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September 10, 2009

Having Appropriate Images

A Short Instruction:

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

The fundamental method of mastering anything is practice. However, it is important not just to practice, but also 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 for at least one month.


Having Appropriate Images

Everybody unconsciously has particular images for things in their mind.

One example is about “work”. Here, I will discuss the images on the premise of “ work” in Japanese culture.

I teach in company seminars, requested by company managers who are learning Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido or Ki Principles. Sometimes I teach in new worker’s seminars and when I do, I always ask,

“Do you think work is something you can enjoy, or something that you have to be troubled about?”

The answers are divided in half. Some answer, “Yes, work is joyful!” On the other hand, some answer, “No, work is troublesome.” This difference is attributable to their images towards “work”.

We can find even more interesting things if I ask them the following:

“When your parents are on duty, do they look like they are enjoying their work, or bothered by their work?”

Those who see their parents as enjoying their work, view their own work as joyful. However, the ones who see their parents as being bothered by their work also view their own work as troublesome.

This is an important point, because this means that the images for work in these young peoples minds were made not by actually experiencing the work, but by receiving influence from their parents, mostly “unconsciously”, which is interesting.  In some cases, these images are created in their minds by the influence of the other adults such as teachers in school.

Later on, these younger workers may develop a different view, depending on whether they view their work as the one “they must do for earning their living expenses even though they do not want to” or whether they view their work as something that “they positively pursue to improve themselves”.  Also it differs depending on whether they think they work “only for themselves”, or “for serving the others”.

We are free to have any kind of images in our mind, however, the most important thing is to know whether our images are appropriate or not.

I often ask the beginners of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido,

“Please give me your image towards Aikido”.

Here I mean that I am requesting an answer regarding the images they hold of Aikido, not as the art of self-defense or even joint-locking techniques, but as to whether Aikido looks like the something they can do or they cannot do (looks difficult). Many people say it looks like “something they cannot do” (looks difficult).

As we said, such images are created from their past life experiences. If they keep that kind of image in their mind, they will find it very difficult to improve. When we hold the image of “I cannot do this”, then we can never accomplish that.

Realizing this, instructors choose the easy techniques for the beginners and let them have a positive experience of being able to perform those techniques. Then, the image in the minds of those beginners changes from “I cannot do this” to “I might be able to do this!”

This process is very important. Training in this way, after a while, the students see for themselves what images they hold at the time and allow themselves to train to create the image of “I can do this!”.

Another example of images held in the mind is the idea that “Japanese people are not good at English”. This image has been unconsciously supported repeatedly. Who would want to hold such an image as that?

Let us summarize.

Everybody has their own images for things. These images were made not by consciously choosing them, but by receiving them unconsciously from parents and teachers in school, etc. It is fine if these are appropriate images, but if not, then the attitude of the person holding such views tends to become negative, which will be a strong impediment in their positive development.

It is important to know the images we have unconsciously in mind, and to check whether these are appropriate.

The following is the practice and validation for this month:

[Point of practice]

  Choose from the following categories: “Aikido training”, “Work”, “Study”, “English”, “Family”, “Money”, “Husband”, “Wife,” etc, and write down the images that you hold towards this category.

[Point of validation]

Find out when, where, and how you obtained such an image.

Check whether the image is appropriate or not.

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September 03, 2009

Changing the Subconscious Mind

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to practice and validate the Ki principle (Mind moves body) which is the foundation of Ki-Aikido in our 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 for at least one month.


Changing the Subconscious Mind

To keep the subconscious mind plus is one of the most important training methods in Ki-Aikido.

For example, a strong opponent holds your wrists with all his force, and you think,

“I might not be able to move because such a strong person holds my wrists!”

If such an idea goes through your mind, you will actually not be able to move. I can see the same reaction when I instruct professional athletes.

“It is possible that I might fail!”

If such an idea goes through their mind, they will actually fail.

The issue is the difficulty of controlling this kind of idea by ourselves. More important the point here is that such an idea goes through our mind in the first place. Therefore, in order to control this, what we have to do is to “change our subconscious mind”.

When I just started training as an Uchideshi, I often had a particular dream of Ki-Aikido training while sleeping. In this dream a powerful opponent held a part of my body and I was not able to move at all. You can understand what this might be like to have such a dream as an instructor. It was a nightmare.

One time, I consulted with Koichi Tohei Sensei and he replied simply,

“You have such a dream because your subconscious mind is minus”

The conscious mind is the content of mind that we are usually aware of, and the subconscious mind is the content of mind that we are usually unaware of. The subconscious mind is like a storehouse of mind and the materials stored in the subconscious mind form the conscious mind.  If the subconscious mind is plus, naturally the conscious mind is also plus, but if the subconscious mind is minus, then naturally the conscious mind is also minus. If your subconscious mind is minus, it will not be possible to make only your conscious mind plus.

The reason why it is often difficult to put “plus thinking” (so-called positive thinking) into practice, is because people tend to attempt to make only the conscious mind plus, while ignoring the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind functions primarily while we are sleeping. Therefore, dreams we have while sleeping are related to the subconscious mind. My subconscious mind was minus at the time that I had that nightmare.

Therefore I started training to change my subconscious mind.

One method of changing the subconscious mind is to continue practicing one Ki-Aikido technique until we become finally able to do.

Sometimes a person will end the Ki-Aikido training for the day, even though he has one technique that he still cannot do. This leads to the idea that “I cannot do this particular technique” regrettably entering into his subconscious mind. No matter how hard it is, it is absolutely important to continue training until being able to perform the technique, even if it is unspectacular work. It is necessary to finish with a plus (positive) image in the mind.

Another training method is to change the words that we use in our daily life.

At that time I used to say, “no I cannot”, even though I did not know whether I was able to do something or not. There may be things we are not actually able to do, however, it is a bad habit to say, “no, I cannot” before we start to do something. If we use words like this in our daily life, naturally the idea that “I cannot” goes through our mind during Ki-Aikido training. So I stopped saying the phrase, “I cannot”, and I gained a new habit to maintain the idea that I will always be able to do the thing.

By continuing the above two training methods, I have not had the nightmare since then. Still now, I sometimes have a dream of Ki-Aikido training, but it is not a minus dream such as “I cannot do the particular technique”. It is a plus dream, such as, “I can do this technique”. Also in actual Ki-Aikido training, I have become able to do any Ki-Aikido techniques since then.

There are people who are unimaginably strong in this world. I do not know whether I can do a Ki-Aikido technique on such a person. But it is important for us to be able to think “I can do this” even facing such a person. It is necessary to change the subconscious mind in order to become able to think “I can do this” anywhere at any time.

This is important not only for our Ki-Aikido training, but also for business persons, athletes, and artists. As for the specific training of keeping subconscious mind plus, it is explained in detail in my book “Kokoro wo Shizumeru (Calm your mind)”, so please make the best use of it.

The following is the practice and validation for this month.

[Point of practice]

  Choose one of the training methods for keeping subconscious mind plus, then continue for one month. (Make use of “Kokoro wo Shizumeru (Calm your mind)”)

[Point of validation]

Observe how your idea, thoughts and point of view changes.

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