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December 23, 2009

Considering the other's Ki

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 not enough just to 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.
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Considering the other’s Ki

This is a story of what took place while I was traveling from Tokyo to Osaka by Shinkansen (Bullet train) a few weeks ago.

There were two business persons sitting across the aisle from me. They appeared to be an employer and his employee. They jumped onto the train just before the doors shut.

I did not intend to listen to their talk on purpose, however, due to their loud voices, their conversation was difficult not to hear.

Employer:  “I told you to wait for me at the north exit of Yaesu district, didn’t I? Why were you waiting at the north exit of Marunouchi district? (* There are many exits in the Tokyo station.)”

Employee: “I am very sorry, sir. I only remembered the word ‘north exit’ you mentioned…”

This humorous conversation lasted until the train reached Nagoya station (* Nagoya is in the central part in Japan between Tokyo and Osaka.)

The face of the employer was really red in anger and he was scolding his employee with a severe voice. The employee got totally frightened.

Employer:  “Hey! Now I am really thirsty, so go and buy me something to drink!”

Employee:  “Yes, sir!” (His answer was very good.)

Usually there are salespeople coming through the train with food and drinks. However, the fellow could not wait for this and so gave his employee money and sent him to purchase the drink. After a few minutes, the employee returned with a drink.

Employee:  “Sorry for making you wait, sir! Here is the drink for you.”

Employer:  “Hey, this is a hot coffee. As thirsty as I am, do you expect me to drink this really hot drink all at once?”

Employer:  “Oh…., I am very sorry, sir…”

The employer had said that he was thirsty, so therefore the employee should have bought a drink with mild temperature.

Their conversation was so funny that I could not take my eyes off of them.

Employer:  “I am a little bit hungry.  Please go to buy something for my breakfast.”

Employee:  “Yes, sir!”

Again, he could not wait for the salesperson to come and made his man run. I was guessing “In considering the man’s Ki, probably a sandwich would be the right thing to bring.” The employer mentioned in their conversation that he drank alcohol too much the previous night, and since this now was the following morning, I guessed that he would not want to have a heavy meal.

Then, the employee returned.

Employee:  “Sorry for making you wait, sir! Here it is for you.”

Employer:  “Hey you! This is just a packet of rice crackers and peanuts! What should I do with this?!”

Of course, the packet of rice crackers and peanuts was unwanted by the employer.
Then the employee asked him,

Employee:  “I am sorry sir, should I have bought a beer as well?”

Employer:  “Stop it! Are you making fun with me?”

Employee:  “Absolutely not, sir!”

Employer:  “OK, no more arguing. Now, please go and buy sandwiches!”

From their conversation, I understood that they were going to business negotiation in Nagoya, so beer would absolutely not have been the right thing there.

The employee was trying hard to serve the boss, however, one of the causes of this man’s wrong answers and actions is that he was “not considering his Ki”.

By directing and sending our attention (Ki) to others and putting ourselves into the other’s place, we can understand the other’s intention (Ki).  Even when we try hard to do our best, if we act when considering only our own preference, we can not serve what others want or need.  When we think “I am not being appreciated even though I am trying my very best!”, in most cases this means we are only acting according to our own preferences.

In order to “put ourselves into the other’s place”, first we need to know that person. In order to know the person, not only should we ask questions properly, but we should read his or her feelings through normal conversation and facial expressions, which reveals attitudes.  The capability of reading (considering) the other’s intention (Ki) can be improved through training.  This is especially important for people who have a job in which they daily need to contact and communicate with the other people.  For them, this is vital training.

The following conversation is the end of these men’s funny story.

Employer:  “I will sleep a little, so please wake me up when the train arrives to Nagoya.”

Employee:  “Yes, sir.”

Probably the boss went to bed very late the previous night, so he fell deeply asleep immediately. Then the train arrived at Nagoya station.

Employee:  “Sir, the train already arrived at Nagoya station.”

Employer:  “How come are you waking me up after arriving at Nagoya?!”

Then the employer rushed to get off the train. While he was sleeping the contents of his luggage were spread around untidily. If his employee had awakened him some minutes earlier, it would have been better.

Their conversations and actions were like a comedy show. After that, I wondered how their business negotiation went.

On the other hand, this employer has a responsibility as well.  He must take into account whether his employee is capable of considering his boss’ intentions (Ki). This employer was wrinkling his forehead and was quite irritated, so the employee was nervous about being scolded again all the time. Thus, the employee was unable to direct his Ki in the way that was required.

I train Uchideshies and it seems that I am very scary for them, so I sometimes have an experience similar to the employer in the above story. Each time this happens, I correct my attitude.

Without considering the opponent’s Ki, we can not perform Aikido techniques.  In this story, we can see the importance of Aikido in daily life.

The following is the practice and validation for this month.

[Point of practice]
・When you are requested to do something by someone else, you need to think by putting yourself in the other’s place (Consider other’s intention, or Ki).

[Point of validation]
・Ensure if what you did was really what the other person wanted you to do.

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