One can think about kuzushi in a lot of different ways, including -
- A pre-requisite or set-ups for doing a technique. The first step in executing a technique. (Classical judo thinking)
- Slowing/weakening uke so that tori/nage has more than enough power to effect his will upon uke. (IIRC, The Book of Martial Power calls this "shortening uke’s line." One of my favorite instructors of all time use to hammer us with the idea that the purpose of kuzushi is to make uke slower and weaker than yourself - that is, kuzushi forces uke to work at however slow a speed you want him to.)
- Crumbling structure - if you become expert at kuzushi, you can do it so well that you do not need any of your own power to effect the kake part of the throw. Sort of like expert demolitions men that can disrupt the structure of a building so precisely that they can drop it wherever they want to, or an expert woodcutter that can fell a tree exactly where he wants to.
Watch the video above. They're not putting external force on the tree (or at least not much - they appear to be adding wedges to keep the saw blade free.) They just disrupt the tree's structure so precisely that it falls where they want it. If this is analogous to an aikido or judo throw, then there is no kake phase. They just do tsukuri and kuzushi and then wait in a safe place.
Watch the following two videos - one of kuzushi done right and one of kuzushi done dramatically wrong.
People, like buildings, have a lot of potential energy, and causing them to fall to the ground recklessly can cause a lot of grief, so it behooves us to figure out how to do this kuzushi thing right.
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