Restarting Kuzushi

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by kensei1984, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. kensei1984

    kensei1984 Panda Power!

    Hi Guys,

    Just wanted your opinion on this particular feature of Aikido and Jujitsu.

    Basically, we all want to use efficient taisabaki to remove ourselves out of harm's way. This is what I like about these arts, we minimise damage to ourselves.

    But, while I am, often able to get my body out of the way, I am often unable to pick up the offending limb or even pick up a non-offending limb. This makes my only option to use a strike. I find myself doing this too often in free fighting.

    If I want to take control of the arm or leg often I have to resort to a hard block cause the stikre comes faster than I can react (being short sighted really doesn't help, i hate wearing glasses and contacts during training, and working on getting laser eye surgery).

    I can slow down the attack most of the time, but then I have to force the unbalancing to start again by distracting with atemi-waza and then kuzushi. Using first principles and unbalancing techniques, this is easy enough, but I wonder if there is a better way. Anyone suggest anything? Is what I am doing necessarily wrong? I noticed that Yoshinkan do this a lot. Momentum is interrupted and then recreated, but I'm meeting force with force.
  2. Rock Ape

    Rock Ape Banned Banned

    Kuzushi exists in three distinct areas in an overall technique

    1. Following awase (almost as if awase and kuzushi are the same)
    2. Following atemi and or during your body movement setting up awaza
    3. The effect of waza upon your partner which causes them to lose total control of their posture:- They fall over

    Now, for waza to be effective a number of things must happen.

    1. Control of Ma 間 - The distance between you and your opponent
    2. Awase 合わせ - The effective movement of your body relative to threat
    3. Atemi 当身 - Striking the body of your opponent (before, during and after waza)
    4. Kuzushi 崩し- See my first statement
    5. Waza 技 - The physical application of technique must be smooth continuous and with intent.

    Always bear in mind that atemi is an integral part of aikido and although many schools of the discipline emphasis less atemi and more blending/harmonising, failure to apply atemi ultimately means that you're really only applying two of three possible opportunities for keeping effective kuzushi.

    If; as you make awase, you feel you aren't achieving kuzushi correctly, adjust your posture relative to uke.. IE Bring yourself closer, make contact with your hips through their centre and, push your centre through their's, as you do this make atemi where applicable then, move through whatever taisabaki required to effect the technique you were aiming for.

    Another interesting aspect is that regardless of what appendage is being thrown at you, deal with the person, not an arm, leg -whatever- naturally you will find with practice, you'll actually do both simultaneously but, the person is more important, develop your understanding of how to make your uke lose control of their posture by using your body mass rather than, just using your arms.

    Hope that helps, it’s hard to be more specific over the internet when you can't physically see the area of difficulty.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  3. kensei1984

    kensei1984 Panda Power!

    Darn, had to break out the dictionary again, thanks koryu :p :D

    If you break it down like that, I'd have to say its the awase. If the technique is wrong, then it is my fault.

    I understand that the atemi is a integral part of aikido, but there are several situations where I feel that I really don't want to use it, cause if I blend extremely well with the attack. The nature of my problem is the timing. I cannot effectively have awase cause the attack often comes too fast, and I end up blocking, which stops the movement. Which means if i want to initiate kuzushi, I have to use atemi and then force a kuzushi. Hardly what I call blending. I'm not totally against atemi, but if I were to achieve a perfect awase, you can just imagine the ownage over my opponent as he is then my plaything. I would argue to achieve a kuzushi without atemi works even better, but 10x harder against a fast attack.

    Thanks very much for your help though, I wish I could show you my problems via youtube, but I can't. I have nage waza videos, but they are for a grading, and hence set up. I'm talking about kuzushi in practical applications. I can get out of the way jsut fine, it's just achieving the kuzushi from the awase.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  4. joriki

    joriki New Member

    A few things that pops into my mind:
    1) Maai. Many times I have found that if your distancing is off then the Kuzushi very hard to do.
    2) Baai timing. depending on your flavor of aikido make sure you are using the correct timing for the waza. Is this waza one that uses late timing (like tenkan ikkyo or tsure nage?) or does it use early timing (such as irimi nage). I would go back and review the proper timing stragty ( and the "sen" varents)
    3) Check your foot work. Jest because the body is removed from the path of project from the attack, it does not mean foot knee and hips are in alignment to deliver the transmission of smooth and powerful force to create the kuzushi
    4) what type of kuzushi strategy are you using? Different waza have different focus points on where the kuzushi comes into play. example taking tsure nage - it can be argued that you travel with the uke's line of force and then at the point that the ukes power fades and yours begins it would be appropriate to use a kuzushi to throw the uke- granted their are several variations tsure nage that use different concepts)
    5) points of contact on uke – what method of contacting the uke are using (hard pressure or soft pressure? Unified seizure or multiple sensation grabbing?) What physical location? What direction of force are you appling your sizure of the uke in (are you sliding your hand along the uke or apply pressure in a direction when making contact, pre kuzushi?)
    6) what angle of force is the kuzushi being used? Sometime the correct kuzushi is not done in the direction that you want to throw the uke in. as many advanced aiki throws use several kuzushi in a given waza. Example to off balance someone to the back you might need to make the feel like uke is coming foreword so the try to gain the balance backwards at which time you apply the kuzushi to get them to go back.

