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Kuzushi is an out of body experience

Photo courtesy of Germaine
Kuzushi can be thought of as an out-of-body experience! Consider this - uke and tori each has a center of mass. When they are standing upright their centers of mass are generally somewhere behind and below their navels - inside their bodies. When you walk your center rises and falls with respect to the ground and it also moves around inside your body. But your center of mass generally stays inside your body except when you get into exterme, weird postures.
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But what happens when uke and tori grab ahold of each other? They become one object with one center of mass, and that center of mass is generally outside of both bodies.
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Now, center-outside-the-body does not necessarily mean offbalance or unstable in either the separate or together conditions. Each person may get his center outside his body and still be stable, and either or both partners might be stable with their collective center of mass outside both their bodies.
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But here's where it gets interesting. Each partner, individually, has equal control over the collective center of mass. If uke (for instance) stands still trying to remain stable, and tori shifts his individual center then he shifts the collective center. For a moment, until uke is able to compensate, he is unbalanced.
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This trick works best with tori shifting slightly after uke's footfall. Tori lets uke pick a place to stand, and an instant later, shifts the collective center, disrupting uke's balance and forcing another step from uke. I highly recommend playing with this as a balance game to introduce the practice of randori.
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Patrick Parker, is a Christian, husband, father, judo and aikido teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282
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