« October 2008 | Main | March 2009 »

January 12, 2009

Holding with Ki

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to practice and validate the Ki principles (Mind moves body) which are the foundation of Ki-Aikido in your daily life. Therefore, it has no meaning if you just read it without practicing it.

The fundamental method of mastering anything is practice. However, not just practice, but it is also important to validate how one has changed as a result of the practice.

It is easy to lose what you have learned without practice. On the other hand, you will never lose what you have learned through practice and validation. Therefore, please read, practice, and validate the contents of my article at least a month.


Holding with Ki

Tohei Koichi Sensei has instructed many professional baseball players. One of them is Mr. Sadaharu Oh, who belonged to the Yomiuri Giants.

Mr. Oh entered the Giants team with great expectations for his performance. However, the results of his first year were not good and occasionally he was criticized severely as the “Strike out king”.

Through various connections, Mr. Oh met Tohei Koichi Sensei in his second year and thereafter he studied with Tohei Koichi Sensei throughout his active career.

As a result, and through his own tremendous effort, he became the person who was called as “The world homerun king”.

Tohei Koichi Sensei first taught him posture with unification of mind and body and then, how to hold the bat with Ki.

Many players, who are not in good condition, exert themselves too much and grip their bat too hard. If they are gripping their bat too tight, their body gets tense unnecessarily and they lose their natural posture. Then, they are unable to handle their bat in the way that they want.

Then, is holding lightly the best? The answer is no. If you just hold lightly, you cannot support the bat properly. Holding this way, you cannot hit a ball moving at 150 km/h. So, gripping hard is not good and just holding lightly is also not good. That is why many players are confused.

There is a correct way to hold that also applies to other objects and tools, not only to a bat. This correct way is called “holding lightly and sending Ki”.

When we hold lightly, and at the same time believe that “Ki passes through” that which we are holding, the whole part of the object will be filled with Ki. Then you feel “the object is a part of your body”.

Even though you hold lightly, if Ki is seen as throughout the whole part of the bat, you are vary stable without leaning back and forth when someone tries to push your body or bat. We call this way of testing for and knowing stability, “Ki testing”.

All players are very surprised when they experience the stability of their posture and bat even though they hold their bat lightly. Furthermore, there is a great sound when they practice hitting the baseball with such stable posture.

In this way, just by checking the way of holding the bat, players with a bad condition can recover their good condition.

In Ki-Aikido training, we practice this way of holding with the bokken (wooden sword). A bokken that is filled with Ki has great strength.

For example, it is not easy to strike down a bokken that is supported in this way. However, a bokken that is gripped hard or just lightly supported has very little strength. The bokken is very honest.

A person who does calligraphy can apply the above method when holding a brush. Similarly, a person who plays music can apply the same when holding an instrument. And a person who cooks can apply the same when holding cooking tools.

In order to learn this method, professional sports athletes, such as professional baseball players, and also calligraphers and musicians are all learning bokken practice.

The correct way of holding can be applicable to all situations of our daily life. For example, let’s apply this principle when carrying plates. If you carry with Ki, you can place the plate on the table softly and quietly. Whereas if Ki is not in the plate, you very well may place it in rough and noisy way.

For improvement in Ki-Aikido, especially ken and jo, the practice of “holding with Ki” in daily life is quite important.

The following is the practice and validation of this month:

This time, this practice and validation is for those who have learnt “the correct way of holding” in Ki-Aikido training at least once.

[Point of practice]
・Hold all things with Ki. (Hold with Ki = hold lightly and send Ki to that which is being held)

[Point of validation]
・Observe how your posture changes when you hold with Ki. And observe how the things you are holding themselves change.

|

Methods for not cutting off Ki

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to practice and validate the Ki principles (Mind moves body) which are the foundation of Ki-Aikido in your daily life. Therefore, it has no meaning if you just read it without practicing it.

The fundamental method of mastering anything is practice. However, not just practice, but it is also important to validate how one has changed as a result of the practice.

It is easy to lose what you have learned without practice. On the other hand, you will never lose what you have learned through practice and validation. Therefore, please read, practice, and validate the contents of my article at least a month.


Methods for not cutting off Ki

In Ki-Aikido training, we practice something which prevents us from “cutting off Ki” before and after each Aikido technique. “Cutting off Ki” means to switch off our awareness.

I believe many people experienced spending all day in bed during the precious holiday season because of having a cold. Why do we catch a cold when holiday season comes?

A person who works on weekdays spreads out Ki on weekdays, however, cuts off Ki on weekends. Because of cutting off Ki, he makes himself susceptible to catching a cold.

In order not to catch a cold, it is necessary to have good methods for not cutting off Ki. For example, consider ahead of time how best to spend a holiday. If you make up your mind how to spend the holiday, Ki will not be lost.

If you just spend the holiday aimlessly, without any specific activity, your Ki will be cut off. There may be persons who do not want to do anything on a holiday. In such a case, it is necessary to make up their mind to rest their body on holiday.

In my case (although I do not have many holidays), when I take a vacation, I always make up my mind whether to do something or even not to do anything. If my mind is made up, Ki will not be cut off.

In the early days, I also caught a cold when holidays came, however, I never caught a cold since I learned not to cut off Ki.

It is important to put this into practice.

I always work closely with the staff and uchideshi (close pupils of Ki-Aikido). There are some staff and uchideshi who cut off their Ki after big events, probably because their attention to the event drops away once the event is over.

Therefore, I warn all relevant staff not to cut off Ki after big events.

And also, I allow them to take their vacation after working a few days, not immediately after the big event. Then, there is no staff or uchideshi who damage their health.

I, myself, go to instruct seminars overseas each year. I do not take a holiday immediately after coming back to Japan, but take a holiday after working for some days. This is another effective method for “not cutting off Ki”.

There is an interesting story about Tohei Koichi Sensei when he returned to Japan from China near the end of World War II.

There were many people who returned to Japan safely after the war, and took their rest in hot springs, etc. However, many of these people gradually lost their physical strength and finally passed away. It is unfortunate to die even though one returns safely after war.

Tohei Koichi Sensei heard of this, so he did not take his rest immediately after returning to Japan.  Instead, he engaged in field work for about a week, then he got to rest. As for those who died after returning, it is possible that there was a harmful effect on their body because of suddenly losing their Ki after being extremely tense during the war.

In this way, Tohei Koichi Sensei used his own method for “not cutting off Ki”.

In our daily life, we should be specially careful about not cutting off Ki after big events. For instance, as students, after passing entrance examination of schools, as young business persons, after achieving something, and as elder business persons, after retiring.

The Beijing Olympics have ended, so it is the time for athletes who took part in the competition to use methods for “not cutting off Ki”. (In fact, I instructed them to do so.)

“Not cutting off Ki” does not mean continuing to work at something unreasonably. Of course everybody needs a rest. However, when taking a rest, if ones attention is switched off and Ki is cut off, there will be an unexpected harmful effect on ones health.

I would say again that using a method for “not cutting off Ki“ is a very important matter.

The following is the practice and validation for this month:

[Points of practice]
・Write down situations where you tend to cut off your Ki.
・Make a method for not cutting off Ki then. (for example, make your target, aim etc)

[Point of validation]
・Observe how you get effected after succeeding in not cutting off Ki.

|

« October 2008 | Main | March 2009 »