27 Jan 2009

One of the problems I’ve had with kokyu ho is that uke walks into under my arm. Uke is standing up straight and my arm is on their shoulder. If uke is my height, there is no way to finish the technique from that position. The reason for the technique failing is that I raise my arm too early, give uke the space to enter and not guide uke. I’ve struggled with this problem multiple times, and whenever I come across a better way, I forget soon after. Thus this reminder entry.

The solution thus far has been pretty simple: you turn with the hand at chudan level and only when uke’s balance is broken and they move in the direction of the turn, you raise the hand. At that point uke’s upper body and head are stopped by the throwing hand, but their legs still keep moving, resulting in uke’s back bending backwards. From that position the throw becomes a drop that requires very little force.

While the timing is important, when to raise the hand, also the position from where to start plays a key role. If you point your hand down and make a tenkan, the focus point moves too easily to the gripping hand and you become rigid. When you change the start to approach where you drop the hand and and make contact with uke’s center, the problematic turn becomes easier. You have to be careful, though, that you don’t start leaning towards uke, key thing is to keep your back straight.

It’s almost funny how you “discover” the same principles over and over again. Something doesn’t work and when you find an answer, it’s something you’ve known for years, something you’ve rediscovered before.