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AIKIDO KOKYU-NAGE THE SUBLIME AND THE PRACTICAL  

2014-02-21 21:18:51|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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by Roy Suenaka & Christopher Watson, B.A.

Originally published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts ? Volume 7 Number 4 ? 1998

Digital Edition ? 2010

All Rights Reserved by Via Media Publishing Company

No part of this file may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written per- mission form the publisher, except by writers who may quote brief passages to be print- ed for review or reference. Kindly write to the publisher concerning requests to make use of any of the materials published in this files, or contact the authors directly.

Via Media Publishing ? 941 Calle Mejia #822, Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA www.journalofasianmartialarts.com



One of the most common and dynamic tech- niques in aikido is the kokyu-nage. Kokyu- nage encompasses a broad category of aikido tech- niques, all of which can generally be defined as a throw of some kind. Yet when one deconstructs the term, kokyu-nage reveals itself to mean more than just physically hurling your attacker across the mat or pavement.

 

Those who study judo are intimately familiar with the term nage. Nage essentially means a throw, or to throw (although in aikido it also means the defender, one who performs the tech- nique). Perhaps the most common example of this in judo is the category of techniques that fall beneath the umbrella of koshi-nage, or hip throws. Likewise in aikido, almost all throw designations end with the term nage, for example irimi-nage S

UENAKA SENSEI

(entering throw), sayu-nage (sideways throw) and

DEMONSTRATING

shiho-nage (four directions throw). Still, all of AIKIDO

S IRIMI-NAGE

these throws, and even those that do not end with (ENTERING THROW).

the nage designation, such as sumi-otoshi (corner drop), are kokyu-nage. It is apparent that the key All photographs courtesy

to a better understanding of kokyu-nage rests with- of R. Suenaka & C. Watson.

in the definition of kokyu.


 

KOKYU

The most often encountered definition of kokyu is breath, or to breathe. Indeed, many martial disciplines, including aikido, pay great atten- tion to the meditative discipline of kokyu-ho, the way of proper breathing. Yet still, kokyu, even in this sense, means much more than simple respira- tion. Though the literal translation of kokyu-nage is “breath throw,” kokyu in the context of aikido technique refers to the unimpeded flow of ki through oneself and so through one’s technique.

KI

One of the greatest ironies that exists within the world aikido commu- nity is the ongoing heated debate concerning the definition and even the existence of ki and its place, if any, in aikido study and execution of tech- nique (waza). Indeed, it is arguably this frequently profound difference of opinion that most often differentiates aikido styles. The irony is that the debate exists at all.

Ki is the heart of aikido. The very designation aikido clearly demon- strates this: ai, meaning harmony or blending; ki, meaning vital life energy, the energy of the universe; and do, the way. Thus, aikido is most-common- ly translated as “the way of universal harmony.” This admittedly sublime definition is interpreted by some aikidoka to mean there should be zero con- flict and resistance when engaged in aikido training, and that in this way they are demonstrating universal love for all things in accordance with aiki- do founder Ueshiba Morihei’s guiding doctrine, while simultaneously fos- tering ki development. On the other side of the debate are those who firmly believe that such an apparently passive philosophy has no place in martial study and that if this philosophy is the result of incorporating awareness and development of ki as part of their training, then ki has no place in a martial system; and so, they train without this awareness.

This dichotomy can be at least partially resolved by removing the def- inition of ki from its lofty, esoteric shelf and bringing it down to a more prac- tical, accessible level. Mind you, more esoteric definitions of ki are valid: an earnest discussion with a quantum physicist concerning the increasingly accepted theories of universal “superstrings” and the immutable, intricate vibrations of space-time will set even the most ardent ki skeptic’s mind reel- ing with previously unexplored explanations of what ki might be. But for purposes of this discussion, let us focus on the more practical aspects of ki; let us define ki as it relates to the successful execution of aikido techniques, and therefore its relationship to kokyu.

KI: A PRACTICALD

EFINITION For practical defense purposes, one may define ki as the energy of intent — ki is focus and concentration, the total unification and commit- ment of body, mind and spirit when executing technique (kime), so that everything at that moment suddenly becomes clear, relaxed and natural.


