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October 31, 2011

Protecting Oneself

Many people think the “Art of Self-Defense” as “how to cope when being attacked by bad people”. Learning how to handle an attacker, by training on a daily basis, of course, would be a good thing. However, in an actual situation, it is too late to begin “handling” an attacker after already being attacked.

The true Self-Defense is to sense and evade the danger ahead of time. So training how to sense danger is actually very important.

In a train station or inside the train, if you try looking around, most people around are looking at the screens of their mobile phone or at game consoles. They do not pay much attention to or have much interest in the people around them. Therefore, if there is any threat of approaching danger, they would not be able to sense it.

To be able to protect oneself, there is a minimum distance needed around oneself. This is referred to as “Maai”, but when surrounded in a crowded place, it is difficult to be able to create the distance around oneself. This would be especially so, when in a train or bus or the inside of an elevator. When someone whom one is not familiar with comes inside “Maai”, one should recognize and check what state of mind these people are exhibiting.

When you have an uncomfortable feeling, you put in place a natural distance from that person or get on the next train or elevator. But when concentrating on a mobile phone or game console, one may actually invite danger inside Maai. Extending Ki to the surroundings is actually fundamental in the protection of oneself.

Some days ago while it was raining, I was driving my car and what I saw caught my attention. There was a person riding on his bicycle with earphones in his ears, while holding an umbrella and also flickering at the screen of his mobile phone. Already, it seems obvious that being aware of his surroundings is disregarded and he may be inviting danger.

Those who always use a mobile phone or game console while being out in a public area should first please look around you for one day. You will realize many things that you were not aware before.

“Protecting Oneself” applies the same to human relationships.

In human relationships there is also “natural distance (Maai)”. In protecting oneself there is a minimum distance required. Unlike physical distance, the “distance” in relationships is not visible. This is felt by sense and the only way to learn would be through experience.

In regards to this, we will continue further at another opportunity.

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October 30, 2011

Giving up the other options resolutely

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.


Giving up the other options resolutely

“Decisions” usually involve stress. After making a decision, the end result often affects not only oneself but also other people involved. The more people are affected, the greater stress is felt by the decision maker.

When a mind does not have enough strength to overcome this stress, avoiding decisions and leaving unfavorable situations continuing will often be the end result.

Needless to say, before making a decision, gathering and analyzing as accurate and as much information as possible is very important. However, even after gathering and analyzing all the information, the final decision must be made.

Making a decision means “resolutely giving up the other choices and options”. If you have choices both “to do” and “not to do”, the end result for you will be one of always wondering which option you should choose. The mind will become weaker from being indecisive.

Resolutely giving up the “do or not do” attitude, and being determined “to do”, your mind will not lose focus and will become stronger. It is the same thing if you give up the option of “doing” and are determined not to do, your mind will be focused and get stronger.   By giving up the other choices resolutely, there will be no regret about the decision later.

Having too many alternatives/options at the same time, may seem like a good thing, but in fact it may cause you to waver in the decision making.

The fact that work can be chosen freely nowadays is a good thing, but at the same time, many choices or options of work may cause people to waver in deciding what to do. When one can live in an environment without working, one is blessed, but even that may cause one to waver whether to work or not.

Even though one may be materially privileged, this still might lead to a great doubt and waver and cause weakness of mind, which is ironic.

The same is true of Aikido training.

Having the choice of “to train” or “not to train” causes people to waver. People in society nowadays are particularly busy. It is very easy to find excuses for “not training”. For example “I will not train today because it is too hot.”

That is why, if one started Aikido for some reasons, one should be firmly resolved.  For instance, “I will continue at least for one year”, or “I will continue until I attain Shodan level”. In this case one should resolutely give up the choice of “discontinuing at half way”.

The same is true when doing Ukemi for 100 times.

If one has the choice of “not having to do the Ukemi training for 100 times”, it will cause the mind to grow weaker. When always in doubt and wavering, the mind and the body tend to get tired and it will be hard to continue. When the choice of stopping midway during Ukemi training is given up, the mind will grow stronger and the mind and the body will become at ease during the training.

“When it gets tough, it is OK to sometimes stop halfway.” This may seem easy to the ear, but may in fact cause wavering, and the mind will become weak. For teaching children especially, parents need to be careful of this kind of attitude. This is not actually love but just feeling pity.

The same is applied not only to Aikido, but also to the other lessons and classes to learn something in our daily lives. Even once we have started to learn something, wondering whether to “continue” or “discontinue” and stopping learning is a real waste.

