April 13, 2021

Breathing and Emotions

The prolonged effects of COVID19 have perhaps made us more irritable. We may get angry over the smallest things, causing conflicts with our family. Many have this problem.

It's difficult to control our emotions when we are irritated. Trying to tell ourselves “not to be irritated” can cause and even greater loss of self-control. So, what can we do about it?

Fortunately, emotions and breathing are closely linked. We may not be able to control our emotions, but we can control our breathing and therefore our emotions.

Most people are usually unaware of their breathing. So, the first step is to pay attention to our breathing:

-What kind of breathing are you doing at the moment? Are you breathing slowly, or are you breathing rapidly?

-If you are breathing slowly, try breathing faster. What does it feel like?

-If you are breathing rapidly, dare to slow down. What sensations does this cause within you?

If you experience a different sensation, now try to remember your normal breathing patterns.

When you are angry, you breathe with “angry breathing”. Try to remember what it feels like to be angry and try to recreate that breathing pattern.

If you are not sure, try observing how you breathe when you are actually angry in your daily life. Interestingly enough, the observation itself should help you to reduce your anger.

In the same way, when you are irritated, you breathe "irritated breathing". When you are tense, you breathe “tense breathing”. When you are feeling anxious, you breathe “anxious breathing”.
Let's try to recreate each of these breaths. You will see that they are all very shallow breaths.

Now try to remember when you are breathing out most comfortably. What is your breath like when you come into contact with something that makes you feel truly wonderful?

If you are a mountaineer, and you are climbing a steep mountain path with no view when suddenly your vision opens up and you see a spectacular view, don’t you say "Wow!” and let out a pleasant exhale?

If you have a sweet tooth, and you have received a gift from someone and open it to find that it is one of your favorite luxury sweets, don’t you say “Wow!” and let out a pleasant exhale?

When you exhale in this way, you are breathing deeply and without tension. This is the most important point when doing Ki breathing.

When trying to do breathing meditation, many people tell themselves to “exhale for a fixed number of seconds” or maybe just to “exhale for a long time.” In other words, their mind is causing pressured breathing.

Children who grow up in tightly controlled households complain that they feel suffocated at home. This is not because of a lung problem, but because of the oppressive environment in which they live. Even this can cause this same “pressured breathing”.

If we allow our bodies to learn to breathe out comfortably in our daily life, the result will be that we are not controlled by our emotions. Let’s try this same comfortable breathing whenever our emotions are disturbed.

When I was younger, I was a very hot tempered and was sensitive to external stimuli, sometimes taking it out on people and things around me. This irritation was amplified many times by my shallow breathing.
Koichi Tohei Sensei was concerned about me, and taught me to do "calm breathing". Thanks to this practice, I was no longer swayed by my emotions. As a result, I appreciate the importance of breathing very deeply.

If you can change your environment, you should change it. But if you can't, as in the case of the COVID19, then it is important to calm your breathing as a way of protecting yourself.

Breathing and emotions are connected. Let's practice this together.

(Translate: Moe Mimori)
(Editied: C. Curtis)

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April 03, 2021

Resetting One Point

The spread of COVID19 has kept many of us in our homes for this past year and prevented many from gathering together. As a result, there is a great deal of suffering, both from physical and from mental health problems.
The physical problems may be such complaints as chronic stiff shoulders and back pain. The mental problems, such as irritability and depression, are also widespread.
With the spread of this Corona virus infection still taking time to be resolved, even as worldwide vaccination progresses, there is yet no definite end to these problems. For some, it may feel like there is no way out, and that these physical and mental challenges are becoming even more serious.

There is no "one size fits all" solution, but there are some things we can improve on with a little care in our daily lives.
Let’s set our original position as “Keeping One Point”, although we tend to become “Weight upper side” state in our daily lives.
For example, when you are nervous or in a hurry, how do you feel? You may feel that your mind is not set on One Point, but instead on your upper side, such as in your head and upper body.
And how do you feel when you are straining, and your chest is tight? At such times, you can also feel that your mind is not set on One Point, but is up around your chest.
In fact, the state of mind when weight is upper side exhausts the mind and body.

So, when do you notice yourself experiencing “weight upper side,” in your daily life?

