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I remember reading an article a while back that said something along the lines of, "traditional Okinawan Kobudo derived a lot of power form the hips. Modern fighters use lighter bos, and especially when it is a male practitioner, rely on the shoulders for fast strikes." It then suggested using heavier weapons to try to force yourself into using the hips (as well as actually practicing doing so, duh).

Using the hips/whole body seem to line up with other parts of our style (Shorin-ryu), and I can see small hints of it done occasionally (i.e., a few strikes or when the higher-ups are really concentrating), however there's little to no emphasis placed on it.

My question can really be broken down into two parts:

1) Is deriving force form the hips really some lost or deemphasized feature in Okinawan kobudo?

2) Are heavy weapons a good way to try to cultivate this?

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Force and power from hips

Deriving force or power from the hips is common to basically all martial arts that rely on human power. This includes boxing, taiji, karate, judo, BJJ, tae kwon do, kung fu, aikido, and others but excludes shooting, archery, and similar arts where weapons reduce the need for human power. When someone talks about "moving from the center" or the dantien, this is about deriving force and power from the hips, at least in part. Everyone pays at least lip service to the idea of using whole body power.

As universal is the beginner tendency to generate force from a striking limb rather than the hips. The observation about males using primarily their shoulders basically describes every martial art; this problem is very common. In my experience, this problem may persist into low dan ranks or their equivalent.

Heavy weapons for hip usage

I think this is a matter of opinion. This idea is plausible, but I personally think the modern tendency is for weightlifting to contribute to the problem of emphasizing limbs over whole body power.

  • So should I just assume that instructors are failing to do/mention it (our 8th Dan Federation chief, not a fresh 1st Dan)? – awsirkis Nov 1 at 21:15
  • @awsirkis Late answer, but yes, it comes down to that. The short time I've had in an open-styled, but Shorin-Ryu emphasised uni club in Britain, it was made quite clear by low-ranking dans that hip emphasis - even in basic strikes - is special to Shorin-Ryu (and not that present in Goju-Ryu, another traditional Okinawan style). – Philip Klöcking Nov 8 at 13:14
  • @PhilipKlöcking I briefly studied Uechi-ryu, a traditional Okinawan style, where hip rotation was part of striking in the Sanchin kata. – mattm Nov 8 at 21:59
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    Did not want to imply that hip rotation was not part of any decent karate style since it is crucial for generating power. So of course it is part of Goju Ryu as well. The point is rather that Shorin Ryu indeed emphasises the hip movements in every single punch and generally a lot more than other styles, where this aspect of power generation tends to be more subtle, yet never absent. – Philip Klöcking Nov 8 at 22:21
  • @PhilipKlöcking Cool. I'll make sure to emphasize that more – awsirkis Nov 9 at 21:27

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