The Essence of Koppo

By Jeffrey S Mueller

During my last trip to Japan, the important point of the koppo solidified for me. Many people have talked about this being "bone breaking" or other shallow translations, but what I heard Sensei say was different. The point that was continually stressed was the movement of your own skeleton. When you move your skeleton as one unit, keeping the relationship of each bone constant throughout your sabaki, you become strong without the use of muscles. By using this idea, it is easy to break the opponent's kamae and place him in situations that make it easy to strike him. To me this is the real 'Bone Method,' using your own skeletal alignment to disjoint the opponent's alignment. From there it is easy to strike in a manner that might very well break bone.