Multi-Dimensional Practice of Center

Multi-Dimensional Practice of Center

I appreciate everyone participating in this new format and welcome to everyone coming for the first time.  We are working to keep our regular class schedule going so it will be easier to return to our training together.

Please share any comments, suggestions or questions.

This difficult time; while we wish it was not going on, is an opportunity to deepen our practice by appreciating what is really important to us and what we can let go of-A Light on Transmission by Mitsugi Saotome (pgs. 46-47)-The Way to Union With Ki by Koichi Tohei 10th dan, (pgs 58-60).

Introduction

In our last on-line class we completed our series of broadening our focus from the individual harmony of the I and the unit to a more universal perspective and experience of the I and the unit.  We then worked on a practice to bring them both together into a unified experience.

One reason that this shift from the personal to the universal is especially valuable at this time is the world’s unified focus due to the virus and the resulting turmoil.

O Sensei repeatedly referred to human beings as mirrors of the cosmos. 

Today we will begin a series of classes on center from a multi-dimensional perspective.  This will include centering practices from manifest, hidden and divine dimensions of consciousness and possibly working with the void.

As Saotome Sensei said in the passage we heard at the beginning of class, daily life is where most of our quality of life is experienced.  One experience we can carry with us throughout our daily activities is center.  It can also be a doorway to deeper experiences in more subtle dimensions of consciousness.

We will start today with a basic practice of center in the manifest-physical-realm and then work with more subtle realms in future classes.  These more subtle realms will include some of the inner alchemical practices related to center.

Our Aikido technique for today and Thursday will be katate-dori ikkyo.

Let’s bow in and start with misogi breathing and a good full warm-up.

Five Principles for Ki Breathing

Breating tip of the day

Our tip today on the misogi breathing is to maintain a strong connection to center even as you are exhaling in an expansive manner. 

  1. Breathe out with the sound of HA, don’t let your breath just leak out
  2. Breathe out as calmly and quietly as possible
  3. Breathe out the Ki of your head to the Ki of your toes
  4. Breathe in from the tip of your nose until your body is full of air
  5. Calm your mind infinitely smaller at the one point after inhaling

  

  1. Let’s begin with a round of practice with the technique.
  • Begin with the practice on katate-dori ikkyo.
  • Get feedback on the technique to establish a baseline to use for comparison as the practice progresses.

Centering to Deeper Levels in the Manifest

  1. Let’s begin with our circle/center practice. Give some extra emphasis to building a strong experience of center.  We want to give equal focus to the spiraling up and spiraling down parts of the practice. 
  • Let’s return to the technique to see how this round of circle/center practice has enhanced our performance of the technique.
  1. Next let’s add the rowing exercise (fune-kogi undo) after another round of the circle/center practice. Place particular emphasis on the hips moving first before the hands and arms.  The rowing exercise is an ancient Shinto practice from the yamabushi, the mountain ascetics.  O Sensei’s version came from a famous teacher, Bonji Kawatsura, who reputedly learned form a mountain wizard who was 697 years old.  We will work on the rowing exercise practice in stages to allow for enhanced levels of center as we go through these stages.    
  • Let’s return to the technique to see how this round of circle/center practice with the addition of the rowing exercise has enhanced our performance of the technique.
  1. Let’s now focus on the rowing exercise working with a partner. Visualize as you move forward someone pushing you from behind at your low back.  The added pressure even if only with an imaginary partner can help to deepen your experience of center.  Then as move back visualize your partner pushing on your shoulders. 

As before this can help to deepen your experience of center.

  • Let’s return to the technique to see how this deeper practice of the rowing exercise has enhanced our performance of the technique.

    

  1. Then continuing the practice with the rowing exercise, turn 180 degrees after each repetition. The turning along with continuing the testing, with your partner on your low back when forward and your shoulders when back, can be used to further deepen your experience of center. 
  • Let’s return to the technique to see how this deeper practice of the rowing exercise has enhanced our performance of the technique.
  1. Let’s now begin to work with some of the alchemical imagery to deepen even further your experience of center.

As you move forward with the hips and arms visualize your open hands contacting energy that is freely available around your body.  We exist in a field of ki or subtle energy much like we do with the air or a fish in water.  As your hips and then hands move back, with the hands closing, visualize the backward movement drawing energy into your center.  This will help to create a more vibrant and alive experience of center.

  • Let’s return to the technique to see how this round of practice with the rowing exercise has enhanced our performance of the technique.

Conclusion

This series of classes is designed to offer a deeper and multi-dimensional experience of center.  The more vibrant and alive the experience of center the easier it is to maintain center as we go through our regular daily activities-Black Belt Magazine Nov. 1965 (pg. 48).  In future classes we will practice some of the more subtle practices of center both from a multi-dimensional perspective as well as the center related alchemical practices.

Feedback and discussion.

The Secret Teachings of Aikido translated by John Stevens (pg. 40).

Practice before next class

Select a half hour part of your day and practice maintaining center for that half hour. 

Finish with misogi breathing and bowing out. 

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