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October 31, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (9)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei

Live with plus Ki (5)
Plus way of thinking according to the Universe

Many people think that the plus way of thinking is important. On the other hand, there are people who think that the plus way of thinking gives poor results sometimes. Which is correct? The important point is to define “plus”.
I said that it is important to live according to the Universal principles. We should always think that “be plus” means true plus which is according to the Universe.
To be plus according to the Universe is not a difficult thing.
Sometimes, a plus thing for me is not a plus thing for others. If your benefit is a disbenefit for others, it is the same.
True plus is to be plus both for oneself and others. If only you become plus, something is wrong with your way of thinking or approach. By forcing your self-centered plus on to others, there will be objections and conflict.
If you are a business person, you cannot prosper much if it is a disbenefit for your customer. Even if the business person earns a lot, if the business has environmentally destructive practices, the business will not last long.
Do not think pros and cons with selfish mind. We need to think of benefits for customers, as well as for the public benefit and the Universe.
Currently the media talks about national benefit many times. Similarly, if one nation is only thinking of its own country's benefit, this is not true national benefit. The true national benefit needs to benefit other countries as well as our own country. If a nation seeks for only its own benefit, there will be conflict or war.

This is the same as our communication in daily life. Many people have similarly experienced this. If you tell something good to others but others do not agree with you. We can see many scenes like this when parents tell their children, “I am saying this for your benefit.”
It is true that parents said something for their children. However, sometimes it is parent's hope not the children's hope.
Many times parents are unaware that they force their hope on children. If this occurs there will be conflict between the parents and children.
Every human being recognizes things that are presented in a self-centered way. Therefore, we need to verify always if our own plus coincides with the universal plus.
If your plus is only for yourself, your state of mind becomes self-centered, and you will always have conflict with others. If you cannot get along with others well even if you try to be plus mind, please evaluate to see if your plus is also plus for the Universe. This is the pitfall of thinking plus sometimes.
Some may say, “We need ego to grow”. If this ego means the mind which is good for both you and others' growth, this is not ego.
How will we be able to know if own plus corresponds to the Universal plus? The Ki breathing will have a great role.
By practicing Ki breathing, your mind becomes calm, and your mind does not cling to any specific thoughts. If you do this you will realize if your way of thinking is correct or what you should do.

I define this state of mind as “Living calmness (Ochitsuki in Japanese)”, and call this mind “Reiseishin (mind which is directly connected to the mind of the Universe)”.
During World War II, my life was saved many times by practicing Ki breathing. There was no time to practice Ki breathing sitting while on the battle field. Therefore, I practiced Ki breathing while marching. Usually, my mind got calm naturally, however, my mind did not get calm sometimes.
When my mind did not calm, I sent a solder out on reconnaissance immediately. Then we found the enemy's ambush always. I had experience of a calm mind, and I could identify dangerous situations.
Since returning from the World War II battle field, I have continued the practice of Ki breathing to this day. If my mind did not become calm even after I did Ki breathing, this was the sign of a dangerous or bad condition. Ki breathing saved my life so many times.
I have taught Ki principles to hundreds of business people at “Koichi Tohei's Ki Dojo (seminar)” sponsored by Japan Management Consultants Association.
Business people need to make important decisions everyday. If those people make decisions with a self-centered mind, the results will always be wrong. If you make decisions according to the Universe, you can make decisions correctly.
By doing Ki breathing and calming your mind, you can always keep your mind calm. Business people especially need to develop Reiseishin.


October 27, 2005

How to study Ki?

To master something, first, you need to copy what a good model does.

To copy a good model, it is important to watch it very carefully.

It is necessary to take notes and listen to the explanation. However, the most important thing is to watch carefully.

The person who watches things well will improve quickly.

There are many people who start things without studying the model thoroughly. In this case, there cannot be much improvement.

However, here is the important point:

We begin by watching the shape of the model. Once we understand the shape, we should move beyond the shape.

”Mind moves body”. Therefore, not only does the shape matter, but if you master the state of mind of the model, you will be able to master the essence of what the model shows.

For example, let's say you try to master Ki Breathing.

First, you will be taught a natural posture and how to exhale naturally. You will watch and copy what your instructor does.

Once you understand correct posture and how to exhale, next, it is important to watch the state of mind of the instructor and what he thinks.

