Koichi Tohei (20 January 1920 – 19 May 2011) was a 10th Dan aikidoka and founder of the Ki Society and its style of aikido, officially Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (literally "aikido with mind and body unified"), but commonly known as "Ki-Aikido".
- Ki is a very complex word... and even more difficult to translate to westerners.
- Aikido: The Co-Ordination of Mind and Body for Self-Defence (1966), as quoted in "What is Ki?" at Brisbane Aikido Republic
Book of Ki (1976)Edit
- Book of Ki : Coordinating Mind and Body in Daily Life (1976)
- Countless people have attempted to define the absolute power of the world of nature. Some praise it as God, some call it the Buddha, others call it truth. Still others convert nature into a philosophy by which they attempt to sound its deepest truth. Such attempts to define the power of nature are no more than striving to escape its effects.
All of the forces of science have been unable to conquer nature because it is too mystic, too vast, too mighty. It intensely pervades everything around us. Like the fish that, though in the water, is unaware of the water, we are so thoroughly engulfed in the blessings of nature that we tend to forget its very existence.
- p. 106
- Only those with their eyes open to the world of nature are capable of uncovering its truth. Everything springs from a sense of gratitude toward nature. Aikido, though praised as a healthful system of self-defense techniques, would be nothing apart from the laws of the great universe. The martial way begins and ends with courtesy, itself an attitude of thankfulness to and reverence for nature. To be mistaken on this basic point is to make of the martial arts no more than weapons of injury and death.
The very name Aikido indicates its dependence on the laws of nature, which we term ki. Aikido means the way to harmony with ki. That is to say, Aikido is a discipline to make the heart of nature our own heart, to understand love for all things, and to become one with nature. Techniques and physical strength have limits; the great way of the universe stretches to infinity.
- p. 106
Ki Sayings (2003)Edit
- Online text at Villa Rica Aikido · Online English text with links to Japanese pages · PDF at Northside Aikido
- Let us have a universal spirit that loves and protects all creation and helps all things grow and develop. To unify mind and body and become one with the universe is the ultimate purpose of our study.
Four major principles to unify mind and body:
- 1. keep one-point
- 2. relax completely
- 3. keep weight underside and
- 4. extend ki.
- 1 : Motto
- Our lives are born of the Ki of the Universe. Let us give thanks for being born not as plants and animals, but as human beings blessed with a Universal Mind. Let us pledge to fulfil our missions by helping to guide the development and creation of the Universe.
- 2 : The value of our existence
- The absolute universe is one. We call this ki. Our lives and our bodies are born of the ki of the universe. Study thoroughly the principles of the universe and practice them. We are one with the universe. There is no need to despond, no need to fear. The way we follow is the way of the universe, which no difficulty nor hard-ship can hinder. Let us have the courage and say, "if I have a clear conscience and a calm spirit, I dare to face an enemy of ten million."
- 3 : The way to union with ki
- Mind and body were originally one. Do not think that the power you have is only the power you ordinarily use and moan that you have little strength. The power you ordinarily use is like the small visible segment of an iceberg. When we unify our mind and body and become one with the universe, we can use the great power that is naturally ours.
- 4 : Unification of mind & body
- Like the calm still surface water that reflects the moon and a flying bird, true living calmness is the condition of our mind that reflects all things clearly. This is our original and natural state. By understanding these principles, we can acquire true living calmness.
- 7: Living calmness
- The absolute universe is one. Then two opposing forces appeared, and the relative world was born. In the orient this dualism is called ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, in the west, ‘plus’ and ‘minus’.
- 8 : Plus life
- The subconscious mind acts as a storehouse of knowledge and past experiences. The materials stored in the subconscious mind form the conscious mind. Henceforth let us cease putting any minus materials into the subconscious. Let us always extend plus ki and live our life with a positive attitude.
- 9 : The subconscious
- There is no conflict in the absolute universe, but there is conflict in the relative world. If we unify our mind and body become one with the universe, others will follow us gladly. Do not say that this is a world where we must struggle to live each day. The true way to success is exactly one and the same as the principle of non-dissension, and that is the way of peace.
- 10 : The principle of non-dissension
- We begin with the number one in counting all things. It is impossible that this one can ever be reduced to zero. Because just as something cannot be made of nothing, one cannot be made from zero. Ki is like the number one. Ki is formed from infinitely small particles, smaller than an atom. The universal ki condensed becomes an individual, which further condensed becomes the one point in the lower abdomen, which in turn infinitely condensed never becomes zero, but becomes one with the universe. Thus we understand the essence of ki.
