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#218117 - 12/29/05 12:22 AM Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku'
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
The term 'koshi' is Japanese and basically translates to the connecting area of the upper and lower body; hips; waist; the area full width of the lower back.

The term 'gamaku' is an Okinawan term referring to the connecting muscles of the torso to the pelvis which dictate the speed/power allowing control of the coordination between the upper and lower body.

sounds like the same thing right? right, thats why many use the term koshi/gamaku interchangably. but when thought about in terms for our use (mechanics principals), the distinction becomes less subtle.

In an interesting article/interview :
http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articleb2.htm
among lots of other topics of discussion which could be generated from this, I came across this quote:
Quote:

William Haff: So you use bo training to help you understand karate?


Toshihiro Oshiro: Yes, but this is common sense for any serious martial artist. I study to deepen my art, both weapons and karate. The old teachers used to do that too, I think. They would watch other styles or talk and practice with other instructors to add some new technique or maybe to just check their own practice But by comparing the two arts, it is possible to see how karate used to be or is supposed to bethere is a lot of karate lost in history, and I am very interested in that. Early in my karate training Nagamine Sensei talked about the difference between koshi and gamaku, your sides vs. your lower back, in making power and focus. It wasn't until I had studied bo deeply that I found what he was talking about.




wow...three topics of discussion in one quote, I thought. (1. weapons training to improve your empty-hand technique. 2.The 'old days' of cross-training. 3. sides vs. lower back, in making power and focus.)

but this thread is only about #3 ....

I believe he was making the distinction as a point of teaching to let your muscles lead your hips. use your side muscles to drive your hip...not your back muscles. The added weight and dynamics of holding a bo would illustrate/exagurate this principal nicely I would think.

All of this came about when I was looking for an answer as to why Matsubayashi has a slight lean forward in technique. At least now I have a theory...perhaps Nagamine was stressing the use of gamaku. by leaning slightly forward and nearly aligning your back angle with your rear leg angle, it forces a student to rotate hips with side muscles. perhaps later in training, the lean forward becomes less pronounced yet the principal remains intact with the experienced student.

The debate: what do you suppose Nagamine was talking about as it relates to koshi vs gamaku?

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#218118 - 12/29/05 11:21 AM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: Ed_Morris]
MattJ Offline
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I really don't know about what Nagamine meant. I am curious about the sides vs. back for power generation. I always try to generate power "from the floor up". So I guess I would fall into the "back" power generation category, although I have never really studied myself in that manner.

I guess I am not seeing the benefit of using your "side" (lats? obliques? intercostals?) muscles over your back muscles. Isn't that going to limit power generation somewhat? How is this typically done in karate styles?
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#218119 - 12/29/05 12:22 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: Ed_Morris]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
I believe a teaching a "lean" forward in front stance is not a proper understanding of the principles of Matsubayashi. One of the keys to striking in Matsubayashi is sinking or sitting down on techniques. In front stance when you "sink" your pelvis gurdle is tilted forward slightly. For proper alignment of the spine relative the the hip gurdle there appears to be a "lean", but due to the physics of the sinking this alignment requires a slight "lean." Simply leaning without sinking properly is improper technique. As far as koshi and gamaku in karate you move with your hara. Movement with hara requires development of gamaku through movement of the koshi. Once the gamaku is developed sufficiently movement is accomplished using gamaku and any movement of the koshi is a byproduct of using gamaku.

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#218120 - 12/29/05 01:10 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: medulanet]
bo-ken Offline
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Registered: 06/07/04
Posts: 1228
Loc: beaver falls, PA, beaver
I believe that a strike starts at the ground. To hit hard you have to have an overall strong body. If the power comes from your sides then you have to have strong sides. You shouldn't worry about making power come from one or the other. You should instead strive to have your body working towards one goal hitting hard. All of your body works together.

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#218121 - 12/29/05 01:22 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: Ed_Morris]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
I'm not sure...Both those muscle groups work together to move the waist, dont' they? the sides and the back. I was never taught a lean in any techniques. When you say the same angle as the rear leg, you must mean in natural stance, I would guess. I have always practiced with back straight, both in karate and in bo jutsu.

In naihanchi, there is definately no leaning. The power comes from the rotation of the hips along with the rooted stance. Naihanchi is generally viewed as the foundation for shorin ryu, its stance-work and power generation.
With that in mind, I'm not sure what Nagamine sensei might have been talking about in that quote. The article doesn't really go any further into detail about it, about which one should be emphasized, if any.

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#218122 - 12/29/05 01:24 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: medulanet]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I think you've reworded it more clearly. thanks.

I don't know the technical word for Matsubayashi's slight 'lean' as you detailed....so I use the word 'lean'. Styles have different sinking methods and therefore different alignments. So you are saying that this 'leaned sinking' is a characteristic of the fighting style of Matsubayashi and not just it's training/teaching strategy towards a common OMA goal? because the 'lean' seems less pronounced and less noticable as you see higher rank.

I purposely didn't mention the concept of 'hara'. I wanted to isolate the principals between side vs back hip power gen. but I agree, 'hara' always leads.

thanks,
-Ed

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#218123 - 12/29/05 01:25 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Would this distinction of muscle groups/area fall into a discussion of 'iron shirt' and 'kung li' exercises?

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#218124 - 12/29/05 01:29 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I was under the impression that "iron shirt" training was more conditioning oriented, as opposed to something trained to generate striking power.
_________________________
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#218125 - 12/29/05 01:31 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
I'm sure you are correct.

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#218126 - 12/29/05 01:32 PM Re: Principals: 'koshi' and 'gamaku' [Re: medulanet]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
that's a great description, medulanet. thanks for clarifying that

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