within the realm of kihon waza, any chance you might be able to elaborate on what this difference might be? Any chance you could provide any video of the teachers in question so that we might be able to put some action to some feelings?

dmv
Ok I like to add also that I have sometimes felt that kind of overpowering feeling when training with certain senseis. This feeling is like when you are catching their hand (even powerfully) they somehow managed to leech your power away from you.

I'm not talking about being unbalanced per se, but yes it has that element to it as well. Some of the senseis are powerfully built, some are frail and old. They taste different but at the point where they initiate a technique (even from static) it feels the same i.e. power leeched, and I'm on my toes.

Can that be the application of kokyu? Because to me, it certainly goes beyond conventional mechanics and strength.

One way of describing it is, with other ukes, I might be able to control their hand and body from the moment I catch them. If they were physically stronger, they would fight that control and I can feel their strength and the counter action. But when it came to those particular senseis, I do not feel a counter action or strength play, yet I could not move or control their hand much less they center. And when they move their hands/body to initiate the technique I am incapable of resisting that movement short of releasing and sometimes when they do it fluidly I can't even release (or maybe I didn't have time to release).

Does this describe it enough?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:15 AM   #127
rob_liberti
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Re: Defining Kokyu

I think that when you look at rowing there is of course a time when your hips and arms are moving together. But also, when rowing fluidly, there are also moment when the hips have changed direction (because they are leading) and the arms are still going the previous direction. I think this is an important point. Tenchinage ura needs this kind of hips going away from arms until you feel feel something else catch (like your unfied body's movement of transporting your weight down such that it seems to catch the the uke). Otherwise, the uke can simply let go and smash you. The way I am suggesting leaves your relaxed arm in their danger zone so that they really don't want to let it go.

I thnk the more I play around with the idea of using this kind of coordination to empty my arms out the more I agree with most of what I read here about kokyu. My question is: when I'm not using my flexed tricep muscle to hold my arm out, but it is resisting somehow anyway, what is going on? Is that muscle doing just enough (the bare minimum)? Are their smaller muscles I don't know about helping out withing holding a position (I know of some in the back that do this for some arms positions).

Regardless, can we from now on assume some talking about "the jo trick" is refering to the idea of 3 athletes pushing as hard as they can? If we want to talk about a more reasonable example then let's call it "jo trick-light" or something like that. Otherwise, I might start making some good claims myself like: I just did the jo trick myself - I used a pencil and let my 1 and half year old son do the pushing! He couldn't move it anywhere! Tomorrow I'll try a ruler and 2 toddlers!

Rob
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:48 AM   #128
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I think that when you look at rowing there is of course a time when your hips and arms are moving together. But also, when rowing fluidly, there are also moment when the hips have changed direction (because they are leading) and the arms are still going the previous direction. I think this is an important point. Tenchinage ura needs this kind of hips going away from arms until you feel feel something else catch (like your unfied body's movement of transporting your weight down such that it seems to catch the the uke). Otherwise, the uke can simply let go and smash you. The way I am suggesting leaves your relaxed arm in their danger zone so that they really don't want to let it go.

I thnk the more I play around with the idea of using this kind of coordination to empty my arms out the more I agree with most of what I read here about kokyu. My question is: when I'm not using my flexed tricep muscle to hold my arm out, but it is resisting somehow anyway, what is going on? Is that muscle doing just enough (the bare minimum)? Are their smaller muscles I don't know about helping out withing holding a position (I know of some in the back that do this for some arms positions).
Let me offer some very valuable information. Don't do it that way. Until you begin to actually have some kokyu, you're wasting your time worrying about being "fluid", just as you'd waste your time working out with weights.... all you do is stay within the "normal movement" mode because your nervous system triggers the muscles the way it always has. You have to slow down and start slowly from scratch. When you see a video of Tohei knocking out Fune Kogi Undo's at 1-per-second, you're doomed if you don't realize that he's showing the end-results of many hours of slow practice, not the way to really practice.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:28 AM   #129
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Alright, I'll try your advice out. Is there anything in particular from your experience that someone should be looking out for for positive or negative feedback? -Rob
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:09 AM   #130
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Is there anything in particular from your experience that someone should be looking out for for positive or negative feedback? -Rob
I would actually start out with my hands/arms out in front of me, fingers relaxedly pointed forward and *without moving my arms at all in relation to my torso* push my body forward 4-5 inches and then pull my body backward 4-5 inches. Back and forth, trying to keep the push and pull of my hands totally the power of my torso-middle, which in turn is driven by first the back leg and then the front leg. It's like feeling for the push and pull of the middle in the hands. Push with the middle (the arms and torso) are simply conveyors so that your middle can be felt in the hands. Pull with the middle (feel like there's a rope around your lower back that is pulling your hands). Pretend that your hands/arms are pushing and pulling through water, powered by the middle.

