Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bringing on the heat

As the summer heat drags on, time seems to stand still at the dojo, at least for this penguin.

In some strange way, the ability to deal with the heat seems to mirror a person's martial ability. It seems the very experienced just don't sweat that much! I on the other hand, will look like I've taken a shower on the mat on a humid day.

I've been thinking a lot lately about basic principles and really trying to apply them on the mat. Things like relaxation, keeping centered, keeping weight down, etc. Tohei sensei called this sort of thing "mind-body unification," or "energetic coherence," as my friend and tai chi instructor Rick Barrett would call it.

At an aikikai dojo, we don't talk much about Tohei sensei, yet I have to say his four principles are very handy to keep in mind. They are not any different than what all aikidoka teach, but they are clearly and concisely articulated.

They are:

Four Basic Principles of Mind and Body Unification

  • Keep One Point
  • Relax Completely
  • Keep Weight Underside
  • Extend Ki
An interesting point Tohei makes about these principles is that if you are really doing one of them, you are doing them all at the same time. Therefore if I can remember one at an appropriate moment, the mind and body should be coherent.

The question is, will it help me to stop sweating so much?