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June 24, 2012

Calming the Mind

“Calming the Mind” does not mean to have a dull state of mind. The calmer our mind becomes, the faster our mind can move. Just as a top spinning very rapidly becomes steady, the most rapid movement results in calm.

If the state of mind is dull, the movements around us will appear faster than what they actually are, like when we are very busy and a sense of urgency wells up within us. If the state of mind is calm and active, the surrounding motions will seem slower and clearer. Because of this, we will feel that we have plenty of time to act, and so can respond to situations well.

This applies to Aikido practice as well.  If the mind is calm and clear, we can see and sense the movements of the opponent as being slower. Therefore we can respond instantly. If the mind is not clear and calm, the opponent’s movements will seem much faster which will make it difficult to respond to the opponent’s movements instantly.

Therefore, it is important to calm the mind before working on any Aikido techniques. Before motion there is always a state of calmness. To be able to move instantly, there is always a state of infinite calmness needed before it.

When I teach baseball players, “Calm” and “Action” is very important for them also.

For instance, when instructing the batters, it is obvious that if the batter’s mind is not calm, then when the pitcher throws the ball with even a very slight difference in the timing, the batter will not be able to hit the ball. On the other hand, if the batter’s mind is in a state of infinite calmness, he is able to respond to the pitcher’s throw, even if the pitcher tries to alter the timing of the throw. 

After teaching the players about “keeping one point,” they say that they are able to see the ball moving as if in slow motion. Inner calm results in great strength of action. Calm and action are exactly one.

Just as in the Shokushu (Ki Sayings) written by Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei.

“No: 13 The Unity Of Calm And Action

Just as a top spinning very rapidly becomes steady, the most rapid movement results in calm.

Like the eye of the typhoon which is always peaceful, inner calm results in great strength of action. Calm and action are exactly one.

Only when we keep one point and unify our mind and body, can we find spare time even when busy. Keep a calm mind and you will be able to perform to the best of your ability even in an emergency or when facing important tasks.”

If we keep our mind calm and active we can respond instantly whatever the situation may be.

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