October 28, 2015

Utilizing Ki with Music (Ongaku ni Ki o Ikasu)


Ki Principles which are the basic foundation of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido are utilized in many different fields of activities and sports.

There are many members of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido who are professional musicians, such as pianists, singers and professional drummers, just to name a few.

For pianists, they have come to realize that if they are relaxed when playing the piano, they feel that the sound of the piano tune changes and becomes very clear.

Music is made up of a collection of many different notes. This is why it is very important when playing the piano that between each note the flow of Ki is not stopped. The end of one note is the beginning of another note, even in the space or pause between notes the musical flow continues.

For anyone that is involved in an orchestra, it would be very useful to apply keeping a calm mind.

When we play with a calm mind, not only can we hear the music that we are playing clearly, we are also aware and able to hear other sounds and music that is being played around us. When our mind is not calm, we will not be able to hear clearly the music that we are playing and the music being played around us. As a result, we will not be able to give a good performance. 

When our mind is calm, all the sounds will come together in harmony.

For singers, practicing breathing exercises, especially exhaling, will be very useful. With Ki Breathing, we practice relaxing during exhalation and letting it be natural. This directly connects to the quality of the voice that is being projected and sung.

When our consciousness is up in our chest when we practice Ki Breathing, our breathing becomes shallow. When we calm our mind at our one point in the lower abdomen, our breathing naturally becomes deeper and calmer.

Practicing exhaling for using our voice aloud (to sing, talk or count), actually helps make projecting our voices easier. Sometimes, it can also help project tones of our voice that we had difficulty trying to project before.

Musicians, who are especially sensitive, are usually not very good at controlling their emotions. They go through very intense changes in their emotions which lead them to suffer from stress. 

When Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei went to the U.S. to spread the teachings of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido at seminars, a very famous American pianist came to join.

This pianist, who was very sensitive, always went through intense emotional changes, causing him to take medication to try to keep these emotions under control. This took a toll on his body and health which made him unable to see a continuation in his music career. 

He was able to learn from Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei the principle of keeping calm at the One Point as well as Ki Breathing, which he practiced daily and made into a daily routine. He was then able to reduce using medications, which led to a continuation in his musical career.

Mind Moves and Leads Body

The state of our mind will appear in the music we play or sing. Therefore, if we do not control our mind then the performance we give can never touch a chord in the heart of others. Calming our mind is very important before performing or giving a show.

I have been learning about music since a very young age. My teacher was a student of Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei. Her teachings of music were all based on Ki Principles. I remember clearly her advice of “Keeping a Calm Mind” before doing performances.

Shinshin Toitsu Aikido teachings and practice can be applied even in the field of Music.



October 10, 2015



In education or teaching the distance or space between the teacher and the student is very important.

If the distance or space between them is close enough, it is possible to deal with private matters. If the distance is too far, it would be difficult to become involved and participative with each other in any kind of private situation.

The easiest relationship to make reference to would be space between members in a family.

In a family, there are times when we have to give advice and be involved with situations, even if it might be a very sensitive situation. Therefore it is simply necessary for us to step in closely in order to say something.

In schools, the distance between individuals in relationships is not likely to be as close as in family relationships. In particular, the distance difference between relationships teacher and students have, is going to be quite different than those relationships between parents and children. Thus, there are things a teacher can and cannot do.

The main role of a school is to provide students with a forum for learning, as well as to develop and cultivate social skills. Therefore it is appreciated that schools fulfill their responsibilities. But when it comes to matters of discipline that involve teaching the basics of becoming independent, this responsibility belongs to parents and family. Discipline should not be out-sourced.

Lessons relating to nurturing should be taught at home and should not be pushed over to schools to be responsible for. If, for instance, a teacher was given this responsibility he or she might be violating the student’s privacy.

The space involving work relationships is even more distant than family and school relationships, as advice can only be given on work related issues to fellow staff members.

