Zazen Meditation, Haragei and Focus
In Karate I once learned a mental focus feat. Sensei gave us all a paper with a title "1,000 BREAK IT DOWN TO EQUAL", and a spiral steel nail. He told us this was a homework assignment with which we were to take home and write four pages in four days of any and every mathematical equation we could think of that equals 1,000, at the same time we were to hold on to the nail with our free hand. Sensei told us that we were to try to understand the meaning of the nail, "the nail is the key to the answer"! he said. Nobody understood.
Four days passed, we all brought out papers back with the nails. Sensei looked at everyones papers to make sure we did the work and then the nail, he took turns telling us each we failed. This was silly we thought, what does the nail have to do with math? We began regular practice and sensei took one of the nails and sat down cross legged, and told us what to do. Sensei sat there to the side meditating for a while, we all watched him wondering what he was doing with the nail.
After about a half an hour he opened his eyes and stood up calling the class to stop, he showed us the nail he was holding, It was bent like a cresent moon " ( ". He told us that this was a feat of mental focus, when you are doing math you are meditating, with meditation comes sharp mental focus, bending a nail in your fist is relatively impossible otherwise, it is very hard and it hurts. When you are in deep meditaion you can bend it, and with expirience you could even bend a metal peg. Strength is not the objective meditation harvests strength and you apply that through your hands and crush the nail, but you should not strain, I can do it in about 15 min to a half an hour now he said, but to do this I had to practice for years.
I have to say that this exercise is a gauge for focus, the ability to bend a nail may have its uses in gripping a fist, but focus is needed to effectively perform all martial movements especially in Aikido. When masters say to practice meditation, and to try to understand and apply Ki you should really try.
P.S. In around an hour I to three I can noticibly warp a nail while doing hard breathing Zazen, but it will be a long time for me to bend a peg I'll tell ya. Don't belive me, look at those Hung Gar guys who can bend rebar and spears with thier throats. Apply Ki focus to all movements in Aikido, learn to, and imagine how awesome you will be able to perform.
Last edited by Saturn : 11-01-2005 at 06:49 AM.