An ongoing exploration of unified bodymind and ki development.

For those interested in...
• mind-body unification practices
• experiencing natural and authentic connection
• ki-breathing meditation
• cultivating non-conflict, non-fighting bodymind
• moving from center in life
• deepening non-dissension aikido practice
• simple and natural embodied responsiveness in life
• moving beyond conflict and passivism to active harmony

This class is less vigorous than aikido.
We emphasize awareness, sensitivity, breathing, centering and the distinct shift from self-mind (shoga) to universal-mind (taiga) in movement.

This class is about training body and mind unification — bodymind. This is a direct translation of a Japanese phrase describing a different kind of learning process. Shinshin translates as “Bodymind” - - the complete oneness of body and mind (a term we do not have in English). Toitsudo translates as “The Way of Realizing” or “The Way of Experiencing for Yourself”. Accordingly, “Realizing Bodymind” or Shinshin Toitsudo is “A Way of Learning through Bodymind”.

Dogen (1200-1253 CE) the founder of Zen Buddhism in Japan, coined a phrase for this process - - Shinjingakudo. Shinjin is classical Japanese and is the same as contemporary Shinshin which is “Bodymind” again, gaku is the same as the Greek logos meaning “the study of”, and do means “way of”. So we have “The Way of Studying (or Learning) through Bodymind Oneness”. This class enables you to have an experiential understanding of this process.

Steve writes about ki development and aiki connection in life from time to time. Read some here...

We will practice:

ki-breathing meditation: Just as breathing is essential to sustaining life, it is also essential to developing our Ki and life power.  Ki breathing exercises, as designed by Tohei Sensei, are a central part of training and represents another opportunity to directly experience and realize for yourself the oneness of mind and body, as well as your original connection to the Ki of the Universe.

Solo exercises for cultivating bodymind and what Tohei Sensei called One-Point, "The Universe is an infinite circle with an infinite radius. This inconceivable vastness condensed becomes the One-Point in the lower abdomen which is the center of the Universe. Let us calm our mind in this One-Point and become one with and send our Ki constantly to the Universe."

Paired exercises and Ki-testing. It is easier to coordinate mind and body when we are sitting or standing still than when in motion. But true unification means to maintain the coordination of mind and body even when we are moving. The Ki Development Exercises train one to always maintain the unification of mind and body in our daily life. By applying them to our life, we can perform to the best of our ability in all circumstances.

Having no color, no odor and no shape, the mind is not something that can be grasped by the senses. However, based on the principle that the mind and body are actually one, we can know the state of this ungraspable mind by testing the body, which is available to our senses. Ki tests are not founded on the idea of testing for strength or weakness. The most important factor in Ki testing is to accurately inform the person of the state of his or her mind (calm, distracted, conflicted, numb, etc...).

Four Basic Principles

1. Keep One-Point (Principle of the mind) Seika no iten ni kokoro o shizume toitsu suru
Calmly realize (your) mind at the One-Point in (your) lower abdomen.

Five Principles for Keeping One-Point:
1. Center on the point in the lower abdomen where you cannot put tension
2. Let your body weight fall on your One-Point, not your legs or feet
3. Your breathing is calm and subtle
4. You can accept whatever happens without losing your composure
5. Therefore, you can do your best at any time

2. Relax Completely (Principle of the body) Zenshin no chikara o kanzen ni nuku
Completely release all tension from the entire body/mind.

Five Principles of Relaxing Completely:
1. Each part of your body settles in its most natural position
2. You relax positively, without collapsing or losing power
3. Your sense of presence makes you look bigger than you actually are
4. You are strong enough to be relaxed
5. Therefore, you have an attitude of non-dissension

3. Keep Weight Underside (Principle of the body) Karada no subete no bubun no omome o sona saikabu ni oku
Let the weight of every part of the body settle at its lowest point

Five Principles for Keeping Weight Underside:
1. You maintain the most comfortable posture
2. Your body feels light and does not sag
3. Your ki is extending fully
4. You are flexible and can adapt to changing conditions
5. Therefore, you perceive everything clearly

4. Extend Ki (Principle of the mind) Ki o dasu
Ki is extending (naturally)

Five Principles of Ki Extending:
1. You are not overly conscious of your body
2. You make full use of centrifugal force in your movements
3. You have soft eyes and a poised manner
4. You show composure in your body
5. Therefore, you are bright and happy (easygoing)