After a few days of occasional practice you'll feel pretty good about putting the middle in your hands and *keeping it there for every increment of movement* and you can begin moving the arms/hands in relation to the torso, but only a few extra inches..... still trying to feel the power of the middle is pushing and pulling for every inch in the movement. Over a period of time you can move the arms more and more naturally, but the critical thing is not the movement, it's how purely you keep your middle in your hands. Ultimately you'll train your body to automatically move the hands and arms with the power of the middle instead of the power of the shoulders, elbows, etc. But you can see that it's a matter of re-patterning how you power your moves (and this is just in one plane).... which is not something you can do in a few minutes, 3 evenings a week.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:22 AM   #131
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Oh, and pretty relaxed, too. Tension = letting the body's normal strength interfere with the re-patterning process... which is why using weights or tense speed is a no-no.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:04 AM   #132
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Wink Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Just put it on video.
I was rather perplexed by all the jo-trick talk as to me it seemed not much of a big deal although I had never actually done it.

Well, I brought my camera and jo to work today and got two of the office lads to help out. Not only do I show the jo trick at work, but I also got one of the lads - with absolutely no experience - to do it well too.

I'll put the vid on my website in a couple of days but will only send the link to those who pm me specifically - downloading bandwith is a problem here. I figured it out by just thinking about it. If you watch carefully, you'll figure it out too.

Afterthought: Now - I'll have to train it some and then go around pretending to be a master.

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Old 07-22-2005, 07:51 PM   #133
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Re: Defining Kokyu

When I give you a link, right-clicking on the mouse and downloading seems to be the best way to view them. They work in Windows Media Player.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 07-22-2005 at 07:54 PM.

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Old 07-22-2005, 08:11 PM   #134
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Re: Defining Kokyu

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Rupert Atkinson wrote:
When I give you a link, right-clicking on the mouse and downloading seems to be the best way to view them. They work in Windows Media Player.
Hi Rupert:

Just to be fair and to cut to the chase, I think it's a cute idea, but having people lean into the jo holder, i.e., pretending to push ahead while obviously pushing to the left (I can't tell whether you mean this as a joke or not, so I'm pre-empting any shots at you) is not particularly hard to do nor is it particularly hard to spot. The pushes in the real jo trick are orthogonal to the jo.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 07-22-2005, 08:24 PM   #135
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Re: Defining Kokyu

That's is it. It is just a trick. But, I did not tell these people (can't really call them ukes as they don't do martial arts) what to do - they themselves were astounded. Basically, I conned them - but I can't con you It's a trick.

If you look at my vids, I instruct the ukes to walk straight forwards, not around the jo. In order to get them to go straight, I tell them to go towards the camera. In this way they try to cut through the circle and run right into my power. It is easy to go around the circle - but in Aikido logic that would be moving away from tori - not the desired effect for a pseudo attack. Also, I start with the jo at a slight angle away from the camera - not 90 degrees - maybe 70 or 80 or so. Anyway, it has a kind of kokyu nature to it and is not much different form an unbendable arm trick. At one point, (not on the video) one of the ukes pushed so hard that he bounced off to the side and had he been an Aikidoka, would have probably done a rolling breakfall a-la kokyu-nage projection.

Anyway, I have never seen Ueshiba do it - only a pic - so I only had my imagination to go on.

