September 15, 2023

Breathing Imitation

It was over 10 years ago when I came across a book review in a magazine about a well-known Japanese impressionist / stand-up comedian, Michiko Shimizu. She talked about Koichi Tohei Sensei’s book “The Ki Breathing” (Ki no Kokyūhō, 氣の呼吸法). Because of this article, I decided to watch a video clip of one of her live performances. Her performance was brilliant and really funny, but what really struck me the most was what Michiko Shimizu said: “Impersonation is all about “kokyū” (which can be translated as breathing / timing).

At this time, I was regularly working on “breathing out / exhaling” in my Aikido training, so I knew that vocalization is done by exhaling. But I had never thought about imitating or mimicking someone’s vocalization. Ever since then, I have been studying how I can make myself sound like someone else.

I first tried a couple of well-known people, whom Michiko Shimizu often mimicked: Jakuchō Setouchi, a Japanese Buddhist nun and activist, and Akiko Yano, a well-known Japanese female pop / jazz pianist and singer.

At first, I didn’t sound anything like them! So, I decided to forget about their voices, and pay attention only to their breathing. Consequently, I ended up mimicking their breathing instead of their voices. It was then that a wonderful thing happened! Even though I was imitating them with my male voice, I was gradually beginning to sound more like them!

People have all sorts of habits in their breathing. Some people breathe with cadence, some breathe heavily, and some breathe as if they are going to collapse. But if you can reproduce these kinds of breathing habits exactly, the listener will feel as if you sound like the person you are imitating.

Ever since learning this, I started to pay careful attention to people's breathing. I cannot recall how many people I have mimicked over the years. Although this endeavor started out of mere curiosity, this ability turned out to be quite useful later on.

For example, when I teach Ki breathing. I often notice that many people have difficulties with breathing naturally. I have observed so many breathing habits in people that I have became very aware of what makes one's breathing difficult.

Another example is when I teach Kiai and counting, because one’s breathing habits are more clearly reflected in these actions. Instructions given about voices during our training are normally expressed in terms of “feelings”, and students who received this type of instruction often have a hard time understanding them.

However, because of my experiences with mimicking and imitating others, I can reproduce and demonstrate their habits, and thus show them what they sound like.

When we see ourselves from the outside, we are able to see what we are doing from another person’s perspective. Therefore, we become aware of our own habits. And once we are aware of our habits, our Kiai and counting can improve naturally.

I also became better at showing individuals how they can improve specifically and in a concrete manner. In Japanese, we say “manabu” (to learn) is to “manebu” (to mimic/imitate) and this seems to be true.

In the Ki Society, we have many members who are actors. “Vocalization” is all about “Kokyū”. Our breathing shows the status of our mind, so our emotions and our breathing quality are closely related. Each emotion has its own particular breathing quality, so if you can reproduce a specific breathing quality, your voice naturally comes out. If there is a separation between our breathing and our emotions, we would sound unpleasant to our listeners. But when we live with mind and body coordinated and we are extending Ki fully, we can have full command of our breathing, and thus can control our voice at will: a skill that probably many actors are interested in.

I myself speak to large audiences of sometimes several thousands. Of course, I have to think about what I want to say and talk about, but considering what kind of kokyū I would employ to communicate is also important. This is because how well we can communicate is affected greatly by the quality of our breathing.

More importantly, the condition of our breathing is extremely important when we execute our techniques in Shinshin Toitsu Aikido. When we can execute a technique successfully, that is because we are breathing in a way that allows the technique to work. For advanced students, mimicking (like stealing) other's breathing is also an important part of training.

Everyday, we can have fun training to mimic and imitate the breathing of others, like Michiko Shimizu did.

Translated by Mayumi Case
Edited by David Shaner and Matthew Attarian
Eastern Ki Federation

Original article in Japanese: 呼吸を真似る (Kokyū o Maneru) June 1, 2022


July 16, 2023

Condolence (Christopher Curtis Sensei)



Christopher Curtis Sensei, 8th Dan Shinshintoitsu Aikido, the former Chief Instructor of the Hawaii Ki Federation, passed away on June 9, 2023. On July 15, Ki Society members gathered at Maui Shunshinkan Dojo for a memorial. 

He had been helping to edit my blog for many years, and that made my columns sound like a beautiful poem. 

I sincerely appreciate his contributions towards Ki Society over the years and his longtime friendship with the members worldwide.