Family or school related issues cannot be forced on to the work environment making work relationships responsible in this way. If this happens it could lead to power harassment.

Within families, schools and work companies there are different distances that have to be recognized and understood.

A clear example that can be understood easily is the relationship between a mentor (“shisho”) and disciple (“deshi”).

The relationship between mentor and disciple is not the same as a relationship between teacher and student.

A mentor’s relationship with his or her disciple is based on wanting to tell, to teach, and to pass on knowledge to a particular disciple that can be trusted completely. A disciple’s relationship with his or her mentor is one of yearning to learn everything and accept any advice from the mentor.

This relationship is not just about understanding interests. In some cases it is as deep as, or even closer than, a relationship between parents and children. This can be felt and carried through only because the distance between mentor and student is very close.  

This is why it would be very fortunate and special if and when a disciple is able to meet or find a good mentor.

In the past, there was a program for “Uchideshi Training”. Each Uchideshi took 10 years to learn everything completely and graduate. Efficiency in training and education cannot be measured, which is why this program also had limitations in development.

At present, instead of having the “Uchideshi Training Program” we have started an “Instructors Development Program”. We select Instructors from around Japan that will be able to continue the development of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido for the near future and next generation. Recently, by trying to develop a closer distance with these instructors, I have started teaching and practicing even more often with them.

Also recently, I have started receiving requests for interviews regarding relationships between teachers and students.

Currently in Japan, there is a problem with students inheriting high level skills from high level teachers of crafts, cultural arts, activities which have a high level of importance to Japanese culture and many years of history. People have discovered that the education at schools and companies is not enough, and they have started to review the relationship between master and disciple (teacher and student).

When communicating and teaching, the master cannot always say things that are easy to listen to by their disciple. Most first time disciples who are just beginning to learn, feel that it is too difficult or too much trouble to go through. However, these feelings usually only last temporarily and the results, achievements, and lessons learned have far more value in the long run.

The fear of being disliked or hated, have increasingly started to influence parents making them unable to discipline their children, as well as teachers having difficulty in giving advice or having control of their students, and even bosses being unable to lead and advise their employees.

One of the main reasons contributing to this is the inability to understand the proper distance involving relationships. If we are unable to understand our role and our responsibilities clearly, how are we then able to comment, guide or give advice of caution to those that need it. We may not be giving advice appropriate to the circumstance of the situation.

Even in the world of professional athletes, the trend of coaches nowadays is to only give good comments and advice that players are interested in hearing. This apparently is what seems to be considered a “good coaching”. 

If a person only wants to hear good comments and advice from their work and personal relationships, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he or she has wasted their chance to continue to learn and improve.

Currently in Japan, roles in homes, schools and work (societies) are not clear. If these roles continue to remain unclear it would become more difficult to fulfill responsibilities.

What I believe is that responsibilities should be clear and learning the difference in distance or space involving relationships is important in fulfilling our roles.

Needless to say, Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Dojos and classes have a role to play and we will continue to fulfill our responsibilities.


September 24, 2015

Leading People


In order to be able to lead people, building “a trust relationship” with them first is very important. 

“What should we do to build a trust relationship with someone?” There is no direct, easy answer to this question, as it all depends on the other person, and the situation involved. On the other hand, it is very easy to know “when a trust relationship is lost or broken.” Before we can carry on further, let us reflect and think about this together. 




What about someone who has no confidence in themselves or when dealing with situations, or someone who is unable to keep their promises or be punctual during appointments, or someone who changes their attitude to match the person they are dealing with. I think there are many other reasons that can contribute to losing or breaking a trust relationship with someone.

If you start thinking “What is required or needed to gain someone’s trust?”, and approach all situations with this mindset, you would then be able to understand naturally.

An example of a behavior that contributes to losing someone’s trust is, not really listening or paying attention when someone is talking or telling you something.

If you listen to someone and start prejudging them based on your own “correct” way of doing something and deciding in your own mind that they should have done it a certain way, this means that you will not able to really hear what they are trying to tell you. At this time, the other person will feel rejected or rebuffed and Ki will stop communicating.

