February 08, 2017

Training In Daily Life

My mission is to teach and spread Shinshintoitsu Aikido (Ki-Aikido), and to train our instructors. I spend most of my time engaged in this throughout the year. I also write books, am interviewed for magazines, TV, or newspaper, and teach Ki seminars for companies and athletes to attract more people.

Of course, at the same time, I have to study and train for myself as well.  To accomplish all of this in a day, I would need to have more than 24 hours. In other words, it is really important for me to spend my time efficiently.

Actually it is difficult for me to have any extra time for studying and training myself outside of Dojo. Therefore, I set my mind to view everything I see or touch as my training. For example, at work I need to make telephone calls many times a day. Depending on the subject of discussion, I decide how long the phone call should take. Then I ask at the beginning, “May I have --– minutes?” This way I let the person know how long the phone call might take.

By doing this, I achieve the following two things.

First of all, in order to make the person understand within that time limit, I need to order my thoughts better. Sometimes it depends upon how much the person grasps the situation, and so I also need to know the person better. If I cannot finish within the expected time, I know that my method of communication, or my expectation of the minutes required, was not enough. In any case, I always learn from this and get feedback for my next call. By continuing to experience this “trial and error”, I learn to see others more carefully and it becomes a good training of “How to talk intelligible to make others understand easier”.

Secondly, it helps me to get the feeling of “time passing”.

When I decide a call should take 3 minutes, and when I am actually able to do that, then I do not need a clock because I can naturally feel the passing of time. This feeling of “time passing” helps me a lot when I teach seminars. After 3 minutes, I feel it and I notice that my speech might get too long and I can recover at that point. Sometimes it is not 3 minutes that I need. Recently I always set 2 minutes as a basis with a maximum of 3 minutes. I even set 1 minute as a basis when I talk face to face.

When we call someone, we need to know that the person is going to be willing to give time for us. We should never waste others’ time. If I am not ready and not keeping my thoughts in order when I call, the person may take more time to understand. If I am too strict about it, it may be stealing others’ time. I know some topics need to be discussed without worrying about a time limit. In this case, it is important to make the situation free from restraint.

We cannot set a time limit when we listen to others. I hope you do not get confused about this.

If you can set your purpose clearly, a telephone call will become an important training. If you just call without having a target or aim for the thousands of calls in your life, you cannot be trained.

Walking, climbing, holding, carrying, talking and every little thing in daily life can be a training. I am training like this in my life. Then I can train even though I do not have extra time. I am training right now at this moment while I am writing this article.

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January 25, 2017

Great Nature and Ki

In Japan, when someone talks about “Ki”, many people would think “shady”. I was not an exception.

Since I studied science at the University, I could not believe anything if there was not a scientific proof. When I was taught Ki principles, I could not just start from a presumption that Ki exists.

I was able to learn Ki Principles because Koichi Tohei Sensei taught me this: “If it is right, then everyone can do it, again and again. ”

He also taught me, when I learn deeply that Ki does not have shape, I need to see whether everyone can really do this, again and again, or not.

And so, I decided to practice Ki Principles all by myself at first, and test these principles on myself. I did not just believe what I was taught, but I doubted first. Then I tested the principles Tohei Sensei was teaching me on myself, continuously.

Now I understand for myself and truly believe how much “Ki Principles” are important to our life.

“Ki connection” and “Ki dis-connection” are a perfect example to study in daily life.

By our fundamental nature, we always have “Ki connection” with great nature, the outside world around us.  But when once we fail in the natural way of using our mind and body, Ki automatically dis-connects from others. While we have feelings of “Ki dis-connection,” we easily become frustrated in the condition of our human relationships.

We tend to lose this Ki connection especially when we become selfish. In such a condition Ki does not move, and we are not able to look outside of ourselves clearly. Then we can not discover what needs to be done at that moment.

At this point we always need to have a solution for this “Ki dis-connection”, and I think practicing Ki-Aikido and Ki breathing would be a great help.

In addition, I have met a person who knows another solution for “Ki dis-connection”. Mr. Hiroshi Yamada suggests borrowing the power of the great nature. Mr. Yamada used to work in the business world and then he learned the method of “Couching.” and Now he has become a professional Couch who gives workshops in the forest.

