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August 24, 2006

About All Japan Ki-Aikido Taigi competition

The All Japan Ki-Aikido Taigi Competition was held at Ki no Kenkyukai Headquarters last month.

The purpose of this competition is not to compete with each other relative to technique. The purpose of this competition is demonstrate your oneness of mind and body which you have learned in your dojo and your daily life.

The judges watch participants’ state of mind and body oneness in every movement, not only each technique, but even when they are bowing, walking, and also their ma-ai (proper distance).

Both participants and observers of the competition frequently ask me “What is the point when watching an Ki-Aikido performance?”

Therefore, I will tell you how best to watch this. There are three points to watch for; “Balance”, “Rhythm” and “Largeness”.

What is “Balance”?

Balance means the posture with oneness of mind and body. If you try to throw your partner forcefully, you will be tense and off-balance. Your body wavers up and down, and right and left in your movement. However, if you calm your mind in one point in the lower abdomen and move from one point, your posture becomes stable without wavering no matter how strongly or quickly you move.

If you see Ki-Aikido techniques performed with oneness of mind and body, they are very beautiful. That’s when Ki-Aikido technique truly works. By watching only posture, you will understand the participant’s depth of understanding about oneness of mind and body.

What is “Rhythm”?

Rhythm means “natural rhythm” as the word suggests. If you try to throw your partner forcefully, your rhythm becomes too busy. On the other hand, if you lose power, your rhythm becomes too slow and with no Ki. Movement with oneness of mind and body always has natural rhythm. No matter how strongly or quickly you move, the rhythm will never be disturbed.

That’s when Ki-Aikido technique truly works.

By watching only the rhythm of the participants, you will understand their depth of understanding about oneness of mind and body.

What is “Largeness”?

Largeness means “largeness or fullness of the extension of Ki”, as the word implies.

When a master acts on the stage, the master looks very big. In this same way, when participants extend Ki, their performance looks very large. However, if your mind is clinging to the idea of trying to perform well, then you will pull your Ki and your performance will look small.
When your movement looks relaxed and large, your techniques work. By watching only the largeness of the participants’ movement, you will understand the depth of understanding of oneness of mind and body.

If you watch the taigi competition based on these three points, you will understand the depth of understanding of oneness of mind and body well, even if you are beginner.
Performance of the participants will be judged on a scale of one to ten. Then, the level of quality will be decided. You will learn a lot if you draw a comparison between your own sense of success, and the level at which the judges placed you.

The competition will be held next summer also. If you have time, please visit the competition next year.


August 21, 2006

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (29)

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

Shinichi Tohei

Replenish Ki when sleeping

Sleeping is important to replenish Ki.
Human beings consume Ki constantly while awake. Everyone sees things, listens, smells, tastes and touches things by using their five senses.
All those actions are actions of Ki. Therefore, we need to replenish Ki which we have consumed. Sleeping and Ki breathing are the best way to replenish Ki efficiently. Sleeping is the action to replenish the Ki of the Universe.
At night, when we are asleep, the mind is calm. At that time, the Ki of the Universe fills our bodies. When we awaken after sleeping soundly, Ki is charged fully and our strength is renewed and we feel great.
However, if our brains are in turmoil rather than at rest, this will block an adequate flow of Ki. When we awaken in the morning, because our supply of Ki is not high, we cannot get up immediately and recover mentally and physically, even with10 hours of sleep.
Sleeping medicine reduces the sensitivity of the brain and makes people sleep. When the brain is calm and you sleep soundly, we can replenish the Ki of the universe. However, if you sleep with your brain in a state of dead calmness, you cannot replenish enough of your Ki.
If you regularly use a sleeping medicine because you can't sleep, you will become Ki deficient soon. You will feel listless and lose motivation for everything. Furthermore, you will lose your vitality and physical strength and become susceptible to diseases.
Because you extend Ki, Ki will go into your mind and body.

An extremely high number of people disregard the need for sleep as a necessity to replenish the Ki of the Universe. They disregard the importance of their sleep time to work longer hours. They get an insufficient supply of Ki and get sick. They then have to use sleeping medicine or they cannot sleep at night. They are carelessly shortening their own lives.
Because people who learn correct Ki development always maintain the one point in the lower abdomen and keep a calm mind, they have no problems with falling asleep quickly. If you have ten or fifteen free minutes during the day and want to sleep, you should be able to sleep calmly.

Pour some water in a tub and stir it up. Now try to calm the water with your hands. You will succeed only in agitating it further. Let the water stand undisturbed a while, and it will calm down by itself.
The human brain works much the same way. When you think, you create waves in your mind. Trying to calm the waves by thinking is only a waste. People who cannot sleep and lie awake thinking, “Go to sleep, go sleep,” are creating more turbulence in their mind.
It is difficult for them to sleep because, as they try to, they are constantly thinking and upsetting their minds. They trouble themselves with thoughts like, “If I don't get some sleep, I won't be able to work tomorrow,” and then move on to even more useless reflections about things that are bothering them, until sleep becomes totally impossible. When your mind is upset, lie completely still, and it will calm down by itself. When your mind has calmed down sleep will come.
The old habit of counting to ten until you fall asleep works on the same principle.
You do not have to think about counting to ten, and while you repeat the series mechanically over and over, your mind calms down and you fall asleep. This could help sometimes.
On the other hand, many people find that this kind of simple trick does not work for them.
People of a nervous temperament cannot even count to ten simply, because they cannot stop thinking about the fact that no matter what they do, they can't fall asleep.