- 11 : The definition of ki
- It is easier to coordinate mind and body when we are sitting or standing still than when we are in motion. But true unification means to maintain the coordination of mind and body even when we are moving.
- 12 : Ki development exercises
- Just as tops spinning violently and rapidly becomes steady, the most rapid movements results in calm. Like the eye of the typhoon, which, is always peaceful, inner calm results in great strength of action. Calm and action are exactly one. Only when we keep our one point and unify our mind and body, can we find spare time even when we are busy. Keep a calm mind and you will be able to perform to the best of your ability, even in an emergency or when facing important tasks.
- 13 : The unity of calm and action
- True "fudoshin" is not a rigid, immobile state of mind, but the condition of stability, which comes from the most rapid movement. In other words, like the steadiness of a spinning top, the state of perfect spiritual and physical stability arises from movement, which continues infinitely and is so infinitely rapid that it is imperceptible.
- 14 : Fudoshin
- Breathe out, so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the universe: breathe in, so that your breath reaches your one point and continues infinitely there. The ki breathing methods are an important way of unifying mind and body. At night when all is quiet and calm, do this alone, and you will feel that you are the universe and that the universe is you. It will lead you to supreme ecstasy of being one with the universe. At this moment the life power that is rightfully yours is fully activated.
- 15 : Ki breathing exercises
- We have learned coordination of mind and body and the "ki breathing methods". Therefore we can bring the ki of the universe into our bodies at anytime. When a water pump is dried out, no water can flow from the well up through the pump. To start this flow again we must put some water back into the pump. In the same way, ki does not flow strongly in a person suffering from illness or misfortune. Let us practice "kiatsuho" to put back into these people, stimulate their own flow of ki, and give them a fresh start to happiness.
- 16. Kiatsuho - pressing with ki
- We are blessed with a spirit that is one with the spirit of the universe. This spirit is called "reiseishin". The moon is clearly reflected in the water when the water is calm. In the same way when our mind and body are unified and calm, our "reiseishin" manifests itself completely. Once this happens all suffering and wicked desires fall away, and the universal spirit of love and protection for all things appears in us. Let us strive to realise our "reiseishin".
- 17 : Reiseishin - the universal mind
- We call the mind that wants to make the way of the Universe clear and to put it into practice the mind that seeks truth. However clever a dog or a monkey may be, they cannot realize the universal mind. Only human beings have the privilege and capacity to realize it. If you have a mind that seeks truth, you are happy because this is the proof that you are a real human being.
- 18 : The mind that seeks truth
- An old oriental saying tells us, ‘when our willpower is concentrated upon a stone, it can pass through it. When our willpower is focused and in harmony with the universe, it can command the wind, rain and thunder’. But from where does our willpower come? Those who understand and answer this question are those who accomplish important tasks. When we coordinate mind and body by stilling the waves of our mind to imperceptible, infinitely decreasing ripples, we can send forth our great willpower that moves the universe.
- 19 : Willpower
- Just as the number one never can be reduced to zero, once we act or speak, our action or speech is never completely erased. An old oriental saying tells us, "sow good, and the harvest will be good. Sow evil and reap evil". We must understand that everything we do comes back to ourselves. Therefore before wishing for our own happiness and welfare and that of our children, we must do good in secret. To do good in secret means to act without seeking attention and praise, to act without any hope of reward. This is called "intoku". Among the various ways of performing intoku, to walk the way of the universe and to lead others along this way is best.
- 20. Intoku - good done in secret
- Selfish people have never understood and travelled the way of the universe in the past. Therefore when we realise the principles and the way of the universe, the universe gives us the responsibility to spread them to the world. Do not think that you cannot help another person. What you learn today, you can teach another the next day. The world is full of people who have lost the way of the universe and suffer illness. Let us do our best to explain the correct principles of the universe to them.
- 21 : Setsudo - teaching the way of the universe
- 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. Thus, the person performing ki tests must truly understand and exhibit oneness of mind and body from the outset and then perform the tests correctly.
- 22 : The treasure of ki testing
- Nature appears to us in four seasons. The spring is bright and warm, the summer lazy and hot. The fall is decked with colour with a trace of sadness, and the winter frosted and severe. Similarly, the movement of shin shin toitsu aikido are rich and varied. There is both severity and kindness, speed and calmness. It is designed to express the many moods and characteristics of men and women, young and old. But if it for one moment varies from the principles of the universe, it is no longer aikido with ki.
