– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei
I thought I would talk a little bit on how the sword relates to what we do.
I want to teach you about its equivalencies in the body, but, also, developing co-ordination.
Aiki-myo-ken, the marvelous sword of aiki, depending on who you talk to, has different properties: one of them is it’s so sharp, it cuts things together. It sometimes also represents the Sword of Heaven: tatate musubi – the vertical axis of your spine. You will find many origins. One of my favorite ones is that people relate it to the Japanese Imperial Regalia sword, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi: the great-grass-cutting-sword…
It represents the sword.
There was one fellow who got this sword, an old tachi, and he cut it up in little pieces. And he put each part inside a prayer: like a box, a little thing. And went all over Japan, tossing them in ponds kind of like Excalibur. It’s the same reasoning: he would give it back to the kami of the water – trying to bring about peace, neutralizing the war-sword.
And one of the things I find interesting is that… well… Everybody does their aiki-training the way they like it, which is great. Some don’t really use swords, for whatever reason, and they’ll try to use bokken as equivalents.
They’re not the same.
A bokken is a bokken, it’s its own marvelous thing.
There are some parts of the practice that do cross over: one of them is the idea of ki-ken-tai, and also the idea that your body… your very body this one, in all of its layers – energy body, et cetera – is the sword, the marvelous sword. So that you get yourself – your physical self – vertical, like the magic sword, and it has certain properties that it doesn’t have otherwise, when it’s not vertical.
And I was showing you this last night, and about your grounding… just giving you grounding.
But the one aspect I find very interesting is the geometry of the actual object – and here it has to be a sword, the sword we use – and how it fits into your own body. And how what we’re looking for is this perfect musubi with it. So we use the palm chakra connection, and the mental state that comes from that. And then the sword’s mune is your back-bone. And the sword’s shinogi, its shoulders, are our shoulders. And if you get the perfect grip, with the tsuka in your palm chakra, then the remainder of the tsuka also lines up right between your radius and ulna. And with the correct body, as you shift your weight between feet, from side to side, then the blade tilts slightly with the same movement. Automatically. So the sword and us are one thing.
That’s why I have you guys move from the soles of your feet. You dance from the bottom of your feet.
Even if you’re doing something maybe a little more elegantly complicated with your upper body… moving a spear around a certain way… you also are moving from the soles of your feet.
So we could say: energy initiates from the core of the earth, and up through you, and then you move.
The other thing that happens is the heavens come down through you. So that’s the amatsu aspect: the energy. So they say: an inspired idea flows down from the top…and then goes to the core of the planet, and then comes back up and manifests itself.
So, some of the kokyu exercises you do, start with a big circular movement, and the next movement’s a little smaller, and then smaller, and then smaller… Doing the body-parfait.
So, I want to show you the quick, easy way to relate to the sword correctly, so the movements naturally happen.
I told you about this spot, the point of integration, last night. Do your best to observe what I am showing from here, from the point of integration.
That side of your brain sees something different from the other one. And you want to be seeing with both.
And move from your feet.
I’m going to play with this stuff and give you some one-to-one, sword-to-ki-to-body connection.
One of the beauties about having Norman-san come for keiko, is he’s always comparing it to his tai-ch’i experience, and he realizes that proper movement’s proper movement.
Energized movement is proper movement.