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…Fourth of July Jinja-Mairi!!!…

…appreciation…

SenseitoSenseiCROPThis summer I was able to visit Tsubaki America Shrine for my O-Mairi.  It has been many years since I was able to go,  so I was really happy to be there and experience the transformative atmosphere of the Shrine,  and even more:  Guji-San’s amazing talent as a shrine-keeper.  We were able to visit a little bit, but it was a very busy time for him, too. So, all the more, we enjoyed so much his hospitality, and hope to return soon.

We are hoping to collect a group of dojo-members who might be  interested in experiencing shrine technology and take them up for a little trip.

I want to extend my incredible gratitude to Sensei for the years of work that have created this Shrine.  He’s one of the few people that I’ve ever met who have that level of commitment that they can make something that everyone says is impossible  actually happen, and happen in a bigger and more incredible way than anyone could have imagined.

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei,   August 2014

KimbalSenseiinfrontofShrineCROP

AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO ZOU…

Kimbal Anderson Sensei’s gift to Tsubaki America O-Kami-Yashiro is now completed and polished…   …waiting to make that roadtrip to Granite Falls, in the mountains outside Seattle…FINISHEDin DOJOCROP

Gozo Shioda Shihan on Kokyu…

..by combining a certain state of mind and rhythm with focused power, what you get is kokyu power.

What I mean precisely by “state of mind” is that you have to achieve a state of emptiness, or nothingness….then you will start to have complete faith in yourself and you will achieve a state of serenity.

Once this happens, you will be able to read the movements of your opponent’s mind. You  won’t perceive how he is going to advance in your head, you’ll sense it in your skin. It will be as if the so-called “mind’s eye” or sixth sense is at work.

– – – Gozo Shioda Shihan,  Aiki Shugyo  p. 92

O’Sensei no kuden: Keiko (14)

Throw a thousand as one, throw one as a thousand!

– – – reported by Nobuyuki Watanabe Shihan,  August 2007 issue of Gekkan Hiden, interview translated on the Sangenkai website

O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu(6)

Prayer becomes divine power…

– – –  reported by Nidai Doshu in A Life in Aikido  p. 214

O’Sensei no kuden: Kokyu(7)

Become one with the universe…

– – – reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan,  Aiki Shugyo,  p. 180

O’Sensei no Kuden: sword(4)

The form of budo must be love.  One should live in love.  This is aikido and this is the old form of the kamae in kenjutsu.

– – – radio interview recorded in Aikido,  by Nidai Doshu, Kowada edition, 1957.  Translated in Aikido Journal.

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(5)

A sword or a staff is an extension of the body. So unless you can handle it as if it were alive, you have not studied true Aikido.

– – – reported by Nidai Doshu,  Aikido,  p. 168

O’Sensei no kuden: in-yo(15)

In the long run, the handling of your feelings  [kimochi  OR  “the way you hold your ki“] when confronting the opponent is crucial.

– – – reported by Gozo Shioda Shihan, in  Aikido  Shugyo  p.100

…Ai, inochi, chi…

by André Cognard Shihan

Kobayashi Sensei often tells me how O’Sensei used to say: “Nothing truly exists outside of  love, harmony, life, and wisdom [ai; inochi, chi].”   When you go beyond these three, you enter the world of force: chikara, the world of martial arts par excellence, but also the world of appearances, of illusion – the world of maya.

The very special ambiguity of aikido,  encapsulated in the phrase “non-violent martial art”, has an essential role to play in arriving at an understanding of aiAi means,  in Japanese,  both “harmony” and “love”.

This “love” of aikido is not built on a doctrine  – “love others” –  but on a state of fullness of being,  a state which makes one generous.  This fullness can only come from the absence of fear. Absence of fear is part of what changes the aggressor’s heart, and it only happens when technique, wisdom, and sufficient energy are all readily available.

It is through seeking martial effectiveness that this availability happens. And in this way, the perfection of the martial act gives birth to a higher consciousness, which has room for compassion for the adversary, and which spontaneously arrives at the idea of true victory being  the victory of both protagonists, in such a way that there is no loser. This is why,  in aikido, we only use the word “partner”. Because, truthfully, if you achieve true victory, those who thought of themselves as adversaries have actually been collaborators and partners – despite themselves.

This is the magic of this non-violent martial art: it creates a mind of peace at the very heart of  war itself.

O’Sensei used to say that life,  inochi,  is creativity arising  from  two terms of a universal conflict.  For example: you might say that  everything arises from the oppositions between fullness and emptiness, heaven and earth, water and fire, man and woman, consciousness and non-consciousness, past and future.

The opposition between the real world (which Kobayashi Sensei calls “ji-sekai“) and the “apparent and manifest world”  (arawareru sekai) is one  direct expression of the conflict in this universe from which life arises.

Finally:  chi means “intelligence”,  or “wisdom”:   what O’Sensei was teaching was the wise and intelligent movement of the universe [itself].

Kobayashi Sensei gives as an example, that from the microcosm to the macrocosm – from the single cell life-form to the entire Universe itself- life has only one structure: breath.  All the variations between these two extremes – all the differences, from smallest to largest – are only a question of complexity.

And in the same way,  says Kobayashi Sensei,  every human-being on this planet  has the same functionality – organic, motor, cerebral, energetic, mental – but everyone’s face is different.  I personally would express it in this way, borrowing the words of Rainer Maria Rilke:  “Give me my death, my own death, mine own.”

Ai  can be summed up in the famous phrase which leads to the discovery of the Grail: “Earth and king are one.”   This is an example of the integration of opposites by means of a spherical way of thinking.  As Lao-Tsu said:  “The truth can only be grasped by the understanding of opposites.”

Inochi  is “life” in the sense of breath,  vital energy,  God come down in the form of generative power.  Finally, chi  is the acceptance of difference, otherness, complexity.  Ai  creates a new paradigm in which nothing is opposed to anything.

Inochi  brings us to an understanding of the sacred meaning of life,  and to stop resisting the event-orientated aspect of life.  It is a  step towards arigatai  which we can best translate as “we should give thanks”,  “we should be thankful”.    Chi  shows us how to be tolerant in the face of difference – because all difference carries the sign of the sacred.

Ai  inochi  chi – – –  a trinity which open up a vista of freedom for everyone, because every individual is,  in his- or her-self,  a perfect manifestation of divine being.

– – – André Cognard Shihan (So-Shihan of Aikido Kobayashi Ryu and designated successor to Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan),  L’esprit des arts martiaux,  pp. 46-9