One Hundred and Ninety-six
Synergy is the phenomenon in which the combined action of a coordinated mind and body is greater than the sum of their effects individually.
So, how do I develop correct feeling?
First I need to know what correct feeling is. Correct feeling arises when I have coordination of mind and body. Super, but what does it mean to have coordination of mind and body? Coordination of mind and body is the synergistic relationship of both that represents my strongest, most dependable state. When my mind and body are coordinated I am able to perform at my peak efficiency; I am said to have correct feeling.
It's important to note that correct feeling isn't an on/off state of being. I always possess mind/body coordination to some degree. Generally speaking, the closer my mind is to "now" the greater the degree of my correct feeling. Since my body is always in the present moment, the closer my mind approaches the moment, the greater are my mind and body coordinated. Carrying this further it can be seen that the degree of correct feeling approaches a limit defined by "now" since my mind must always lag behind the moment by some amount of time. If correct feeling is, therefore, the natural state of my being it would seem that there is no need for me to develop it. What is needed, and afforded by my Aikido training, is the ability to strengthen and enhance correct feeling.
When I first began studying Aikido there came a month in which classes were suspended. I decided to practice Ki exercises every day on my own until classes resumed. This decision, I believe, had a profound effect on my internalizing the idea of coordinated mind and body. Years later I went through a period of time when I neglected Ki exercises in favor of waza. It was during, what was dubbed by one of my students at the time, my "One Throw One Kill" period which, thankfully, I managed to outgrow. With my interest in Ki development renewed I have since made doing Ki exercises a twice daily routine. As a result, to borrow from and paraphrase a line from Bob Dylan: Ah, but I was so much younger then, older I'm stronger than then now.
For me the secret of strengthening and enhancing correct feeling was locked away in the relatively simple movements of the solo Ki exercises. These exercises allow me to focus my mind ever closer to the moment as my body performs the physical movements. Continued daily practice of these exercises enhances my Aikido experience and I strongly recommend to my students that they adopt this regimen for themselves.
(Original blog post may be found here.)
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