Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kuzushi is useless unless it is effortless

Have you ever noticed, when practicing renzoku (combination techniques) in aikido or judo, that the more effort that you put into forcing the first technique to work, the less likely you are to get the second technique?  Well, consider this...
Classically, any throw is considered to be divided into four parts:
  • kuzushi - getting uke offbalance
  • tsukuri - fitting in for a throw
  • kake - the moment of throwing effort
  • zanshin - followup, or remaining alert
Or, in other words, any throwing action is a combination (renzokuwaza) of those four actions.  Just like when doing combinations, I bet if you examine your technique you will find that the more effort you put into attaining kuzushi, the less able you are to get into proper position (tsukuri), and that if you force the tsukuri then it will be harder to get kake.  Finally, if you do manage to pull off kake by grunting your way through it you won't be able to get any semblance of zanshin.
The purpose of kuzushi is to make it easier to do a technique.  If you have to exert so much to get kuzushi that you make it harder to do the technique, then the kuzushi is useless.
Thus, kuzushi is useless unless it is effortless.

[Photo courtesy of JA Dianes]

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