To tell the truth, I had difficulty with Ki Breathing in the beginning. Even if I tried to do it the same way as my teacher did, I had difficulty in breathing.

However, one day I had a change to be taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei directly. At that time, I was interested in what Tohei Sensei is thinking when he does Ki Breathing.

I realized that Tohei sensei did not think “breath out longer”, “breath out well” or “look good”.

”Without thinking any unnecessary thing at all, just do Ki breathing with a peaceful feeling.” Since I began practicing it this way, I have been able to do Ki Breathing very comfortably.

I am still developing, therefore it is too early to say I have mastered Ki Breathing. However, it was a precious experience for me that I could at least do Ki Breathing comfortably, which I had not been able to do by just copying the form or shape of Ki Breathing.

For those studying Ki-Aikido, Kiatsu therapy, etc. it is important to watch the state of mind, not only watch the shape of the movement, or listen to the explanation.

Let’s practice together.


October 24, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (8)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei

Live with plus Ki (4)
Know your state of mind

Many people understand the importance of plus mind. However, it is not an easy thing to be plus mind always.
When we are in a state of minus mind, we do not realize it by ourselves. Before trying to keep plus mind, you should know your state of mind correctly.
Ki breathing is important to know yourself. If you do Ki breathing everyday, your breath becomes calm, and your mind also becomes calm.
If your mind becomes calm like the calm still surface of the water, your mind reflects all things clearly. In this state, you can know your state of mind correctly whether you are in a minus state of mind or obsessed with something.
I teach this state of the mind as “Like the calm, still surface of the water that reflects the moon and a flying bird, true living calmness is the condition of our mind that reflects all things clearly.”
The state of mind is similar to the surface of the water. When your mind is disturbed by worry, upset and nervousness, your mind is like water with many waves. This prevents you from seeing anything. If the surface of the water is calm, it reflects the moon as the moon and a bird as a bird like a mirror.
The most important thing is that we can realize the Universe. Let us live daily by calming our minds by practicing Ki breathing.
By doing this, it reminds us to have a mind thankful to the Universe and our mind becomes plus naturally.

There are not always good things in our lives. Even if your mind become plus, if some minor minus things happened, your mind can become minus easily. Therefore, not only practice being plus mind by Ki breathing but also you need training in your daily life to keep your mind plus.
Training, however, does not mean that you force yourself to think of minus matters as plus. This way of thinking creates stress for you and minus will call minus. Therefore, how can we train our minds to be plus?
You have a conscious mind which we can recognize and a subconscious mind which we cannot recognize. Subconscious mind is like the storehouse of the mind. The materials stored in the subconscious mind form the conscious mind. Generally, this is called action of the mind.
Therefore, even if you try to be plus minded on the surface, if your subconscious mind is minus, you can easily become minus. To change subconscious mind to plus, you will need daily practice.

The easiest practice is to use plus words in your daily life.
Words have a great power. The words you speak are spoken the closest to you. Therefore, it deeply works with your subconscious mind.
If you say to your child “You are a failed child” again and again, it speaks for itself. However, you may carelessly say minus words to yourself, phrases such as “I cannot”, “I hate” and so on.
If you say “I cannot” to yourself, this goes into your subconscious mind. Therefore, when you do something, you think “I cannot” first.
To keep plus mind always, you say plus words always. Even if you say minus words, you can alter your words.
When you change your subconscious mind to plus, you can realize things in a plus way naturally.
“Be natural” is very important. There is no stress when you are natural. If you just want to be positive without practicing to change your subconscious mind, you cannot change.
There are many ways to practice changing your subconscious mind to plus. One of the ways is for you to write, “I will be a plus minded person” on a sheet of paper and put it in your dining room or bed room. By seeing it everyday, it will have great effect. Another way is to say “You will be a positive person” to yourself in a mirror before going to bed. This is also very effective.

Even if these ways are so simple, many people will not do it. Many people ask me “How long should I do this?” I answer, “Until you will have changed.” You need to do it for at least three months.

There is a lot of minus information that you are exposed to such as violent crime and criminal acts on the TV news or in the newspaper. Media need to report the truth, therefore, that will not change.
If you put minus information in your mind vaguely, it will have a minus influence on your body without you noticing. The minus stored in your subconscious mind will appear in certain situations.

