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Old 01-16-2012, 08:12 PM   #26
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Aiki and Kokyu Ryoku

connexion by rey
The power used in Aikido is referred to as kokyū ryoku.

Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei

This force accumulated in the seika tanden fills every part of the body, like water flowing out that never stops. This force extends from a calm, serene and relaxed body and mind and can be used whenever necessary in any direction. This force is called kokyū ryoku.

Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei

An aikido technique done without kokyū ryoku is not an aikido technique. It's like champagne without sparkle or flat beer.

Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei
Here we are on a site called AikiWeb. The site for information and discussion about aikido. Aiki plus web.

Aiki. What is it, this aiki? It's a word with an elusive meaning. If it is a word. Japanese people would not know it. It's not in Japanese dictionaries except as a component of aikido or aikijutsu or aikijujutsu. I checked a thirteen volume dictionary of nearly twenty thousand pages and it is not listed. I have lived in Japan and done aikido for many years and I have almost never heard anyone say aiki. I have very occasionally heard aiki used as shorthand for aikido or Daito Ryu or aiki arts in general. I have never heard the word aiki used in aikido to mean internal power.

So who uses the term aiki to mean internal power? Not O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. This is a doka - an instructive poem - by O Sensei.

dai uchū
aiki no michi wa
morobito no
hikari to narite
yo oba hirakan

the great universal
path of aiki
all people
opening the world (to the truth)
The translation is by John Stevens from The Essence of Aikido. By the way this is an excellent translation. It correctly catches the meaning. It is clear and understandable. And it can stand on its own as a doka in English.

We can see that the meaning of aiki in this doka is a universal one. The path of aiki clearly means the path of aikido. It is not a limited or technical meaning. There is no possible way that it could mean ‘the path of internal power that illuminates all people opening the world...'

O Sensei used aiki in this universal sense here so it is hardly conceivable that he used it in a different sense in his other writings. So when I read the word aiki by O Sensei I take it to mean aikido.

If we break the word into its component parts it gets even more unlikely that it can mean internal power. Ai 合 あい means meet or fit or join. Awase and awaseru - blending or uniting - are written with the same Japanese character.

Ki 気 きmeans energy or spirit or life force or intention.

So aiki can mean joining of energy or spirit. Or energy or spirit becoming one. That's the real meaning of aiki. It's not what people who don't do aikido want it to mean. It is not possible to construe a meaning of internal power from these kanji.

Finally I want to get back to internal power, the real power of all martial arts. In aikido the effortless power developed by great budoka is called kokyū ryoku. Breath power. That is what O Sensei called it. I know because that's what he called it when he told my first aikido teacher Kinjo Asoh Sensei (7 dan) that he had to get kokyū ryoku by all means. And kokyū ryoku are the words my second teacher Sadateru Arikawa Sensei (9 dan) used when he talked about internal power. Kokyū ryoku is what Sunadomari Sensei (9 dan, founder of Manseikan Aikido) and Tamura Sensei (8 dan) called it. And kokyū ryoku is what I call it too.


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© niall matthews 2011

Niall Matthews lives with his family in Japan. He teaches aikibudo and community self-defence courses and has taught budo for twenty-five years. He was the senior deshi of Kinjo Asoh Sensei, 7 dan Aikikai. He was the exclusive uke of Sadateru Arikawa Sensei, 9 dan Aikikai, at the hombu dojo in Tokyo for thirteen years until Arikawa Sensei's death in 2003. He has trained in several other martial arts to complement his aikido training, including judo (he has 4 dan from the Kodokan in Tokyo), kenjutsu (for about ten years) and karate (for about three years). He originally went to Japan as a staff member of the EU almost thirty years ago. He received 5 dan from Arikawa Sensei in 1995. This 5 dan is the last aikido dan he will receive in his life. His dojo is called Aikibudo Kokkijuku 合気武道克輝塾. Arikawa Sensei personally gave him the character for ki in kokki. It is the same character as teru in Sadateru - not the normal spelling of kokki 克己. It means you make your life shining and clear yourself.
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Last edited by akiy : 01-16-2012 at 08:02 PM.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
w b yeats

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