Please do not misunderstand. Try to understand your partner by thinking that they are correct in everything that he or she says. Even if they may say something that is not “correct or agreeable”, it is important to try and understand the reason why they think that way.

At this point, most people would like to assert their opinion on what they think is “correct” on to the person they are speaking to, and try to force the other person to think in the same way. When this happens, the other person would feel as if their personality and opinion was being unaccepted, thus making him or her feel that there would be no meaning to continuing the conversation. 

First, acknowledge the other person’s way of thinking, and then try to understand why they think in that way and accept it. This means to understand the other party or person, which then helps us to be able to lead the other person or partner.

When the other person starts to think that they can trust in us to share their views and opinions, only then can we actually really share our own thoughts and opinions with them as they will be ready to accept it even though it may differ from theirs.

At this time during the conversation, if we start to get emotional because of the difference in opinions, it means we have started to put ourselves first and this would not help us to ever be able to really understand what our partner is really trying to say. At this point, our Ki flow has stopped and trying to lead our partner or the other person becomes difficult. 

During an official Dan Grading – a situation occurred:

There was a young man during his multiple attack exam, as he was being caught by an Uke. He started to get very affected and started throwing aggressively. An instructor who was also judging the Exam that day, stopped the exam immediately and reprimanded the young man, telling him that his grading was invalid and that he had to re-take the whole exam at another time.

The young man who took the Instructor’s stern reprimand seriously, started to walk out trying to leave the Dojo. As I was there as Head Examiner overseeing the overall grading process, I noticed this young man and called out to him trying to calm him down by telling him to stay till the end and watch the rest of the grading.

 The young man started to calm down and immediately sat to watch the rest of the grading. At the end of the whole examination, I spoke to the young man and asked him why he behaved the way he did during his Exam. He explained that he was not trying to do anything but that he panicked and just reacted. 

The rest of the conversation is as follows:

Me: “I am sure you didn’t mean to do this on purpose?”

The young man: “Please believe that I didn’t intend to re-act that way!”

Me: “I believe that your actions were not done on purpose. I hope you realized that your actions were very dangerous to the Uke, who was part of your grading.”

The young man: “Yes, I realized this. I am really very sorry.”

Me: “Let’s go apologize to the Uke together.”

The young man: “I understand.”

The young man sincerely apologized to the Uke, as there was no injury fortunately, it was not a problem. The young man has continued to train and has improved significantly. If the young man had left immediately after being reprimanded so sternly, I think his life would have turned out differently.

During this situation, I was able to lead the young man. If our Mind is not calm when we are trying to understand someone, all we would be doing is forcing our opinion on the other person, this would actually be very frightening as we would appear very controlling and commanding, I always advise against behaving like this.

This process is the same as being able to lead and throw your partner during Aikido training. If we try to move our partner according to how we think he or she should move, because we think we already understand the “correct way” of moving and performing the technique, we will still clash with our partner and not be able to lead and throw him or her.

By understanding your partner, you can then lead and throw them. This is to understand and put into practice the “5 Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.” 

5 Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido

1) Ki is extending

2) Know your opponent’s mind

3) Respect your opponent’s Ki

4) Put yourself in your opponent’s place

5) Perform with Confidence

To listen is to be able to understand the other person. This is one of the best practices that we can apply outside of the dojo during our routines in our daily lives. Let us continue to practice this together.


September 10, 2015

HKF Special Seminar at Ki Society HQ Japan (Tochigi)


HKF Camp 2015 was held at Ki Society HQ Japan (Tochigi) from August 31(Monday) till September 3rd (Friday) 2015. HKF stands for Hawaii Ki Federation, which is a branch federation of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Kai in Hawaii, USA.

During this camp, branch Dojos from Germany, Netherlands, Spain as well as USA came and practiced together.

