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July 20, 2006

SELF CONTROL

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If you have been studying Ki-Aikido, or if you might like to begin, it may be useful for us to check the purpose and basic concept of this practice. Koichi Tohei sensei tells us that the most important aspect of this practice is to control our mind and body.

Control of our mind and body is extremely important not only in Ki-Aikido but also in human relationships in our daily life. When we have problems, we may tend to try to find the cause outside of ourselves, instead of within, if we do not use careful consideration. We may have a habit of thinking “I’m not wrong but others are”.

So we try to change others instead of ourselves. The result may be a backlash or conflict, and in addition we will have failed to lead others.

First you must change yourself, if you really want to lead others. Sometimes I find myself that I try to change others. When I found this, I mend my behavior by myself.

As this relates to techniques of Ki-Aikido, before thinking of trying to throw our partner, we first must check whether our mind and body are stable. Stability is condition of oneness of mind and body. Stability is achieved through self control. This means to maintain the condition of oneness of mind and body.

In the beginning, we must learn to control our own mind. The inherent stability of our mind comes from our perception of the condition of the world around us. For instance, in Ki-Aikido, when our partner holds our arms, we may think “I am being held by my partner” or “I made my partner hold me.”

If you have a positive, or plus, mind, your body necessarily becomes plus in concert with it. If you want to do techniques of Ki-Aikido correctly, you need this positive mind that we call “Ki is extending.” Once you get this “Ki is extending” mind, while practicing Ki-Aikido, it will become the foundation of all things in your daily life.

We tend to have selfish minds that think only of our own selves. In Ki-Aikido techniques, that translates as, “I want to throw my partner” or “I want my partner to do as I wish.” Of course, in practicing Ki-Aikido, there is always a possibility that we will exhibit selfish mind. Unfortunately, in that state of mind, no one can do correct techniques.

If we look at the “Five Principles of Ki-aikido”, as presented by Koichi Tohei sensei, and in so doing take note of and amend our own mistakes, we will be able to lead our partners.

The repetition of the process of noticing and amending mistakes is what we call “Keiko” or “practice”.

Five principles of Ki-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. Lead with confidence.

 Let’s practice together based on the Five principles of Ki-Aikido.

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July 16, 2006

US National Chief Instructors’ Conference in Oregon(2) (translated from Japanese version dated July 3, 2006)

I returned from US National Chief Instructors’ Conference in Oregon yesterday. I did not have jet lag, and it was a very comfortable trip.

This year’s US National Chief Instructors’ Conference included four days of seminar. The first day was a Ki-Aikido seminar for instructors only and the second and third days were a Ki-Aikido seminar for all members. I taught Ki principles (mind moves body) through Ki-Aikido. The last day was Ki Breathing and Kiatsu class for members.

The theme of the instructors’ class on first day was self control. To lead others, first, your mind and body should be stable. Therefore, we checked posture with oneness of mind and body. Then, we practiced it through Kokyu-nage, Nikyo, Sankyo, Kote-oroshi, Shiho-nage, Kokyu-dosa, and many other techniques.
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On the second day, in addition to instructors, regular members joined the seminar. Therefore, we checked posture with oneness of mind and body as way of self control again. The theme of the second day’s class was correct rhythm. We practiced correct rhythm through various Ki-Aikido techniques like we did on the first day.

The last class was a Question and Answer session. I answered questions from the participants.
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On the morning of the third day, I taught how to use Ki during stretching. After that, I conducted Ki tests. In the afternoon, we practiced Zagi, Ushiro-tori, Ushiro-tekubi-tori , Ushiro-tekubidori kubishime, hagaijime, etc. based on correct rhythm. I wanted to experience the Ki of each of the participants. Therefore, I taught each of the participants directly.

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From the first day to the third day, I taught how to count with the voice correctly. To count with the voice with Ki, it is important to relax completely and exhale the breath at once. In most cases, overseas members also count in Japanese. Some members were not able to do it correctly at first, however, after practicing many times, most of members were able to count well.

The last day’s class was Ki Breathing and Kiatsu class. Ki breathing and Kiatsu are both essential aspects of Ki-Aikido. First, we checked our posture, which is oneness with the Universe. Many people asked me, “What is calm breathing?” Therefore, I let each participant hold my chest and feel calm breathing.

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I taught how to send Ki in Kiatsu class. I taught it by touching each participant directly. After that, I taught self-Kiatsu of the head and neck. And at the end, the participants did Kiatsu with each other. They realized that Kiatsu effects so much in such a short time. It seems the participants got confident, and felt: “I can do it!”

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There is an important point to remember when you do Kiatsu. That is, “Kiatsu is not medical practice”. Especially, you must not ask to be paid to do Kiatsu in the U.S.

There is no problem with doing Kiatu on yourself or your family. If you want to do Kiatsu to others, you need to learn at the Ki no Kenkyukai “Kiatsu school” and the persons who receive Kiatsu need to be our members. There is also and official Kiatsu school in Portland, Oregon.

The name of “Kiatsu” is registered in the US and many other countries in the world. Therefore, if you want to use the word “Kiatsu”, you need to respect this when using it.
This was good opportunity, therefore I re-affirmed the important reminder for everyone to practice Kiatsu in the US.

If I write a detailed account of the four day seminar here, it will be several hundred pages. Therefore, I would like to share my experience directly when we meet at seminar or World Camp in Ki no Sato.

Next year’s US National Chief Instructors’ Conference will be held at Maryland, USA. I am looking forward to visit there!

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July 13, 2006

Q&A (translation of article in Japanese weblog dated February 7, 2006)

【Question】
Hello. I enjoy your weblog. I am a manager of a cram school for an elementary school and Junior high school students. I have about 30 members of staff, including part-time staff.

Our school staff start the day with cleaning up. All staff clean up class rooms, entrance halls and the outside of our building. I am a manager, but I will do cleaning together with them.

However, some teachers think that “My job is to improve student’s schoolwork, not cleaning.” And they do cleaning unwillingly.

It seems managerial staff also think that “I understand office clerks do cleaning. But if teachers concentrate on teaching only, it will be more efficient.”

From my experience, teachers who do not clean up willingly are not trusted by students and their parents. Also, their teaching is not good well received among students and their parents.

It might be general trend, but I have mixed emotions toward this. What do you think about staff cleaning up our place.

【Answer】
From a long time ago, it is said that to clean up your own place means clean up your own mind. I think cleaning up is very important in the education and development of human resources.

The problem is if your staff who do clean up, understand its purpose correctly or not. There'll always be teachers who think that the manager makes us do cleaning for cost reductions.

If a manager does only cleaning, this is problem. Also, it is certainly true if technical staff do only cleaning, it is not efficient.

However, you have a clear purpose to do cleaning with all staff.

I define one of the purposes of cleaning as “to improve realization ability.” If you clean up with sending Ki, you will be able to realize many things which you do not realize usually.

Besides cleaning, they help to improve realization such as lining up shoes both yours and others, turn off the light if you do not need it, lock up and check to put out the fire before leaving etc.

Teachers should realize many things such as if the students’ chair is unstable, something is bothering the students, information on the billboard is old, by doing a clean up.

If teachers train to realize such a minutia, I think teachers will realize small differences in the students immediately.

I would like to suggest that all staff decide where to clean up, then write what they realized through cleaning. If staff who realized a lot are commended for their outstanding achievement in realization, it will be encouragement for all staff.

There is not only one purpose when cleaning up. The important thing is to clear up the purpose of cleaning and all staff use mind and clean up. I hope this answer helps you. Thank you very much.

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