A quality probably unique to Ki Aikido dojos (I didn’t observe it in dojos when practising Karate, Wing Chun and even other styles of Aikido. -ed) is that there is a lot of laughter & smiling on the mat. This comes out naturally when one is relaxed and calm and natural. We study Plus Ki[…]Read More
If you ever run into a problem with a technique and cannot make it work, return to the 5 Principles of Ki Aikido; for sure, you will not be doing one or more of them. If you still can’t work it out, use Principle 6: Ask progressively higher level Senseis ’til you get an answer!Read More
My hope is for you to ‘pinch’ this story and not only for you to be influenced by it, but to share it with as many people as you like. Stories are one of the best ways to illustrate philosophies and profound truths and stay with us for much longer! The hero of our story[…]Read More
(Cracking Heads & Tearing out Nails in The Backstreets of Tokyo in ’92.) Powerful technique comes through years of striving. Ki or universal energy comes through years of learning how to be natural and learning how to accomplish without striving. But the primal power of bakachikara, while residing in all of us, only arises in[…]Read More
One day in the early nineties, Tohei Sensei gave us a demonstration of how to throw attackers with Ki. First, he looked at all of us students in the dojo. “Do you know who I am?” “Of course, you’re Tohei Sensei!” “Do you know my rank? Do you know how long I have trained?” We[…]Read More
This footage, taken towards the end of Osensei’s life, shows just how much it had evolved over the many decades. It has obviously reached a stage of complete mastery of timing, distance, unification of mind and body and the utter ability to lead others’ Ki . Of course, the philosophy of love and protection is[…]Read More
Check out this little video I made when I went with my family to Mt. Buller, one of Victoria’s skifields in August 2008. It has taken me a long time for me to get it on to my site, so sorry if you were waiting all this time to see me shirtless!It is just a sample of misogi practice in the cold.I started out by doing toitsu no in or “The Seal of Unification”. This is one of the mudra or a hand posture, which are associated with Mikkyo Buddhism. You do not need to be a Buddhist or religious at all to benefit from this hand posture, just as you do not need to have any religious beliefs to gain benefits from yoga positions.When done properly, this is a great tool for immediately and deeply unifying mind and body – especially for beginners, who may not know how to do Ki breathing or Ki meditation. It is important to think positive, healthy thoughts while doing this seal.
The second part of my misogi practice was kokyu ho or “Ki breathing”. The state of our mind is reflected in the quality of our breathing. By calming the breath, we calm our mind and vice versa. Thus, instead of becoming distracted by the brisk air around us and worrying about how cold it is, we focus on deep, full breaths. When our mind is in this state, there is no shivering.
Usually, these two practices are done in the comfort of our homes or the dojo, but I wanted to try some “old school” discipline and do them without a top on in the snow in a setting of natural beauty. I have heard stories of Osensei and his students practising this way and indeed, Tohei Sensei and Shin Shin Toitsu students do cold water misogi on New Year’s day in Japan, where they crack the ice off the top of a dedicated lake and enter the freezing water up to their chests.
I did not do it formally when over in Japan, but I have done it in icy rivers (see photo gallery) and in the crystal clear rainforest water of Mossman Gorge in Far North Queensland at dawn, one summer’s morning before my black belt exam. (What?! That can’t be cold, surely.) Oh yes, it is. Those waters flow down from the high, pristine mountains under the deep shade of the rainforest canopy. Without unifying mind and body, it is cold enough to take your breath away!
All this may sound like self inflicted torture, but on the contrary, it is a superb way to bring our mind into the Present and be in the body. The uninitiated will seek to brace themselves against the cold and tense up. Done properly however, we learn to totally relax under the adverse conditions and to truly extend Ki. (What else can you do? Haha.)
When we finish misogi, we actually feel invigorated, extremely calm and powerful.
I would like to take some of my students to the snow in the future for a holiday and to show them more of these practices.
“Always practise Aikido in a vibrant and joyful manner.” One of the great things about Ki Aikido (in particular) is this attitude of light-heartedness. Tohei Sensei’s dojo in Tokyo was always very lively and full of good humour. The instructors all had great senses of comic timing and would often have the class laughing.[…]Read More
“One does not need buildings, money, power or status to practise Aikido. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” Too often in life we wait for the circumstances to be just right before we do something. However, the golden time for which we are hoping often fails to[…]Read More
“Day after day Train your heart out, Refining your technique. Use the One to strike the Many! That is the discipline of a Warrior.” Just what exactly did Osensei mean when he said ‘train your heart out?’ From my experience with high level masters, it means to me an intensity in the moment. That intensity[…]Read More