Let's start by looking at the physical aspect:

- When you hold the strap on the train or bus, are your shoulders up?
- When you work on the computer, do your shoulders rise?
- Do your shoulders rise when you cut something hard with a knife?

When your weight is upper side, you are straining, and your posture is disturbed. When you are in this state, if you check your posture with a Ki test, you will find if it is unbalanced. This is where stiff shoulders and back pain can easily arise.

Now let's look at the mental aspect:

- Do you feel flustered or faint when you are nervous?
- When you are working, do you feel the blood rushing to your head?
- When you are frustrated, do you feel like there is pressure in your head?

When you are in a state of weight upper side, sounds can seem harsh to you, and the words can seem hurtful to you. This is because you are more sensitive to external stimuli. It makes you vulnerable to stress and pressure.

It also makes you less able to see what is going on around you and therefore less able to make the right decisions.

The problem is how do we reset the balance of One Point, when we find that we are in a weight upper side state?

One of the best ways to do this is to do “Whole body relaxation exercises (Relax Taiso)”.

You can't calm your weight upper side state by commanding it with your mind. The more you think about it, the worse it becomes. But you can reset the balance of One Point from this weight upper side state by relaxing your whole body.

It's easy to do. First, check your basic standing posture and make sure you are balanced. Next, simply swing your lower arms and shake your fingertips as fast as you can. It's like shaking off water from your fingers.

You will find that you can't shake very fast if you have any tension in your body. But you can shake much faster if you relax your whole body. The vibrations from the swinging and shaking of the hands are naturally transmitted to the whole body.
As a reminder, always check your standing posture first, by first rising on your toes and then gently lowering onto your heels.

We achieve this relaxed state by relaxing our whole body and re-balancing, which helps to reset the One Point away from the weight upper side state. A collapsed state, or state of “dead relaxation,” means relaxing your whole body while being unbalanced, which is like a state of laziness.

In the “Whole body relaxation exercise”, the first thing to do is to make sure you are in the basic posture, with Ki flowing through your toes, and then swing your lower arms and shaking the fingertips of both hands as fast as you can.

When you have relaxed enough, gradually decrease your arm swinging and hand shaking as in “half…, half…, half…,” or “smaller, smaller, smaller,” and so on. Don't stop suddenly. If you do, you cause tension again.

This is all you need to do to reset your One Point away from the weight upper side state. We recommend that you do this in your daily life, for example when you have stiff shoulders, before going to bed at night, or when you feel irritable.

Another way of leaving that weight upper side state behind is to "exhale completely". I will talk about this another time.

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(Edit: C. Curtis)

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February 12, 2021

Living Calmness

I was officially asked by the Los Angeles Dodgers to teach “Ki“ to their top prospects at a local camp for three years starting from 2010.

The Dodgers scout young baseball talent from all over the world, and these are the top-level players for which the team has the highest expectations

As I watched their practice day to day, I noticed one thing in common. It was that each movement was done very easily.

Whether it was throwing or hitting, it seemed so easy that even an amateur like me had the misconception that I could do it too! Of course, this was not the case. There was nothing showy in their unwasted motion. In these actions, they looked so natural and calm.

In terms of expression and staging, perhaps there is something to be made for ”showiness", but I learned from this experience with professional athletes that true motion is the opposite.

One day I was visiting Yellowstone National Park in the USA.

As I drove along the river, there were "Danger!" warnings on the side of the river. But the flow of the river seemed so calm that it didn’t seem dangerous at all.

I soon realized what the danger warnings meant. After driving down the road a bit further, I came to a huge waterfall.

At first glance the water flow seemed quite calm. But from the waterfall, I saw that actually the current was very powerful, and the warnings meant that if someone was caught in it, they would not survive.

Waves and splashes on a river may look powerful, but they are not necessarily. They exist not because of a dangerous current, but simply because the riverbed is shallow or rocky.

This is one example that a seemingly calm state can be very powerful, and we cannot judge by appearances only.

There is a piano piece by Franz Liszt called the " Transcendental Études".

It is a piece of piano music that requires a great deal of skill to perform. At the level of the average piano student, it is not easy to follow the music score. If the technique is lacking, it won’t become music, and if technique only is pursued, the piece will be flashy and restless.

When played by a true pianist, the music sounds beautifully harmonious and calm, despite the frightening number of notes.

