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Old 08-27-2002, 02:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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Hi folks,

When you hear the term "centering" or "to be centered" in aikido terms, what does it mean to you?

-- Jun

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Old 08-27-2002, 03:12 PM   #2
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Being able to stand in a bus without holding on.
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Old 08-27-2002, 05:27 PM   #3
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erikmenzel's Avatar
Dojo: Koshinkai Leeuwarden
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Realising what the centre of the movement is.

The centre in partner exercises is not the same as the centre alone.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:03 PM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
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Center means neutral or balance. In physical terms it can mean that you can stand up, execute technique in aikido without being able to fall over or have uke pull you over.

Mentally it can mean moderation. Not doing anything to any extreme. Reasonablness.

Spiritually it can mean happiness, or calmness, being at peace with yourself or your maker if you so believe.

Centeredness is yin and yang. The middle of the paradox.

What we learn in aikido is how to resolve things moving between the postive and negative energies that exisit in life and learning to return them to the balance point or middle ground...net effect zero. This whole thing, negative/positive/middle ground IS KI!

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Old 08-27-2002, 09:45 PM   #5
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Hi folks,

When you hear the term "centering" or "to be centered" in aikido terms, what does it mean to you?

Hello Jun

That's a tough one and I'm still exploring the meaning of this both philosophically and physically in training. However, the following publication may be of interest to members of this forum:

Centre the Power of Aikido by Ron Meyer and Mark Reeder. Based on the Studies With Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. Published by Frog ltd Berkeley Cal 2000. ISBN 1-58394-012-x

The following is short quote for further discussion and consideration:

"...an area in the middle of the body slightly below the navel called the hara or seika tanden..." pg 19

"...Aikido teachers will often talk about the seika tanden as the source of energy for all activities." pg 19

"However, the idea of centeredness is stability and balance - physical, mental and spiritual." pg 20

"Controlling and focussing awareness is necessary to develop greater centeredness in martial arts." pg 21

There's a lot more detail (I dont wish to contravene copyright other than is perceived to be "fair dealing") and I thoroughly recommend the book. Its an excellent read.

Also have a look at pg 69 to 79 of Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. An Illustrated Introduction by A Westbrook and O Ratti Tuttle Publishing 2001 Edition ISBN 0-8048-3284-6. I particularly like this comment:

"We speak of centralization in the lower abdomen...it is a technique, a device, a form of training or discipline...It has as its final aim the achievement of total coordination and harmony of mind and body, of man and men, of man and his environment...This Center will be used as a unifying device in the difficult process of coordinating the whole range of your powers and possibilities. It will be used in establishing a stable platform of unification and independence from which you may operate in full control" pgs 69-70.

So where does this lead me in terms of what I think centre is? I agree with it being located just below the navel and that aikido comes with feeling and connecting with Uke. I also think that it has a lot to do with "kokoro" and how the three elements are integrated. More than that I'm still working on.

All the best and happy training all

PS Very interesting post Jun. Glad you brought it up.

Last edited by MaylandL : 08-27-2002 at 10:35 PM.

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Old 08-27-2002, 11:49 PM   #6
Dojo: Goshindo-Jutsu Atemi Ryu, Adelaide, South Australia
Location: Australia
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To me being centered is being grounded, but not in a static way, as I was originally taught. It is being in control of myself (mind, body and spirit as one) and completely aware of my surroundings and environment. I feel connected to everything. It is very calming and through it, i reach mushin (I think its spelled correctly), a state where you no longer have to think of your techniques but they become your responses, your awareness and senses are heightened and you live in the moment.

Invincibility is in ones self.

Vulnerablitiy is in the opponent.
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Old 08-28-2002, 01:06 AM   #7
Chuck Clark
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
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Jun and everyone,

There is a short essay on "What Does It Mean To Be Centered?" located at the following URL


This was written a few years ago and you may find it interesting.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:26 AM   #8
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
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IMHO, which is somewhat literal, centered to me means physically initiating movement from the center of my body (between top/bottom, left/right, front/back). Mentally, centered means to hold the thought throughtout the waza no matter what happens, like aiming mentall at the center of a target.

Until again,


Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:58 AM   #9
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Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
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Re: Centering

Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Hi folks,

When you hear the term "centering" or "to be centered" in aikido terms, what does it mean to you?

-- Jun
Keep One Point.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 08-28-2002, 09:34 PM   #10
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
As a relative beginner, being centered is still all about not being pulled over or falling, it's about keeping my relationship to the ground perpendicular, not getting 'happy feet', keeping my hands (and the action) in front of me.

It's great to hear what centered means to folks who know more - great thread.

Deb Fisher
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Old 08-29-2002, 10:19 PM   #11
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
Hi Jun,

Center, or being centered (a centered being), to me means the whole package: physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, intellectual. Like rings trying to fuse together into a core; the few times it's happened--centered and aligned--have been so transcendant and powerful it amazed me. I'm multi-dementional by nature, so there ya go...

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Old 09-03-2002, 10:01 AM   #12
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
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Stepping back, in the sense that outside stimuli encourages the individual to react to the outside forces and stimuli.

Mind becomes clear, the body is connected to the concious mind and the unconcious training imbedded from practice, and within that center, the awareness of surroundings is scrutinized so quickly that the transmission of thought is almost instantaneous.

Kind of like practicing to catch flys that are buzzing around you. We have biting flys called green heads. If they mark you as a meal, you had either defend yourself, or vacate the area.

One of my centering exercises was to continue working on the back of a boat in the fly invested swamplands, while keeping the greenhead attacks to certain death by either my cap, or a swat of a hand, while not losing my concentration on the project at hand.

If that isn't centering your thoughts and motions, I don't know what is.
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Old 09-03-2002, 10:52 AM   #13
Dojo: Aikido Academy, Columbia, SC
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Posts: 40
yeah, centering is definitely something that works in the dojo and out of the dojo. and then again, i am learning that aikido in general goes through all of life, not only when i put on a gi.
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