    I can not sya from your posting that you are doing anything wrong as your style of aikido this may be the correct thing. so my above comments are generalized points about Kuzushi. if you can find any merit in the above then cool.

    Of course your mileage may very as this is just my own view point
  5. joriki

    joriki New Member

    OH btw in my style we hardly ever use Atemi. It is considered a crutch. All techinques should be able to be done without atemi. which at that point atemi can be added it. I would suggest try learning the waza without atemi and then when like koryu101 says (minus the atemi) is fully understood go and add the atemi back in.

    just my own view.
  6. kensei1984

    kensei1984 Panda Power!

    joriki, your opinions are always useful. Thanks!

    I always believe that to be practical, atemi must always be an option at hand.

    But I also believe in training and applying techniques without atemi. If atemi were the only option, I wouldn't be doing aikido, which complicates matters further.

    Maybe it is my timing, or the situations that I'm put in. Technically, I have not done freefighting as such, maybe in Shinken shobu no kata, but not in free fighting.

    The situations that i am finding it hard to apply are in my grading requirements. They were to go head to head with anything goes for 3 minutes with one opponent, for three rounds. 1 point for a strike that connects, and 3 points for a lock, takedown or a throw. To pass, both must have a score that is within 5%. Otherwise, both do not pass. So there is an initiative to strike. Maybe this is putting my distancing off, as defending at the same time as going on the offensive is hard to say the least.

    My stance is the zenkutsu. The options available to me are irimi, irimi senkai, o-irimi-senkai, hiraki/okuri, nagashi.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Kensei

    The previous posts are excellent examples what I would add is to study sen timing. This states that sen demands that you see an attack coming avoid it and unbalance the attacker. Sen no sen demands that you see an attack coming and cut it aside to unbalance. Sen sen no sen demands that you "sense" an attack coming and you pre-empt it by striking at the attacker drawing his arm up in defence and executing an unbalancing technique on that arm.

    One major principle I have found in Ikkyo is not to attack the fist/wrist rather attack the elbow. As you say strikes come too fast but if you train to "see" his overall body movement they can be delt with in the three manners I have described.

    regards koyo

    Below I have used sen to enter inside the right hand thrust and sen sen no sen to pre-empt any other attack by striking at David's head. The atemi has drawn his hand up in defence . This defence left him vulnerable to ikkyo on that arm. In effect I executed a technique on the arm other than the one used to attack.As mentioned it is most difficult to explain without video.Hope this is clear.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  8. kensei1984

    kensei1984 Panda Power!

    Thanks koyo, giving me selections makes it much easier to explain.

    I think out of the three, sen no sen would be the most useful for me to train.

    Ninjutsu use this as part of their training don't they? They capture the entire movement of the opponent attack mechanics, and consistently visualise in their head and locate certain movements that precede the attack, and train the body to react to it?
  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi kensei

    I am fortunate to have friends who are shihan in kendo, karate and judo and have cross trained with them for decades. This has been invaluable to my sense of timing,unbalancing (and survival). At my dojo we have had ninjutsuka on ocasion and sen timing has been their main interest, that and weapons training.

    regards koyo
  10. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    To expand on requirements at the expense of being rather complex;

    1.間合い (Maai) - Combative distancing.
    2.拍子 (Hyoshi) - Timing. 先々之先 (sensen no sen - preemptive initiative), 先之先 (sen no sen - spontaneous initiative) and 後之先 (go no sen - responsive initiative) are all inapplicable without proper hyoshi.

    These two qualities are indispensible in any budo. Without it, you might as well permanently wear a gumshield and nutcup. Without them, you do not have awase.

    3.体捌 (Taisabaki) - Body movement skills. Without proper taisabaki, irimi, tenkan, and other movements are sketchy at best.
    4.手捌 (Tesabaki) - Hand movement skills. Without proper tesabaki, you can't block, parry or effect decent kansetsu waza.
    5.足捌 (Ashisabaki) - Foot movement skills (i.e. footwork - the treads on the tank.) See no.3 also, without proper ashisabaki, you cannot effect proper atemi.

    Again, at the risk of sounding repetitive, without these, you can't really develop awase and a good structural base to creat kuzushi.

