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June 19, 2010

Relaxing

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to apply the Ki principle (mind moves the body) which is the fundamental of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido to our daily life.

It is not enough just to read, but it is important to positively practice the subject given each month. Learning through practice will be your lifelong asset.


Relaxing

“Relaxing” is important not only for performing the techniques of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido but also for performing the other styles of Budo and various sports. This is because by “relaxing”, we will be in the state of mind and body unification, our posture will become stable, and we will be able to move our body in the ways that we require.

However, some people misunderstand the training of “relaxing”. Most of these are from the younger generation in Japan. In the beginning, before we train “relaxing”, we tend to engage in our practice with seriousness, in earnest, and even desperately. Consequently, our body may get tense at the beginning. However, as our training progresses, we realize that we do not need to use any extra physical power and we begin to understand the true meaning of relaxation.

In this age of abundance, people do not need to struggle to get food. Therefore there are many young people who live with only a minimum of effort. As a result, there is an illness among the young that we could call “being unable to be in earnest”. If we teach these young people to relax, they may misunderstand “relaxing” to mean “slacking off”. If they get used to “slacking off” (cutting corners) and are lazy even though they are young, they will surely have a lot of trouble in the future.

The instructors of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido should be aware of the above tendency when teaching the younger generation.  I teach students to “train in earnest” even though they may get physically tense at the beginning. Subsequently I teach them how to “relax”. For those who are already training in earnest, such as top athletes, I teach “relaxing” from the beginning and they get the point. The way of teaching differs depending on the students.

The other misunderstanding is the idea that “physical power itself” is bad. We use some physical power when just sitting. We cannot even sit without any physical power. The greater power we have, the heavier the objects we can move.  What is bad is not the “physical power”, but the “tension”. If we have tension in our body, we will lose the state of mind and body unification, posture will become unstable, and as a result we will not be able to move our body in the ways that we want.

For engaging in sports, it is necessary to train the muscles required to perform each kind of sport and to have greater physical power. However, adding extra power in each motion beyond what is necessary to complete the movement is not needed. In such a case, “relaxing” should be learned.

“Relaxing” is also different from a state of collapse. We can do nothing when in a state of collapse. This misunderstanding is quite common.

“Relaxing” is, in other words, to __________ . It has a very deep meaning.

The following is the subject for this month.

[Subject]

    What phrase could be inserted in the underlined blank above? There are countless answers.

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