Kokyu ryoku as a result of Taijū no dendō

taïjū = body weight – dendō = transmission, conduction

Kokyū-Ryoku (呼吸力, Breath Power) Is the concept of relaxed power generated from the tanden. There is an implication in the word kokyū that this type of power does not clash with uke. (From Wikipedia)

Kokyu is mostly translated as “breath”, but can be understood as the concept of “prana” in yoga. Although it must be mentioned that breathing is only a small part of the prana concept also called “life force”. Breathing is a dynamic process and is an integral part of our being as a living person.

Another definition can be found in a a popular Japanese book:

Aikido: Tradition and Competitive Edge

In a book written by Tetsuro Nariyama and Fumiaki Shishida – Aikido: Tradition and Competitive Edge – Kokyu-ryoku and toitsuryoku is briefly mentioned. Correct use of the body and breathing can develop focused power: toitsuryoku. Some basic movements are explained to develop this kind of power. These exercises are very basic and you will find them also in other aiki-arts.

Don’t Think, Listen to the Body

Written by Akira Hino is an attempt to create a method to develop a martial body, useful in the many martial arts lacking an understandable method for developing soft power. This method is used as a supporting aid in our research.

An introduction into the practical use of opposing isometric tension

Taijū no ido & Taijū no dendō“, the relationship between the two concepts was discussed by using some Tomiki Aikidō techniques and/or exercises. The article is based upon a workshop we did some time ago. More explanations are needed to deepen the knowledge of these important concepts

In 2017 we made a short videoclip about “manipulation of structure”. At that time we were not aware about the importance of Taijū no ido & Taijū no dendō, and in particularity the use of Taijū no dendō concept. It was briefly mentioned, but the understanding was not so deep.

During Corona-Covid19 time , more people perform solo-training. Unfortunately the focus is mostly oriented upon the sequence and the outer appearance. Of course there are some on-line video clips with more information about the inner development during solo-training. There is perhaps one disadvantage with on-line teaching: no hands-on experience.

The example of bringing Taijū no dendō concept into the training has the same disadvantage: no hands-on experience. If you need this hands-on experience, find someone in the near future to solve your problem and give answers to your questions.

This post is an attempt to describe a solo-training pattern with words and some pictures. It is not the ideal format, but hopefully the near future will bring enlightenment.

There are “5 Steps” to consider in this kind of training

  • Step One: Awareness and moving bodyweight
  • Step Two: Stepping by using bodyweight
  • Step Three: Basic Tegatana movements without stepping
  • Step Four: Basic Tegatana movements with stepping
  • Step Five: Sotai dosa with integrated Taijū no dendō concept

First step in studying Taijū no dendō

Moving body weight

Body weight can move in 3 ways

  • Vertical plane
  • Horizontal plane
  • Combination of vertical and horizontal plane

Becoming aware of the bodyweight is the first step to explore the basic idea in Taijū no dendō. Body weight can move up and down. Imagine a structure as in the picture. Sometimes reference is made to tensegrity also called Jukozo, a term used in Japanese architecture for flexible structures.

Sometimes reference is made to tensegrity also called Jukozo, a term used in Japanese architecture for flexible structures.

Bodyweight can be put on different parts of the feet. During ritsuzen or standing exercises, bodyweight can change in all directions.

Bodyweight can move forward, backward or to the sides. Basically it can move following a 360° pattern. Keep the vertical line straight. Don’t disturb this line by bending the body forward for example. After some time practising, you will experience the vertical line in the body.

Second step

Ayumi ashi

Using the knees to transmit the bodyweight into the opponent is not by bending the knees, but by lowering the bodyweight which creates kneebending. Chidori-ashi walking is an exercise without a partner to learn how to move the body weight.

Another concept in the the training is the concept of “opposing isometric tension”. When the body weight is moving forward, the direction is going down into the front foot, in particular the ball of the foot. This creates opposing isometric tension. When lowering the body weight and the heel is touching the floor, the power of the opposing isometric tension is moving into the floor and makes your posture more stable.

  1. Start with a chidori ashi posture. Hand to the side. Bodyweight backwards.
  2. After turning the body, bring bodyweight forward and create opposing isometric tension.
  3. Put bodyweight more to the heel and release opposing isometric tension in the foot and leg. Koshi is lowering.
  4. Lift back foot and move it forward
  5. Assume chidori ashi posture.

Repeat this walking several times.

Third step

Tandoku undo (static exercise)

In the 3rd step we will introduce basic hand/arm movement based upon the “godosa tegatana” or 5 basic tegatana movements. Integrating koshi-mawari is necessary to create full body movement. Of course Taijū no dendō concept is a part of the movement. There is no stepping involved yet.

Although the exercises are primarly influenced by godosa tegatana, the first exercise is “shomen uchi” and is a basic movement with an origin in swordmanship. Basic tegatana movement, also called Tandoku Undo is a set developped by Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba.

The use of opposing isometric tension is also a start for “hakkei” or explosive power. When the opposing isometric tension is guided into the floor, there will be a rebound and this can be directed into the hands. As a simple example “shomen uchi’ with isometric tension. Five basic tegatana movements use the same isometric tension method to produce “kokyu ryoku”, power generated by Taijū no dendō.

Fourth step

Tandoku undo (dynamic exercises)

Combining stepping and basic tegatana movements.

There are basically 2 methods of stepping:

  • Ayumi ashi: discussed earlier in this post – see Second Step
  • Tsugi ashi: using opposing isometric tension can create a sudden step forward full of power.

Shomen uchi with tsugi ashi

In Tomiki’s Aikido, Tandoku undo has a lot of versions. Most recent version use “shomen uchi” as the starting movement. Shomen uchi is a vertical downward strike to the head of an opponent. There is a relationship with a vertical strike with a sword (kiri oroshi). In koryu no kata daisan, tachi tai tachi, the first kata is ai-uchi or simultaneous strike. In many Japanese martial arts, a vertical strike belongs to the omote-waza or the first set of techniques/movements.

Fifth step

Sotai dosa

Using Taijū no dendō concept during paired exercises. An example can be seen at the beginning of this post.

How to use Taijū no dendō?

Using Taijū no dendō is already discussed in the 5 steps mentioned earlier. Sometimes it is necessary to step out of the box and introduce Taijū no dendō in another situation. Because we don’t have always a partner to experience bodily contact in real-time, we can mimic situations during solo-training.

For example, imagine someone is grasping your wrist and you like to apply balance disturbing with the gedan concept from 7-hon-no-kuzushi.

Taijū no dendō gedan

The turning of the hand can be used in aiki-age (upward movement or jodan) or aiki-sage (downward movement or gedan).

The turning point is in the palm of the hand. When using the wrist as a turning point, the line of power will be broken. An example with “gedan”.

About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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