On the heart of the hand (ta-na-gokoro)…

paragraph 2: Irimi:  “….thrust the heart of your hand upwards, at a slant, and to the right….”

When we discuss kamae we often don’t look at it on the level of small things, small teachings: but the kamae of the whole body can be reflected in the kamae of the hands.  And so this idea of the hollow of the hands – the heart of the hands [ta-na-gokoro]… as I was instructed, the hollow of the hand has a sense of drawing in the universe, a turning spiral that pulls everything into your own connected center. And the outer part of that spiral – the fingers – return to that shape, so while they’re extending outward, their arc is to draw back into that point in the center of  the palm.

And so just simply holding that sort of energy, one can take correctly: so when the wrist is going to be grabbed, or a jo, or spoon or  whatever else you might be taking,  you connect it to your center, and you lose the separation between yourself and the object.

So we say like in our sword school: “muto“:  there is no sword,  because you have totally joined with it… it is the perfect reflection of your being.

You can do this with any object or any process: you can cook this way, you can act this way… I was showing the actors studying kigaku-ho the difference between someone, say, picking up what appears to be the mock weapon on the floor, and someone picking it up in this attitude and with this connection throught the heart of the hand: there is a sense of meaning to it; it is an extension of the mind of the actor, so instead of being “I am threatening you with an object I have no connection to…” it’s an extension of the idea, the intention of things.

And if you want to pursue it on  a deeper level you would go through your home, and pick up every object in this way, and put it back down from here, so that now it’s been part of you completely. You’ll find that eventually you build up an aggregation of energy, where you live, that’s quite wholesome and harmonized, because you can think of the palm as having one aspect: one rotating spiral, and the fingers having the other…so that you’ve creating a sort of balanced aiki with all these objects.

The idea is to embody the attitude of this, instead of having just something you’re just going to do to have some power… that’s of really no use. The idea is to live this way with all objects and all things, and if you shake your friend’s hand, or if you…for example, when I work on bodies – do body-work – as part of my healing practice – I have this attitude of energy when I’m working. And I’ve found that it’s really a very joyous and bright place, and also very deep, and that living from there has many benefits that you wouldn’t know till you did it…

And I find that what you’re seeing online now are quite a few videos of older teachers, and with many of them you’ll see this same thing. And we’re so used to the strongly extended finger – a very yang looking thing – but what I’m seeing now is finally a real appreciation for teachers teaching this thing that I’ve been talking about.

And I consider this: sword gripping manner. This is how you actually hold a sword, when you really join it to your entire being.

And I was watching several  videos and I noticed that their hands were like that, and then I began to read, and they began to discuss this same thing… your hands are like this, and they are much softer, and open, but incredibly powerful because they’re perfectly balanced: they have both yin and yang in their palm… so it’s a secret of  aiki-inyo, I think, not particularly explored much by people, because they don’t know about it. They tend to be very much doing aiki instead of being aiki.

– – – Kimbal Anderson Sensei

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