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Old 07-22-2005, 10:17 PM   #136
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Anyway, it has a kind of kokyu nature to it and is not much different form an unbendable arm trick.
Oh, I agree you were using some kokyu power when they pushed *toward* you, but that's fairly easy to do (still... good for you). Now see if you can figure out how you ground a push that is *somewhat* orthogonal to a straight in push toward you. Ueshiba actually had some pretty good power, but when he showed that trick he tipped his hand about what he was doing and what he knew/trained. And incidentally, putting him back at let's say 55 years old and not having dive-bunny uke's, I suspect his power was a great as anyone's kokyu powers *in that direction* that I've ever seen (and I'd have to caveat that someone as powerful as he was with as short limbs as he had [it really affects the moment arm] would have an easier time of doing that trick than most people).

Mike
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Old 07-22-2005, 10:56 PM   #137
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Not sure what orthogonal means.

Anyway, the result is that these guys were pushing towards me, but the trick is that they did know know that. In fact, they were indeed pushing straight ahead but the nature of the circle meant much - certainly not all - of their force went into me. It still requires a lot of effort, as you can see. But if trained one would certainly get better at it. That was the first time I have ever done it and the ukes were not Aikidoka.

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Old 07-23-2005, 12:55 AM   #138
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Orthogonal in this context means at a right angle.

- Mike
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Old 07-23-2005, 01:50 AM   #139
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Re: Defining Kokyu

I don't know how the heck O'Sensei does this where he just stands fairly still and they push on the Jo. But I've seen Sensei Baker at Norfolk Virginia Aikikai doing a similar technique against 3 ukes. His explanation is that he pretends like the jo is twice as long and the pivot point is not at his hands, but at the end of the jo. By pivoting around that point everyone is on the same side of the jo as he is and he claims it's really easy.

Granted, don't get me wrong, it's not the same thing that O'Sensei is doing, but i think it's along the same line.

Steve
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Old 07-23-2005, 10:17 AM   #140
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Steve Nelson wrote:
Granted, don't get me wrong, it's not the same thing that O'Sensei is doing, but i think it's along the same line.
Without seeing and feeling what your sensei was doing, I wouldn't hazard an opinion. However, part of the trick of "ki" is to get the body to coordinate unconsciously as a unit in some respect... and various people use various visualizations to get there. If you take my tiresomely repeated example of Tohei being pushed on the forearm, you want to accept the push in the back leg but you don't want to stiffen the shoulder, back, etc., because you want the mind to handle all of that part of muscle, etc., recruitment as it sees is best. However, there are ways to condition those areas that contribute to the "unconsciously assigned areas" and in the case of the jo trick the stresses are too much for someone who hasn't done some specialized conditioning. Because of that factor, I would *guess* that your sensei is not doing the same thing, but he may be doing some portion of it (I don't know, tho).

The mental idea of the pivot being out past the push makes the mind adjust the musculature in a certain way, so it's in line with a lot of visualizations (although the vague ones of "relax and it will happen" don't have as good a successs ratio as the more specific ones like your sensei uses or "water through a hose", and so on).

Hey.... how 'bout dat Cooper River Bridge?!

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:12 PM   #141
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Re: Defining Kokyu

hehe, i just moved from Charleston about 2 months ago. I haven't updated aikiweb yet. Boy the Cooper River Bridge is HUGE! My friend David and I used to drive over the old bridge twice a week to go practice with Alan Jackson and his crew. We watched them build the Cooper River bridge from the water up, twice a week for about a 1 year and a half. It was wild.

Now I'm in Norfolk, VA with Jim Baker. This "trick" he's doing is less of a mental trick and more simple mechanics of the human body. At least that's how he's described it in the past. All the normal Aikido 'tricks' are in play. Keep your hands in front of your center, moving from your hips, creating a spiral. It's probably just one of those things that just takes 30 years of practice to figure out and nothing you can say will make it go any quicker. Maybe after 60 years you can do it one handed, perpendicular, standing on your head. Hell if i know. I'll ask him to demonstrate it again tomorrow. Maybe take a couple pictures.