We have to maintain a firm conviction that if we cannot sleep, we might as well be awake. Humans cannot live without sleep, and sooner or later, it will come naturally.
If you are really sleepy, you cannot stay awake. Suffering to put yourself to sleep is foolish. When you are awake, exercise sufficiently; and when you go to bed, you will be able to sleep. If you cannot sleep, do not feel that you absolutely must.
Often the body's blood rushes to the head and makes it feel hot, leaving the feet cold resulting in making sleep difficult. From olden times, people have correctly held that the healthy way is to have a cool head and warm feet. If you follow this advice, you will find that you can sleep soundly.

In cases like these, practice shifting your concentration by calming your Ki into the one point in the lower abdomen. By doing this, you will be able to sleep soundly anytime, and replenish your Ki.
First, lie on your back with your hands and feet comfortably outstretched. Then, think with all your mind that the blood is continuously flowing down to the tips of your toes. “Mind moves body”, therefore, it will do so. Your blood circulation will improve and your feet will become warm.
When you feel your feet become warm, you will fall asleep. Even before you feel your feet become warm, you many times will fall asleep.
Some people eat and/or drink just before going to bed. However, the purpose of sleeping is to rest both your mind and body fully. Ki is used to digest foods, therefore, Ki is not replenished fully.
The quality of sleep is decided by how well we can exchange Ki of the Universe. It is important to sleep with oneness of mind and body.


August 14, 2006

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (28)

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

Shinichi Tohei

Chapter 5 Keep your health though a natural life

Wake up with plus mind in the morning

Just as a year has only one New Year's day, a day has only one moment when you wake up in the morning.
If you awaken with an unpleasant feeling, without your being conscious of it, that feeling will stick with you and call forth minus Ki. It tends to make the entire day unpleasant. You will think to yourself, “I woke up this morning feeling heavy, and nothing has gone well all day.
Ki development is a training to develop a constant outpouring of plus Ki. You must call forth plus Ki when you get up in the morning. You should get into the habit of waking quickly, kicking back the covers, and jumping up the minute you awaken.
Some people awaken and lie around refusing to get up. This is a habit that will cause you to become weak-willed.
First of all, at times like that, nothing distinct enters your mind. Your consciousness is vague and you are in a state of subservience to your instincts.
Sleep is the time when the Ki of the Universe flows into your body, therefore, you should sleep soundly. But lying in bed after you have once awakened will not rest your body. You must jump straight out of the bed resolutely, then you can call forth the plus Ki that gets your day off to a positive start.
Doing this alone can do a great deal to strengthen your conscious power.
Young people who intend to develop themselves, should be particularly careful to cultivate this habit.

When I was young, I was frail both in mind and in body.
Because I slept poorly at night, I was drowsy and tired in the morning and found it extremely difficult to get up.
Whatever I started, my perseverance would give out, and I would give up halfway. I thought it was all the fault of my physical weakness.
At sixteen, I got pleurisy and I spent a year in treatment but the illness got steadily worse. Now, when I think back on it, I realize that I gave in to the disease and with completely minus Ki retarded my own recovery.
I spent all my time worrying that maybe even if the sickness passed I would not recover completely. This caused me to not get any stronger.
In that one year of treatment, I had an opportunity to reflect on myself and see that I could not continue the way I had been going. I read a number of self-improvement books that that came my way. They made me realize that I had to do something to temper my own body. This was of tremendous benefit.
While I was reading one of the these books, I came to the full realization that my own will power was weak and that I had to discipline and strengthen it. “All right,” I said, “Let's work on the will power”. I resolved to work on it.
This at least is something that I could do. The doctor told me that I still could not exercise, so after a lot of thought, I decided on taking cold baths everyday.
It was summer then, and the cold water was pleasant. Every morning I would leap up as soon as I awakened, run to the bathroom, and dash twenty or thirty buckets of cold water over my head and body. Then I would dry off and rub my body thoroughly with a dry towel. After a while, I would come conscious in the morning with the immediate idea of cold water. My head would clear up immediately.
I would say to myself, “Lolling around in this warm bed will do you no good.” My bad habits completely changed, and I slept like a log at night.
Gradually, of course, autumn came. The temperatures dropped, the water got colder, but I never even thought of stopping my training. With no sign of suffering, I continued my cold baths all through the cold weather, and my body grew so much stronger that I could continue with my training.
Later, I trained and practiced Zen, misogi breathing and meditation while seated under a waterfall. I trained them and others diligently until I had mastered them.
The cold baths were the first opportunity. My Ki became positive, and plus called forth more plus. I was blessed with fine teachers, and I reached the level where I could explain plus Ki to other people all over the world.
The important thing for young people who plan to start now developing for the future is to awaken in the morning, face the day with a positive attitude that, “I'm going to do my best.”
The first step at departure leads to a thousand miles of progress.
Put this discipline into practice, starting right now.