May his soul rest in peace.


February 21, 2023

English E-Book of "Ki Breathing" Now Available


Ki Breathing, the English-language e-book of Koichi Tohei Sensei's book, is now available. 

This is an English translation of "Ki no Kokyuho" which has been a long seller since its release in 2005. It was subsequently published in Japanese paperback and is still available to many people in Japan.


October 30, 2022

Finding Good Points

This is an interesting story that I heard when I accompanied Koichi Tohei Sensei during one of his seminars in Hawaii.

During that trip, an American young man was observing a class with his mother and came to greet Tohei Koichi Sensei after the class was over.

The mother told us that, years ago, she had brought her child to the dojo during Koichi Tohei Sensei’s long stay in Hawaii to promote Aikido. At the time, the boy was very naughty, and his mother was concerned about this, and sought help from Koichi Tohei Sensei.

Tohei Sensei immediately remembered them, and they had a lively conversation. Especially for me, who did not know about those earlier days, the mother told me the following story in detail.

She said that when she first consulted Tohei Sensei about her child, she said, "My son is restless and misbehaves all the time. There is not a single good thing about him.” When Tohei Sensei heard this, he said, "Don't worry, every child has good qualities.” Tohei Sensei decided to let him participate in the training to see for himself.

When Tohei Sensei met him in class, he found that he was not really able to pay attention and follow directions, and Tohei Sensei confirmed that he was a very difficult boy. His mother, who was watching the class, had a look on her face that said, "See! Isn't it just as I said?"

After practice, Tohei Sensei decided to talk to the child alone. The child must have thought that Tohei Sensei was going to be angry with him, and so he shrank with shame.

Tohei Sensei said to the boy, "I tried to find your good points, but today I couldn't find them. However, next time I will find them for sure, so be sure to come back to practice again!" The child was relieved to find that Tohei Sensei was not angry with him, and said, "All right! I'll come back!" and left with big smile.

After that, the child started practicing attentively. Whenever Tohei Sensei found a good point in the boy’s practice, he would say, "I found a good point!” and he would identify it to the boy. The mother, who was observing the practice, watched this exchange.

Little by little, the boy began to calm down, and the behaviors that had been bothering his mother became less and less. Seeing this remarkable change, the mother became aware that she had been consciously looking for the child's bad points.

When it came time for Koichi Tohei to return to Japan, the boy and his mother came to bid him “goodbye,” and the boy cried and would not leave Tohei Sensei’s side.

Twenty years later, that “bad boy” had become a fine young man.

The mother also said that her now grown child was "a proud son who loves his parents", and tearfully thanked Koichi Tohei Sensei, saying that "that experience with you changed our lives".

The expression on the face of the mother and son at that time left a deep impression on me.

The Lesson:

“Finding good points and supporting others”, rather than “finding bad points and scolding others” may be easy to understand in our head, but it is not easy to do in daily life.

This is because to discover those good points in others, we must take the time and effort to find out what is good about the person. Often it is not possible to understand a person just by spending a little time with them, without looking at them lovingly and carefully.

Only by calmly understanding another person can we support their development. Therefore, practices such as 'keeping one point' and 'Ki breathing' are of great help.

If you just want to point out what is wrong with someone, it does not require that much effort. It is easy to fall into this trap because it seems so straightforward and clear. However, just pointing out what is wrong will never make it better.

The same is true in the practice of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido. Simply pointing out what is wrong with a student cannot be called teaching. Teaching is about "guiding the other person until he or she can do it", which is what instructors need to practice all the time.

The Japanese former baseball star, Tatsuro Hirooka simply says, "What is good is good, what is bad is bad", and he looks carefully at "how to make the person better" and continues to think about it. Once he has made up his mind to train someone, he will take care and continue to support them until the end.

I feel that this is what I should be doing as a leader.

Sometimes, I forget, and look at the 'lacking areas' of the other person. When this happens, I remember to return to the basics of 'finding the good points'.

Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


October 16, 2022

The Real Value of Ukemi

In the practice of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido (Ki-Aikido), we attach great importance to “ukemi.”

The Japanese word “ukemi” is usually interpreted as “passive attitude’” “Passive” here meaning being in a defensive position to receive an attack by others.

However, in practice, ukemi is the exact opposite. It is active, meaning offensive.

