Moderator: Megan Lieff
You and I, as Westerners, use the term “breath” to mean…well…breath. To us, this means either the act of breathing in and out, or the air that one breathes with that act.
The Japanese use the term differently, at least in an aikido context. “Breath” can mean timing, movement, power, the development of harmony in movement – the very essence of aikido – or, it can simply mean breath
Virtually any throw that uses primarily what the Japanese call kokyu ryoku (breath power) is eligible. As one might guess, this is the ability of the aikidoist to use the breath, in part as described above, during the execution of the technique, and is developed through a series of partner-assisted exercises called kokyu-ho (breath exercise), or kokyu-tanden-ho (breath centering exercise). These exercises, usually suwari-waza (techniques done while seated in seiza), generally involve making a good connection between uke and tori. They also involve the ability to move the attacker by use of one’s own center. This is where some schools go into “projecting your ki” and more esoteric ideas, which as it turns out aren’t as farfetched as they sound (mostly). These are simply concepts that deal with the manipulation of the energy introduced into the system by uke – that energy can be connected, built up in the center, and projected outward or toward uke’s weak direction
It wasn’t very long ago, maybe three months or so, that I first felt what a well-executed kokyu nage can do to a man my size. In this Aikkai dojo where I’m still very new, I ran up and grabbed both the collar tapes on my training partner’s gi. He didn’t move, at least not that I could see. He didn’t make a sound. He just…how can I describe it…he settled in. He entered into a “just be here, just be part of the earth” mode, and made himself solid. So solid, in fact, that I – not having any clue what was going to happen, mind you – flew backward maybe ten feet. I was slapping the mat before I knew what was happening.
Shana Moore wrote:I'm curious how you view the source of your "rootedness". Does it derive from your stance, posture, connection to the ground, body tension, body looseness or breath?
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