One such example is this " Transcendental Études " performed by Kemal Gekic.

It is interesting to note that Franz Liszt, who was a master of technique, studied under Karl Czerny, who was famous for basic education.

I believe that technique is the result of fundamental trainings, and that in the process of eliminating excesses and waste, a sense of “calmness” is achieved.

“Calmness” and “slowness” may seem close in meaning, but not the same thing. It is wrong to expect calmness from the beginning. It would only be boring slowness.

Performing the techniques of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido offers a similar example.

A showy motion has unreasonableness and wastefulness. When these unnecessary movements are chipped away, the largeness of your movement reveals a great calmness.

In our Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training we also use Bokken, the wooden swords, and Jo, the wooden sticks. The same applies to swords and sticks, the more natural the motion, the calmer it becomes.

A motion which has calmness, actually has huge. On the contrary, a restless motion has no power. And slowness of motion, in itself, has no power at all.

“Calmness” is very interesting.

In your daily practice, if you look at your own and other people's motion from this point of view you may find something new.

By the way, Mr. Takeo Hori, is the embodiment of "calmness".

[Shinshin Toitsu Aikido・Ki Society official YouTube channel video/interview with Mr. Takeo Hori]

https://youtu.be/L3T4-0TY5d8

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(Edit: C. Curtis)

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January 28, 2021

New Dojo all over the Country

A state of emergency has been declared in Tokyo and some prefectures. According to news reports, the areas under emergency status are expected to expand even further.

In Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Kai, practice will be conducted at the discretion of the dojo head in accordance with the "Guidelines for the Prevention of the Spread of New Coronavirus Infection".

There is a possibility that we may have to suspend our practice or merely change the time of day, based upon the request to refrain from going outside. We ask for your understanding in this matter.

During last year's emergency declaration, we suspended activities at dojos all over Japan.

Feeling a great sense of crisis, I got information about Zoom from a person in the know, and immediately started online classes with approximately 50 people at the Tokyo HQ dojo.

These Zoom classes developed one after another, and after only two months, I was able to practice with around 500 people from several dojos, and all connected through Zoom.

Initially, the online classes worked as a substitute for not being able to open class in a dojo or classroom, but as dojo or classroom training resumed, it became less responsive.

If online class is seen as a substitute for class in the dojo, it is only natural that this should be the case. So, we decided to change the approach to our online classes from "we can also do it online" to "we can do it because of online".

For example, a participant from far away has to spend a lot of time and money to attend class in a big city. With online classes there are no such restrictions. In fact, many of the participants who attend the online class live in far away places.

For example, if you are a caregiver for the elderly and time is critical for you, you would have to set aside half a day, including the time to get there and back, in order to physically attend a class at a dojo. With online classes, you can make use of any spare time you have, and with on-demand class, you can learn when you want to.

Of course, there are some points that can only be communicated in the dojo. However, we have found that by consolidating what can be communicated online, our classes at dojo are enhanced as a result. And when we can once again attend dojo classes, we can focus on what we are able to practice on the tatami mat at dojo as well.

We continue to do "what we have always done" without question, but the new coronavirus has taught us how important it is to ponder "why we are doing this" and to start from scratch. We might not have been able to do this if it had not been such a global crisis.

On the 10th of January, we held “Kagami Biraki Event” at online.

In spite of the state of emergency declared, 500 people from all over Japan participated in the event, and in addition, 80 instructors from the USA, Russia, Europe, Australia and other countries participated as guests.

This is a great example of one of the things that “we can do it because we are online”. Some of them practiced online from their homes and others gathered at the dojo.

The purpose of our studying is “to Extend Ki”, and this event was extremely important opportunity to achieve this goal. We could extend Ki through interacting with each other from other countries for the first time in a long time.

This year we are planning an international event for 1,000 people. Online Kagami Biraki had been a good test for it.

In the near future, we want to have an online event that serves 10,000 people online. Then, after this pandemic is resolved, we want to hold a “World Camp” in person. This event has had to be postponed in Japan because of Covid19. However, we want to practice together in Tenshinkan Dojo which has 520 tatami mats as soon as possible.

There are many people who stagnate Ki because of the new corona virus. If you stagnate Ki, you cannot use your mind positively. It is precisely in these kinds of limited social conditions that it is important to "Extend Ki".

By practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and "Extending Ki", this stagnation can be cleared up. For this reason, I have decided to set up new dojos in all the major regions of Japan. I will create an environment where you can practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido wherever you are in Japan.

To create a dedicated dojo requires a certain amount of preparation and time, but the "places" to practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido can and will be increased with flexibility and commitment.

To achieve this, we will require three times as many instructors and places to practice as we now have. In particular, developing instructors is most important. By exploring the possibilities of online, this goal has become realistic. We now hold online instructor training classes and many of our instructors are participating.

Our goal is to achieve this in five years.

As for overseas, we currently have dojos in 24 countries. The damage caused by this new corona virus differs greatly from country to country. In spite of this situation, we will increase new opportunities for overseas just as we did in Japan, while keeping an eye on the infection status carefully. There is no doubt that online will play an even more important role overseas.

We would like to thank you all for your support in the future.

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(edited: C. Curtis)

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December 24, 2020

Setsudo: Creating more Opportunities to Study Shinshin Toitsu Aikido

In this blog I talk about my “resolution” for the future of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.

In April 2020, when the state of emergency was declared in Japan, I started online classes.

At first, I offered these classes as an alternative to classes in the dojo. There is nothing better than the training accompanied by physical contact in the dojo.

However, through trial and error, I realized that there were things we could do online, and more importantly, things that could only be done online.

So, I decided to plan an autumn online all Japan seminar event to embody this.

I'm sure there were many challenges, but the more than 500 people who attended seemed to realize the potential of the online class.

I hold great expectations for this type of presentation. What is particularly important about online classes is that you can come from as far away as you are to participate.

My regular instructor workshops are held in the metropolitan and regional metropolises, so even without COVID-19, it has always been difficult for many instructors in distant areas to attend frequently.

Since starting online class, all instructors are now able to attend twice a month, whereas they used to be able to participate in instructor training twice a year.

The bottleneck in spreading Shinshin Toitsu Aikido is the number of instructors. There are currently 350 instructors in Japan, but in order to train them, I have always had to travel to each area to teach, and this takes an enormous amount of time and effort. Of course, that will continue to be the case in the future, but with the use of online class, we will be able to train instructors in any region much more regularly.

Therefore, I have decided to open new dojos in major cities, towns and villages across the country over the next five years, and train instructors so that more people can practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido wherever they live in Japan.

In order to do so, the number of instructors will have to triple from the current number of instructors to 1,000.

As for outside of Japan, there are currently Shinshin Toitsu Aikido dojos in 24 countries, and I would like to triple this number over the next five years.

In the face of the adversity of the COVID-19, I am extending Ki for the future as a result of my search for new direction.

I have made up my mind, and I will now make it happen.

Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Kai has established guidelines for the use of social media in Japan and will be actively involved in the dissemination of information by using social media. As part of this effort, I have decided to upload some dialogue videos on the official YouTube channel.

The first video interview is with the baseball critic, Mr. Tatsuro Hirooka.

Mr. Hirooka is now 88 years old and was a famous shortstop for the Yomiuri Giants when he was active in baseball. As a manager, he led the Yakult Swallows and Seibu Lions to the League Championship and the Top of Japan, respectively.

He was one of Koichi Tohei Sensei's greatest supporters who understood his teachings very well in the baseball world and practiced Shinshin Toitsu Aikido to the fullest.

You may associate Mr. Hirooka with being a "strict man".

In reality, Mr. Hirooka is a man who laughs a lot, is extremely flexible and is always curious and inquisitive. He is a great educator and has trained many baseball players up to now.

Here is a precious video interview with Hirooka-san.

You can watch this video on the official Shinshin Toitsu Aikido channel on YouTube. We will be releasing more videos from now on, so please subscribe to our channel.

[Shinshin Toitsu Aikido・Ki Society official YouTube channel]
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChfjPSmOotFGUlrZ-NJQqFA

(Translate: Moe Mimori)
(Edit: C. Curtis)

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November 05, 2020

Infused with Ki

We often use the word “Ki ga Hairu” in Japanese to refer to responses that are Ki-infused, work that is Ki-infused, and food that is Ki-infused.

This is because one of the functions of Ki is that "mind moves when Ki is infused.”