Rather than being a mystical force few can ever hope to even understand, let alone make manifest within themselves and their technique, practical ki awareness and control is born of diligent training with an eye towards its conscious development. This development may be accomplished through exercises specifically designed to nourish the intrinsic and instinctive sense of ki born within us all, as well as through sincere and consistent waza train- ing. The point to be made is that no matter what one’s vocation, as mastery grows, so too does development and awareness of ki, no matter how they define it or the degree of their conscious awareness of it. A professional ath- lete may call it “being in the zone,” or say they were “seeing the ball really well,” so that they could do nothing wrong. For purposes of this discussion, this is ki and what it means to be aware of it and use it.

KI AND KOKYU As noted earlier, kokyu, in the context of aikido technique, refers to the unimpeded flow of ki through oneself and so through one’s technique. Thus, kokyu-nage means to use this unimpeded flow of ki to effect the throw. However, this does not mean one throws one’s attacker without touching him, using only the power of ki. Although Ueshiba’s was often observed doing just that (with several instances recorded on film), this abil- ity is arguably beyond all but the most gifted and utterly dedicated martial artists. Rather, using ki to effect kokyu-nage means unifying body, mind and spirit through kime at the moment the technique is executed, so that there is no conflict or clashing with the attacker’s own physical movement and ki. In order to achieve this, one must also capture and lead the attacker’s ki.

Capturing and leading an attacker’s ki depends on several variables. Again, let us focus on the more practical ones. There are the mechanics of technique, including but not limited to proper distance from the attacker (ma-ai), proper timing (ri-ai), and body movement/position (tai-sabaki). By observing proper mechanics of technique, coupled with a conscious aware- ness and extension of one’s own ki, one may effectively capture and subse- quently lead the attacker’s kime, his own focus and energy of intent, his commitment to his attack. Through so doing, one brings about kuzushi, the physical and mental off-balancing of the attacker. When one correctly incor- porates all of these variables into one’s technique, then seigyo is achieved: total control of the situation. One’s own ki is flowing, the attacker’s ki is captured, blended with one’s own and re-directed, the mechanics of the tech- nique click, and the attacker is thrown. There is no conflict or resistance because there is no physical or mental clash between defender and attacker. Rather, both are in harmony; their ki is linked (ki-musubi) and flowing (ki- no-nagare) in one dynamic moment, which both culminates in and defines kokyu-nage.

What follows are four examples of aikido kokyu-nage, demonstrated by Roy Suenaka. Study these examples to observe not only the proper mechan- ics of each technique, but how the successful execution of each technique depends on the variables discussed above.


 

 

 

IRIMI When one executes aikido waza, the technique is performed either tenkan (turning away) or irimi (entering). This also holds true for kokyu-nage. While the decision to move either tenkan or irimi very much defines the kokyu-nage, both movements share the same goal: to lead the attacker’s ki and simultaneously effect kuzushi (breaking the attacker’s balance). The primary difference between tenkan and irimi, for practical purposes, is directional.

TENKAN Tenkan means to turn. It is the circular, blending movement that is per- haps the hallmark of aikido waza. When one turns away (tenkan), one is accomplishing the dual purpose of removing oneself from the attack- er’s offensive sphere — moving off the attacking line — while capturing and leading the attacker’s body and ki, breaking his balance in the process. Once the attacker’s ki is captured and full control is attained (kuzushi), this captured energy is re-directed and used to effect the throw. (Refer to the photo series depicting katate-tori kokyu-nage han- tai tenkan.)

IRIMI Irimi means to enter. Irimi is to move into the attacker’s offensive sphere. This may appear to fly in the face of aikido convention, to clash and conflict rather than harmonize, but it does not. While tenkan depends on waiting until an attacker has fully committed to his strike, irimi is to move into the heart of the attack at the moment of commit- ment but before the attack has the chance to fully manifest itself. One still captures and blends with an attacker’s ki and attains full control (kuzushi), only much earlier, and re-directs his ki to effect the throw. (Refer to the photo series depicting yokomen-uchi sumi-otoshi irimi.)

? ? ?

