Idoryoku to kuzushi in Shodokan Aikido
Using body movement to break balance. Idoryoku in its plainest definition is moving from one place to another. In shodokan aikido, its how effectively you move from one position to be able to apply techniques. Kuzushi is breaking balance, in aikido and judo this is essential to applying a technique.
What usually happens in training: 1) the person applying the technique is supposed to win! 2) the person receiving the technique is supposed to lose! This is how training goes, you try to build up skills through repetition of movements that are based on certain principles. How effectively this is done can vary from person to person, height, size, balance etc. What is often missed in training is an analysis of how effectively the technique has been executed.
If one does not effectively break the balance of the person receiving the technique, that person can simply just step out of the way. One step and that’s it; start again or runaway in a realistic situation.
I’ve seen many training videos of people doing countless movements and looking quite cool in some of them, thanks to loads of practice and a really good uke (fall guy). When you look at a randori match on the other hand, most times a technique doesn’t happen. There are many, almost there situations, especially because both people have free will. It’s not training anymore, the thrower winning rule isn’t applied!
Now here’s the science bit; You knee is a hinge joint, when extending and using the support of your muscles create movement. They don’t work independently. Your hips and ankles are necessary to project you forward as well, plus all the muscles around. Extending the knee, hip and ankle joints move you! Extending them efficiently before your opponent steps out of the technique helps you move that person out of posture. This is why aikido is a legs martial art not an arms martial art. If you can move more effectively into the correct throwing position, you can apply your technique!
In shodokan aikido we have the tools of unsoku, hontai no tsukuri, shoki no tsukuri and many others to help train these principles. Otherwise you need a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and a personal trainer with an understanding of sports anatomy! Yes I know he lives in Leeds…:)