It is very important to keep your subconscious mind plus for protecting yourself. The art of self-defense is not the only way to protect yourself.
First, you need to calm your mind by practicing Ki breathing and be plus, furthermore, by practicing to change your subconscious mind everyday, you can master true plus life permanently.


October 17, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (7)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei

Live with plus Ki (3)
To be plus when you are under adverse circumstances

A sick person is usually minus. A minus person tends to go to another minus person and say, “Are you also sick? I am suffering from this type of illness. It is hard to be sick, isn't it?” In this way, the person becomes more minus.
The more minus he is, the more plus he should seek from a strong healthy person.
Most people in a hospital are minus. Even a healthy person tends to become minus without knowing it if he stays in such a circumstance for a long time.
Under these circumstances one must try to extend Ki plus.

Let's say the man above you on the job or your teacher has to reprimand you.
You take it in either as minus or a plus way.
You should realize that you are being corrected because you did something wrong.
If you take it with a good will before being reprimanded, and resolve not to repeat the mistake, the cause of scolding will vanish. Later even if the teacher or the higher official reprimands you, you can use your plus Ki and take the correction as you should.
And you should not move your mind about this matter. There is no need to become downcast. The man who is scolding you will sympathize with your plus Ki, and without even knowing it, his Ki will become plus. He will lose all desire to be angry, and when he might find cause to reprimand you ten times, he will make do with only one or two.
On the other hand, you should not become minus by being hostile and resentful toward the reproving person. If you snivel and look as if you are about to burst in to tears, your minus attitude will transfer to the man reprimanding, who will become angrier than ever and reprimand you more than he should.

We always practice extend Ki in our Ki training.
Because we always practice plus Ki, the training hall is always filled with plus Ki.
Someone who is not well or is actually too sick to engage in practice can change his own Ki from minus to plus by just coming to the training hall and watching and receiving part of the abundant supply of positive Ki.
Anyone who is not actively engaged in the training program and whose Ki becomes minus finds that it is extremely difficult to change back to plus. He can change it back if he has the help of the positive Ki of a large number of people.

When things are going well, anyone can easily keep himself positive. We have to discipline ourselves to change negative to positive when conditions are adverse. Since plus calls plus, a positive disposition can lead to a plus fate.
Our Ki is interchanging with the Universal Ki. If we extend our Ki as much as possible, we can improve this interchange. We can extend Ki all that we like because the supply is inexhaustible.
Once we have made our Ki positive, we should not be satisfied with it.
We should spread it to all people. If we make our effort like lighting our individual lights one by one, our effort becomes big power and we can illuminate the whole world.


October 10, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (6)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei

Live with plus Ki (2)
Change everything around you to plus

Both a plus and minus thinking method apply to practically everything.
For instance, a person might see a few of his friends talking together. The person with a plus attitude will think nothing of it. The person with a minus attitude will immediately wonder if perhaps they are saying something bad about him. By thinking more than is necessary about such things this negative person's attitude will become more and more negative.

It is important to realize that plus attracts plus and minus attracts minus. If you are in a minus frame of mind, you will think minus, do minus, and change everything around you to minus. Because minus calls minus, if one thing goes bad, everything will look bad. If you fight with your wife when you leave the house in the morning, the whole day will go wrong.
Let one ill-tempered person come in to a group of four or five who are happily chatting together, and everyone will go silent and gloomy because that one person's minus is powerful enough to change everything around him to minus.

On the contrary, if your Ki is plus, your thoughts, deeds, and everything around you will be plus also.
When you are plus, you are happy in everything. Even if you are in a difficult situation, you can maintain calmness. Your plus mind calls plus, everything goes well.
“Happiness comes in through a laughing gate”. This is a Japanese saying. Laughing is plus Ki. This saying means that plus calls plus, and happiness will come to you.
A person with a strongly plus nature enlivens a group of four or five people talking. Because his powerful plus is able to change his surroundings to plus.

It is said that “A brave general has no cowardly soldiers.” Because his powerful plus infuses his men with courage. On the other hand, a cowardly general will infect even his brave men with the same disease.
If we are interested in making the whole world and all of society brighter, not just ourselves alone, we must individually develop our own plus attributes and with them attempt to change everything around us to plus.


