Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Budo is Love .....Why?




Why did O'Sensei say Budo is Love? Why do I say so with such certainty? How is it so?

Basically because it is the ultimate discipline and thus the ultimate Budo. So you could also say that Budo is Hate. You could say that Budo is Fear. These too would be types of Budo but they are not ultimate and thus of course they take less discipline.
If they take less discipline then they are more lazy, is that not true?

So it is that in my Aikido emphasis is given to the principles of such things and getting yourself to stick with such principles is the discipline until it becomes more and more natural to do so.

Being with, embracing, being at one with, sharing, being open, these are all principles of love. But what is love and what does it do?


It's an emotion. It's a very special emotion. It's a divine emotion. Why is it divine? Because it is the only true emotion. It is the true spiritual emotion and thus is the heart of life.

Now, below this emotion are many other emotions and all the other negative emotions too but they are not the true you, they are thus mind. They are not spirit they are mind. Being led by your own mind you adopt them and say then you are this feeling, this negative feeling and then you even justify your acts and behaviour and actions by saying it's you and you did it because you were angry or fed up or bored or such like. Thus we have mind leading self and to that degree lost self.

So back to emotion and what does it do? It is a vibration on the scale of motion and thus is moves you. It moves you in a direction. The direction can be even to inaction and then you would merely be in yet another emotion like hopelessness or some such. In Aikido we say say that love is like the welcoming sea that contains and sustains all life. This is you. This is me. This is the highest form of Budo.


So much emphasis is placed on intention lately in the Aikido world as if it is some very special secret principle that you need to develope. It's a start. But that's all. In the scheme of things it's nothing special really. It is merely the start for someone to start actually looking at what they are doing, actually looking at themselves and their intention. But what may I ask is intention? What is it? It is merely a type of thought. That's all. There are many thoughts and many types of thoughts so it would be better to first understand this and to understand that when you are dealing with intention you are dealing with a thought and putting your attention on thought. So you should know what thought does first of all, that would be a wise thing to do when taking up such a venture.

Thought takes you off in a direction. That's what it does. Thought leads you.

Thought is a one point. Thus it is a point of focus and leads your Ki and attention. Each thought is a one point. Now you have many thoughts don't you? Thus you are led all over the place hundreds of times a day. So now from this perspective you may begin to see how the discipline side comes into play for if your energy is being led all over the place you cannot be very stable and while thinking of last night you walk straight into the lamp post, thump. This is where the idea of mind leads Ki leads body comes from in translations of various chinese martial arts or internal arts. But the funny thing is it's seen as natural and wanted. Oh, dear, they are heading for a thump.

No, there is more to understand first in order to understand Aikido. The first thing to understand is that each thought being a one point also has a vibration, a carrier wave if you will, and that carrier wave is emotion. With every thoght you ever have there is with it emotion and that is what moves YOU. FUNNY THING IS IT IS LOVE THAT MOVES YOU TO HERE AND NOW. All else is just people dramatizing some past, stuck in some negatve emotion, unaware they are not being here and now.

Different levels of emotions, different vibrations, different ways of viewing and acting. Unfortunately therefor different ways of self destructing and calling it normal. Different ways also therefor of doing an activity based on budo is love and harmony and yet viewing it and doing it from the perspective of some other emotion.

Masakatsu and Agatsu......true victory is the victory over oneself. Your true heart is love, your true devine motion is love and thus an all embracing attitude and fun. Why let your own mind convince you otherwise? Why let others and their minds convince you otherwise? Why be led by anything else? This is budo is love. You cannot in truth have a broken heart but you can be so convinced and play out the role. Masakatsu and agatsu.

What of joy? Love is the ultimate emotion and it's fun so what is joy? Well, it is not an emotion. It is the ultimate something else. It is not a thought. So what is it? Once again it is the ultimate of something that also has different levels. Once again it has consequences for when you are naturally joyful in yourself and thus towards all things others being stuck in and viewing from some 'miserable' emotion may try to make you not so. Come to spoil your day ha, ha.

So I will leave you with this: THE ULTIMATE EMOTION IS LOVE AND THE ULTIMATE NEUTRALITY IS JOY.

Peace.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Budo,Love,Space and Time


I shall make this a brief explanation to give a perspective on the relationships between Budo, Love Space and Time which applies to Aikido and indeed life itself.

The main focus will be on Space, a major part of understanding Aikido yet unfortunately not a well practiced or understood part on the whole.

So first Bu! (don't jump) Bu from the term Budo can be translated as power basically and thus you can see how it fits the mentality of most to do with martial and martial arts. Well, it is to me also power but not as most would define power. To most power incites and fits with the feeling of oomph,the feeling of superior strength, the feeling of being an 'invincible' cause. The strong cause of an effect on another. Ego wise this is very tempting and logical wise it is very logical yet as usual when it comes to Aikido this is not the correct concept of power as described by Bu or as described by Budo is love.

The power it describes is that of a nature of causing betterment in and for the opponent. A healing power, a comforting power, an Aiki power.

Love and Ki working together. Space and energy working as one without which there is no kokyu and no Aikido.

SPACE: Working with space in Aikido is yet another discipline and is needed to grasp eventually the reality of the circle, a fundamental principle, and of many other aspects of Aikido and harmony and motions involved. When people mention in Aikido the great feeling of love being like the sea and like an ocean wave as they took and threw an opponent then they are indeed feeling something very true and powerful and even beautiful. But technically what actually happened at that point and with that action?

Love equates with space. Their own personal space had joined with and welcomed the others personal space and thus the Ki also became as one. Space and energy. Love and kindness. Ai and Ki.

So let's look at your own personal space. It's actually a spiritual thing yet it's as real as anything else in the universe. So as you become more aware of it and indeed respectful of it you can start making sense of a lot of things from a new perspective. Of course technically from a geometric viewpoint in Aikido you would start developing a more 3d view of what's going on. That alone is worth it's weight in gold but here I am going further than that. I am going to introduce you to some perspectives you may find useful in your life.

Psychology of space: To look at things taking into account the importance of space is well worth doing on so many levels. Even where you live now you already no doubt know how important it is to have your own space. A teenager wants their own space and thus their own room where they can have their own things and decorate their own way etc. It's very real.

Now this may shock a few people depending on their cultural upbringing but arrogance tends to disregard and disrespect others personal space and it can even be seen in certain cultural things like greetings. The Japanese culture somehow developed as a matter of etiquette and good manners the idea of not entering anothers personal space when greeting. Thus they bow. Now I ask you, have you ever been in receipt of such a thing from either someone from such a culture or maybe a buddhist priest or some such? Wasn't that feeling you got quite pleasant? Maybe unusual but pleasant none the less and the reason for that pleasant feeling is that it is someone respecting and acknowledging and honouring your personal space.

That's all. Now look at how upset you get when someone enters your personal space without permission, without respect. So we begin to see how important and real space is. This can be extended to horrendous things from rape to burglary to to mugging and even to a country invading another country. Space, personal space.


We could even look at areas of life from this view and learn much. You have in life if you wanted to divide it up a few different spaces yet all personal to you. For example you firat and foremost have your own personal space. Then you could say you have your family space. You have your living space which you may call a house. You have your local neighborhood space. You have different towns or parts of towns or places that for some reason you feel at home in. It's to do with the space. Now you can expand it and you have your country, that space. Notice that as you have that space it feels then that it is yours, your country, your family, your house etc. This a phenomenon of space.

Notice also that when you say 'your' family then that space automatically has all in it, it is all inclusive. Space is all inclusive as is love.

Another perspective here I shall give is that of time. So many complaints and worries people have to do with time. The solution to time is not to concentrate on time but rather to give yourself space. Space gives time.

Space gives time and space handles time.

Much is said in Aikido about taking someones centre and unbalancing them. Well it is true that if you 'take' their centre or 'disrupt' their centre then this happens but that is a limited view of hwat actually happens and thus open to a vast number of misunderstandings and false reasoning. It's like the saying 'a little knowledge can be dangerouse'

Firstly it's not the centre which is disturbed but rather your ability to keep attentin on it but more importantly is the question centre of what?

It's the centre of space of course. So when someone attacks you and you 'lose' your centre you find yourself losing timing, panicking, rushing........basically losing it! Actually you have lost your space for space gives you time and without it you thus panick, rush, worry etc.


So always remember space. When all seems 'too much' then it's time to space things out. This is organization. Space is real. Space is fundamental. Space is important.

And may we all one day finally recognise that humanity is mine, the world is mine, existence is mine and is all inclusive.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Sword of Aikido---Kindness


The second weapon of Aikido I shall talk about here is the sword.

In the blog post called Ikkyo I have already given an introduction to this so this post will take it that next step forward.


Once again we shall start by asking what the function of a sword is. It is a cutting weapon. It cuts through. So what does it do? It opens.

So when using a sword you must know you are cutting through (that's the obvious bit)but more importantly that you are opening something.

Now unlike the spear which pierces and originates from center the sword originates from Koshi, the hips.

That 'space' below.


In history the sword, or especially the samurai sword is said to contain the soul of the warrior. So I say it is of the Aikido sword too. For the true soul is kind and the Ki that cuts through all is kindness. The Ki that opens all is kindness.

When you do an act of kindness to or for someone you are not only opening yourself but also opening them, connecting soul to soul. A reminder of what freedom is.


Another rule of the sword spiritually eventually is to do with what you are actually protecting. You're body? No. There is only one thing you are protecting and that is your center line.

Center line. What is it? It is that verticle line that connects heaven to earth, it is that verticle line that connects and runs through all chakras, it is that verticle line that goes from Koshi to Kokyu. It is that verticle line which is non-resistance.

The center line is neutral and herein lies the connection to what is true kindness. For neutral is a very powerful thing. All revolves around neutral. Neutral is also an axis in this respect and you need the axle of a car in order for the wheels to go around and motion to happen.


Kindness protects neutral. Kindness aligns with the principles which emanate from neutral and thus is imbued with non-opposition, non-control, non-aggresssion and being non-resistive even non-disturbance.

Thus it cuts through the oppositional mind, the 'must control' mind, violence and aggression and force and all other disturbance.

So we begin to see two things here. The mindset which is focused but purely neutral and the Ki used which actually is true kindness.

So kindness isn't a weak sympathy. Kindness isn't a rose tinted glasses thing. It comes from a mind which is neither for nor against, which is neither arrogant and controlling or subservient, yet slices through all such things with non-resistance and yet at the same time thus opens and leaves behind in it's wake good feeling, a sense of resatoration. For the mask has been cut through and the other is left in touch with their true self. This is the Aikido sword.


To follow on from the previous post where intention was a spear then I may ask what then is the sword in this respect?

The sword is a decision.

When all are arguing and looking for a solution and you either say something or do something or present something which immediately makes everyone stop as if struck by a 'good' bolt of lightening, then that is the sword.

When you are stuck and wondering and can't make up your mind then you know what the solution will eventually be for it will be the sword, a decision. A choice.

Those who are always nervous and even neurotic or and continually worried have lost their sword. Those who pride themselves in making the 'tough' decisions from positions of power or influence and yet the result of which is much suffering for many have lost the awareness of the true sword and it's essence of kindness. No soul, no wisdom, thus only opening up to the dark side.

The sword of kindness is strong and sharp and opens up your space so that universal love can flood in

The discipline of the sword is a discipline of neutrality and non-resistance which then in turn opens you up to love and wisdom and a better tomorrow.



Friday, 16 November 2012

Spiritual-The Spear of Aikido


Weapons of Aikido. In mine there are five. In this post I shall explain the spear.

The harmonious weapons of Aikido. Sounds contradictory doesn't it? In fact when understanding the principles of the spear and then finding the one which brings harmony then you can know the Aikido spear.


First let's look at the function of a spear. It has a point and it's function is to pierce through. It is not a slicing weapon but a piercing one.

Spears are basically thrown or thrusted. They operate on one dimension and that dimension is a line.

The principle is this: to go from point 'a' to point 'b' and pierce through point 'b'

In life there are many weapons with this function, from arrows to bullets to punches. So that's the physical and physics and dimentional side of the spear. So far then it is a harmful thing so what is the Aikido spear?

We must enter the Ki side of things to find out.....the spiritual.

One point. A term used in Ki Aikido and also equated with center. However one point is not center. One point is a point. You create a point. You create that point at center in order to learn about center. This shows you that one point is movable whereas center is always center.

Ki flows from center to one point.

Herein lies the secret to all forms of meditation. You are given one thing to focus on. Thus you are creating once again a one point.

If I was to tell you to look at the handle of the door then at that moment you have focused, used it as a point on which your attention goes to. Your attention. A flow from you to it. Ki. Thereafter your mind may join in doing what a mind does. Thus in truth Ki leads mind.

Now I think you may see where this is heading. You put a point out and Ki goes straight to that point. This is the basic af the Aikido spear, the technical basic. However we haven't as yet introduced the piercing aspect.


First let's explore this a bit more. What is it you use, in other words what do you call it in life when you actually put a point out there and thus flow to it, create motion? Intention. That is what intention actually is and does. Intention is a spear.

These principles are use in Aikido in the act of leading the opponent. Without clear intention you are not therefor creating a flow or a path with a specific destination and thus the opponent doesn't go there. That is a discipline of itself called leading.

But back to piercing. What pierces and yet doesn't harm but but instead reaches through and leads the opponent or even stabilizes them? What type of point? What type of intention? Well a friend of mine who trains in Aikido and goes by the name of Kakushitoride on youtube coined the phrase 'beneficient intention.' A 'divine' intention, a loving intention, a kind intention, a good intention. These are the powerful, the harmonious, the non-resistive intentions which thus cause Ki flow and are the spear of AIKIDO.

How you use a Jo or staff as a spear, an Aikido spear, depends on how you use your own spear that you carry with you every day.


One point pierces illusions revealing the beautiful stillness.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

There is no Kuzushi in True Aikido


Kuzushi is a term used in Martial Arts and nowadays widely used in Aikido circles. It means taking the persons center. their balance. The purpose being to get them in a position of lost balance and thus vulnerable and easily handled.

Sounds very logical and there is as such a whole set of skills and practices done to accomplish such a thing and is seen by most as a fundamental part of their martial art.

This however is not Aikido. In fact I would say it is the most damaging idea in the whole of Aikido. It is the biggest block to actually learning what true Aikido is.


Wrapped up with this false idea is also the misunderstanding of what is meant by 'mind and body co-ordinated' or 'the unification of mind and body', a fundamental condition of Aikido.

So first we must look at what center is. When you are centered your body is relaxed, your mind is clear and your Ki is flowing. Your attention is free and thus you are comfortable alert and aware of all around and there in front of you, a state called zanshin.

Now if you are not in this state, relaxed, clear and with zanshin then you are not centered. So just stop and recognize that first.


An angry man is therefor not centered. Neither is a scared one or a worried one or even an aggressive one.

Thus violence, force and aggression only comes from the un-centered.

Now, in life when you feel worried by something or scared or made angry by something or someone then they have already taken your center. You have already lost center. If you look you will find many many times you lose center.

Therefor it shows when and how often you are actually unbalanced.

These times are also times when mind and body are not as one, are not unified. A clear mind has a relaxed body and a relaxed body is filled with Ki.

The practice of being centered in the face of an opponent, someone who wants to do something to you, someone who wants to take your center, this is the discipline of Aikido. If you are not centered then you cannot enjoy life.


So in Aikido as in life the 'opponent' is not centered otherwise they wouldn't be attacking you would they? Therefor your job is to remain centered no matter what.

That's only half your job though for the other half is to return the 'other' to being centered. To restore them. To return them to their true self. To accomplish the purpose of Aikido and walk the path of harmony to peace.

Do not take the others centre.......GIVE IT BACK.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Budo Is Love



Probably the most famous statement made by the founder of Aikido Morehei Ueshiba.

An earth shattering statement. This statement alone took Aikido so far away from the general notion of martial art that still many today find it hard to fathom. All many can do is equate it with fiercely protecting loved ones. Alas.


Love gives life. Thus Aikido is a life giving activity. A life enhancing activity. Ki.

A martial art that gives life. A true martial art. The martial art where everyone wins.

Now that's quite a discipline. The ultimate discipline. It rules out so much that we mistakenly hold onto.

Always talking spiritually to his students and always quoting spiritual things he left much to be pondered and realized. "The sound of the mountain echo"

I have seen intellectuals debating what that statement means and indeed what O'Sensei meant by it in relation to Aikido. Well I will categorically state here that when in that state being, that focussed meditative alive state, you will hear the sound of the mountain echo. The sound of the universe and it will be the only sound, clear, vibrant, unarguable and that sound IS 'Budo is Love' That is the sound of the mountain echo.


Everyone practicing Aikido should leave the Dojo as if enlightened, bright, alive and at peace. Too alive even to sleep. This is Aikido.

For they have been giving each other life. Sharing in the discipline of Budo is love. Warriors of the heart.

To travel the path of giving life. To wake up every day looking forward to giving life. The path of peace is the true warriors path.


True nature.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Ikkyo, Spiritually Opening




What is Ikkyo? It merely means 'first'. Have you ever wondered why it is the first? It is the first 'control' technique, it is the first motion. Spiritually what is it?

Physically in Aikido it is expressed in warm up as an aikitaiso exercise. Moving and extending arms out to the fore extending Ki through the hands particularly tegatana.

Then it is also a technique once again moving and extending forward and upward being the start of such. But basically, what is it?


Ikkyo is raising the sword.

That's it. Nothing else. It is difficult only because it is so simple.

It is spiritually raising the sword.

When you use one hand and raise it in such a fashion you are aligning it, raising it along your own centre line. When hands are put together in prayer this is also Ikkyo. When the shaolin monk shows 'buddha palm' while bowing this is also Ikkyo. When a boxer raises his hands and tucks his chin in in defence this is also Ikkyo.


The raising of the sword. Now here is the important bit:

WHEN YOU RAISE THE SWORD YOU ARE CUTTING THROUGH YOURSELF.

The whole action of a sword is to cut through and the whole purpose of the sword is to open

So first you must see the sword of 'two blades' a double sided blade in truth. For when you raise it you are cutting through both yourself and the universe thus opening up yourself. Opening up yourself so that you may experience, you may be in the present, you may begin. Hence it is the first action.


Whenever a person readies them-self for anything they have just raised the sword. Whenever you choose or decide then you have just raised the sword.

Whenever you so do at that instant silence reigns for you have cut through the universe. This is Ikkyo.

Thus the sword lies within and movement with a bokken is merely the physical harmonic.



In raising the sword you have thus already cut through. You have already opened. What is seen as cutting the sword has already been done. So what you see is only the sword following the path which has already been opened.

Now we can flow, ahhhh.



Friday, 9 November 2012

FOUR MOTIONS PART TWO-IRIMI





The next motion we shall look at here is IRIMI, which literally means ENTERING BEHIND. This is entering the circle. Where Taisabake and Tenkan turn into the circle, this is the way of Entering on a straight line. Irimi is how to walk through your opponents’ space and still remain in harmony. Actually, you follow the path of non-resistance!

Imagine a ship sailing along in a calm sea cutting through the water, notice the energy movement in the water as it cuts through it forms a 'v' shape, in fact a few 'v' shapes and thus your opponent coming towards you is displacing energy just like this ship. Each line making up that 'v' is a path for you to follow, it is the natural NON-RESISTIVE path, and by doing so you are entering their circle almost head on, yet completely in harmony. THIS IS IRIMI.





When you are walking along a path and you see a stick or a puddle in front of you then you step over it, but if you see a lamppost in front of you then you step around it, that’s IRIMI. It's a zigzag motion.



To get the full physical concept of IRIMI, all you have to do is watch someone ice skating, they zigzag along a straight line, each part of the motion takes you by an imaginary pole in front of you.

In Aikido the first part, let's call it the ZIG, takes you to a position NEXT TO your opponent. Now if you ZAG you will be behind your opponents back on your original path, and can carry on walking leaving the opponent behind. THIS is a COMPLETE IRIMI MOTION.






When you enter the persons space on the ZIG this is also called IRIMI and thus seen as a way to enter in harmony in order to BE WITH from which point you may change to another motion and thus do another technique. This is generally called entering off line but note that the full Irimi is the zig and zag. In other words once you enter off line know that your energy from centre should now be joining from behind the other person. When the ship cuts through the water forming the off line 'v' shape paths it also then sucks in energy at the back of it.




RESPECTING THE NON-RESISTANT PATHS. AIKIDO.

Four Motions of Aikido

There are techniques in Aikido and there are motions. Here I will set about showing the four basic motions for as they improve only then does technique improve or indeed manifest properly. There is Taisabaki Motion. Tenkan Motion. Irimi Motion. Ikkyo Motion.
The first motion we shall address here is the motion of TAISABAKI. Basically, this is the motion of turning your body around to face the opposite direction. You can do this in two ways. Let's say you have your right foot forward, if you swing your back foot, (your left foot around in a clockwise motion), and then as it lands let your right foot swing round behind it, you will have completed a 180 degree turn and be facing the opposite direction. This is taisabake. On the other hand, if you have your right foot forward and you pivot on it in an anticlockwise direction allowing your back foot (left foot) to swing round then you are doing another motion called TENKAN. The use depends solely on what angle of attack you are harmonizing with. That’s the physical aspect dealt with, so now let's ask the question why? WHAT'S ITS PURPOSE?
The purpose is to harmonize with the opponents motion, their motion contains both movement and energy complete with a mass called a body AND their space.
Ahhhh. Space. You are turning into their space. Remember, a person has a personal space and if we look at this two dimensionally, they have a circle around them, so with Taisabake you are turning into their circle. Why? Your aim in Aikido is to follow the principles of harmony and thus to BE WITH. You enter with the feeling of MEETING and WELCOMING. You enter with the intention to join and be with. You enter with non-resistance. You enter in this way so that you are in harmony with their energy, their motion, their body, their state of mind and you enter into the center of their circle to align yourself with their center hence you have spirit, mind and body in harmony. You do not enter in order to do a technique you enter in order to BE WITH.
This is a fundamental PRINCIPLE of Aikido Motion. TO CO-EXIST IN HARMONY!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Koshi

Literally this means the back of the hip. Physically, techniques done using the hips are part of Aikido, the same as in Judo. Spiritually or Ki-wise it has a much more significant meaning. As the true meaning is so misunderstood as well as being hard to put into words I shall attempt to explain it in stages.
WEIGHT UNDERSIDE: Firstly, the condition of weight underside comes about through using the principle of letting go. Letting go of means; spiritually letting go of. If you sit quietly and extend your arms out horizontally and hold them there, you will find the effort of doing so makes the muscles and the shoulders get tense. If you focus on the place that gets tense and spiritually let go of that part of the body you will find it relaxes. In fact, if you focus on any part of the body that's tense and spiritually let go of it you will find it relaxes. This is fascinating in itself. If you remain focused you will notice that as that part of the body relaxes the energy seems to go downwards. Thus you achieve weight underside.
This shows you that tension is you holding on spiritually, maybe you think that if you let go you will lose something, or it will run away or collapse. Actually, by spiritually letting go you are allowing your Ki to flow through naturally and thus the body feels better and also relaxed. Another fascinating thing about weight underside using the whole body, is that you would think it makes you stick to the floor, well it makes it impossible for you to be lifted up but at the same time you can move about quite comfortably and with ease. That is weight underside.
What is Koshi? Koshi is letting go of everything, meaning you are joining as one with your opponent without spiritually holding onto them or to yourself. This is experiencing without attachment yet at the same time being with and in harmony. This needs practice in order to get the reality of it, and is different to the fact of being able to keep center and keep space. So if you keep center and practice letting go at the same time, then the more you will feel weight underside. You will eventually get a powerful feeling, your center will feel more powerful, your body will feel more relaxed and then you will start feeling Koshi. You will feel at the base of your spine a space rather than a tense, tight door. This is koshi.
AND IF YOU TAKE IT TO ITS FULFILLMENT YOU WILL BE AT ONE WITH. Putting this into perspective; once a jockey is comfortable riding a horse, then he/she is at one with the horse, relaxed and apart from being centered he has koshi. Like glue he is connected to the horse yet unlike glue he/she is free to move rhythmically. HE IS IN THE ZONE! Here's an exercise for you to do, which will show you the truth of what causes Koshi: Imagine an opponent in front of you and you cut him down with a sword, feel your energy and the effect of your energy on yourself. You will feel energy going weight upper-side and condensing in tightness and the base of your spine becoming 'closed' and tight. Now imagine your opponent in front of you and cut through his space with a sword of kindness leaving him/her there, restored, a changed man/woman. This is a different feeling, quite the opposite in fact. In fact you can do this exercise with anything, even a mouse. Create a mouse and imagine doing something mean to the mouse, then create a mouse and imagine doing something kind for the mouse.
WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS KIND, GOOD AND HELPFUL THEN YOU EXPERIENCE KOSHI. WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS OTHERWISE, THEN YOU EXPERIENCE RESISTANCE AND ALL THAT GOES WITH IT. KINDNESS IS KOSHI AND THE RELEASE OF KI.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ma-ai

ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING PRINCIPLES OF AIKIDO. Ma-Ai literally means keeping distance. Physically this produces the harmonious movements you see in aikido hence making the motions seem almost ballet like in action. A good boxer uses this principle by keeping just outside of the opponents’ space and then stepping in to strike and back out again.
THE BASIC MOTIONS OF AIKIDO ARE AN EXPRESSION OF THIS PRINCIPLE. These motions include, TAI-SABAKE, TENKAN, IRIMI, SHIHO. All methods of entering another’s space while keeping distance. Studying aikido motion from this viewpoint will bring about a stable understanding of active Aikido. The above is the physical aspect of ma-ai, but now let's take a look at the spiritual aspect of it.
Spiritually keeping distance is a whole new ball game. It is getting as close as you like physically, whilst keeping center and keeping your own space. IT IS BEING WITH; WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF. Hence, we get the emotion of empathy as opposed to the negative emotion of sympathy, where ones own space is lost as is center.

Monday, 5 November 2012

CENTER


             CENTER

                                       

To be at one with; you need to know how to be centered and stable first. So first let's look at the physical aspect of this principle.

Everything has a center, Its’ point of balance, its’ center of gravity, its’ center of stability.

                                                                                           

Energy wise what is center?                       

Well if you spin a ball or even if you spin a table, you will find it turns around its own center and hence follows a principle of physics. The energy being produced by this action is energy motion. There is a force being created here called centrifugal force, where energy is going out away from the center. There is also another force being created here called centripetal force, the same as gravity where energy travels towards the center - two forces at play.

In Aikido physically, you can see the use of the principle for the person being attacked or held, turns around their own center and thus the attacker’s energy or force coming in, is now expelled outwards. Have you ever held a toddler and spun around so that the toddler flies out around you? It's the same principle at work. So you will find your own center around which you are turning is about an inch below your navel. 
                                                                          

Let's look at this spiritually. You have a space, a personal space around you that is your own spiritual space. It's usually at about arms length around you, in other words if you were to extend your arms out horizontally you would be showing yourself the diameter of your space. So you have a natural spherical space around you, this spiritual space has a center, which is about one inch below the navel. Let's say it is outside of the body to remind us it's not physical. The rules of energy that apply here are more profound!

From this center you give out energy as in centrifugal force and you also receive energy into this center as in centripetal force but as it is your own center you do it. So to put it simply; CENTER IS THE POINT THAT TAKES IN AND GIVES OUT ENERGY OR KI. Center is also the point around which everything revolves.

So what we have here is a center from which energy goes out and energy goes in and energy also goes around.

All engineers know these principles and hence construct things accordingly, so we are talking here about three naturally preferred paths of energy.

When you throw a pebble into a pond, you will see ripples going out from center and ripples going back into center and you will see them as circles. Thus you can see the natural way of energy.  

                                                                             
When an opponent in Aikido is holding you he/she is sending energy into your body. If you let that energy go to your center instead of trying to fight it, then you are immediately going into harmony with his/her energy. If you now turn and extend energy outwards from center his/her energy will then follow the law of centrifugal force and he/she will follow it. It looks like you are merely deflecting the opponent but this is not the case, for you are taking in and giving out thus aligning yourself with the truth of energy.

Now let me take you back to your space. The circumference of your space is of course circular, and this circle is just like the orbit around a planet.  Hence, if you spin and let go of your opponent he/she will fly off out of orbit - but if you keep connected to the opponent he/she will orbit around you as you turn. Just like if you swing an object around your head on a piece of string.

                                                                                    

Trees grow upwards and therefore have energy going away from the center in a straight line and thus follow straight lines of energy.

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                
When you have a rush of energy drawn to a center, or away from a center you get spirals and therefore put simply, you have the behavior and pathways of energy, all utilized in Aikido.  

                                                                                         

To get some reality on this let's start with your space.

Sit quietly and feel your own personal space.

You will feel it, and you will feel your body relax.

You will feel your space is REAL.

                                                                                            
Now, when you are going about your business in life think about the times when you were aware of someone entering your space, when someone crossed the borderline of your space, your circle. You see you can feel it. Also you can do things with your space. Sit comfortably and expand your space to the walls and the ceiling and you will then experience having the space of the room as your space.

In Aikido you always practice keeping your center and keeping your space.

To get some reality on energy going in and out of center,

Sit quietly and get the concept and feeling of welcoming.

You will feel energy going into your center.
         
Now get the concept and feeling of offering. You will experience energy going out from center.

These are not things you can't do and are not things you have to wait twenty years in martial arts to become aware of.  They are real and natural, and you do it to a degree already.

Aikido is a discipline of being aware of and keeping these principles in life and living.  When you get angry you have gone against and hence lost your center, your space and yourself, and this happens when you go into any negative emotion or condition. Instead of BEING you have BECOME. It's not because of what someone else did or said or any other reason you may give, it's because you didn't keep center and keep your space.
 
                                                                                                                                                         

Coming back to Aikido and the use of center, by keeping center you can accept and receive the force aimed against you and let it go to your center and consequently not have to revert to force and resistance and fight, you can relax and stay calm. Also it is the place from which you can give back energy at the same time and thus stay stable. In Aikido you operate from center as you should in life.


In summary center is the point in Aikido from where you receive and lead and therefore create harmonious motion.  You are the center of your life which you create from center, so how then can you blame anyone for anything?


                                                                                   


      

ACCEPT WITH HUMILITY, PERCEIVE WITH COMPASSION AND LET ALL GO TO CENTER.