He explains that just by staying in the forest for a few days, most people can recover the feelings of connection with the outside.

Many Japanese people in the city have a kind of “dim anxiety,” because they forget their connection with great nature, and as a result, feel alone and lonely. Mr. Yamada says the forest can help you feel this connection once again. Also, people can learn the difference between instinctual fear and imaginary anxiety while being in the forest.

He believes, “We can leave ourselves behind while in the forest. If we can leave ourselves behind more, we can receive more. The forest will not ask you for anything in return, but just hold you in its embrace. This is the great nature.”

On the 11th of February, I will teach a seminar called “Ki Forum” in Tokyo. We will invite Mr. Yamada as a guest speaker and we will talk about “Great Nature and Ki” on stage.

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September 09, 2016

Shinichi Tohei Sensei will be featured on NHK

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The NHK Television program will be called [Help Me Master!]

The program is scheduled to be aired on
September 10, 2016 (Saturday) 9:30AM, it will be re-broadcasted on Thursday, 11.05AM.
Both times for the program are according to Japan Local Time.

This program will be featured on NHK World Premium (For Overseas Broadcasting).
It is also scheduled to be aired on
September 10, 2016 (Saturday).
However, since the time zone of the broadcast may be different from Japan Local Time,
Please visit NHK World Premium Website for more details
on broadcasting times.

http://nhkworldpremium.com/program/detail_e.aspx?d=20160910113500&ssl=false&

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May 22, 2016

Inter – Universities Joint Aikido Training at Ki Society Tochigi HQ

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On Sunday 22nd of May, Ki Society Tochigi HQ hosted an Aikido training session for Universities in Japan at Tenshinkan Dojo. This joint Aikido training session is held annually for the purpose of University Aikido groups to come socialize and train together.

Aikido Groups from schools in the Tokyo Metropolitan area: Keio University, International Christian University, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nihon University and Waseda University took part in this training session.

Students from Furman University (South Carolina USA), who were already training and staying at Ki Society Tochigi HQ, joined in the training session as well. The total number of participants for the seminar was 110 including 15 students from Furman University.

It was a great international exchange experience for all students.

Furman University has a department which studies Oriental Philosophy, part of their studies program also includes Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, which is why their professor (Ph.D) decided to organize a training camp program at Ki Society Tochigi HQ.

I, Tohei Shinichi, and HQ Instructors Otsuka Yutaka, Kataoka Taketoshi and Kobori Tomonori taught during the seminar. Students were able to practice care freely during the seminar in Tenshinkan Dojo (A dojo with 520 Tatami). After the training session, there was a party for all students to gather together and socialize.

Training Camp sessions for Inter Universities in previous years were taught over 2 days, however from this year we decided to have 1 day of training seminar. Next year’s training session has been decided with same schedule.

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February 11, 2016

Ki Forum 2016 - Seminar

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Ki Forum 2016 was held on February 11, 2016 in Arcadia Ichigaya (Tokyo). Around 160 participants from all over Japan came to attend the seminar.

Ki Forum an event that is held only once a year, covers topics that are the basics of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido – Ki Principles: Mind moves Body, and how to apply these principles in our daily lives. Every year, we invite guest speakers who are at the fore front of their chosen careers and are members that practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido to come and share with us their experiences and how they apply Ki Principles in their daily lives.

This year, we invited MMA fighter Minowa Ikuhisa (Minowaman) to speak on the theme of: Shinshin Toitsu Aikido in daily life. During the first half of the seminar, basic topics such as – Posture (with mind and body coordinated), Keeping One Point, The Conscious and Sub- Conscious Mind were covered with participants through easy to understand applications. During the second half of the seminar, I held a Talk Session with Minowa San.

During the talk session with Minowa San, we talked about his practice of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and what he feels he learns and achieves from these classes as he applies it to his daily life, methods and ways of how he applies what he learns in classes to his daily life were the main topics and questions covered during the talk session. Minowa San’s interesting way of relating his training methods in daily life as well as his examples and actions of how he applies what he learns into his daily life, captivated and drew laughter and excited responses from the participants.