October 06, 2005

Accept perception gap

We experience the Universe through five (or six) senses.

Therefore, even if we see the same thing or hear the same sound, each of us experiences it in a different way in the strictest sense. Everyone knows this - even small children. However, in reality, we forget about it in our daily life.

Let’s say the food tastes bad.

It is possible to think that the food itself tastes bad. However, sometimes we feel the food tastes because of our own poor physical condition.

Or if we eat a meal with someone with whom we do not feel joy, we cannot taste the food.

If we doubt our five (or six) senses, we cannot utilise our daily life.

However, we need to know that we cannot say our own feelings are fact .

For your information, if you understand this principle about food, your home becomes very peaceful. :-)

I got an invitation to dinner the other day. At that exclusive restaurant, a lady who was sitting at another table made a complaint about the dish.

The lady said, “I cannot have dinner in such a yucky restaurant.”

When the other guests heard her complaint, they looked displeased.

It might be true that the lady felt that the cooking was yucky. However, her feeling is not true for everyone.

She was not considerate to the others.

If we think, “My own feeling is fact ”, we tend to think like this.

The cause of bad human relationships is that each of us insists own feeling is absolute and correct.
I saw “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the theater the other day.

After the movie, I saw a couple who were arguing about the content of the movie.

It seemed that the man’s viewpoint and the woman’s viewpoint were different and each of them held their ground. Therefore, their argument escalated into a big fight.

If they accepted their partner’s feelings such as “Oh, there is another point of view”, they could watch movie with enjoyment…

I felt sorry for them.

However, it was not about the movie, we tend to do same thing as this case in other situations too.

When I visited a company, I heard such a conversation between a boss and a worker.

Boss: “Why do you cower under me so much? Are you afraid me?”

Worker: “(answers fearfully) Yes, I am afraid of you.”

Boss: “I am not such a scary person. Why do you feel that way?”

Worker: “…”

How do you feel about this conversation? (:-)

It is important to realize that your own feelings and others’ feelings are different. And it is also important to accept others’ feelings first.

Sometimes, you need to correct others’ feelings but still it is important to accept others’ feeling first.

Let’s practice together.


October 03, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (5)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei

Live with plus Ki (1)
Mind has a power

Our Ki is a part of the Universe and our body is the vessel used to house our Ki.
The mind is that thing, given by the Universe, with which we must protect and bring up the physical vessel and with which we must prompt and control the exchange of our own Ki with that of the Universe.
Perhaps we could make a comparison between the processes involved in the generation of electricity and those in the flow of Ki. In the generator, the basic essence of electricity becomes electricity and flows out to activate machines. The Universe is filled with Ki, our mind similar to an electrical generator, we use our mind to receive Ki, which in turn becomes our own Ki, the Ki that moves our body.
In fact, “Extend Ki” means by using our mind positively, mind generates Ki just like a power plant generates electricity. This means by using mind positively, our Ki interchanges with the Ki of the Universe.
Therefore, I call “plus Ki” as to extend Ki, “minus Ki” as to pull Ki. Now, I will talk about “plus Ki” which is important to do Ki breathing.

If I ask “Have you ever been injured or caught a cold?”, most of the people will say “Yes”. And if I ask “Have you ever got angry, suffered sadness, had a conflict?”, nobody will answer “No”.
Did I ask you two separate questions above? Most of the people think that first question is question about body, and the second question is a question about mind.
But let's consider well. When we get sick, we are sensitive about small things and easy to anger, be afraid, suffer sadness, be jealous and have conflict.
Many people become sick mentally by thinking as “Others are living happily. Why am I sick? What kind of bad thing have I done?”
As described above, physical ailment is closely associated with mental issues. Physical ailments are on the surface, however, the cause of sickness comes from mental sources in many cases.
The reason we catch cold is not only due to the fact that we become physically weaker, but also from problems originated from the mind.
When people get sick, many people think only about their body and forget about their mind. Many of them do not realize their own mind problems and think they will get well if they take medicine. They are living forgetting some things and are living an unnatural life.
I will talk about my experiences with unnatural life which forgets about mind and only thinks about body.

