Category Archives: Shin-kokyu

“Every time I train…”

When we say ‘Ame-no-Murakumo’, it is as if we are saying: ‘the ki of the [natural] universe’, ‘the ki of Onogoro-jima [ – the earth]’, ‘the ki of the A-Um uttered by trees and the myriad beings of all creation’ pierced through and through by the ki of your own spirit becoming utterly one with them to create total musubi – – – – – – – . This is the divine sword, the tsurugi Ame-no-Murakumo.  It is as if you are becoming the root and cause of every possible activity and power of the divine sword, going back to ancient times.

As for me, every time I train, the first thing I do [is perform okorobi ] in the place I am standing. And by my footfall on the platform of the heavens and the platform of the earth,  it is as if the founders of my spiritual lineage and the founders of my physical lineage are bursting out of the underworld right where my left foot hits the ground.  And through their help I am expanding the boundaries of my ki – taking on the shape of Kuni-Toko-Tachi[-no-Mikoto] – to the farthest bounds of the [natural] universe.

– – – O’Sensei,  probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  pp. 145-6

“A-um” is the name of the Buddha…

Munen mushin is the name of the Buddha. When you open your mouth wide [to breath], you say ‘na’ and when you close your mouth while expelling air, you say ‘mu’; and next, when you open your mouth you say ‘a’, when you close it, ‘mi’, when you open it again, you say ‘da’ and when you close it again, you say ‘butsu’. In this way, breathing out and breathing in three times are the same as the Buddhist invocation “Namu Amida butsu” [and is also] symbolic of the lettres a and um [=om]. The sound ‘a’ is produced when you open your mouth, and the sound ‘um’ when you have it closed.  So one can say that when your mind is empty – ‘munen mushin‘ – [because you are still naturally breathing in and out]
you are continuously repeating the name of the Buddha, even when you are not pronouncing it out loud…

– – – Takuan Soho, in the  Kitsuhyoushu,  cited in Le jeu des energies réspiratoires, gestuelles et sonores dans la pratique de l’aikido,  J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang,  pp.223-4

…misogi no jo – with yari!!!…

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…Shin-Kokyu in 1955-58 …

EXERCISE FOR CONCENTRATING ON THE ONE-POINT AND FOR KI-FLOW

[ – – – from André Nocquet Shihan’s Hombu/Iwama notes? – – -]

1)  Join the two hands, palms together, both in the shape of the Sword mudra 1), level with your heart, then extend them, while raising your thoughts, to the Polar star…

2)  Turn them back to back and direct them [in an outward circle] towards the Center of the Earth, passing by the Heart, where they deposit the Heavenly Yang energy, the energy of Love…

3)   [Hands moving down towards the ground,]  visit your own “Earth” before reaching the centre of the Earthly sphere…

4)  Re-visit your own “Earth of Saturn” while drawing back your two sword-hands [ – te-gatana – ] to the level of the one-Point, into which they deposit earthly Yin, the energy of Transcendence…

5)  Direct them [index-fingers extended, or formed in the Chinkon mudra,  out] in front of you and extend your thoughts towards the infinite…

6)  Return – in the same rhythm – to the cardiac Center, then…

7)  Simultaneously direct them in opposite [cardinal] directions AND extend your thoughts ad infinitum…

8)  Bring the “complementary opposites” back towards your Heart in such a way as to realize their joined-ness… [re-forming the same mudra]

9)  [Without moving your hands, ]  lead your mental Ki again towards the Centrum in order to realize a new interior [mental] visit…

10) Continue this descent towards the Center of the Earth…

11) Come back up again then raise your Ki, from the base of your feet (R.1 [-the Bubbling Well] ) to the top of your head (DM. 20)  in order to revisit again your own “Earth”, before you…

12)  Come once again, [moving your hands] axially, to the Polar [star as in 1)]…

This practice finishes with [otakebi/okorobi,] the gesture[s] that allow one to affirm Intention  – Yi – in the one-Point.

