Category Archives: Translations

On the method and practice of Aiki-Shugyo…

We can divide the body into four parts:  the ki-tai, ryu-tai, ju-tai and ko-tai  [ki-body, flowing-body, flexible body and stiff body] 1).  For every one of these four parts of the whole go-tai, it is essential that they become utterly transparent to one’s kon,  one’s spirit.

  • Now, in the case of the ki-tai, it is through a spiritual apprenticeship inspired by the direct perception of the Great [Original] God, as you practise ki-energetics in every part of your being, that complete transparency to your spirit and to the resonance of that spirit will develop.  For this reason it is important to practise ki-energetics in such a way that you quickly become aware of the tao, the ground of all  existence.

The practice of ki-energetics consists of prayer enlivened by a sincere faith.

  • Now, the blood that circulates through your ryu-tai can be healthily purified by unifying body and spirit. This is what we call purifying your ki. The inspirational teaching and ongoing project of the sound ‘U’ is that our blood, as it circulates, can completely become simply part of the [natural] universe. You become Hiroko – you act as the kami acts.  In order to do this,  you have to seriously polish your human instincts.  And that is the work of Izunome.

This  [flowing body]  becomes, miraculously, a purified form of the spiritual threads [that make up the universe]. This can only be accomplished through the dedicated pursuit of Budo.

  • As you purify your blood-flow and spirit-body,  the ju-tai, the flesh-body is miraculously reborn, and becomes suffused with a diffuse light. This is essential..
  • And finally we come to the ko-tai, the solid-body. It is essential in all of this to establish a first-rate foundation [with ko-tai training that penetrates] to your very marrow and bone.

In the same way, we can divide Kokyu into four parts:  Ten no Kokyu – otherwise known as:

  • the breathing of the Sun
  • and of the Moon,

and Chi no Kokyu – otherwise known as:

  • the rising
  • and ebb of the tides.

As you make yourself open to the exchange of Ten no Kokyu and Chi no Kokyu, you forge aiki:  [which is to say:] the cross of tate-yoko, [the vertical exchange of the Sun and the Moon’s kokyu,  and the horizontal movement of the energy of the tides] comes together as aiki, as long as you do this with the honest aim of becoming a good and wonderful person.

Alone or with a partner, alone or in a crowded dojo, it doesn’t matter.  If you forge yourself anew as a fine specimen of a human-being, then you don’t  need to send a rocket to the moon in order to know [the moon] completely. Because you have collected together in your own body the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.  So you have no need to go look for them. And thus in their intellectual work,  by studying both Japanese wisdom, and  global scientific knowledge,  a scientist could contribute to a purer, and clearer world.

But in any case, in today’s world,  more and more we place too much store by the wrong things,  and consequently people feel that they are losing themselves. This is regrettable. People should at any cost follow the way of aiki shugyo.  If you do this, you can re-discover the ‘self’ that has been lost.

You can discover the root of all the workings of the sacred sword of Ame-no-Murakumo-no-tsurugi.  In other words:  Takemusu Aiki.  In other words:  a better liberalism and a better democracy.

- – - O’Sensei,  Takemusu Aiki,  p.115-7 of the French edition, vol.3

1) The ki-body (ki-tai) is the aura, the flowing-body (ryu-tai) is the blood flowing in the veins, and the flow of energy along the meridians, the flexible body (ju-tai) is the flesh, and the stiff body (ko-tai) is the skeletal structure and the marrow.

…the spirit of O’Sensei…

 - – - Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan:

There are many kinds of aikido and that is alright.  As I already said,  techniques evolve and that is perfectly natural. What is essential is your heart,  the state of your spirit.

As time passes, you will doubtless come to practise differently. It is not right simply to pass on what you studied: you, yourself, will take part in the creative process. Techniques will arise of themselves if you think to unite yourself with aite,  instead of thinking of knocking them down. That is an important point.

If you do not enter the world of the spirit,  then you will continue to work on forms which have no meaning, and you will finish by returning to the world of competition and strength. You must train keeping in your heart the spirit of Ueshiba Morihei.  Dojos where the spirit of O’Sensei is preserved and those where it is absent are very different. You feel it instantly.

- – - from French language interview on the Budo no Nayami website

…some waking up haiku, renku, kanbun and waka…

The First Dream of the Year

The year’s first dream:
still in my nose -
the heart of what it is to be a flower…

- – - Chiyo Ni

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O’Sensei no kuden: Ame no Torifune

These rhythmic movements that I perform with accompanying sounds show the way in which with each movement I am absorbing and expelling the energy of the universe.

- – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, reported by André Nocquet Shihan in  Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message  p.77

Gérard Blaize Shihan on Torifune…Furitama…

CHINKON KISHIN NO HO:  the method for calming the spirit - – -

Most practioners of aikido still begin each practice with exercises combining body movement, the chanting of names, and breathing associated with vizualisations, similar to those which the Founder of Aikido used to practise.

These exercises are, in Japan, designated by the term “CHINKON KISHIN NO HO” – which translates as: “the method for calming the spirit”.  This definition will come as a surprise to many aikido practitioners, who undoubtedly have no suspicion that such is the goal of these exercises.

But what are these exercises?  Why are they still practised today?   What utility do they have?

