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Rabbit Koshi

There is an irony to koshi (the generation of power using multi-angular rotation of the core of the body).

The sensei must make the koshi big for the students to be able to see it (and thus copy it). The movements must not only be big, but the timing must be altered so that the movement of the koshi can be seen as separate from the movement of the rest of the body. When you see a sensei "using" his koshi, you are normally seeing an exaggeration. We say that the sensei has "opened his koshi" -- made it visible. To move in such a manner is too awkward and slow for self defense.

But if the sensei "closes" his koshi, beginners will not be able to see it -- because the koshi movements are too small and nearly simultaneous with the movement of the rest of the body. An advanced student will be able to see the subtle movements, or if the movements are completely internalized, at least an advanced student will be able to appreciate that koshi is being used because of the power generated.

A sensei who closes his koshi may appear not to be using koshi at all.

Thus, if you can see the koshi (because the sensei has opened his koshi), you are not really seeing true koshi -- you are seeing an exaggeration. If you cannot see koshi (because the sensei has closed his koshi), you might think that no koshi is being used at all. You might wonder, "how in the world is he generating so much power with so little motion?"

If a beginner tries to copy a sensei who has closed his koshi, the student will move with no koshi movement. He will be able to mimick the form of the movements but will only have ordinary power rather than the nearly effortless, explosive power generated by the koshi. In order to generate more power, the student will resort of straining and pumping his arms, shoulders, and legs. It will be very frustrating. Again, this type of movement is too awkward and slow for self defense.

You might have seen a magician who can pull objects from his sleeve. It is not magic, it is just that the objects are hidden in his sleeve. Koshi is like that. Koshi can be used so that the movements are either hidden within the gi, or even hidden within the body. There is a lot of movement (compression and tension) going on, it is just not visible.

Koshi must be shown "big" to beginners. They must practice with "big" koshi at first. But gradually, the movements become smaller and smaller, while retaining full power. At the advanced level, there is power with no apparent movement... like pulling a rabbit from a hat.

The rabbit was always in the hat!


Charles C. Goodin