Due to many participants coming for World Camp which has been held annually at HQ, we decided that from this year we would hold smaller seminars for branch Dojos, Societies and Federations, so that I could teach and interact with every member that came for the seminar. For HKF Camp, 60 members in total including HQ members and instructors came and participated in the training.


The themes covered and taught during this camp were: (Ki is always extending and exchanging), (Ken and Hanmi), (Hanmi with Wazas) – Having No Openings with Aikido Techniques, (Irimi and Tengkan), (Kokyu with Dosa) – Relationship between Breathing and Movements, (Ki Breathing), (Ki Meditation) and (Kiatsu).


During the 4 days of practicing together at Seminars and having Gatherings after classes, we were able to spend a lot of time together with all members. We sincerely would like to thank Chief Instructor Christopher Curtis Sensei and all members for their efforts in helping to make this seminar a success. We have also decided to hold this seminar during the same time again next year, HKF Camp 2016.

We will be having more seminars at HQ soon with members from other branch Dojos, Societies and Federations. With these Seminars coming up, I am looking forward to teaching and meeting all members and hopefully being able to instruct each member personally.


August 17, 2015

Breathing Training

When practicing breathing training, it is best to start with Ki Breathing. The basic of Ki Breathing is to do Ki Breathing with natural posture (Oneness of mind and body). Exhaling should be slow and calmly from the One point.

At this time, if we consciously try to control our breathing by trying to exhale longer or trying to exhale better this will not help our Ki breathing exercise improve.

While Exhaling, it is best to leave it alone and let it naturally become 1/2, 1/2, 1/2… allowing it to continue and become infinitely smaller. At this time the “waves” in our mind should also become calmer and continue infinitely to the ends of the Universe.

An example that can be used to describe this is like a bowl, which is filled with water. In the beginning there will be waves, but if left alone after some time the waves or ripples that were on the surface of the water will naturally become calmer and quieter.

If we try to control our exhale during Ki Breathing, it is the same as creating “waves” in our mind, which has the opposite effect of leaving the breath alone, and our mind will not become calm.

The most important point of Exhaling during Ki Breathing is to “exhale and to let it be natural”. Once this feeling is experienced and felt, practicing Ki breathing becomes very easy.

This is like learning to ride a bicycle. To be able to ride it properly some practice time is necessary. The same applies to Ki breathing. For us to do it naturally and for Ki Breathing to be a part of us, frequent practice is necessary for us to catch this feeling and for it to become natural.

For Exhaling during Ki Breathing, “our breath should continue infinitely to the ends of the Universe.” Once this feeling is experienced, we can start to practice “exhaling in one breath.”

During the practice of exhaling in one-breath, many people usually tend to have unnecessary tension.

By frequently practicing Ki breathing and catching the correct feeling for it, the same applies to exhaling in one-breath. Here the end of the exhale is calm and continues infinitely to the end of the Universe. When this happens, inhale happens naturally after exhaling.

Practicing exhaling in one breath can be done continuously.

If each exhaled breath is not calm at the end, or if each breath is not exhaled completely, the next breaths for inhale then becomes shorter and not complete, thus the feeling of shortness of breath.

Another form of training, is practicing exhaling with one breath while swinging the bell, this is called “Sokushin no Gyo”. In the past this training was done for many hours in a day. Now we practice Sokushin no Gyo for about an hour.

By being able to extend our natural energy and strength completely, we then receive new energy and strength naturally. If we do not extend our natural energy and strength fully, then are unable to receive new energy and strength. “Sokushin no Gyo” can teach you this secret of breathing.

Once we get the feeling from practicing exhaling in one breath, we can start to practice “Ki Ai”, as in “Counting with Ki”.

“To count out loud” is the same as “Breathing out or Exhaling.” The way we exhale is projected in the way we count out loud as they are both connected.

When we keep One point calmly and exhale with one breath when counting out loud, we experience this same feeling, and so the voice that we project out will sound calm, confident and clear. 

