Holding with Ki
have had more opportunities recently to teach both professional baseball players
Through teaching these players and coaches, it has also helped my own understanding deepen.
An example of this deepening of my own understanding is what I call “The Holding of Things.”
To hold or carry something, is actually one of the most basic movements or actions that human beings do all the time, while at the same time being probably one of the most complex or ‘‘high level’’ actions or movements that we all take for granted.
When a player in good form or condition holds a bat, his hold is supported by his whole body as one. Even by applying Ki Testing by pushing the bat, the player does not get affected.
A player, who is not in good form or condition, usually holds the bat only with his hands. By applying Ki test and pushing the bat, not only does his bat move, but his whole posture also waivers.
Human beings are fortunate in the way that our wrists function and move. Technically just by moving our wrists we can swing a bat, which as the Japanese phrase “Kote Saki” implies, literally means moving only with wrists.
Ki Testing is first applied to check if the posture of the player is stable and calm, then it is applied again to check the player’s posture when he holds a bat. The stability of a player’s posture should always be calm and stable regardless of whether he is holding or not holding a bat, this is an important part of training which is practiced continuously.
By repeating this practice continuously, the player can understand the difference through feeling.
The same thing also applies when practicing Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.
When we practice Aikido techniques, we use our hands to perform the throw or techniques. If our throw feels incomplete or it doesn’t feel correct, it usually means that we are only just using our hands to throw. In Japanese this is called “Kote Saki”.
This is why it is very important to always practice checking of the stability of our posture, to make sure that it is always calm and stable with our mind and body being unified as one. This feeling should be applied when we perform Aikido Techniques. We should not be practicing ‘throwing just with our hands’ but we should always practice ‘throwing and moving with our whole body as one.’
Let us return back to the topic of: The Holding of Something.
When we hold something tightly (like grabbing or squeezing) this puts unnecessary tension and strain into our whole body resulting in our reaction and performance being less efficient than we actually think.
On the contrary, to just hold something lightly and loosely means we will not be able to apply and exert the correct amount of force when using or holding something. We should always hold with Ki extending and flowing, therefore, ‘Holding with Ki’ is a very important.
In Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training, we often practice with the holding of bokken. One of the purposes of this practice is for our bodies to be able to feel and get used to ‘holding with Ki’.
When we try hard to hold things, our Ki has already stopped flowing. In this case, by applying Ki Testing to check our posture, we can see that our posture is less stable and disturbed easily.
By continuously practicing holding the Bokken lightly with Ki flowing to the tip, we can catch the feeling naturally and our posture starts to become stable and calm even when holding a bokken.
Once we get the correct feeling with continuous training and practice, we can apply it to the holding of a bat, or the holding of a golf club, or even holding a brush when practicing Calligraphy.
Improvement in performance can be seen for baseball players, when they hit with their bat they will have more strikes, for golfers, they will have better scores during their games, and a calligrapher will be able to write characters with more Ki flow present in their work.
‘Holding with Ki’ means that Ki should always be flowing continuously throughout, with whatever we hold.