About Aikido And Ki Development (Dynamic Meditation)
Ki is a Japanese word typically
defined as mind, spirit or heart. In oriental medicine and
martial arts, the word ki refers to a subtle form of vital
In our practice, ki is understood as a sense of connection
and motivation that is enhanced by calmness and relaxation.
This ki helps us perform to the best of our abilities in
Aikido (pronounced eye-key-doe) is a martial art
of Japanese origin. The name is often translated as "the
way to union with ki". Technically, students are taught
to move out of the way of the main line of an attack, move
into the center of action, and redirect the attacker. The
art makes use of the fact that an attacker focuses their
attention and movement on the person they are attacking.
This potentially puts the person being attacked in a leadership
position, if they know how to take advantage of it. Techniques
generally are intended to result in a throw or take-down/pin
of the attacker. There is no retaliatory striking and none
of the techniques are designed to cause any type of injury.
In classes, students learn pre-arranged attack/defense moves
and perform them with many repetitions to develop technical
skill and agile, flowing movement. They are taught to safely
receive Aikido techniques by properly falling and rolling
away, instead of resisting. Techniques gradually progress
into freer and more open forms of practice. It is a vigorous,
challenging and fun way to explore the relationship between
mind and body, calm and action, as well as self and others.
The insights of practice lead to a greater understanding
of the contrast between leadership and domination, and between
cooperation and victimization. Among the major goals and
benefits are a calm mind, which can perceive things clearly,
and a relaxed body, which can optimize health. Aikido
training with the St Louis Ki Aikido includes the techniques
and exercises of Ki Development training (Dynamic Meditation).
This way of Aikido training is called Ki-Aikido.
Of course self-defense is an important part of Aikido.
Some of our students have used Aikido arts to protect themselves
and others. Children have stopped bullies from bothering
them and adults have dealt with some difficult situations.
Many more of our students have used their training to effectively
avoid physical conflict and change the nature of a confrontation.
To view a person as only an attack reduces the perspective
necessary to creatively deal with conflict. The ability
to focus and be clear in any situation is the best defense.
It is also the best way to focus on and take advantage of
the good things that come our way. In this way, our training
is designed to foster a positive outlook that is appropriate
in all situations.
Aikido teaches lots of rolling. Students off all ages enjoy
the vigorous movement, tumbling and rolling exercises taught
in every class. Everyone helps each other learn and have
fun without competing. Students are taught to safely receive
Aikido techniques by properly falling and rolling away,
instead of resisting. This can also be a good defense against
slippery St. Louis winter days.
Dynamic Meditation is the term we use for Shin-Shin
Toitsu Do, which translates more directly as Mind-Body
Oneness. It has also been refered to as Japanese Yoga.
It was first developed as a teaching method by Tempu
Nakamura, the first to teach yoga in Japan. Koichi Tohei
Sensei, the founder of Ki Aikido International, used and
further developed this training first to teach better Aikido,
and later as a direct way of promoting physical and mental
health. It is often referred to as Ki Development Training.
Ki is a Japanese word typically defined as mind, spirit
or heart. In oriental medicine and martial arts, the word
ki refers to a subtle form of vital energy. In our practice,
ki is understood as a sense of connection and motivation
that is enhanced by calmness and relaxation. This ki helps
us perform to the best of our abilities in all circumstances.
This training uses visualization techniques, meditation,
breathing, stretching, and movement to teach how mind and
body are connected and interactive. This "Ki"
training works with the premise that the mind leads the
body. Practice develops confidence and discipline, which
leads to greater relaxation and physical stability. A light
push is often used to test the stability of students in
various postures and movements. This "ki test"
provides a form of biofeedback, revealing the quality and
depth of physical relaxation and mental calmness. Each test
helps students cultivate a reliable relaxation response
that can be called upon in daily life. With training, even
emergencies can be met with greater calmness. Training with
posture and movement helps develop a more positive mental
state, while at the same time showing how positive ideas
and goals improve posture and movement. Ki Development demonstrates
how a calm mind and a relaxed body are sources of strength.