    6.当身 (Atemi) - Striking skills that help to creat kuzushi. In Koryu jujutsu (The root of aikido in essence), these are employed almost all the time in torite and goshin waza.
  11. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Good to hear from you again kogusoku. But do you HAVE to make it sound so easy??? :)

    regards koyo

    Have you looked at the new daito ryu jujutsu thread :bang: :bang: :bang:
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  12. Rock Ape

    Rock Ape Banned Banned

    You're very welcome.
    If you are specifically talking about goshin/oyo/ara waza application then I would have to stress the need for solid atemi more often than not. But that's just my opinion.
  13. Rock Ape

    Rock Ape Banned Banned

    That made my eyes bleed somewhat. :rolleyes:
  14. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Glad I wasn't the only one.. :D

    But this thread is a great one. Nice info going on in here guys.
    Thanks. :)
  15. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    You are most welcome young padawan (had to get that in) :Angel:

    I am finding it most interesting and informative too.

    regards koyo

    I have come to believe that the most effective way to unbalance someone is "backwards to the side"

    your thoughts?
  16. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I think you are right that your eye sight is limiting your ability to apply technique. Prescription goggles tend to get ripped off in training, but I still recommend them as a good option to help you see better. However, what might also help is some of the eye strengthening exercises used by baseball players to "see the ball better". Look at something far awy until it comes in focus, then look at something close until it comes in focus. Do this three or so times, several times a day.

    The laser eye surgery is great, but plan on taking many months out of training afterwards to let it all heal up. You might be able to do forms and such but not much that utilizes contact or acceleration to the face/head area which is most of Aikido ukemi.

    Without vision (e.g. the attacks appear too fast) I had the same issue when sparring younger folks that seem to just be faster than me. Sometimes it is just a matter of fighting spirit. I mean I've been able to intimidate opponents after I hit them, making them hesitate because they don't want to get hit again (effectively breaking their spirit); however, before that initial good penetrating hit on them, they can be extremely confident and fast.

    Positioning and control of distance I found to be extremely important because you will meet people that have very strong spirit or at least confidence, and their attacks will appear very explosive and quick, even if their technique isn't all that good.

    I would say, work on improving your footwork. As koyo tells people, move at the hip.

    First I would not be in zenkutsu dachi unless you have a particular affinity to "crane-style" type of movements. Even so, zenkutsu dachi is not for fighting, but for learning to shift weight while turning the hips for power. IME, for zenkutsu dachi to be of any use, you have to be good at leg sweeps and kicking. If you are just moving the upper body, your lower body will be very vulnerable, hence why I say that you need to be good at leg sweeps and kicks when using that stance so that you will be moving your feet a lot to attack with.

    Second, I might suggest that you open up your mind to what atemi is. Atemi can be striking or cutting using any part of your body. Good atemi, IMHO, strikes through the target with acceleration from the hips (using whole body) from the ground up. Or it cuts through the target using gravity and momentum (any acceleration will come from the shift of weight and gravity). Complex atemi integrates the two (striking and cutting) effectively as needed, but this can take ten years or more to develop. Mostly people use one or the other at any particular time.

    All atemi is important that the striking surface you use matches the target you hit, like how the proper key fits in the lock. When proper atemi attacks kuzushi (weakness in balance) then you have an application of Aiki.

    So long story short... if you find you do not have time for atemi or that you feel you do not want to use it... what I suggest is you learn to SHORTEN your atemi.

    If you have questions on what I mean by shortening your atemi, feel free to ask.

    Hope this helps.
  17. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I'm also severely short sighted. I only ever wore glasses on the mat when I had to read something. I don't wear contacts either. I simply learned to do without.

    I my experience there are two ways to deal with an attack. You can attempt to lead the attack by staying just out of reach (a hairs breadth from the strike). Or you can enter with an atemi, stopping the attack before it can fully begin. Both require good timing which may be all you're lacking.

    Stop worrying on your eyesight and concentrate on the guy that wants to punch you.
  18. Rock Ape

    Rock Ape Banned Banned

    That would of course depend upon their kamae and your position relative to them at the time but, yes I see what you're saying.
  19. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Timing is very important and the only way to really get it is through experience.

    I believe though, that the basic techniques when used in application should not require timing or that you have good timing. They need to be intuitive and direct.

    I'm not saying that you do not want good timing skills... I'm only saying that the timing can take years or decades to develop. The timing is one important factor in what makes your martial arts particularly effective. However, what protects you in a dark alley in real world needs to first work without dependence on timing. Timing is what makes it better.

    I don't see anything wrong with your belief... :p

    In fact I would agree :love:

    One question... if a technique consists of three cuts in Aikido, would it matter which cut is to unbalance "backwards to the side"?
  20. joriki

    joriki New Member

    I would disagree largely on the statement that the most effective way to unbalance someone is to the back to the side.
    that view point to me says a few things.
    1) that you are focused on a liner fighting model.
    2) advanced footwork and directional entry may not fully utilized. Various techniques end in a throw that is not backwards or to the side. In my view most people are expecting to get knocked backwards in a conflict so are trying to be prepared for it.
    3) the statement that aikiwolfie said is dead one, if keep that timing off balancing is much eaiser.
    4) koryu101 is also very much on target
    5) I would also say that direct method is best is very dependant on skill level. I think more experenced aikidoist might enjoy and find more effective in-direct method.

    just my view.

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