A subtle test of ki which shows that size and strength really aren't that important.
(Don't miss out on our strange interactive demo of this Cool Ki Trick! Download the Shockwave plug-in to see it.)

What Happens.

Two people sit in seiza facing each other. You extend your wrists, and your friend holds onto them. Though your friend holds tight and uses all her muscle, you find it easy to push her over. Yet when she tries to push you, you're immoveable. This is probably the most fascinating of all the Cool Ki Tricks, but it's also the most subtle. Being able to push over someone who's bigger and stronger than you is certainly fun, but you may not be able to do it at first. Don't feel bad! In fact, it is an advantage to train with people that you find difficult to push over. And take heart in knowing that many Aikido students never succeed at pushing over their instructors, even after decades of practice. (You've got to figure, the instructors are practicing, too.)

How To Do It.

  1. Make sure you've looked at the sections of this site on Seiza and Unbendable Arm.
  2. Sit in seiza facing a friend that's doing the same. Your knees should be about 5" from your friend's.
  3. Raise your arms up in front of you, like in the picture to the left. Have an unbendable arm feeling. Have your friend hold onto your forearms, at the sides.
  4. The person holding should try to be stable, but not push.
  5. Smoothly reach your arms forward until you run into your friend's resistance.
  6. Now, move your body forward from One-Point. In other words, bow forward from your hips. Keep your arms extended as you bow - don't let your elbows bend.
  7. As your friend loses balance, guide her gently onto her back.


  • Relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax, relax.
  • Push softly and gently. "There is nothing so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as real strength." (Ralph W. Sockman) This is not just a pleasant thought. It's a great truth. And Kokyu Dosa is a great way to prove it to yourself and others.
  • Don't think of your partner as being a huge, insurmountable object. Think of him as a little baby. Or a stick figure. Or as the guy on beach before he sends away for the Charles Atlas course.
  • Don't think about pushing your friend over. Just think about moving forward comfortably, as though nothing is in your way. This is a good metaphor for how to deal with obstacles in your life.
  • You can also learn a lot when you're the person holding on. Hold securely, but don't use a vice grip. Think of how you might hold a young child's arm when walking near the road. You want to hold securely enough so he can't dart into traffic, but gently enough so that it doesn't hurt.
  • When holding, just keep One-Point. Don't think "resist". If you' find yourself being pushed over, don't fight it. Just keep One-Point and let your body move as a unit, preserving the relationship between your arms and your torso, for example, and between your torso and your legs. Don't lose in pieces.
  • Feel more like you're sleepy than wide awake. Feels more like you're slightly drunk than completely sober. When you do it right, Kokyu Dosa feels so easy as to be almost ridiculous. It is a metaphor for making our lives more easy, more comfortable, more pleasant, and more effective.
  • Oh,and by the way: Relax.

"So, what did I just learn?"

A soft, gentle, positive approach yields powerful results. When you practice Kokyu Dosa with someone who is very good, it is a truly amazing experience. You push or hold as best you can, yet you always wind up on your back, feeling like you forgot to try, or laughing at the futility of your efforts. As you yourself get better at Kokyu Dosa, it becomes increasingly pleasant and fascinating to see how little effort it takes. Enjoy Kokyu Dosa for what it can teach you. But mostly, enjoy it for its own sake.

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