With a voice that sounds calm, clear and confident it will also help when practicing or interacting with our partner and our surroundings. This is why we have had many actors and people who give speeches come to learn this breathing practice so as to improve and apply it to their work.

The final stage when practicing Breathing Training is to practice matching our “Breathing” and “Movements”.

This practice is usually applied by counting out loud during Bokken and Jo training, but the main purpose of training during Bokken and Jo moves should be that our count and our moves match as one naturally.

During Kengi and Jogi (Bokken and Jo) training, if our count is weak or not correct, it reduces the power of our actual movements by half. This is why it is very important for us to realize the importance of counting correctly.

Breathing and movements should always match as one naturally. It is when we are not in our best natural state or condition that our breathing and motion becomes separate and we are unable to perform to the best of our ability.

When teaching athletes, we also teach them how to train matching “Breathing and Movement” as one. By practicing this, most athletes usually improve their performance.

“Breathing out calmly”“Breathing out or Exhaling in One Breath” “Ki Ai or Counting out loud” “Breathing and Movement”, these are the steps that we can use to train in our Breathing Training.


July 05, 2015

What is Education?

(What is the definition of Education?)


Of course there is more than one answer to this question, but one answer could be “to acquire good habits”. To be more precise, it is “continuing to practice good habits till it becomes part of us.” 

If good habits are part of our daily routines, these good habits become “assets” for our whole lives. If bad habits are part of our daily routines, then these bad habits are like “obstacles/shackles” for our whole lives.

For good habits to be a part of us, sometimes this may take a few weeks, months or even years.

The person/teacher leading or helping someone or a student cultivate good habits needs to always be patient and continuous when leading and helping.

When I was a young child, I was not good at aligning my shoes neatly when I took them off at the door.  

In Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, our footwear is regarded as an “extension of our own feet,” if our footwear is not properly aligned neatly and disturbed, the same is thought of our feet as also being untidy and disturbed.

During that time, Soshu Kochi Tohei Sensei who was like a father than a teacher would patiently call out to me when my shoes were in a clutter and we both would align my shoes together.

This happened many times as I failed to learn and make it a good habit quickly. Instead of getting angry with me and telling me “why do still make the same mistake, even after I have repeatedly shown and taught you that you should align your shoes”, he would still always patiently align my shoes neatly together with me.

What he was strict about was that I always had to come and align my shoes neatly, he did not make any exceptions and he never allowed my shoes to be left scattered around.

I am not sure how long this went on or how long it would have carried on, aligning my shoes neatly by myself became a good habit without me realizing and knowing.

My mother, who was more hot tempered and strict, used to marvel at my father’s patience with me but he would always answer that “this is the fastest and quickest way to change and cultivate a habit.”

This habit of always aligning my shoes neatly is still a part of me now. Even though my father has passed away, I have still maintained and continued this habit.

Despite being brought up in that way by my father, when I first became an instructor I thought in order for students to progress well, it was necessary to be strict when teaching them. I soon realized then that this was not correct.

When teaching students and children Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, it is very important for them to learn good habits and how to continue to practice good habits. Which as a result, this would be the fastest way that they can change habits and continue to maintain good habits in their daily lives.

By being strict and severe to students in trying to make them change their bad habits, the result would be that this was almost impossible and not successful.

An example of a glass of water having a drop of red ink in it, to try and remove the red ink drop from the water is very difficult, it would be much easier to gradually pour in more clear clean water till the red ink stain disappears and the color of the water goes back to its original clear state.

The same applies to changing habits, instead of trying to repress and stop bad habits it would be much more affective to change by adding new good habits. The problem then is: having the patience “to keep continuing to pour clean and clear water till the change happens.”

During an Aikido grading, there was an applicant who kept making the same mistake at the same part of an Aikido technique. Each time he made a mistake, he would keep re-starting the technique from the beginning even though he had no instructions from the Examiner grading him to do so.