Ukemi means “to defend oneself,” only in the sense of being ready, at the moment of being thrown, to make the next move instantly. The moment of being thrown is not the end, but the beginning of the next movement.

Therefore, in Ki-Aikido practice, you do not "win" because you throw, and you do not "lose" because you are thrown.

If your body is jarred or even injured by the throw, you will not be able to make your next move, or you will be slowed down. It is immediately after being thrown that your biggest moment of vulnerability occurs.

If the nage (thrower) is keeping one point, then the uke (person being thrown) must also need to keep one point. Even if the nage throws in an unreasonable way, if the ukemi is maintaining mind and body unified, forceful techniques will no longer work.

This is how we can understand the meaning of respecting the opponent and interacting based on the Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.

The Five 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


About 20 years ago, one of the athletes I regularly coached was a professional boxer. He had come to me to learn “Keeping One Point” and “Ki Breathing” in order to be able to maintain his strength in stressful fights.

One day, as I explained the meaning of ukemi and showed him how to perform ukemi, he looked at this with longing. I asked him why he was so interested in this, as I thought there were no opportunities to do ukemi in boxing. He gave me an answer that I did not expect at the time.

He said, “Ideally, you should always be able to knock down your opponent, but against a really strong opponent that doesn't always happen. When you get knocked down, the impact of the fall can be substantial, sometimes even more damaging than from the opponent's punches, Therefore, I would like to study how to fall without being injured.”

In a competition where the goal is to knock down the opponent, the perspective of studying how to fall was very impressive. After that, this fighter trained ukemi until he could do it unconsciously and seemed to have acquired an exact feeling of it.


The same is true in everyday life.

Life is not always peaceful and there are times when we make mistakes and fall down. At those times, it is important to know “how to fall down.”

Effective Ukemi is directly related to the strength of mind.

Real strength is not about never falling down, but about instantly getting up and being ready and take the next action. Falling down is not the end of life.

You will find the real value of ukemi when you are faced with adversity.

Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


July 22, 2022

Fresh Impression

The Japanese painter Ms. Yuki Ogura has lived to the age of 105. I once accompanied Koichi Tohei Sensei to visit her home in Kamakura.

Yuki Sensei was the wife of Tetsuju Ogura Sensei, one of Koichi Tohei Sensei's teachers, and she took care of Koichi Tohei Sensei whenever he visited Kamakura for Zen trainings.

When I visited her, she was quite old and was happy to see Koichi Tohei Sensei again with tears in her eyes.

Even though Yuki Sensei was in a wheelchair, she continued her painting every day. The day that we visited her, she was painting a still life, with bananas as the subject.

According to her family, the bananas had been ripening each day and consequently changed gradually from yellow to brown and from brown to black. Due to the slow pace of her work, the bananas in Yuki Sensei’s painting also changed day by day.

Finally, when she saw her own painting of black bananas completed, she said.

"It looks not so delicious. ......"

If she only wanted to complete the painting, she could have simply replaced the bananas each day. I was amazed by the way she continued to paint simply what she saw and felt, in a state of pure heart and soul.

It made me think deeply about what it means to paint.

After that, I began my “Uchideshi training”, apprenticeship under Koichi Tohei Sensei.

There were times when it seemed like a big wall stood in my way, and everything went wrong for me. This happened not once, but many times.

One day, I suddenly remembered Yuki Ogura Sensei.

“I see. I am not seeing or feeling what is right in front of me.” My mind was not focused on the present moment.

Then I noticed that, whenever Koichi Tohei Sensei touched something important or wonderful, he reacted as if it were the first time.

When I was accompanying him, I sometimes thought, "The same thing happened last time, so he must have forgotten about it." But actually, it was not so. Instead, it was precisely because each time he turned his mind to something, it was in a completely fresh state, and therefore he was able to receive only fresh impressions from it.

I began to follow this way of seeing. With practice, I realized that I had often gotten stuck on my past experiences, and my mind was not focused on what was right in front of me. Because of noticing this. I learned to use my mind in a completely clear state each time.

This made me think deeply about what practice means.

If we train our body, we can use it better. The mind is the same, and if we train it, we will be able to use it freely.

If we train ourselves to turn our mind to a see clearly every time we repeat something, we will not view it as “just the same old thing.” Instead, each time we will discover something new.

Conversely, if we repeatedly see our events in our daily life as the same, we will develop a chronic habituation and have no inspiration or discovery in those things we experience.