*  The CHINKON KISHIN NO HO exercises and their origin

We owe these exercises to a Shinto/Buddhist [sic] monk,  KAWATSURA BONJI (1862-1929).   It was he who brought back into current usage a system of self-purification (misogi) which had existed in pre-Nara Shinto practice: at a time when it had not yet been influenced by Buddhism or Confucianism. This system consisted of a series of exercises with names that are difficult for a Westerner to pronounce: FURUTAMA [FURITAMA] – OTAKEBI – OKOROBI – IKUBI NO HO – AMA NO TORIFUNE. [AME NO TORIFUNE]

FURITAMA: this exercise is done sitting seiza. After reciting the NORITO SOJO,…

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Andre Nocquet Shihan’s first student: on Ame-no-Torifune

Tama no Hireburi                          Fune kogi

1> Calming
Entering a state of receptivity

2> Left foot forward. Hypate.
Bringing the energies of Fire to yourself.
Birth, growth of the tree towards the Zenith.
red          TRIANGLEUPcauhepeSMALL

EI-O

3> The accumulation of knowledge
and virtue only happens with gentleness.
Rising of Fire corresponding to receptivity to the
complementary Element, [Water]..

4> Right foot forward. Mese.
Bringing the energies of Water to yourself.
Life develops harmoniously through the reciprocal interpenetration of the two Elements [Water and Fire]. Heaven and Earth become unified. The branches of the tree deploy.
TRIANGLEDOWNcauhepeSMALLgreen-blue 

E I-SA

5>  The ‘ethers‘ of Heaven and Earth
fuse to produce internal fire which will rise.

6> Left foot forward. Nete.
Air is born of the union of Water and Fire in an
unceasing continuum. The “Child” of this union
Ki-Lightning-THunder” is let loose, and “bursts out”, spreading peace in the 4 directions. The sound is the “result” of the shock between the yang of the ether and the yin of the internally  accumulated submission. Blossoming of the tree’s blossom.
TRICIRCLESYMBOLcauhepeSMALL

White-golden.

EI-EI  1)

 

7>  Peace engenders humility and the
seven  successive modifications of being.

1) which curiously evokes its Japanese homonym: “Ei-ei” – “eternally”.

Le jeu des energies réspiratoires, gestuelles et sonores dans la pratique de l’aikido,   J.-D Cauhépé and A. Kuang,   p. 167

Shigenobu Okumura Shihan on O’Sensei’s warm-ups…

Here is [Webmaster: an extract from] an article by Okumura Shigenobu sensei for the magazine Aikido Tankyu #5.

The original title is: Aikido no shugyo o hajimeru hito no tame ni (for people who are beginning their shugyo in aikido). Aikido no jumbi undo ni tsuite (on preparatory exercises for the practice of aikido).

“Ei-Ho, Ei-Ho, Ei-Ho”… The traveler on the early morning bus can, from as far away as the main street, hear and be astonished by this strange chant. The neighbours of Hombu Dojo, on the other hand, are used to this unusual wake up call, around 6:30, the tradition of which goes back more than half a century: these are the preparatory exercises, a kind of gymnastics which combine preparation of the spirit with that of the body.

The practice of the martial arts, of course, requires a physical preparation to ward off accidents and injuries.

In aikido, the preparation is composed of:

1. “purification” exercises (misogi-taiso) – kawa mo shiki [correct movement and utterance for in the river already] – ishi no ue shiki [correct movement and utterance for on the stones beside the river]

2. health system methods (kenkyo ho) – makko hoNishi shiki [Nishi system]

3. various breathing exercises (shinkokyu)

There are thus a variety of preparatory exercises and health systems in the aikido practised today. Ueshiba Morihei, the founder, used to say: “This is good, but that is good too”.  Consequently, the number of exercises was always growing.

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…on mountain creeks as books…

Or you might look at the way a mountain creek flows: how well the water escapes through the gaps between the stones. And having seen the shape of this, practise an infinite variety of body movements. Or again, listening to it the way you would read a wonderful, sacred book, proceed by converting [the feeling of] that into budo. Just as if you were looking at the pure and undistorted image of the universe: this is how you should go about learning. This is how you should become awakened. This is how you should reflect upon yourself. This is how, again and again, you should go about learning.

- – - O’Sensei,  probably audio-recorded by by Masatake Fujita, transcribed by Sadateru Arikawa Shihan,  published in Aiki-Shinzui,  p.165

…the sayings of Sasaki Masando Shihan…

There is someone who is not me in my little left finger, in this finger which closes my sword-grip. You can sense it during CHINKON.  The way in which you go from “cupped, round hands” to “triangle hands” [the chinkon mudra]…

*

If you put yourself into KAMAE and close your eyelids, for example, alternatingly: close them, then re-open them, slowly, then close them, and so on… you notice each time you close your eyes, at that moment, precisely, all your attention goes down to your hara, automatically. It’s strange to notice that! It’s like a little “explosion of the instant”: ISSHUN-BAKUDEN.  From this I draw the conclusion that the ideal would be to do Kokyu-ho with open eyes, but with the same feeling as with the eyes closed….

*

< Sensei suggests an exercise: :> In seiza, lean your torso forwards, slowly: the whole torso up to the point where your balance breaks… then return to normal and start over, and so on, continuously, very slowly…

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O’Sensei no kuden: peace in the world

This aikido is something that makes the world more peaceful.

- – - reported by Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan, interview in  Gekkan Hiden Magazine, April 2009,  and on the Sangenkai website.