In addition to focusing on your Centrum,  emphasis should be put on the Belt Meridian – Daimai – which has these functions:

a) To allow the exchange and union of Yin and Yang energies, to link the High and the Low, by means of the Yinweimei and Yangweimei at the level of Spleen-points  13, 14 and 15,  V.B. 25,26,27 and 28, the Renmai and Dumai in Conception Vessel 5 and Governing Vessel 4, Kidney R.11 to 16 and Channel 52 [in other words: around the hara].

b) To concentrate, direct and project Ki all the time while still maintaining [one-]Point.

– – – J-D. Cauhépé and A. Kuang, Shobu aïki. La victoire selon l’art chevaleresque de Morihei Ueshiba, pp. 174-5

 1) probably not truly two sword mudras – but rather:  hands clasped with index fingers extended, OR, MOST LIKELY, o_senseipraysonmountaintopthe Chinkon mudra, as in this photograph of O’Sensei – middle-fingers through little-fingers interlocking with right fingers over left – and one variation of the Chinkon mudra being both thumbs laying side by side…
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…in the dojo(126) – shinkokyu!!!…

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Andre Nocquet Shihan’s students: Shinto… Catholic…

At the beginning of every class. Ueshiba Sensei used to call on the Kami. Even before bowing to each other, the ritual requires that the sensei, and the students, too, turn towards the Kamiza, and after a moment of meditation, dive straight into the “Way of the Kami” (gods) of Shinto metaphysics. The invocations are addressed successively to the “August Center of Heaven” (Ame-no-Minaka-nushi-no-kami), to the kami of “High, August, productiveness” (Taka-mi-musubi-no-kami), then to the kami of “Divine births” (Kami-Musubi-no-kami), to the “Sweet reed-shoot prince” (Umashi-ashi-Kobi-Hikoji-no-kami) and finally to (Ame-no-toko-tachi-no-kami) “Residing eternally in Heaven.”

Then their thoughts are directed towards the deity “Residing eternally on Earth” (Kuni-no-Toko-Tachi-no-kami), and towards “Fields of luxuriant clouds” (Toyo-kumu-no-no-kami), who inhere to the play of gods and men, and towards the divine celestial couples, then towards those of Earth, and of the Underworld. Finally, they turn towards the Sun-goddess: Amaterasu-o-mi-kami….

…The [tama-shizume, that is, spirit-calming] ritual, which differs slightly [sic] amongst the various shinto tendencies, includes a number of  phases which consist of:

  • Calming oneself, sitting in seiza
  • Join and extend your hands at the level of the forehead
  • Converge your line of sight on the ends of your fingers
  • Bring your hands down to in front of your Centrum
  • Continue to stare at the same point, eye-lids half-closed
  • Close your eye-lids and keep the same sight in your mind
  • think of AMETERASU[-O-MI-KAMI]
  • visualize in your heart, the sun
  • call on the kami with whom you want to identify
  • see that kami shining like the morning star
  • place your own soul before it
  • think fervently of the fusion of the two souls
  • make the “sword” (soul) of the kami your own
  • imbue yourself with it in such a way as to protect life in all its aspects
  • live in harmony with the kami and the universe

This, then, is the mental activity which used to transfigure the aikido of the wise, old Ueshiba, and which transformed a combat-system into a ritual.  The “Way of the Kami“, it turned out, was there, at the far end of the “Way of the Warrior”. It took hold of his heart, and his techniques, and gave him peace.

If the shinto-practitioner addresses the kami of her/his religion, we Westerners 1) could, in the same spirit, at the start of each class, rest our thoughts on…

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…self-reflection…

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Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan on meditation…

[Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan] used to teach that meditation, in aikido, could be done in various ways, but that there was one way that was specific to our practice. He said that you should sit in seiza, and allow to come into your mind whatever came, without making any judgement, and to each thought you should respond, “arigatai“. The word “arigatai” comes from “arigato” which means “thank you”, but the conjugation “-tai” means “the wish to” or “the desire to”.  One could translate “arigatai” as “I would like to thank…” So in this way, the budoka wants to thank eveything that comes into his mind.  Everything is the Way, everything is my life, happiness and misfortune, joy and suffering, peace and conflict. Everything that happens to me belongs to me, and I am responsible for it. By being thankful, the meditating budoka mentally blends with everything that comes to mind, because he knows that anything he rejects could mean possible conflict with everything that is not “him”.

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