When we get used to people doing something for us, we may take it for granted. Then, we will no longer be able to feel gratitude.

This is a very frightening thing.

During a Q&A session at an external training course I taught for a management association, a business owner told me that he was not impressed by anything he did. This is despite the fact that his business was going well, his family was healthy and there was nothing wrong with him.

His face had a dull pallor, and he had no vitality at all.

When I asked him how he liked his experience in that day’s training, he replied, "Today was fun." And so I asked him, “Then why don’t you start practicing?”

I think that tackling something for the first time with all his body, mind and spirit began to turn his mind to a state of clear awareness. I was so impressed by the fact that when he passed the promotion examination he was as happy as a child!

Even now, at various moments, I remember the paintings of Yuki Ogura Sensei.

Today is another new day!

Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


June 15, 2022

Noticing Signals

Last year, I was asked to participate on the popular TV program “Asaichi,” on Japan’s public broadcasting station, NHK. This program aired in April 2021. At that time, I provided a variety of specific approaches to dealing with the fatigue, irritability, and anxiety caused by Covid-19. After the program was broadcast, there was a huge response from all over Japan.

At the end of the program, we talked about “noticing intangible signals.” I explained that we often tend to move only when we are told or on demand. However, this is often too late in terms of timing.

For example, in the practice of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, when our opponent attacks us with a punch, as in “munatsuki,” and we react only after it hits us, this is too late!

When there is an attack, the mind of the opponent moves first before the body moves. When our mind is calm, we can feel the movement of the opponent's mind as a “Ki movement.” This way we can notice the intangible signals. By taking action when we sense the presence of that signal, we can act effectively without being too late.

Imagine that you want to order in a restaurant, and the waiter does not notice you. This is despite the fact that the restaurant is not very busy, and the waiter is available. This is because the waiter waits to respond until approached by the customer. If the act of being approached by a customer is compared to a “munatsuki” attack, this means that the waiter is moving after he has been hit.

When a customer wants to ask a waiter for something, the customer’s mind is moving first at that moment. This is expressed as a signal called "Kehai”, the Ki movement.

People who perceive and act on intangible signals are able to provide customers with what they need, when they need it. We would describe such a waiter as “attentive.”

Whether we notice and respond to tangible words and attitudes or to intangible “Ki,” the results will vary greatly.

Koichi Tohei Sensei learned this on the battlefield. When there is a crisis, formless signals are shown as signs.

When the mind is calm, we can notice these signs and respond usefully to them. But when the mind is disturbed, we must deal with a crisis after it has occurred, and in a war zone, this is too late.

Therefore, even in a war zone, Koichi Tohei Sensei practiced daily Ki breathing exercises to calm his mind.

On the TV program “Asaichi”, Mr. Sadaharu Oh also spoke about the “surface of the water with still waves,” which he had learned from Koichi Tohei Sensei:

On windy days, the surface of the lake is covered with waves. Then, even if the moon is in the sky, it will not reflect its image on the surface of the lake. When the waves calm down infinitely, and become like a mirror, the moon reveals itself as the moon. In other words, when the waves of a lake are infinitesimally small, they correctly reflect the image on the surface of the lake. When the mind becomes as infinitely calm as the surface of the lake, we can notice the Ki extended by the other person as a signal of movement to come.

If we struggle to understand with our brain or see with our eyes, we will lose sight of the intangible. The only way is to calm the mind.

This is discussed in the trilogy book "Dojinai" in Japanese with Mr. Tatsuro Hirooka and Mr. Sadaharu Oh. in which they explain in detail in their own words.

Noticing signals does not mean "looking at their faces". This is a point that is easily mistaken and should be noted.

When looking at the other person's facial expression, the mind can be preoccupied with “how they think of me” and the field of vision become narrower, making it impossible to notice the signs of movement to come.

The movement of the mind is transmitted by Ki. And when the mind is calm, the movement of Ki can be understood. Furthermore, if you act when Ki is moving, you will not be too late.

When you are struggling but not getting results, you are often looking at the other person's words or attitude and then acting. Because you are always late, it is like a pushing the wrong button.

The quickest way to learn these things is to learn to use your mind and body to notice the unseen.

I would like to suggest that you get this feeling through practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.

Translate: Moe Mimori
Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


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
Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


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
Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


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]

translate: Moe Mimori
Edited by: C. Curtis
Hawaii Ki Federation


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