After the Ki Forum Seminar, many participants who have been training and practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and Ki principles gave me the impression that they felt they did not put in enough effort and practice of what they learn during classes into their daily lives, especially after listening to how Minowa San - a top athlete, trains and tries to apply what he learns from classes to his daily life and his attitude of valuing what he learns and taking it seriously. They all felt motivated and were going to continue their training in classes as well as during daily life.

Next year, we will hold Ki Forum 2017 – participants who were unable to come this time, we look forward to seeing you next year.

Below is a link for a video on YouTube for Minowa Ikuhisa (Minowaman) and some highlights of his fights as an MMA fighter.

https://youtu.be/Hi7_c0w0X80

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January 10, 2016

Ki Society HQ – Kagami Biraki 2016

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We have celebrated and welcomed in the New Year. I wonder how the New Year has been and what this year will bring for everyone.

On January 10 (Sunday) 2016, HQ held the annual Kagami Biraki at Ki Society HQ Tochigi. Kagami Biraki is one of the most important event and seminars of Shinshin Toitsu Aikidokai. Instructors and members from all over Japan, came together to participate in this event. There were a total of 93 participants this year.

Early in the morning with temperatures of -1 degrees, participants started with Senshin no Gyo (a practice of pouring water on oneself), followed with Sokushin no Gyo (a practice of swinging the bell and breathing out in one breath at the same time.) The Dan Recommendations for 2016 was also formally announced, after which I taught the first Aikido training session for 2016.

All seminars and camps for 2016 officially starts for Shinshin Toitsu Aikidokai.

We look forward to meeting and practicing with all members again this year, Yoroshiku Onegai Itashimasu.

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January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

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Living life, is to always be extending Ki
- Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei

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December 01, 2015

Continuing Forward While Moving Back

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In everything that happens, if there is a beginning there will always be an ending.

When we begin something, we are usually very positive and extending Ki to move forward. When we near the end of doing or accomplishing something, we tend to look or think back and in that process pull our Ki back. Ending or completing something is always more difficult than beginning or starting something.

Especially for leaders, it is particularly difficult assessing and knowing the time to quit. For example, knowing the time to retire or step down from the role as a leader. As well as realizing the time to pull out or retire from a role in a company or business.

If we pull our Ki back at such a crucial time, it can impair our ability to make correct decisions. Even though retiring or pulling out of an important role, we always need to continue to extend Ki forward.

Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei realized this during his time in the war.

When advancing forward, it is easy to extend Ki continuously. As Ki is extending forward, it is easy to perceive and avoid a dangerous situation.

When withdrawing, it is easy to pull Ki back. As Ki is pulled back (inwards), dangerous signs become unnoticeable, thus making dangerous situations unavoidable.

This was learned by Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei the hard way, he realized while withdrawing to never pull Ki back, it should not be thought of as ‘withdrawing or falling back’ but ‘proceeding and continuing back’. This helped him avoid many dangerous situations.

Even in Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training and practices, Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei always taught in this way.

An example is: two people line up side by side at one side of the Dojo, both facing backwards away from the other end of the Dojo. They then both start to run at full speed (backwards) to the other end of the Dojo.

One person extends Ki forwards (even while running backwards). As Ki is extending, he is aware of his surroundings and is able to feel calm and confident while running.

The other person runs while pulling Ki inwards (still running backwards). As Ki is not extending, he is not able to feel his surroundings and therefore feels less confident and calm while running.

Beginners, who take part in this exercise for the first time, are surprised by the big difference in result just by the direction of Ki projection. This experience also showed that even while moving back, Ki continues to move forward.

During the [Ki Business Talk Session] seminar with Mr. Takeo Hori, we talked about knowing the right time to step down as a leader.

Mr. Hori retired at the age of 51 as president of Hori Production. At that time, not only his company, Hori Production – but every talent agency in Japan, looked like a business that would not be able to continue on to the next generation, Mr. Hori’s purpose then was to make Hori Production into a public company that could continue regardless of whether the new president was related to the Hori family or not.

Even then deciding to retire at the age of 51 still seemed very early, I asked Mr. Hori how he came to that decision. 

Convinced that the next President of the Hori Pro Company would protect and continue the progress of the company, Mr. Hori decided for himself that he wanted to continue to try new things.