A simple analogy illustrating the primary difference between tenkan and irimi can be found in striking a match and holding one’s hand above the flame. Tenkan is to remove one’s hand from the stream of heat and extinguish the match by, say, blowing it out. Irimi is to cover the match with your hand at the moment it first flares, extinguishing it before it has the opportunity to fully ignite.

TENKAN VERSUS

2

A-3

A-4

Journal of Asian Martial Arts ? Volume 7 Number 4 - 1998

KATATE-TORI KOKYU-NAGE TENKAN (wrist grab attack, breath throw defense, turning)

A-1 As the attacker grabs Suenaka’s wrist (katate-tori), Suenaka moves to the attacker’s right, taking the attacker off-balance. A-2 Suenaka continues moving to the side out of range of any possible counter strike and further off-balancing the attacker. He simultaneously captures the attacker’s head with his left hand and brings it into his right shoulder securing control. Note how the attacker’s grasp on Suenaka’s right hand is broken as Suenaka has full control (kuzushi), blending the attacker’s ki with his own. A-3 Having led the attacker off-balance, Suenaka reverses direction, moving forward on his right foot as he begins rotating his right shoulder forward, re-directing the attacker’s balance and ki to the attacker’s rear. At this point, it is the attacker’s head, rather than his body, that is being thrown. A-4 Suenaka completes his move forward on his right foot, dropping his hips and directing his ki downward A-5 thus completing the throw.

A-5

TECHNICALSECTION

 

 

YOKOMEN-UCHI SUMI-OTOSHI TENKAN (side of the head strike attack, corner drop defense, turning)

B-1 The attacker strikes toward Suenaka’s head (yoko-men-uchi). Suenaka begins moving rearward on his left foot, turning away (tenkan) as he raises his hands B-2 and captures the attacker’s striking hand with his left while striking (atemi) with his right to the attacker’s head. Note that this capture is not a block, but a blend. Simultaneously, he continues turning while initiating control of the attacker (kuzushi).

C-1 The attacker intends to strike toward Suenaka’s head (yoko-men-uchi), moving his right hand backwards, chambering for the strike. Suenaka moves in (irimi), sliding with his left foot C-2 and cutting down and back with his left hand on the attacker’s striking wrist. Simultaneously, he slides his right hand up the attacker’s chest and C-3 over his shoulder, close to the attacker’s head, while continuing the

B-2 B-1

C-1

C-2 YOKOMEN-UCHI

IRIMI-NAGE (side of the head strike attack, entering throw)


 

 

B-4

B-3

B-5

B-3 Suenaka continues turning, further capturing and blending with the attacker’s ki as he lays his right hand to the side of the attacker’s head and cuts downward B-4 propelling the attacker off his feet B-5 and onto the mat, completing the throw. Note how Suenaka keeps his grip on the attacker’s lead hand, so that a submission may be employed.

downward/rearward cut with his right arm. Note how Suenaka continues moving in (irimi). At this point, he has blended with the attacker’s ki and re-directed it rearward. C-4 Suenaka continues the downward cut, dropping his hips. The attacker is thrown.


 

D-1 KATATE-TORI

The attacker grabs Suenaka’s wrist (katate-tori) and SAYU-NAGE IRIMI

prepares to move in to strike with his left hand. (wrist grab attack,

D-2 Suenaka moves to the attacker’s right side, simultaneously turning his sideways throw)

body to the left, leading (not pulling) the attacker off-balance and blending with the attacker’s ki. This also removes Suenaka from the attacker’s offensive sphere. As he does so, Suenaka strikes, further destroying the attacker’s focus (kime). D-3 Suenaka continues to move in, extending his left hand into the center of the attacker’s sphere/center of balance, until his left shoulder is beneath the attacker’s chin. At this point, Suenaka has blended completely with the attacker’s ki and has re-directed it, leading the attacker even further off-balance. D-4 Suenaka rotates his left shoulder rearward while dropping his hips and

bringing his right hand down atop the attacker’s chest. The attacker is thrown. It is the hip drop and shoulder rotation that effects the throw. Without this, the additional strike to the chest has less impact.

TENKAN VERSUS IRIMI The following examples illustrate the difference between tenkan (turning away) and irimi (entering), using the same technique. Refer to the sidebar TENKAN VERSUS IRIMI

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