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Not Using Koshi

Once a student can use koshi very easily and apply it to all of his (or her) movements, it is best to ask him to try to learn to stop using it. This may sound paradoxical, since so much time and effort is spent learning how to use it.

But it is a bit like training wheels on a bicycle. Once a child develops the balance and confidence needed to ride the bicycle, the training wheels are no longer necessary. It would seem ridiculous to see an older child racing down the street with training wheels. As soon as possible, they are taken off.

Big koshi movement is like a training wheel. It serves a purpose, but once that purpose is fulfilled, it is no longer necessary. Large, exaggerated koshi movement is only taught to give the student the opportunity to learn the flow, shape, feeling, and timing of the movement. Once this is accomplished, the movements should be refined and reduced, until they are no longer visible.

An advanced student who still shows an obvious koshi is riding with training wheels.

Please do not get me wrong. When teaching newer students, it is necessary to demonstrate the large, exaggerated koshi movement. Otherwise, they will not be able to see or learn it.

But if I take an advanced student to the side, I expect him to be able to switch off this form of movement and only use "internal" koshi movement. By "internal," I mean contained within the body -- there is no visible outer movement (or it is reduced as much a possible). I do not mean some sort of metaphysical "internal" movement or power.

If a student cannot "turn off" the external koshi movement, he is not moving in an optimum manner. He could be beaten by a clone of himself who could internalize the movement. This is because the "internal" koshi is faster and harder to react against. It seems that speed and power just materialize (when actually they are generated within the body). With internal koshi, there is no telegraphing of the movement.

In addition, large movement of the koshi is slow, relative to smaller movement of the koshi. Faster is almost always better.

Again, I would only recommend that a student try to stop using external koshi after he can use external koshi extremely well -- in all his movements consistently.

Not using koshi at all is a problem. Using too obvious a koshi is also a problem. Using koshi in a way so that others cannot tell you are using it is the goal. Sometimes, as teachers, we get so used to demonstrating large koshi for our students that they and even we forget this goal.

At the right time, the training wheels should be taken off.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin