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Aikido Philosophy: An Oriental Concept of Energy, Self, and Mind
There are many different ways to understand Aikido philosophy and perceive, utilize, and benefit from energy. What I offer here is one of many ways. Indeed when I do other kinds of activities I perceive of and work with energy in quite a different manner. What follows is my experience of energy while performing Aikido over the course of more than twenty years. Certainly there are likely to be many other Aikido practitioners that would explain their experiences and beliefs in a manner that is somewhat different than mine. I offer you here, one experience, my experience, and thus all that I say is part of my belief system, and not at all necessarily THE truth.
Aikido is a Japanese martial art, and it does not have an attack form. We do not kick, punch, or in any other manner, attempt to hurt our opponent.
The meaning of Aikido:
"Ai" To gather or harmonize.
"Ki" Universal life force/energy.
"Do" An artful path of discovery.
"Aikido" An artful path of discovering how to gather and harmonize the energy of the universe.
When we sense and move with the energy that is manifesting throughout the universe we find that we have a greater ability to live a life that is healthy and fulfilling.
In Aikido we believe that all human beings utilize and share a common energy source (ki) that helps to run and maintain our environment as well as our individual human systems. We believe that since we all share a common energy source, that in some important way we are all truly members of the same family, and truly sharing our lives with all of nature. We do not have an attack form in Aikido, because attacking an opponent would be like attacking a family member that you love. Attacking an opponent would also be like attempting to damage the flow of Universal energy in the world, and such acts are likely to have many far reaching consequences.
In the Japanese language words that use the concept of "ki" are common.
The origin of ki?
Where does ki originate from? In Aikido the answer is poetic in nature rather than scientific. It is suggested that ki was "born" at the same instant as the rest of the universe, and that we are all born from the ki of the universe. Ki is considered to be an energy that we all have equal access to. It is an energy that courses through our system if we do not restrict it. In Aikido we believe that excess tension physically and emotionally, fear, hate, greed, and anger, all cut us off from the universal source of ki. Our daily practice involves working at maintaining a balanced state physically and emotionally, and indeed, practicing ways to cultivate physical and emotional balance is much of what the study of Aikido is about. In Aikido physical and emotional balance are meant to be two sides of the very same coin. Physical balance helps to engender emotional balance and health, and vice versa as well. Often in my professional work with individuals I find myself first addressing the clients physical balance when they come wanting to resolve emotional issues, and I do the reverse as well. I often first address or explore how emotional imbalance might lead to the physical difficulties they are experiencing.
"Ki signature" mind, spirit-Energy manifests as spirit, spirit manifests as mind
Energy manifests within each individual as spirit, spirit manifests in each individual as mind. In some way that is a mystery to all of mankind, the freely available energy of the universe is transformed by each person into one's own unique "ki signature", spirit, mind. No two people have the same exact "ki signature", just as no two people have the same exact written signature. No two people have the same exact spirit, no two people have the same exact mind. The unique way that we each take in, utilize, and expend energy, can be considered to be our "ki signature", mind, or spirit. Each person starts with the same source of energy, and manifests this energy in a way that will never exactly be duplicated by any other human being.
Thought, body structure,and movement, shape the flow of ki, into spirit/mind
Think of the freely flowing water of a powerful river that comes upon a series of fairly large rocks spread out across the river bed and extend up beyond the water's surface. These rocks affect the flow of the river but they do not change the nature of the water itself. Ki flows through the river bed of our brain and body. Our thoughts, body structure and movements, are like the rocks in the river bed. These are the main elements that shape ki into individual mind, or spirit The flow of ki is uniquely transformed by each human being, but the nature of the ki itself, is not altered in the process. Just as the pattern of rocks spread out along the river bed is never exactly duplicated in any other place on earth, the pattern of our thoughts, body structure, and movement is also never exactly duplicated. All mind is similar, but no two minds are exactly alike.
A heartfelt understanding of the nature of our spirit will help us to create a healthy alignment of our thoughts, body structure, movements, and actions. When every aspect of our self is fully aligned we have a much greater ability to think, feel, and act in accordance with what is best for us in any given moment. We are better able to adapt and change in a manner that is supports the well being of our entire self and our surroundings.
The misnomers of "mind-body" and "mind and body"
A definition of "mind" that I often use it in my work, is the following:
When considering this definition of mind, we can say that mind manifests equally in the body and in the brain in the skull. Because of this I believe that the terms "mind-body" or "mind and body" as used in the Western world, are somewhat missing the mark and tend to lead to a certain degree of misunderstanding. If you ask a Japanese person to point to their mind, usually they will point to the area of their heart, or they will point to their lower abdomen. If you ask the average Westerner to point to their mind they will point to their head. This is why I think the terms "mind-body" and "mind and body" were developed in the Western world. I believe that the average Western person thinks of the term "mind" in relation to "thinking" or "thought". Oriental philosophy considers "mind" to be immanent in both the body and the brain. In Aikido we say that we practice in order to calm the mind, by coordinating our thoughts, the actions of our body, and our breath. Or we say that we practice in order to further empower and actualize our mind by coordinating our thoughts, physical actions, breath, and spirit.
When looking to calm our mind we give our primary attention to calming our breath and our heart beat, which will tend to lead towards a relaxing of our musculature and a slowing down or cessation of our internal dialogue. If we calm our body we will tend to calm our cognitive thought processes. Calming the mind can also be accomplished by giving primary attention to the speed, rhythm, and tone of voice of our internal dialogue. If we calm our cognitive thought processes we will tend to calm the body. When we calm both our cognitive thought processes and our body, then we calm our mind. Cognitive mind and somatic mind are part of a recursive feedback loop. You can't affect one without affecting the other.
Charlie Badenhop is the originator of Seishindo, an Aikido instructor, NLP trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist. Benefit from his thought-provoking ideas and a new self-help Practice every two weeks, by subscribing to his complimentary newsletter on the website Seishindo: Accessing Your Body Wisdom. On the website, you can also find out more about Aikido Philosophy and the importance of understanding the internal language of your body.
A Beginning History of Old School Jujutsu - Part 1
Over the next couple of day's I will writing an article of the history of Pre-WWII Japanese Jujitsu/Judo. I wasn't sure where to start, but here I am so let's get started.
Samurai Sword Facts
The first samurai swords we're actually straight bladed, single edged weapons imported from Korea and China known as chokuto, which were later replaced with the curved blade variety at the end of the 8th Century. The name of the curved blade swords which replaced them was Tachi. The reason for this transformation was samurai found that a curved sword could be drawn from the scabbard more swiftly and provided a far more effective cutting angle.
Fun Games for Children Training in Martial Arts
Keeping children interested in their Martial Arts training requires an element of fun and games. Traditionalists are usually only concerned with the discipline and structure of their training, but incorporating fun games involving proper techniques will add to the value of training and keep the kids interested.
This is our last installment on "defining" the parameters of COMBATIVES.
One of the 'mystical' aspects of the martial arts has always been the ability to feel another persons intention.
Aikido Philosophy: An Oriental Concept of Energy, Self, and Mind
Historical References to W.E. Fairbairn, E.A. Sykes AND Dermot Pat ONeill
FROM THE BOOK: "PIERCING THE REICH" AUTHOR: JOSEPH E. PERSICO
The Shocking Truth About Stun Guns
If you are outside the world of law enforcement, chances are you haven't had much "hands on" work with stun guns. Stun guns are as popular today as they have ever been and with the newer smaller packages like cell phone/stun guns, their popularity continues to grow. But before you deploy a stun gun, there are a few misconceptions you may not know about.
Safety Awareness & Self Defense: Circle of Safety
Safety Awareness & Self Defense is the responsibility of each individual. Knowing your surroundings and being aware of potential dangers is your first step towards self-defense. Avoiding and distancing yourself from circumstances that could be trouble are your responsibility.
Martial Arts and The Bible
As a Christian and a martial arts student, I have often wrestled with the idea of self-defense. Does God expect me to defend my family and myself when physically attacked or am I to "turn the other cheek" and endure it in the name of Jesus? As I considered the many comments I encountered on this topic, I became even more confused. Some advocates for "religion" have gone as far as to say that anyone who practices any form of martial arts is without a doubt bound for hell. It wasn't until I committed myself to a more thorough study of the scriptures that I discovered the truth for myself. The Bible gives more than a few examples of the practice of self-defense and the idea of martial arts. I would like to share some of what I have learned in this study of the Bible - Old Testament and New. The Bible is, in fact, the very word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Im Soooo Confused...
I was going to write about the BASICS of "practical unarmed combat". Things like a solid and productive core of strength training, development of real speed and power. Body conditioning and toughening, Stamina. A "never say die" iron will. You know "esoteric" stuff like that.
A Few Things Everyone Should Know to Keep Themselves Safe
The following are a few thoughts about how to decrease your chances of being a victim of a violent crime. I know a lot of times we focus on the nuts and bolts of a fight and we assume most of us know these things and this information is common knowledge for some of you, but it some times it's always good to review.
Who Created Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi Boxing)?
I have read a number of books, articles, and novels, and have watched movies and television series that touched on the origins of Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi Boxing), and the question, "Who Created Tai Chi Chuan?" made me concern very much!
What Can We Learn From What Has Already Been Done?
Pre-WWII Judo was a far different thing than what we see now.
How To Defend Against A Knife - Dont Use The Stuff Taught In The Dojo!
Defences against Knife attacks, Firstly if at all possible get yourself and anyone else out of the potential danger area.....RUN AWAY.
What To Expect When You Least Expect It
The time you will be attacked you will most likely be:
Strategy as Applied to Warrior-citizens
After years of study, I have come to a small understanding of the way of strategy. I will here explain some strategy as it applies to warrior-citizens. Seek whatever truth you may find here, then continue on your search for enlightenment.
Shigeru Kimura Sensei 9th Dan Tani-Ha Shitoryu Shukokai had a punch that was like getting hit with a cannonball.
The Rebels Guide to Cultivating Vitality
Many Taoists recluses and Buddhists monks dwelled in mountains and forests to observe, listen, and meditate in order to gather deeper understanding and greater knowledge of nature than is possible when living in the milieu of human society.
Do You Take Yours Trained or Untrained?
If you ain't pissing anyone off, you're not doing anything worth while. Like religion and politics, martial arts are not for a lack of its zealots. Decide right now, you can either A. Continue to "sip the kool-aide" or B. Look to improve. One criticism about our training material is that it is simple and would work against some one who is untrained. What the hell does this mean, exactly? Does this pertain to the woman who takes muay thai or the serial rapist sociopath that has successfully applied his trade a dozen times? Does it apply to the mixed martial artists or a bag man on a pick up? Who do you want to fight for your life against, the martial artist or emotionally disturbed person (EPD) who gargles with pepper spray?
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