Kawaraban No. 55
by Kenji Shimizu
Recently the world championship in Paris took place. By chance I watched TV until late at night, although there was a morning class the next day. At this opportunity I watched a competition, whose commentator banned me by his truly striking remarks.
It was about hammer throwing, and the Japanese representative was the athlete Murofushi, a sure hope for a medal. It was when the commentator exclaimed: „Go on, relax!“ to support Murofushi that he would achieve a good result, I thought, he was right.
If I would give here my personal comments, I would say, this is a hint how to avoid bodily tension. Especially in cases, where it really depends on, every human being is exposed to the sensation of tension (irregular breathing, tense shoulders, stiffening of the body, and so on). By repeated big efforts and experience however self-confidence will be achieved, and a natural self will develop.
This is extremely difficult, because it depends on the environment, the time, conditions and also on destiny. It is not easy to tell, but speaking from my experience, I would say, that a mind, that wants to win (ambition, envy, thirst for...), slows down the self. The reason is, that the feeling proceeds, but the body does not follow as you wish. By this process a self develops, which is not your own self anymore.
It is essential to relax the muscles and make use of the ki without exhausting the ki.
Speaking of the mind of preparation, invincible mind, and ki power I remember the words that were always emphasized by the founder: „Ki is infinite, we have to develop ki power“.
Victory and defeat depend a great deal on fate, and that Murofushi, who had to bear pains in his arm due to an accident before the competition, achieved the 3rd rang might be the result of being able to relax, as the commentator had mentioned. It could be easily assumed, that he would have achieved the gold medal, if he had thrown in perfect bodily condition; the form was excellent, and you could sense ki power.
What is important is the question how to handle the mind.
„The mind is what perplexes the mind. Do not let the mind control the mind.“ (from monk Takuan). The crucial point is not to let the mind be captured by something. An unbiased mind is innocent. Innocence does not mean that there is no mind, but that it is unbiased.
When you are tense, the self detains the mind. According to the zen word „body and mind aren’t two things“ we practice daily the spiritual body and the bodily spirit during the aikido lessons. We want to learn the „mentality of divine logic“, as Yagyu from Tajima has called it.
© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 01/2004