After retiring, Mr. Hori was able to continue forward and take risks which he was previously unable to take while being the president of the company, which led to all his business decisions and ventures becoming successful.

Indeed, a president retiring should not just retire and step down, but should think of stepping down as a continuation and progression forward.

Even being 83 years old, he is always still continuing forward.

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November 09, 2015

November Combined Camp 2015 with Members from Australia, Tahiti and Malaysia

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Tochigi HQ had a Combined Camp with members from branch dojos in Australia, Tahiti and Malaysia. The camp was held from 3, November (Tuesday) – 12, November (Thursday).

I taught 3 days of seminars held on 7, November (Saturday) – 9, November (Monday).

In the evenings during gatherings, we enjoyed talking and getting to know all members. Other Seminars during the camp were also taught by HQ Instructors, Taketoshi Kataoka Sensei and Tomonori Kobori Sensei.

This year instead of having World Camp, we decided to hold seminars and camps for branch Ki Societies and Federations. During this November Combined Camp, we were able to combine smaller groups from different Ki Societies and Dojos to come and train together at HQ.

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November 02, 2015

Holding with Ki

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I have had more opportunities recently to teach both professional baseball players and coaches.

Through teaching these players and coaches, it has also helped my own understanding deepen.

An example of this deepening of my own understanding is what I call “The Holding of Things.”

To hold or carry something, is actually one of the most basic movements or actions that human beings do all the time, while at the same time being probably one of the most complex or ‘‘high level’’ actions or movements that we all take for granted.

When a player in good form or condition holds a bat, his hold is supported by his whole body as one. Even by applying Ki Testing by pushing the bat, the player does not get affected.

A player, who is not in good form or condition, usually holds the bat only with his hands. By applying Ki test and pushing the bat, not only does his bat move, but his whole posture also waivers.

Human beings are fortunate in the way that our wrists function and move. Technically just by moving our wrists we can swing a bat, which as the Japanese phrase “Kote Saki” implies, literally means moving only with wrists.

Ki Testing is first applied to check if the posture of the player is stable and calm, then it is applied again to check the player’s posture when he holds a bat. The stability of a player’s posture should always be calm and stable regardless of whether he is holding or not holding a bat, this is an important part of training which is practiced continuously.

By repeating this practice continuously, the player can understand the difference through feeling.

The same thing also applies when practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.

When we practice Aikido techniques, we use our hands to perform the throw or techniques. If our throw feels incomplete or it doesn’t feel correct, it usually means that we are only just using our hands to throw. In Japanese this is called “Kote Saki”.

This is why it is very important to always practice checking of the stability of our posture, to make sure that it is always calm and stable with our mind and body being unified as one. This feeling should be applied when we perform Aikido Techniques. We should not be practicing ‘throwing just with our hands’ but we should always practice ‘throwing and moving with our whole body as one.’

Let us return back to the topic of: The Holding of Something.

When we hold something tightly (like grabbing or squeezing) this puts unnecessary tension and strain into our whole body resulting in our reaction and performance being less efficient than we actually think.

On the contrary, to just hold something lightly and loosely means we will not be able to apply and exert the correct amount of force when using or holding something. We should always hold with Ki extending and flowing, therefore, ‘Holding with Ki’ is a very important.

In Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training, we often practice with the holding of bokken. One of the purposes of this practice is for our bodies to be able to feel and get used to ‘holding with Ki’.

When we try hard to hold things, our Ki has already stopped flowing. In this case, by applying Ki Testing to check our posture, we can see that our posture is less stable and disturbed easily.

By continuously practicing holding the Bokken lightly with Ki flowing to the tip, we can catch the feeling naturally and our posture starts to become stable and calm even when holding a bokken.

Once we get the correct feeling with continuous training and practice, we can apply it to the holding of a bat, or the holding of a golf club, or even holding a brush when practicing Calligraphy.

Improvement in performance can be seen for baseball players, when they hit with their bat they will have more strikes, for golfers, they will have better scores during their games, and a calligrapher will be able to write characters with more Ki flow present in their work.

‘Holding with Ki’ means that Ki should always be flowing continuously throughout, with whatever we hold.

 

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