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January 08, 2016

Ushiro Ni Susumu – Continuing Forward While Moving Back

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In everything that happens, if there is a beginning there will always be an ending.

When we begin something, we are usually very positive and extending Ki to move forward. When we near the end of doing or accomplishing something, we tend to look or think back and in that process pull our Ki back. Ending or completing something is always more difficult than beginning or starting something.

Especially for leaders, it is particularly difficult assessing and knowing the time to quit. For example, knowing the time to retire or step down from the role as a leader. As well as realizing the time to pull out or retire from a role in a company or business.

If we pull our Ki back at such a crucial time, it can impair our ability to make correct decisions. Even though retiring or pulling out of an important role, we always need to continue to extend Ki forward.

Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei realized this during his time in the war.

When advancing forward, it is easy to extend Ki continuously. As Ki is extending forward, it is easy to perceive and avoid a dangerous situation.

When withdrawing, it is easy to pull Ki back. As Ki is pulled back (inwards), dangerous signs become unnoticeable, thus making dangerous situations unavoidable.

This was learned by Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei the hard way, he realized while withdrawing to never pull Ki back, it should not be thought of as ‘withdrawing or falling back’ but ‘proceeding and continuing back’. This helped him avoid many dangerous situations.

Even in Shinshin Toitsu Aikido training and practices, Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei always taught in this way.

An example is: two people line up side by side at one side of the Dojo, both facing backwards away from the other end of the Dojo. They then both start to run at full speed (backwards) to the other end of the Dojo.

One person extends Ki forwards (even while running backwards). As Ki is extending, he is aware of his surroundings and is able to feel calm and confident while running.

The other person runs while pulling Ki inwards (still running backwards). As Ki is not extending, he is not able to feel his surroundings and therefore feels less confident and calm while running.

Beginners, who take part in this exercise for the first time, are surprised by the big difference in result just by the direction of Ki projection. This experience also showed that even while moving back, Ki continues to move forward.

During the [Ki Business Talk Session] seminar with Mr. Takeo Hori, we talked about knowing the right time to step down as a leader.

Mr. Hori retired at the age of 51 as president of Hori Production. At that time, not only his company, Hori Production – but every talent agency in Japan, looked like a business that would not be able to continue on to the next generation, Mr. Hori’s purpose then was to make Hori Production into a public company that could continue regardless of whether the new president was related to the Hori family or not.

Even then deciding to retire at the age of 51 still seemed very early, I asked Mr. Hori how he came to that decision.  

Convinced that the next President of the Hori Pro Company would protect and continue the progress of the company, Mr. Hori decided for himself that he wanted to continue to try new things.

After retiring, Mr. Hori was able to continue forward and take risks which he was previously unable to take while being the president of the company, which led to all his business decisions and ventures becoming successful.

Indeed, a president retiring should not just retire and step down, but should think of stepping down as a continuation and progression forward.

Even being 83 years old, he is always still continuing forward.

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