Let's say we want to give a gift to someone. In order to make that person truly happy, it is necessary to know their circumstance.

We don’t want to send an alcoholic beverage to someone who doesn't drink alcohol, and it would be even worse to send alcohol to someone who likes to drink but refrains from doing so.

If the recipient is in an office, it's best to send something that can be easily shared among everyone, and if it's a gift for a member of a family, it's best to send something that the whole family can enjoy.

By putting ourself in the other person's place and trying to understand them, we can infuse their gift with Ki in this way. The recipient is then moved by the Ki.

Let's say we are creating a document. There are two types of documents: "Ki-infused" and "non-Ki-infused" documents.

In a "Ki-infused" document, there are various ways to make it easier to understand and to avoid misunderstandings from the reader's point of view.

On the contrary, there are documents that are created without thinking about the reader at all. This is a typical example of a document that is "non-Ki-infused": The other day, I received a notice from a public institution. No matter how many times I read it, I didn't understand the meaning of it, and only after making inquiries did I finally understand it.

It may have occurred to you that the same is true for teaching.

There are two types of teachings: "Ki-infused" and "non-Ki-infused" teaching.

Knowing the level of understanding of the person to whom we are communicating, gives us the ability to take into account how to communicate to them, and this makes it much easier for them to receive our message. This then becomes “Ki-infused” teaching.

Speaking only from our own point of view won't get Ki to be infused in the teaching. Just because we may be fluent in language does not mean Ki will be infused in our message.

If we fill our every move with Ki, this creates an infused teaching, and that Ki will more likely move the other person’s heart.
I personally value "Ki ga hairu(Infused with Ki)" in everything I do.
If our mind is not used properly, we will not be able to put Ki into our actions and this will not lead to the results we want.

I always try to improve the way I use time in making arrangements, and therefore am constantly making sure about Ki being infused into each thing I do.

By having this perspective, I train daily.

I want to perform "Ki infused techniques" in my practice, so this is all the practice of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido in daily life.

Let's work together to infuse Ki in all of our actions.

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(edit: C. Curtis)

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October 07, 2020

The Purpose of UKEMI

In Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido practice, students learn to respect their opponents’ mind and guide and throw them according to “The Five Principles for Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido”.

The Five Principles for Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido

1. Extending Ki
2. Know your opponent’s mind
3. Respect your opponent’s Ki
4. Put yourself in the place of your opponent
5. Perform with confidence

For example, let's say someone is very strong and throws the opponent with force. If the person being thrown resists in his or her mind and this leaves a negative feeling, then it is not truly "leading".

If we compare this to everyday life, let's say a person in authority gives someone an order. If the person receiving this order is resisting in his or her mind even though they are obeying the order, then it's not truly "leading”.

You have to perceive the opponent’s situation and understand where he or she is trying to go before you can move them and lead them to the destination. The same is true for techniques. This is what it means to lead and throw your opponent.

To begin with, there is no "win" or "lose" in the practice of Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido. The person who throws is not a "winner" and the person who is thrown to is not a "loser".

In this same way, there are no "winners" or "losers" in this same situation in everyday life. The one who leads is not a "winner" and the one who is led is not a "loser".

In Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido, the word “ukemi” refers to "defending oneself." Ukemi does not mean simply being thrown and rolling.

Many people take the word "ukemi" to mean being passive because of the idea of being led. But ukemi is, by nature, extremely active.

Just like in our daily lives, the relationship doesn't end when we are thrown. In fact, it continues afterwards.

If you lose your posture and are hurt as a result of being thrown, you won’t be able to get up right away and prepare for the next movement. In fact, if you hit your head it can even be life-threatening.

Therefore, proper ukemi is essential.

Basically, the ukemi in Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido does not tap or slap the tatami. We always take ukemi in such a way so that the body lands smoothly.

In extreme cases, even on a hard surface such as asphalt, the ukemi must minimize damage in order to allow the body to prepare for the next attack in an instant.

In other words, the purpose of ukemi is not only to protect yourself while being thrown, but also to prepare for your next movement.

Years ago, I taught a professional boxer. This boxer, who was a great athlete, was deeply interested in ukemi.

According to this boxer, it was not only the damage done by his opponent, but also the damage done by hitting the floor when he was knocked down. He said that this double damage made it easy for him to lose his composure.

