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JUDO RON 23-About Kuzushi

JUDO RON 23-About Kuzushi

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Theory and practice of Kuzushi, the art of breaking balance and posture applicable to judo Tachi and Ne-Waza.(word document)
Theory and practice of Kuzushi, the art of breaking balance and posture applicable to judo Tachi and Ne-Waza.(word document)

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Published by: Ronald on Oct 27, 2009
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 Discussion and investigation into selected judo topics by Ronald Désormeaux
JUDO RON 23 - About Kuzushi
I have talked about the general principles of judo during many of mydiscussion groups or 
held with my students over the past years. Eventoday, I think it is imperative that we refresh our mind about the concept andthe application of Kuzushi as identified by the founder of Judo, the late professor Jigoro Kano.Such a concept or principle was introduced and perfected by Doctor Kanoaround 1881 after his study of the Randori practices at the Kito Ryu and as aresult of his encounters with Iikudo Tsunetoshi sensei. Kano practiced and perfected reading the opponents’ motion and developed several tactics to break their postures. He introduced the eight directions (Happo Kuzushi) bywhich an opponent’s posture can be broken.The Kodokan judo Dictionary
still defines Kuzushi as balance breaking:
 An action to unbalance your opponent in preparation for throwing him”
while the general Random House dictionary refers to Kuzureru as the verb tocollapse, to destroy or lose shape. Respecting the original definition of thefounder, it is appropriate that we link Kuzushi with the means of identifyingthe right moment of opportunity for Tori (
) and the exact moment of vulnerability on Uke’s part.Expressing the early meaning of Kuzushi, and confirmed by Kano sensei asa truthful adaptation of his teaching, one of the Kodokan pillars, YokohamaSakujiro sensei wrote in 1908 in his Judo Kyohan that:
 In order to conquer your opponent you must of course be an adept at as many tricks as possible (techniques). However dexterous you may be, you will find them useless if applied at the wrong time… By the right occasion to apply tricks, is meant the time when your opponent has falleninto the condition in which your methods will take effect. Such condition is said to be inhis loose or broken posture.”“Victory may be divided into three principal heads: Put you opponent into a broken posture, (Kuzushi) place yourself in the right posture or place (Tsukuri), and perform thetricks in the proper manner (Kake)”
Teizo Kawamura and Toshiro Daigo,
 Kodokan Dictionary of judo
, Tokyo, 2000
Yokohama Sakujiro and Oshima Eisuke
 , Judo Kyohan
, Fukui Japan, French version 1911 titled:
Manuel de Jiu-Jitsu de l’école Kano
, English translation as
 Judo Kyohan
, 1914
 Discussion and investigation into selected judo topics by Ronald Désormeaux
Tachi Waza and Kuzushi
These first references to Kuzushi implied that the principle was mostlyrelated to Tachi Waza or standing judo. For each technique in the Gokyo,there was a proper Kuzushi or variation on the how to apply it since professor Kano had first discovered these applications during Randori.When he later refined his concept, he gave it a more universal definition toencompass the Ne Waza or ground work. He saw the Kuzushi as the mean toentice the opponent into a position of no return, as an undetectablemovement or surprise by which the opponent could be mastered withminimum effort and which would offer the less chance to escape.Hereunder are some illustrations of the general and physical applications of Kuzushi as found in Tachi Waza.
 Discussion and investigation into selected judo topics by Ronald Désormeaux
As one can observe, these basic physical manoeuvres of lifting and pushingwith your entire body are aimed at making the opponent very uncomfortablein his posture; unstable in his balance. They create the necessary distractionsthat will extend his reaction time to your own mouvements. As judo is botha mental and physical activity, one can assume that Kuzushi is also made upof additional processes such as installing fear, doubts and uncertainties;spreading confusions and allowing the introduction of selected shouts aimedat distracting momentarily his mental ability and concentration.The application of Kuzushi is one of the basic weapons found in the arsenalof judo as I described them in my book Shin Gi Tai
.The operating words associated with Kuzushi are: to disrupt, to outwit andout skill the opponent by means of adjusting one’s action to the opponent’sreaction and vice versa. Each action must therefore be wanted or desired.Such a total approach to defining Kuzushi has been expressed by Professor Koizumi Gunji of the London Budokwai when he said:
 Judo may be described as a science for the study of the potential powers of the body and mind, and the way of applying them most efficiently incombative activities”
Kuzushi begins by making use of the mind as a mental power to develop the proper strategy and approach in accordance with the various situations before us. It is almost a combination of two principle know as
wherebyyou forestall your opponent by starting your action before he begins hisattack and the
Sen No Sen
principle where you are mentally capable of discovering or anticipating his very first move. By doing so, one establishesa higher degree of self confidence and is able to tackle the situation withoutfear of what the opponent could do or not do. By being able to sense theemotions and the mouvements of the opponent, one can better make use of the other Judo
technical principles dealing with non-resistance and theapplication of the
Ronald Désormeaux,
The Discovery of Judo’s Arsenal, Shin Gi Tai
, 2008
Koizumi Gunji,
My study of Judo
, Cornerstone Library, New York, 1960

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