If bad habits are acquired at a young age, one will get habits of wavering and stopping midway in doing anything. If one does not choose the option of “stopping”, one should give up the choice of the same with the firm intention, and make best efforts on what one is doing.

“Making decision” means “Giving up the other choices resolutely”. It is a fact that if one decisively gives up the other options, the mind will be positively stronger.

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October 29, 2011

Applying Ki to Sports

Over the past one year, there have been ties with a variety of sports players. As is common in any sport, the basic posture needs to be stable in order to achieve favorable results. If the posture is unstable and collapses, throwing, hitting, and kicking the ball will be negatively effected.

In an attempt to stabilize the posture, some people hold firm when taking a stance. In this case, the body will become tense. When we check it by “Ki Testing”, we can come to know that this posture that seems stable is actually unstable.

The natural posture has natural stability. The human posture is originally stable, so by exerting strength unnecessarily or by being collapsed, the posture will become unstable.

By acquiring a natural posture, we can have a lasting stability without consciously trying to do so, and we will be able to maintain stability even in very intense movement. In Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, the above natural posture is called “the state with Mind and Body coordinated (Toitsu-tai)”.

Many sports athletes are learning this Toitsu-tai (Mind and Body Coordination).

What is equally important in any sport, is whether the player can exert one’s own ability in the important situations and occasions. The solution to this issue is to “calm the mind”.

Generally, when we are calm, our mind is in the lower abdomen. In daily life, often our mind comes up. In Japanese, the state of one’s anger is said as “coming up to the head”. What comes to the head is one’s own mind. Also in Japanese, “becoming tense” is said as “going up”. It includes the same meanings.

Even when we learn the correct posture, if our mind comes up towards the head, stability will be lost. If you are unable to perform in an important situation, it is because your mind goes up.

The place where we can not put tension on our lower abdomen is called “One Point in the lower abdomen”. And to train the mind to be calm at the One Point is the most important thing. Incidentally, the words “Seika-Tanden” refers to the entire abdomen, whereas the “One Point” is different. This topic has been more carefully described in my book “Calm your Mind” (Japanese edition). I would appreciate it if you could read it.

Many sports athletes are learning about the One Point.

In Ki Society dojos, there are not only Aikido classes, but also Shinshin Toitsu Do classes (Ki classes) to learn stable posture and Ki breathing. Those who want to improve in their chosen sport, please come over. We will continue to support not only instructors and members of Ki Society, but also those who want to grow and develop in many fields.

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October 13, 2011

Announcement of the Results of the 30th All Japan Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Taigi Competition

This is to announce the result of the 30th All Japan Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Taigi Competition.

Because of the effect of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the 30th All Japan Shinshin Toitsu Aikido Taigi Competition was held at the Osaka Central Gymnasium in Osaka instead of Ki Society H.Q. (Tochigi prefecture).

This time, participants of only “Under 18 division” and “University division” performed. 120 students of high schools and universities participated from all over Japan.

Prize winners’ names (without Mr. / Ms.) and their schools, universities are as follows. Congratulations.

Under 18 division

[Individual]

Gold prize:          Kengo SHIMADA, Ken WATANABE

                            (Keio Senior High School)

Silver prize:         Yuki TSUDO, Kosuke KUSAKARI

                            (Keio Senior High School)

Bronze prize:       Takumi OTSU, Yuki ISHIKAWA

                            (Keio Senior High School)

[Group]

Gold prize:          Keio Senior High School

Silver prize:         N/A

Bronze prize:       N/A

University division

[Individual]

Gold prize:          Noriaki KURIHARA,

                           Hiroaki NISHIBAYASHI

                           (Hiroshima Shudo University)

Silver prize:         Koichiro TACHIBANA, Taro USHIO

                            (Keio University)

Bronze prize:       Miteki IKEDA, Makoto SOGABE

                            (Hiroshima University)

4th prize:              Emiri OKI, Kumiko NAKAYAMA

                            (Hiroshima Shudo University)

5th prize:              Tomoya NISHIMURA,

                           Fumiaki IWASAKI

                            (Hiroshima University)

6th prize:              Yuta KIHARA, Syogo KUMAMOTO

                            (Keio University)

[Group]

Gold prize:          Keio University

Silver prize:         Hiroshima Shudo University

Bronze prize:       Waseda University

This competition was made possible with the kind cooperation, support and donations from many people. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to those contributors. Thank you very much.

Osaka_edited7

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