He said he wanted to learn ukemi well, so that he could do it unconsciously. Afterwards, this great athlete practiced well and got the hang of it.

In fact, this is the same thing in our daily lives.

Failures and troubles can arise and knock us down. But life doesn't end there. It's at such times that ukemi is necessary, because recovery is always essential. Being able to actively use our minds to prepare for the next event in life, immediately, is a great strength of the mind.

However, if our composure is disrupted, we cannot do that. This is something that can only be learned by practicing with your body, not by mental theory.

For those of you who practice Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido, I would like you to brush up not only on your throwing, but also on your ukemi with the correct purpose.

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(edit: C. Curtis)

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September 03, 2020

What is Extending Ki?

This is a story about after I became an instructor.

I began my training as an Uchideshi, the disciple training of Koichi Tohei Sensei, and was soon given a teaching position in an adult class of about 20 students. Although I had experience leading practice in the university Aikido club, my understanding of Ki was insufficient, my teaching skills were inadequate, and my humanity was still inexperienced.

In the beginning, many people came to the class, but one by one, they began to decrease in number, and when the winter weather was very severe, there was the only man in the class. He may have come to class with a sense of responsibility, thinking that “If I am absent, the class will not exist!”

I felt it was unbearable to reduce the number of students in the class that my master had entrusted to me. At such times, strangely enough, the techniques often went wrong.

I must have had a very pessimistic look on my face when, one day, I was finally questioned by Koichi Tohei Sensei about my class.

Master Tohei: "I have heard that the number of people coming to your class is decreasing these days.”

I: “I'm sorry! I'm trying my best, but...”

Master Tohei: "You have no confidence, do you?”

I: "Yes.... There are many techniques that don't work.”

Master Tohei: "You know why it doesn't work?

It was very frustrating to be asked “why?” because I was the one who really wanted to know why I cannot do this correctly! There is no one that I am ignoring. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of my ability. Or maybe I am not talented enough? He must have seen through all of my thoughts.

Master Tohei : "It's not a matter of ability or talent. It's because you are pulling Ki. Turn your mind to what you can do, not what you can't do.

After telling me that , Koichi Tohei Sensei left.

I had begun my training to become the successor of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, so all I could think about was whether or not I would be accepted by everyone. I was trying to do more than I was able to do at the moment, and that was the same as desperately trying to do what I could not do.

“So, what can I do now?” I wondered. At first, I thought I had nothing to offer, but when I started to calm down, I found that I actually had a lot to offer.

For instance, I had the idea to clean up the dojo even more than before, so that everyone who comes to practice can spend their time with us feeling as comfortable as possible.

I could also welcome and say goodbye to everyone with a positive smile from the bottom of my heart().

Even if I couldn’t solve everything, I could pay attention to each person and listen to their concerns.

In this way, we can support the students regardless of our teaching skills. I decided that I would do the best that I could before deciding that I didn't have the ability or talent.

In spite of my efforts, there was a period of time when our numbers were low for a while. But, by the end of winter and the beginning of spring, the number of people who came to practice gradually increased, and by early summer, the number of students was even greater than the number we had initially enrolled.

The most surprising thing to me, was that I was able to perform techniques that had been completely unsuccessful before. The first of the Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido is "Ki is extending," so the positive changes are no surprise to me now.

“Instead of worrying about what you can't do, find what you can do and do your best.”

I realized that this is "Extending Ki", and it was revealed through all the experiences that I had in the past.

Now that I am teaching many of you both in Japan and abroad, I want to keep this original intention in mind as I continue to teach.

(translate: Moe Mimori)
(edit: C. Curtis)

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August 27, 2020

Direction of Mind

I am the head of a large organization.

In a place where a lot of people gather, like in an organization, our “direction of mind” is important.  Problems will always arise where people gather. This is natural because people come together who have different natures.

If you consider these problems as “failures,” a negative mind that says “we must not fail” may spread throughout the organization.

Then, you come to consider the many risks that might be involved, even though no one has challenged anything yet. And then, you may even begin to pursue “who is responsible for this?” in order to not be blamed by others.

If we consider the problems that occur in an organization as “issues to be resolved” rather than “failures”, a positive mind will spread  throughout the organization.

