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The Body Follows the Mind

Kawaraban No. 23


by Kenji Shimizu

As part of our Dojo training we provide early morning classes (three times a week [Tue, Thurs, Sat] at 06:30 am). To participate continuously in these sessions over many years may not be easy due to a minor physical indisposition effecting our ability to get up early i.e. the Ki is weak.

Whenever we witness a serious event, we lose our self through ourselves, in other words, body and mind become separate and we lose control of our body‘s actions. Normally this would go unnoticed. However, during the Aiki training we learn to move body and mind in unity no matter what the situation.

The Buddhist priest Takuan expressed it in these words: „The mind itself confuses the mind - become the mind and do not let mind control mind.“

What we truly strive for in Budo is not strength in technique, but strength of mind. We want to use these techniques to strengthen the mind. The mind helps us during hard training and fills the techniques with life.

Aikido has not adopted any forms of competition. By repeating the techniques we are able to take control with varying force depending on our partner. Based on this characteristic of our training we become a unit with our partner, and this could be the secret.

In the beginning I mentioned, that keeping up the morning classes is quite difficult, because our self is too weak. In the words of Yagyu S.: “The body follows the mind”, i.e. a strong mind supports the body, because it drives the body along. It is also said, that being ill means being without Ki.

Shouldn’t we try to strengthen our ki energy without forgetting the beginner’s spirit especially nowadays, when the mind is neglected?

© translated by Mimi Hansmann, Dan McGarry and Peter Nawrot 03/2005