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Old 01-07-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Hi everyone.

This thread follows on from my last one on spiritual principles applied. I will give my view on Kokyu and explain what it is, how to understand it and why it is the reason Aikido is different (or can be) to most other martial arts and also why it can also be a martial art of no competiton, no fighting, harmony.

For those of you who have trained with exceptional teachers and experienced the so called unbelievable aspects of it then I hope this may help you understand what they did or where they were coming from.

Love. A well documented term used by O'Sensei and thus much debated. Well I am saying here that he was indeed meaning love for love is a spiritual truth and if you are honest then it is something you want, you desire, in fact I am saying here it is another aspect of the spiritual you. So if you lack it in truth you lack being in touch with your own True Nature.

Kokyu is an expression of your own true nature, of love. Love is your spiritual breath.

So the first aspect of Aikido I will relate this to is SPACE.

You have your own spiritual space and for the sake of harmony with your body you generally have it at about arms distance around you. Your personal space. You can feel when someone moves into it, it is indeed real but the question is do you keep it? Love equates with space and to further understand you would need to look at the qualities of love. What does love do?

It embraces, in fact it is all embracing, it is the Ai of Aikido.

So now to how this translates as a principle to be followed and practiced in Aikido. Well many Aikidoka talk about and discuss the concept and indeed reality of connection and thus are entering the beginning of the reality of Kokyu. The problem with using the word connection is that it doesn't translate very well as a firm principle of action and so I use a different term and that is BE WITH.

Your whole attitude, your intention, your desire, your purpose if you follow the way of your true nature, the way of love, the way of Ai therefore would be to BE WITH.

Now I am categorically stating here that if you want to experience those 'magical' calm yet definite, soft yet strong aspects of Aikido then you would have to practice from the view and intention of being with.

When you look at entering in Aikido then you are talking about entering anothers space. Thus you enter with your space, you also keep center, and you join with their space, it is an action of sharing space. In fact if you enter in order to be with then you will notice there is no against in Aikido, there is no fight, there is only joining and when you move to be with you are thus entering the field of harmony and the other person has no one to fight.

This is the way of Kokyu with the mysticism removed. It is you practicing from that viewpoint and finding out the power of your own space, the power of love, the joy of Aikido.

So let acceptance be your center and be with be your kokyu and experience a rehabillitation of you.

Regards. G.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:51 AM   #2
carina reinhardt
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 439
Spain
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

A very interesting explanation. Thank you Graham..
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:00 AM   #3
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
For those of you who have trained with exceptional teachers and experienced the so called unbelievable aspects of it then I hope this may help you understand what they did or where they were coming from.
Hi Graham,

I feel very fortunate to have trained with an exeptional teacher and it is the unbelievable aspects of the art that have fascinated me the most. They are still the reason I strive to understand what is happening when it happens, thereby being in some position to pass on what I have gained to others.

Quote:
When you look at entering in Aikido then you are talking about entering anothers space. Thus you enter with your space, you also keep center, and you join with their space, it is an action of sharing space. In fact if you enter in order to be with then you will notice there is no against in Aikido, there is no fight, there is only joining and when you move to be with you are thus entering the field of harmony and the other person has no one to fight.
I like this passage, as this aspect for me is at the heart of all the exercises/techniques, call them what you will, the actual exterior forms shihonage, ikkyo etc are only vehicles to attain the desired state of joining/harmony/aiki with the other.

Acceptance of what the other has to give is the way to harmonising with them, not just in a martial context but in life in general. Acceptance of self, likewise, is a step in the right direction to harmony with self.

Good post, thanks,

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:05 AM   #4
carina reinhardt
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 439
Spain
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Hi Graham again,
Thinking about your post I just rememberd that sometimes our teacher made us practice with closed eyes, it is very nice, remain in contact, you learn very much like that, beeing in our space and touching the space of our partner.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:07 AM   #5
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 382
United_States
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

I'm not sure I can handle this important topic concisely, because
all I have is a few examples that might be relevant , At this
point I don't feel capable of writing definitions or a complete essay.

Kokyu is a favorite topic, though, and as for Ai, I remember, after I had gotten out of training due to several different circumstances
leading from job change such as marrying the friend that got
me into building trades when the family publishing firm downsized...

As a construction gopher, and cooking for Chuck, my husband,
schedule was very tight. It was easier to train when I had
been a proofreader, with flexible hours.

Still, I would drop down to the local dojo to watch Saturday seminars, maybe twice a year, Lorraine Di Anne Shihan (I believe )from Western Massachusetts the senpai of the local shidoin Ray Farinato, and Seiichi Sugano Shihan who came out from NYAikikai
around an hour away from us in the southwestern corner
of Connecticut.
I was often late, regrettably, and often had to leave early. Sometimes there was a pot luck afterwards at
Ray and Margaret's house, but I hesitated to ask questions,
because I was just a spectator and not currently training. At
the time, I was embarrassed about that.

So why the long intro? It's because in other threads people
often found the meaning of Ai to be a stumbling block or a
bone of contention. I met with the answer a few years ago and
it stuck in my mind even before joining Aikiweb this past
november. The word I heard was affection as I slid in the door
invisibly behind some standees to get to the seating area.

