Sunday, February 01, 2009

Theme of the month February 2009: Juicy Kuzushi

This year my first theme of the month is Juicy kuzushi. Kuzushi is the art of disrupting your opponent's balance.  Even if (s)he is stronger,  faster, and/or swifter, once balance is broken these advantages evaporate, and resistance becomes negligible. The juicy-ness refers to my ambition to squeeze a lot out of the kuzushi concept.  Plus: It rhymes.

I have written about the broader concept of kuzushi before, and intend to explore all of the aspects of  kuzushi that I listed in that post:
Looking more broadly at the problem of "leveling" an aggressor, any or all of the following means can contribute to the cause:
  • Unbalancing: Bringing the aggressor's center of gravity beyond his or her base of support
  • Mis-alignment: Moving parts of the aggressor into an awkward configuration
  • Distraction
  • Pain (which can also be a distraction)
All of these measures help to reduce the aggressor's ability to resist the remainder of the technique. However, for subtle kuzushi, it is best when there is neither too much nor too little of the contributing components. Too little, and there is no effect. Too much, and your intentions are telegraphed.
These seem like a fine four points to look at over each of the next four weeks.

Some more specific ideas:
  • The kuzushi exercise: Use of the hands, role of the elbows, weight distribution
  • Same throw / multiple kuzushi
  • The base of support; the dead angle
  • Misaligning the hips and shoulders
  • Twisting in restraint and control
  • Combining unbalancing and misaligning
  • Examples of distractions: kiai, feints, strikes, annoyances
  • The effects of pain; a few pressure points
* * *

The next time we revisit kuzushi as a monthly theme, I might use another decomposition.  For example:  The role of kuzushi in:
  1. Throwing techniques
  2. Groundwork
  3. Restraint and control
  4. Striking techniques
  5. Day-to-day life
Also: The flip-side of applying kuzushi is establishing, maintaining and recovering balance and alignment.


Patrick Parker said...

Cool - I'm glad that youre doing theme-of-the-month withe me and I'm glad that we're doing different themes. I especially like that yours rhyme - I wasn't creative enough to come up with that! I'll be posting my theme of the month later today.

In case you're interested or want to reference any of them, here are my previous articles on kuzushi:

Dan Prager said...

Hi Patrick

Thanks for inspiring me with your own principle of the month initiative. I look forward to reading about what you have in store for February.

Thank-you for the link to your kuzushi-related posts. Looking through them I can see many opportunities to enhance my articles with links to some of your past entries, and not just on the subject of kuzushi!

BTW: Have you considered including a longer themedlist of favorite articles for your side-bar? For new readers to your blog it would be really helpful.

Patrick Parker said...

I have been considering doing just that - but haven't gotten to it. I very much liked how you did yours - as a 'read this blog like a book' type list. perhaps tonight during the interminable stupor-bowl coverage...

Dan Prager said...

Hi Patrick

It's pretty straightforward, but does take a while to go through all one's old posts (longer for you!).

In case you haven't found it, here's the link to my how-to article on my other blog.

Although the Superbowl should provide almost enough time. I'll be baracking for the side with Aussie punter in it although not watching (don't understand it!).

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan Sensei,

i really find this concept of kuzushi very interesting, this is the first time i heard about it. In taekwondo, we do not really care about the opponent's balance as long as we can keep our balance when kicking.

i really would like to read more about kuzushi, and will be waiting for more of your writing on this.


Dan Prager said...


Once you learn kuzushi in jiu-jitsu / judo thoroughly, I am confident that you will discover ways to apply it in taekwondo.