You could always come join us for a class and try it out yourself. :-)

Steve
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:57 PM   #142
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Steve Nelson wrote:
hehe, i just moved from Charleston about 2 months ago. I haven't updated aikiweb yet. Boy the Cooper River Bridge is HUGE! My friend David and I used to drive over the old bridge twice a week to go practice with Alan Jackson and his crew. We watched them build the Cooper River bridge from the water up, twice a week for about a 1 year and a half. It was wild.
Heh. I cut my teeth on the old bridge, driving illegally at 15. We used to see how many cars we could pass.
Quote:
Now I'm in Norfolk, VA with Jim Baker. This "trick" he's doing is less of a mental trick and more simple mechanics of the human body. At least that's how he's described it in the past. All the normal Aikido 'tricks' are in play. Keep your hands in front of your center, moving from your hips, creating a spiral. It's probably just one of those things that just takes 30 years of practice to figure out and nothing you can say will make it go any quicker. Maybe after 60 years you can do it one handed, perpendicular, standing on your head. Hell if i know. I'll ask him to demonstrate it again tomorrow. Maybe take a couple pictures.
Pshaw. I hope it's not something he's witholding from the class. Land Sakes! The thought of it!

Regards,

Mike
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:06 PM   #143
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Re: Defining Kokyu

I have been having trouble with bandwidth etc. so Joep Schuurkes has kindly taken the trouble to upload my vids to his website - here they are:

http://users.telenet.be/j19sch/aikido.htm

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Old 07-28-2005, 11:15 PM   #144
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Mike --

Maybe not what you were looking for, but I will add my two cents. I don't speak Japanese, don't know what the words mean other than the general understanding of any Japanese martial arts student.

Kata dori kokyu ho. I never quite seemed to understand this technique. I could do it with power if I had weak ukemi, but against an uke who knew how to resist the technique, nothing. Never worked.

Then I had the luck to train with a partner so ridiculously high above me I refuse to explain. We did not speak the same language. He demonstrated how the technique was done. He taught me thus:

He shook himself slightly while breathing obviously out. He stepped in, inhaling, executed the technique, exhaling. No matter how strongly I resisted, he executed the technique...like butter.

I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Failure. He then put his index finger on my elbow and gently bent it. I threw him.

Strangely enough, what I took from that class was not the bent elbow, but the breath. The gentle power of his breath, controlled through every technique practiced that night.

I have since found that control of breath permeates every technique I execute. The more I focus on the breath of a technique of which I have some understanding, the easer it is to execute said technique, regardless of the resistance. Breath always helps me to overcome resistance. Or maybe I should say "blend".....
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:29 AM   #145
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Brenda Allen wrote:
Kata dori kokyu ho. I never quite seemed to understand this technique.
Maybe it's too early in the morning, Brenda, but my mind is just not picturing a technique or practice called kata dori kokyu ho (not that I ever did, IIRC). It's a same-side shoulder grab obviously, but I'm missing how it becomes a "kokyu ho" or what the purpose is. Could someone explain to me please?
Quote:
Strangely enough, what I took from that class was not the bent elbow, but the breath. The gentle power of his breath, controlled through every technique practiced that night.

I have since found that control of breath permeates every technique I execute. The more I focus on the breath of a technique of which I have some understanding, the easer it is to execute said technique, regardless of the resistance. Breath always helps me to overcome resistance. Or maybe I should say "blend".....
OK. So looking at your post I read to inhale on the entry and exhale on the technique, bend the elbow, focus on the breath, breath helps you blend. It's not very clear about the "how's" or "what's" though. Can you make a stab at telling us physically what you feel like you've discovered? :^)

Regards,

Mike
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:46 AM   #146
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Sorry Mike....

One should not post in the wee hours of the morning after one has had one (or four) too many beers (at least, when one is not an Aussie or a Kiwi <grins at all those down under>) ....especially when one is trying to remember something that happened over fifteen years ago and one has not practiced in the intervening years, thereby depriving one of one's aikido terminology....

Sigh....I know better than this (that or the other)....

I meant "morote dori kokyu ho" ... Sorry Mike.

And what I meant to express was that it was not so much someone teaching me that bending my elbow would help my technique as the fact that watching his breath during that technique and then others taught me so much more....

Through each step of the technique and each technique thereafter, his breath was so obvious and so .... I was going to say controlled, but I think that conscious is a better word.

Through each portion of every technique that night, his breath was conscious. He knew when he was breathing in and when he was breathing out.....Rather than being a result of doing a technique over and over, he knew when to breathe in and consciously chose to do so. And when to breath out.. Or so it seemed to this then rank beginner.....