By continuously repeating the same mistake over and over again, there was no choice for the examiner but to ask him to re-take the exam again at another date. According to the applicant’s instructor, we were told that he usually never made any mistakes during practice and that there was usually no problem during that part of the techniques.

This student, as we soon found out would always stop in the middle of an Aikido art technique/ waza and re-start from the beginning whenever he made a mistake during training. This habit of always stopping Ki flow happened so many times it became a bad habit. As a result of this bad habit going unnoticed or changed, things did not go well for him during the exam.

If it was up to me, I would make sure that this student always continues the practice of his art techniques / waza all the way from start to end, so that he does not make a bad habit of stopping Ki flow during training.

What is most important during training is that we always “continue and do not stop Ki flow” by making this into a good habit, we can then apply this same habit of “not stopping Ki flow” to our daily lives as well as our work. Continuing this good habit would be an asset for life. If we always practice “stopping Ki flow” and it becomes a bad habit.….. , it would be very frightening to think about the consequence it would have on our lives.

“Always keep extending Ki till the end”

“Always maintaining positive Ki”

“Always keep company with people who have a good, Calm state of Mind”


By always practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido art techniques/ waza with good habits, only then can we start to apply the same lessons that we learn from the dojo into our daily lives.



June 27, 2015

Teaching at EKF Special Seminar (Southern Carolina)

From the 18th of June – 21st of June, I travelled to South Carolina, USA and taught at a Special Seminar hosted by EKF federation for 4 days. EKF which stands for Eastern Ki Federation is a branch of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido located in the East Coast of the United States.

We have taught at many USA National Seminars, which is held once a year for many years, but I am usually not able to teach and help each member directly as there are usually many members who come and participate at the Seminars. Which is why from this year, we decided to hold a smaller sized regional Seminar for a branch/ state instead. This year, 90 people took part in the EKF special seminar.

The main theme which was practiced by members during the Seminar was focusing on the basics of having “natural posture with Mind and Body Unified”, which was followed through with “Ken (wooden sword) with Hanmi focus” as well as “Ken (wooden sword) and arts”. On the last day, a Ki Exam was held and all 20 members who took the exam passed.

By practicing together during the 4 days seminar and spending time together at gatherings with members in the evenings, we were able to enjoy getting to know members and Instructors even more closely. We would like to thank our kind hosts, Chief Instructor of Eastern Ki Federation David Shaner Sensei and all members of EKF that helped organized the seminar and gatherings, we deeply appreciate all your efforts.

We hope and look forward to have more seminars like this with other branch Dojos and Federations in other states and countries, as well as more camps in Japan at Tochigi HQ Dojo. I also look forward to teaching and helping each member directly as much as I can.


June 06, 2015

Learning Attitude

It has been twenty years since I graduated from University and became Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei’s Uchideshi.

Despite starting Aikido at a very young age, the time it took for me to begin my proper Uchideshi training was actually a little late.

When I became an Uchideshi, the very first lesson I had from Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei was about having the correct “Learning Attitude”.

“Learning” is similar to pouring Japanese Sake into a glass. If the glass keeps leaking and no Sake remains in the glass when Sake is being poured in it, there is no use or meaning.

“Learning Attitude” is the Sake glass in this example. Why the Sake does not remain in the glass, can usually be classified into 3 reasons.

1) There is a crack in the glass that causes the Sake to leak out

When there is a crack at the bottom of the Sake glass, the Sake that is being poured into the glass will keep leaking out. The same example can be used to describe the beginning of my Uchideshi training. I was like a Sake glass that had many cracks. I first had to repair the cracks in my “Sake Glass”.

An example of one of the cracks in the “Sake Glass”, is not watching carefully when a teacher is teaching or giving a lesson. The essential aspect of learning is watching carefully and being able to imitate, repeat, or recreate what a teacher is showing. If there is a crack in the “Sake Glass”, you can never learn even though you practice for many years.

The first thing to do is to repair the cracks.