It's not just a sentiment, though. It should be the groundwork when we train, hard or soft training, it comes out of respect for our
training partners. And it has the (like wow) cosmic feeling of
what binds the universe together. Someday I'll have to ask
Ray, a good friend of myself and my husband, what that means
in scientific terms. Ray is a PHD chemist...

I love the other aspects of this thread, but since O Sensei
spoke so much about the universe, God and human beings
(and the kami, which Ichihashi Sensei once called, Hataraki,
the workings of God, making Japanese religion not seem to
really be polytheistic) I guess I will let this stand as my first
post on this thread, and maybe post later.

I didn't hear the context of that one word affection, then the
demonstration of ma ai, balance, footwork continued and
I tried to absorb what I could, hoping to train again some day.
But I leave it up to the rest of you to use this word in the thread
if you want. It comes from a good source.

There was the affection when Ray, Lorraine and Sugano
Senseis were teaching and practicing with the class, and
the participants practicing together, and in the snack and
orange and water breaks and at the pot lucks, but many
Aikidoka over the years have read and heard that this thing
is also what holds the universe together and "produces and
protects all beings in Nature" Therefore the human and the
cosmic are one and the same.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Graham,

I feel very fortunate to have trained with an exeptional teacher and it is the unbelievable aspects of the art that have fascinated me the most. They are still the reason I strive to understand what is happening when it happens, thereby being in some position to pass on what I have gained to others.

I like this passage, as this aspect for me is at the heart of all the exercises/techniques, call them what you will, the actual exterior forms shihonage, ikkyo etc are only vehicles to attain the desired state of joining/harmony/aiki with the other.

Acceptance of what the other has to give is the way to harmonising with them, not just in a martial context but in life in general. Acceptance of self, likewise, is a step in the right direction to harmony with self.

Good post, thanks,

regards,

Mark
Hi Mark. Thanks for the response. Regards. G.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #7
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Hi Graham again,
Thinking about your post I just rememberd that sometimes our teacher made us practice with closed eyes, it is very nice, remain in contact, you learn very much like that, beeing in our space and touching the space of our partner.
Thanks Carina. If you get used to the difference of when you are being with and when you are not you start noticing what you used to replace it. Then when you observe others getting stuck on a move you will see they are not being with and how to correct it. It's fascinating.

Good training.G.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:42 AM   #8
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Kokyu: The Ai of Aikido.

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
I'm not sure I can handle this important topic concisely, because
all I have is a few examples that might be relevant , At this
point I don't feel capable of writing definitions or a complete essay.

Kokyu is a favorite topic, though, and as for Ai, I remember, after I had gotten out of training due to several different circumstances
leading from job change such as marrying the friend that got
me into building trades when the family publishing firm downsized...

As a construction gopher, and cooking for Chuck, my husband,
schedule was very tight. It was easier to train when I had
been a proofreader, with flexible hours.

Still, I would drop down to the local dojo to watch Saturday seminars, maybe twice a year, Lorraine Di Anne Shihan (I believe )from Western Massachusetts the senpai of the local shidoin Ray Farinato, and Seiichi Sugano Shihan who came out from NYAikikai
around an hour away from us in the southwestern corner
of Connecticut.
I was often late, regrettably, and often had to leave early. Sometimes there was a pot luck afterwards at
Ray and Margaret's house, but I hesitated to ask questions,
because I was just a spectator and not currently training. At
the time, I was embarrassed about that.

So why the long intro? It's because in other threads people
often found the meaning of Ai to be a stumbling block or a
bone of contention. I met with the answer a few years ago and
it stuck in my mind even before joining Aikiweb this past
november. The word I heard was affection as I slid in the door
invisibly behind some standees to get to the seating area.

It's not just a sentiment, though. It should be the groundwork when we train, hard or soft training, it comes out of respect for our
training partners. And it has the (like wow) cosmic feeling of
what binds the universe together. Someday I'll have to ask
Ray, a good friend of myself and my husband, what that means
in scientific terms. Ray is a PHD chemist...

I love the other aspects of this thread, but since O Sensei
spoke so much about the universe, God and human beings
(and the kami, which Ichihashi Sensei once called, Hataraki,
the workings of God, making Japanese religion not seem to
really be polytheistic) I guess I will let this stand as my first
post on this thread, and maybe post later.

I didn't hear the context of that one word affection, then the
demonstration of ma ai, balance, footwork continued and
I tried to absorb what I could, hoping to train again some day.
But I leave it up to the rest of you to use this word in the thread
if you want. It comes from a good source.

There was the affection when Ray, Lorraine and Sugano
Senseis were teaching and practicing with the class, and
the participants practicing together, and in the snack and
orange and water breaks and at the pot lucks, but many
Aikidoka over the years have read and heard that this thing
is also what holds the universe together and "produces and
protects all beings in Nature" Therefore the human and the
cosmic are one and the same.
Hi Diana. Well put. I think your recollections are very relevant and clear. Thank you.
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