August 07, 2006

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (27)

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

Shinichi Tohei

Relieve your fatigue of the day

If you practice Ki breathing for 10 minutes, you will have 10 minutes of benefit. If you practice Ki breathing for one hour, you will have one hour of benefit.
You can practice Ki breathing anywhere or anytime. Therefore, I would like to ask you to use time wisely, and practice Ki breathing frequently.
When practicing Ki breathing while walking, do not move your upper body or lean forward and backward because if you do this, you will not be able to walk. Calm your mind by concentrating on the one point in the lower abdomen, and keep a correct posture, and exhale as calmly as possible.
After exhaling, count off 4 steps, then inhale. After inhaling completely, count off 4 steps, then exhale again.
If you inhale immediately after exhaling and vice versa, your body will become stiff and tense. It is important to pause a short time between exhalation and inhalation.
I was ordered to report to the army in February 1944, and was then dispatched to the war front in China. When I departed from Japan, I decided that I would do 200 breaths of the breathing method each and everyday. Up till then I had been training Ki breathing method one hour every night.
I had time to do Ki breathing 200 times in sitting while traveling by boat. However, when I had to march, I did not have any time to do Ki breathing. It takes 3 hours and 20 minutes to accomplish Ki breathing 200 times. (one breath takes one minute)
Therefore, I decided to do Ki breathing while marching.
After the war began, I did Ki breathing everyday without fail even when our enemy was close. I did it until I returned to Japan after the war was over.
We sustained assaults many times while marching. However, I was full of Ki in my body and I could extend Ki all around. I brought back to Japan all 80 soldiers in my platoon without any injury. I think this happened because I practiced doing Ki breathing daily.
When we do Ki breathing for short periods while sitting seiza in the room, even if we do wrong Ki breathing, we might be able to cover it up. However, while marching, if I did wrong Ki breathing, I could not continue Ki breathing. I had to do Ki breathing by calming my mind at the one point in a state of oneness of mind and body.
In later years, I developed Ki breathing from Misogi breathing. I could do this because it was the result of Ki breathing while marching.

The most effective time to do Ki breathing in our daily life is before going to bed. It is okay to do it just fifteen or twenty minutes.
Everyone takes a bath or shower to clean up ones body before going to bed.
If you clean up the surface of the body, you should also clean up ones organs and bowels. Those organs and bowels are also tired and get dirty. By doing Ki breathing, you can clean up your organs and bowels.
You should relieve your fatigue of the day.
If you take good care of a car, it will have a much longer life. If we take good care of our own mind and body, we can have a much longer life.
Ki breathing is an elixir of life.
Plenty of people can see a lofty tree, but few notice the roots. A tree can grow to be lofty only if its roots are firmly planted. Such things as breathing methods are disciplines that form the roots of progress. If you do Ki breathing, you can grow to have a towering stature.

To grow strong in health

As I stated before, most of modern diseases are due to nervous problems. Most people disturb their own mind with small things, and capillary vessels contract, causing the body to tense.
This is like a traffic snarl-up on the highway. It causes problems with the flow of the blood and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Internal breathing cannot function well in this state. This may be the cause of many diseases.
Through your 20's, your living power is very active. However, after the age 50, your living power starts to decrease. If your living power decreases, you cannot maintain your health. There are many health problems that can arise as a result of decreased living power. This could result in having problems with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and liver diseases.
To maintain your health, it is important to do correct breathing and be able to have all your body working well.

When we eat food, we can remember eating and swallowing.
However, we can not perceive the stomach digesting foods, the hepatic degradation and the kidney ridding our body of impurities.
While we are sleeping, those activities are constantly in process. We do not consciously do it by ourselves. Who does this?
Neither science or medicine have a complete answer. We call it living power.
It is more important to prevent fire than extinguish it.
Therefore, it is very important to activate your living power which is fundamental to your health.
When you do Ki breathing, all the capillary vessels open and the oxygen is sent to every part of your body. and Carbon dioxide is sent back to your lungs.
This is just like a stove that burns cleanly. Oxygen will burn completely.
The nourishment is completely metabolized and the life power is manifested. You will be able to grow strong and healthy.

I have been doing “Kan-Shugo (practice in winter)” at Ki Society Tokyo main office for a long time. We do Ki breathing from 7:00pm to 8:00pm, 5 days in late January, the coldest season in Japan.
We open all the windows in the room, men have their tops off and women wear T shirts and do Ki breathing sitting Seiza. The temperature is below zero. Usually, if we just sit in seiza for an hour in such an environment, our body will be freezing and would get sick.
However, if we do Ki breathing, blood circulation becomes very strong, and our whole body burns oxygen completely. Therefore, we barely feel the cold. We do not even get goose bumps. Many people even perspire.
There is an instance of a student suffering from nasal inflammation who became cured through this 5 days Ki breathing training in the winter. We can see the greatness of living power through this practice.


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