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November 23, 2006

Using the Subconscious

This is a story that I had heard while I was a student.

A master sword smith had accepted a new apprentice.
On the very first day, the sword smith showed the apprentice his very best sword.

Some people might say, “How could a novice understand that it is the best sword? He would probably not be able to tell whether it is good or bad.” This may be true, but none the less, day after day the sword smith showed the apprentice the sword.

As time went on, the apprentice became able to picture the sword even if he closed his eyes. After years of hard training, the apprentice eventually became another great master.

When we try to achieve something, we will evolve in the shape of our own imagining. If the shape is predictable, we will develop into that shape. If the shape is brilliant, then we will develop into that shape.
By imagining the very highest level for the beginning, we are able to create what is to become. The important thing is to feel and know the very best until it gets into your subconscious.
That is what the sword smith’s story tells us.

Now, what can be the best sword in our Ki-Aikido? That is the movement of Koichi Tohei Sensei. We are fortunate, because the treasured image of Tohei Sensei at the age of 49, titled “Aikido shijyouenbu”, is in the video “Souden(Ten No Maki).”

In the training hall where I teach, I always recommend that the students see this film. When we see the movement of Tohei Sensei again and again, it gets into our subconscious. Then, our the movement starts to become closer to Tohei Sensei’s.

If the instructors do not appreciate and recommend this, the movement of student will become inappropriate, or it will become closer to the instructor’s movement. If the student gains the good habits of the instructor, that is good, but usually they also gain some of the bad habits of the instructor.
When I watch the examinees in the dan examinations, I often find them performing with the bad habits of their instructors.
The essential point here is that you do your daily practice with the “best sword” in your subconscious.

From an instructor’s point of view, it is important to actually show the students. So I show my movements to my students many times. But do not be blind, as an instructor; know your limitations.
To those who would like to gain the deepest level of () Ki-Aikido movement, or for those who would like to give the best results in the dan examinations and Taigi Competition, I strongly recommend to watch Tohei Sensei’s movement again and again.

I shall explain the way to watch the movements in another article.

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