2) Having another type of Sake already in the glass.

If there is another kind of Sake already in the Sake glass, it is not possible to pour new Sake into it.

Using the example of a full Sake glass to explain “Learning Attitude” further, in this case the full Sake Glass is all our “experiences and knowledge” that we have gone through, or what we think we already know and understand based on “our own opinions”, or “the way we think”.

If we think of the teachings our teacher has given us as “I have heard this many times before already,” it means we will never really understand or learn the meaning of what our teacher is trying to teach us. Lessons that are being repeated many times are usually very important and the reason they are being repeated and given again and again is because we have not yet understood or learned correctly the meaning.

We first have to empty out “Our Glass”.

3) The glass is too small.

If the Sake glass is too small, only a small amount of Sake can be poured into it.

It is impossible for things that have physically fixed shapes to continue to become larger, but things that do not have physically fixed shapes in this case our “Learning Attitude” can always improve and grow infinitely depending on the effort we put into it. If the size of our “Sake glass” continues to get bigger, more Sake can be poured into it.

Our “Sake glass” that we make and maintain should continue to grow bigger and improve every day.

We should not try to begin with what we what we are learning or studying, but by changing and having the correct “Learning Attitude” which is the most basic and important aspect of training and practicing. I would not be where I am today had I not been taught this from the beginning.

Usually in schools and at home, children are taught what to learn but they are usually not taught “How to learn” or the importance of having a proper “Learning Attitude”. The foundation of learning or practicing anything is having the right “Learning Attitude”.

From this experience, when teaching and helping my Instructors develop, the first thing I teach them is having the correct “Learning Attitude”. I will come back to this lecture and repeat this class till my Instructors have understood and cultivated having good “Learning Attitudes”. As a result, most Instructors can develop faster.

I believe having a good “Learning Attitude” is more important than having “ability or capabilities”. Recently, there have been more requests and chances to do Seminars and lectures with “Learning Attitude” as a theme. I think this is a very important lesson that most children and students from this generation need.

 The above examples of “Sake in a glass” also works well with “water in a glass”, the reason why it was probably “Sake” instead of “water” is because Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei liked drinking Sake very much.

It is from hearing that story as an example, that I felt how important it was to “not spill or waste a single precious drop”….




May 19, 2015

Paying Attention and Listening

It was Sakura Season in Japan this past month. Just a few minute walk from the Tokyo HQ Office is a popular spot called “Chidorigafuchi” for viewing beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom. This year, I was able to take some time to enjoy a short walk along “Chidorigafuchi”.

When I happened to look down from the cherry blossoms and looked at the faces of people around, I found a variety of expressions on their faces.

During this time, there was a young couple who seemed to be having an argument. It seemed like they were quarreling because the young man showed up slightly late. The young lady seemed very upset and was persistently questioning the young guy over the reason for him being late. The young guy, seeing how upset the young lady looked, seemed unable to say anything.

The weather was warm and sunny but it seemed there was a cold and unusual atmosphere surrounding the couple having an argument.

Watching them brought back memories of me when I was much younger.

The basic element of communication is to understand the other person or partner. If we put ourselves and our needs first, trying to understand the other person will be almost impossible. Communication is particularly difficult if we have already formed our own opinions in our mind. Instead, we want to listen carefully and try to understand while waiting for the person we are communicating with to finish talking.

When I was much younger, I also made the same mistake of not listening countless of times, causing me to have conflicts with other people.

The same applies to practicing Aikido techniques with a partner.

If we make ourselves and trying to throw our partner the first priority, we will never be able to understand and lead our partner.

By already deciding in our mind the “correct way” of moving and doing an Aikido technique, we will not be able to feel, understand and lead, which in turn makes us “clash” with our partner instead.

When I was having conflicts while communicating with people, the same result happened with my Aikido training while practicing with my partners.

“In order to be able to really grasp and fully understand something, we must first put it into practice through our daily lives.” This was an advice that was always repeated by Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei.