I am an Iwama style practioner and was then practicing in Iwama. How do I explain without offending???? What I saw and felt that night was not some strange otherness. I saw a man breathing in and out....consciously. And no matter how hard I resisted his technique, he breathed and then executed. Granted, he could have just executed, he was that strong, but he always breathed. And his breath was obvious to me.

I have always believed that his obvious breath was an attempt to teach me. He was sufficiently ranked that he could have executed technique without any obvious signs, but he elected to obviously breath on each technique that night. So I emulated him and breathed as he did on each technique.

That night I learned to breathe consciously with ever technique. I learned that there was power in breath properly applied.....I hope that makes sense.

With each and every technique, conscious breath improves execution. And properly applied breath increases the power of the technique....so I learned that night.

When I don't think about breath, I can execute the technique if my uke is sufficiently below me. However, where an uke offers me good resistance, and I know the technique, but it doesn't seem to be working, taking a moment to add a focus on the breath along with the technique always seems to prove successful.

I'm sorry Mike. But I just can't explain it better than that..... Hope it helps.
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Old 07-31-2005, 06:20 AM   #147
Mark Uttech
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Re: Defining Kokyu

The baseball player who came to Aikido to improve his batting skills was named Sadaharu Oh. He became famous for hitting homeruns standing on one leg. He broke Babe Ruth's record and also
Hank Aaron's, and became the world's top hitter. He attributed his success to what he learned from Koichi Tohei.
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Old 07-31-2005, 08:50 AM   #148
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Quote:
Brenda Allen wrote:
I am an Iwama style practioner and was then practicing in Iwama. How do I explain without offending???? What I saw and felt that night was not some strange otherness. I saw a man breathing in and out....consciously. And no matter how hard I resisted his technique, he breathed and then executed. Granted, he could have just executed, he was that strong, but he always breathed. And his breath was obvious to me.
You don't have to worry about being offensive... you're just discussing a topic and feeling around how to say it. No biggy.

The inhale and exhale of air. I mentioned this once before in another post. Qigongs and Breathing exercises are more than just "breathing in and out", getting into a trance, etc. They're conditioning exercises and they're used to strengthen the body in a special way. Let me compare that special useage of the body with a muscle (although it's not a muscle we're talking about). The inhales stretches and pressurizes that "muscle", the exhale contracts and "tightens the weave" on that muscle. It's a big part of "ki". You adjust your entry and execution of technique with the correct useage of this "muscle". Someone who doesn't know about this thing will focus on the "Breathing" or the "Breath" and miss the fact that something else is going on (hey.. you can't see it, so...). It's where the idea of "breath power" comes from. And it's why "breath" can be a misleading translation of "kokyu".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-31-2005, 10:48 AM   #149
Mike Sigman
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote:
The baseball player who came to Aikido to improve his batting skills was named Sadaharu Oh. He became famous for hitting homeruns standing on one leg. He broke Babe Ruth's record and also
Hank Aaron's, and became the world's top hitter. He attributed his success to what he learned from Koichi Tohei.
Which pretty much assures you that one of the training things Tohei had him do was to stand on one leg. It's a very good part of someone's training.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:05 PM   #150
Alfonso
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Re: Defining Kokyu

Is breath a necessary component of Kokyu ? Is conscious control of breath in timing benefitial / necessary?

For the purpose of this discusssion I'm assuming the definition of Kokyu is along the lines of an expression of relaxed "power", or "not major muscle group" power, not going into other aspects of Aikido.. or does Kokyu also encompass what happens at a distance. pre-contact (as in dueling with swords for example)? Or would that be a mix up of more than one concept, like "Aiki" and so on, which would be another interesting discussion to me.

To transmit to/from the ground I understand we're using our frame as a vehicle; are we using a "skin"-like part of our body as well?

as an aside Henry Kono sensei visited our dojo a few years back and I had to relearn how to take Ukemi in a way that I really became conscious of keeping my balance under my hips and driving "from center". An unintended consequence for me was that as uke I started break falling less and less; really a choice only now. This also improved my overall balance as Nage..

Kokyu requires balance no? Some people can be very balanced in some very strange positions .. reminds of me of Saotome sensei doing Kotegaeshi standing on one leg using the other leg as the application of technique..

Alfonso Adriasola
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