- "Do nothing" does not mean "don’t do anything", "mu" or "nothing" is not merely the lack of something. It refers to the state in which the mind has grown imperceptibly calm, and then allowed things to take their natural course. If you can leave things entirely up to the universe and not put up the slightest resistance, then you can pass the highest level of ki tests.
- Things appear very complex but underneath they are quite simple. People complicate things by super-imposing their own viewpoints and advantages. If you remove all that is superfluous, most problems have very simple solutions.
- When you teach people it is useless to try to change their character. Correct their bad habits first, then their true character can come through. Teachers must have a positive mind. If their attitude is negative, it infects their students. Students cannot learn from bad examples until they develop their own powers of judgement.
- Until you can clearly make up your mind, you are better off not doing something. Make a habit of being decisive in your daily affairs. Some people can be heard to say, "what will I do if I get killed?!" If you die, there is nothing you can do. Whatever you have to do, do it now, while you are still living. You must practice to be able to return to essential principles at any moment.
- Human beings cannot grow without feeling gratitude. Gratitude towards things is an attitude which fosters growth.
- The ki of the universe is absolute. There is no such thing as strong ki verses weak ki. Correctly speaking, ki is strong only because it is strongly extended, weak only when it is not extended strongly. There is no limit to how strong your ki can become if you train yourself to extend ki strongly.
- The ki of the universe has never for a moment stopped moving. We call this continuous growth and development. Do you think it strange that human beings seem to be the only one trying to stop the movement of ki?
- Even if you learn something quickly with your conscious mind, you will easily forget it after you stop practicing. That which is learned with the subconscious mind is not easily forgotten. Therefore to learn something with the subconscious mind, requires months and years of training. Just because you were able to do it before, do not assume that you can do it as well the second time. Each time you do something, you must return to your beginner’s mind, and give it your best.
- You must not think of what you learned as belonging to you. Your learning was only possible because of the people who taught you. If you forget this, before you know it you fall under the illusion that you are the only one who can do it, or the only one who understands. This is called being full of yourself. It is wrong to think, ‘I am strong’, because this strength is nothing but weakness turned inside out. You must think how to act within universal principles.
- Instructors must always be positive. Even if someone fails at something, you must have the energy to help them turn it into success. When teaching, always compare the correct way with the incorrect way, side by side. Then the reasons for the correct way become obvious. You must know both.
- If you throw a stone into a lake, it makes waves on the surface. Eventually the waves disappear, but just because you can longer see them does not mean that they are really gone. They have just become too small for us to see them. In the same way, we calm our mind by half, half, half... and the waves of the mind become infinitely calm. They never actually stop.
- When learning something new, you must never be critical at the beginning. Always do your thinking after trial and error. Most people make up their mind one way or the other before they even get started. The most important step is to remove your coloured glasses and get a clear view.
- When your techniques are rough it means you are forcing against the principles; proof that you are still immature. You will not be able to stand up to a stronger opponent — you must try to follow the principles. Your character comes out in your techniques. So do the habits of your mind. By correcting the techniques, you can correct the bad habits of your mind. If you constantly collide with others in your practice, your mind will develop a habit of clashing with other people.
- The purpose of ki-aikido is not self-defence; that is a mere by product. It is far more important to learn to control the mind and body. It is too late to try to calm the mind after you take up the sword. First you must calm the mind and then take up the sword. When you raise the sword up overhead, do not cut your ki. Continue to calm the mind by half, half, half and create a living calmness in that infinite reduction. When practicing cutting with the sword, you will find infinitely more value in cutting just five to ten times with ki fully extended, than you would in cutting a thousand time with mere physical strength.
- Some people are quick to find reasons and excuses why they cannot do things. This cuts their Ki and in times stifles their motivation altogether. Motivation is extending Ki, not receiving it. People today are more concerned with what they can get, than what they can give or do for others. That is why they cannot extend Ki.
- Until you change the sub conscience mind, you cannot say that you have learned something. If something is worth learning, you should stick with it until you have changed your subconscious mind.
- If you hold a wooden staff with a tight grip and try to raise it overhead, it feels quite heavy. If you hold it lightly it feels light. In the same way you should not approach things with too serious an attitude. Take a lighter point of view. In other words, think positively.