Then, each person will be able to carry out their own responsibilities willingly and will be able to actively challenge the problems, even if it seems difficult.

As a result, the organization itself will change dramatically.

It can happen at any time, but the direction of mind can always be changed. Especially in times like today, under this unstable situation, we might begin with a positive mind, but then change into a negative mind without noticing.

Above all, as President of my organization, I always want to be very careful in my own mind.

Direction of mind is also important when we are in public.

For instance, when I was a child, I received a criticism that “when I spoke in public, I would get nervous and was not able do well.” The cause for this kind of nervousness is often because we tend to be concerned about people’s eyes too much.

Consider the difference between when you are “watching," and when you are “being watched".

When you are watching, you may focus on other people’s facial expression, their characteristics, and so on. In this circumstance, you will have a positive mind.

However, when you feel you are being watched, you may focus on yourself, worrying what others may think of you or how you are being evaluated. In this circumstance, you will have a negative mind.

Interestingly, when you are “watching,” you don’t mind that you are “being watched”. On the contrary, you cannot “watch” when you are “being watched”.

This is because the directions of the mind cannot be “positive” and “negative” at the same time, so when the mind is working positively, it does not work negatively.

In other words, even people who are nervous about “being watched”, can improve their ability by training themselves “how to watch”.

Actually, I was able to overcome this by training even though I was a child and it was very easy for me to get nervous.

These days, when I give lectures, I stand in front of thousands of people.  In such a case, I confirm that my own direction of mind  is positive or not through “watching” the entire audience before I go up on the stage.

I am actively turning my own attention to the audience, purposefully noticing such things as “How about ratio of men and women?" "What kind of age group are gathering here?" and "What kind of facial expressions does each person have?”

If your mind is negative, you will receive many people's eyes at once. But if your mind is positive, you do not mind about how large the audience is.

By the way, there is a saying that "we become polished by being watched". But In this case, that refers to "spending everyday life with the assumption that we are being watched, and becoming very comfortable with it", which is different from the theme this time, which is "direction of the mind."

The mind has a direction.

There is "positive mind” and “negative mind”. It is difficult to eliminate the negative mind, but by training the positive mind, the negative mind naturally disappears.

I am training myself every day by practicing Ki-Aikido.

(translate: Moe Mimori )

(edit: C. Curtis)

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March 05, 2020

What is most important

The “New Coronavirus” is spreading worldwide. This unknown virus has no established preventive or therapeutic methods.  It presents a particular risk for elderly people, and those who may have pre-existing illnesses. There is no convergence prospect at the moment, and no one knows what the future will bring. Every day, as information develops, so our decisions are influenced.

Under such circumstances, we decided to postpone the international events, scheduled in fall this year, to next year (2021). Many of the participants had already begun planning their trips to Japan, so the decision must be disappointing and costly. We also have a big financial loss. There were various opinions. Some people said, "Your decision is too early." Since nobody knows about the future, it's really difficult to make this kind of decision.

In fact, “no doing anything” is the easiest way to avoid risks. But this is the same as "If you don’t use your body, your body will be weak." Just avoiding risks, we will make our organization weaker. On the other hand, if we just move forward, without considering the risks, this is the same as "If you use your body interfering the law of nature, your body will be broken.” In this way, we could make serious mistakes. In particular, possible failures involving human lives are irreversible. Clearly, it is insufficient to judge only by analyzing advantages or disadvantages.

In such a case, I consider "what is most important". As the president of our organization, I value people the most. Before making the decision, we first interviewed the chief instructors overseas. There were a variety of opinions, but what I saw was “their family’s face”. All the participants are studying Shinshintoitsu Aikido and they extend Ki all the time. They believe that this new coronavirus will end in the near future and would like to visit Japan as scheduled. However, their families are seriously concerned about planning a trip abroad in the current situation.

The instructors and members can continue their Shinshintoitsu Aikido activities with their families’ understanding and support.  I value our relationship, not only with the instructors and members, but with their families as well. When thinking about "what is most important" in our activities, I am convinced that this is the best decision from a long-term perspective. Of course, we'll see later if this decision was really right. 

After the new coronavirus is over and you can travel abroad with peace of mind, if possible, we welcome not only instructors or members but their families as well. We would like to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Koichi Tohei Sensei's birth together.  

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