Saturday, April 3, 2010

4 stages of Aikido

1. Unification of self
2. Unification with others
3. Unification with the universe
4. Unification with the Source.

In stage 1, this is what we call Fudo Genri or Immovable Principle.
a. Keep centre
b. Relax the mind and body
c. Extend ki
d. Mushin
e. Makoto

Keeping the centre is really being aware of Seika Tanden which is 2-3 inches below the navel. This one point is of 3 points in the body that forms Chushin or centre line. Keeping centre requires that we become aware of this point in our body. At first it is a physical point that we keep track of. It usually correlates with our centre of gravity. As you become more skillful, this point can be moved at will.

When we ask a student to relax, usually we get a floppy reaction. i.e. he becomes like a jelly. This is not relaxed, this is lifeless. It is lacking energy. Relax does not also mean the body only. Relax the mind is to invite calmness and from the calmness we gain strength. Not strength of force, but strength of character. So relax the mind and the body will become energised. When we tense up, our blood flow is affected, and our muscles bunch up. Small things affects us more. When we relax, it is harder for outside influence to affect us negatively.

Extend Ki. No doubt, beginners have received many advise on how to extend ki. Some will say imagine your hand like a tap that has running water. Or pick a point and touch it from a distance. Extending the Ki and Spirit is almost similar in the sense that you are really relying more on imagination than a real physical movement. However, most beginners do the same mistake.
1. They extend physically; i.e. they push or they tense.
2. They put their mind out of their body, i.e. when asked to concentrate on a point and touch it from a distance, they put their entire mind at that point. Forgetting their centre.
So the best way is to put the centre as a source of ki and extend out from there. Making a connection.

Mushin or no mind, is not having no thought. It is acting at will or naturally as if what you are doing is the most natural thing in the world. It is not analysing your waza or your opponents point of balance, counter techniques or strategy. It is doing because doing is right.

Makoto or pure mind. This can best be described as being honest and sincere. It is a trait, an Aikido must cultivate if he wishes to attain the true meaning of Aikido. Sincere in your actions, sincere in your interactions. Be sincere but do not be naive.

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