After having realized that I had this habit, I tried to correct it by not deciding beforehand and forming opinions each time I listened to someone speak, until this became a new habit. Of course, this was easier said than done. It takes consistently repeating and practicing daily to accomplish this. I was able to cultivate this new habit and sure enough, this helped change and correct the way I practiced Aikido techniques.

By being calm and keeping one point, Ki naturally flows between my partner and me, thus, making it possible for me to understand my partner. 

Let us go back to the young couple who were having an argument while viewing cherry blossoms.

The young lady who was very upset was finally able to calm down and realize that her partner was holding something in his hand. It turned out that he was late because he was buying a present for their anniversary.

“By listening attentively we are able to change our lives with just one story.”

I made my way back slowly enjoying the Cherry Blossoms.


March 30, 2015

Unification during Movement and Action

Unification during Movement and Action 

Getting the feeling of a posture with Coordination of Mind and body is the basics of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido practice.

Natural posture has natural stability, and by checking stability in our posture, we can know whether we coordinate Mind and Body or not.

In the Ki Sayings that Koichi Tohei Sensei put together, there is a paragraph that explains this.

From the Ki Sayings no.12:  

 It is easier to coordinate mind and body when we are sitting or standing still than when in motion. But true unification means to maintain the coordination of mind and body even when we are moving.

 Sei chu no toitsu means – To always maintain the Coordination of Mind and Body while sitting or standing still (no movements).

Dou chu no toitsu means – To always maintain the Coordination of Mind and Body while in motion (during movements).

While sitting, standing or even just moving a little, it is quite easy to lose the Coordination of our Mind and Body which is why training is very important to help us maintain the Coordination of Mind and Body especially during intense and big movements.

A specific training method for maintaining Coordination of Mind and Body is the Ki Development Exercises, which are basic movements that are also included in Aikido techniques.

To some extent, it is first necessary to be able to maintain the Coordination of Mind and Body while sitting or standing (no motions). Once we get this feeling we can apply it to the exercises so as to be able to practice maintaining Coordination of Mind and Body while moving (during motion).

Another most likely way that we may lose our Coordination of Mind and Body is when we are practicing with a partner. When we are able to maintain Coordination of Mind and Body during exercises (practicing exercises by oneself, without a partner), then we should start to apply this feeling of Coordination of Mind and Body to Aikido techniques when we practice with a partner.

This way of step by step practice helps us ensure and understand clearly the feeling of maintaining Coordination of Mind and Body.

I remember a conversation from a few years ago with Mr Tatsuro Hirooka, a professional Baseball Player.

During Mr Hirooka’s professional playing days, he was taught the Ki Development Exercises by Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei. At the time, he thought that the Ki Development Exercises were the basic exercises for Aikido training.

It was after gaining some more experience as a baseball player that he realized that movements in baseball had close similarities to the fundamental basic movements that he had learned from the Ki Development Exercises in the past.

He then told me that he would like to re-learn the Ki Development Exercises again which I then proceeded to explain to him.

As I am an amateur at Baseball, I did not know how to use one’s body in Baseball, but as I was explaining the Ki Development Exercises to Mr. Hirooka I realized, through his understandings and ideas, how to apply the fundamentals of Ki Development Exercises to Baseball Players as well.

It was through this experience that I was able to learn more in depth the importance of Ki Development Exercises by explaining and teaching him.

It happened also for other Martial Arts, Sports, Music as well as Cultural Arts. By explaining to people who specialized in these fields, I was forced to look at each person and how they moved in their specialized field carefully and explain accordingly so that they could understand and apply it to their arts or sports career.

We realized that Ki principles, as well as Ki development exercises, are the basic foundation and can be applied to any movements.

In daily life, it is usually easy to keep Coordination of Mind and Body alone in quiet place. But it is important to also keep the same feeling even during hectic schedules and situations.

Ki Development Exercises is the access point to experiencing and understanding Unification during Movement and Action.