I suffered a severe illness in the past. Before I was born, my mother had a close encounter with death from severe pneumonia which a doctor gave up on as hopeless. After that, I was born. Therefore, she was incredibly protective of me.
Even after I entered elementary school, my mother made me absent from school if I sneezed once, because she believed I was weak child. I embraced it and I was absent from school many times. I attended school only six months until I was in the 2nd grade. I had a caretaker with me on my way to and from school to protect me from being bullied by pupils.
However, the more my mother took care of me well, the more I got sick. If some kind of sickness was to appear, I was the first one to catch the sickness in my family.
My father changed my weak mind and body. He made me wear light clothing even in the winter. Also, he taught me Judo. Thanks to Judo which my father taught, I got strong and healthy. When I entered the Judo club in Junior high school, I was awarded a black belt in Judo at 14 years of age.
I experienced other difficulties soon after. Judo which I learned for health gave me some important life lessons. When I was 16 years old, I entered Keio University. I had been practicing Judo, therefore, I entered the Judo club at Keio University. I met with misfortune while attending spring camp of the Judo club.
During practicing Judo, I was tangled with a huge senior and we both tumbled. My left chest was hit very hard. I went to the hospital and found I had contracted pleurisy. The doctor told me to enter a hospital immediately.
Lucky for me, my fever went down the next day. The doctor permitted me to leave the hospital after a 17 day hospital stay. I thought that I could spend my University life like before. However, my doctor told me unexpected words at the very last medical examination. He told me to not practice Judo anymore. Not only Judo but also tennis, table tennis and so on. He permitted me to take walks. He also told me, “Your body is like a cracked cup. If you hit your chest again, it will be the end. Therefore, you should not raise your left arm high, and you should not do anything that will cause shock to your chest. You should not talk in a loud voice because this shocks your chest.”
The doctor's words brought me back to my young days when I was weak. After that, I talked with others in a very small voice. When I tripped over a small stone while taking a walk, I felt shock on my chest and I was worried about the crack in my chest. Therefore, I was nervous even when I took a walk.
When I went to the seashore to a health resort for therapy, someone said, “Sea breeze is too rough for pleurisy. You should go to the mountains.” Therefore, when I took a walk along the seaside, I wore a mask.
Suddenly, I had a high fever nearly 40 degree. The doctor said this was a recurrence of pleurisy. I took medicine for the fever and lowered it. This was my daily life.
Not only with the doctor but it is common practice that if we have a severe attack of sickness, such as pleurisy, we should rest quietly. This is common practice for most people.
However, in contradiction to above, I did things which most people would consider out of the norm. When I got sick, my mind became weak, and I took things in a minus way. By doing this, I found that everything went bad through my experiences.
I decided to change myself from living a minus life.
I visited Tetsuju Ogura sensei, a senior student of Tesshu Yamaoka sensei who had been known as a sword master and an excellent calligrapher.
I began my practice of misogi. “Misogi” is the practice of the breath which came from Japanese Shinto. This practice is sitting all day long for many days and exhale breath with loud voice as much as possible. We lose our voice in a half day. In addition to that, the seniors hit the backs of the participants during this practice. “Making loud voice”, “Being hit on my back” I did these things which I was prohibited to do by my doctor.
When I start practicing Misogi, my left chest started to hurt and I worried about a recurrence of illness. However, I promised my teacher that it was okay to die at the dojo during practice before I started. Therefore, I made up my mind to let things go. I was practicing forgetting about my sickness and my pain disappeared during practice. After one year, I went to the hospital and took a medical examination. The pleurisy was completely gone. In general, the heavy pleurisy such as mine left patterns of pleurisy. However, there was no trace of pleurisy.

My pleurisy was cured by doing Misogi. This experience let me know if we train our mind and body and use mind in a positive way, we can use the great power that is naturally ours.
If I had continued my life as the doctor suggested, I would not have made a loud voice, run, played sports and would have worried about the recurrence of pleurisy at all times. It is easy to imagine that this was not a good life.
The doctor advised only about the body.
We call body sickness “Yamai” in Japanese, and both mind and body sickness are called “Byoki” in Japanese. My experience shows that we cannot grow strong in health if we take care of only our body and we have worries or sickness in our mind.

If you hope to grow strong in health, it is important to realize not only the visible body but the invisible mind. Mind has such a power.


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