Our Practice

Tohei Sensei developed the various disciplines we practice to make the experience of oneness of mind and body accessible for everyone. While every practice method leads to this experience, every method covers different aspects and areas of application. When you visit a dojo you will notice that our training is not cleanly divided into those disciplines, but rather we practice a mix that makes for a well-rounded experience in any given class – depending on what that class is aiming for. Generally, you will see that most dojo divide their training into Ki-classes and Ki-Aikido-classes. In Ki-class, we usually practice Ki-Meditation, Ki-Breathing, Ki-Exercises and Ki-Testing, and also Kiatsu or Sokushin no Gyo. In Ki-Aikido-class, we may start off with a few minutes of Ki-Breathing, and we also may do some Ki-Exercises to get slowly into movement, but the bulk of the class will be the partner training of Ki-Aikido, which may also include training with a wooden sword (bokken) or staff (jo). Often the dojo’s schedule will have a Ki-class first followed by a Ki-Aikido-class, so your training that evening gives you a well-rounded and balanced experience for mind and body.

In Ki-Training we learn the principles of natural posture based on a calm mind, and then learn to apply these principles to basic movements and various other exercises like breathing. True calmness in oneness of mind and body, however, is calmness which like the eye of a hurricane stays intact even with most rapid action or when in stress or conflict situations. In the various Ki-Aikido-techniques we practice with a partner to keep our natural posture, to remain calm and centered, and to lead our partner with confidence. When we try to get someone to do something using our selfish mind, his mind will naturally resist. Neither will his body be movable effectively using force or violence, because again his mind will resist automatically. Non-dissension is at the core of Ki-Aikido - we practice to respect the other persons mind, to agree to the ki of the moment, and to lead accordingly without conflict. In this way the Ki principles are experienced on all levels of perception, so over time they will be embodied, and thus brought to life.

Shinshin Toitsu Aikido – Aikido in oneness of mind and body

In Ki-Training we learn the principles of natural posture based on a calm mind, and then learn to apply these principles to basic movements and various other exercises like breathing. True calmness in oneness of mind and body, however, is calmness which like the eye of a hurricane stays intact even with most rapid action or when in stress or conflict situations. In the various Ki-Aikido-techniques we practice with a partner to keep our natural posture, to remain calm and centered, and to lead our partner with confidence. When we try to get someone to do something using our selfish mind, his mind will naturally resist. Neither will his body be movable effectively using force or violence, because again his mind will resist automatically. Non-dissension is at the core of Ki-Aikido – we practice to respect the other persons mind, to agree to the ki of the moment, and to lead accordingly without conflict. In this way the Ki principles are experienced on all levels of perception, so over time they will be embodied, and thus brought to life.
In the Ki-Exercises we learn the principles of natural, relaxed posture based on a calm mind, discover oneness of mind and body, and learn to apply this in various postures and movements. We practice a "3-Minute-Exercise", Junan Taiso (natural stretching exercises while sitting on the floor), the Aiki Taiso or Hitori Waza (basic solo movements borrowed from Ki-Aikido), and the Oneness Rhythm Taiso (a 5-minute set of movements done to a dedicated music). All these are practiced rhythmically and naturally in oneness of mind and body. To test if we really experience oneness during these exercises, our partner can give us a "Ki-Test". Sitting or standing calmly in various postures, or being in motion, a partner touches the body and sees if it can be moved - to show us if we currently experience oneness, to show us the state of our mind. Besides habitual unnatural postures and movement patterns, this way we can also uncover typical or habitual thinking and behavioral patterns that inhibit us from experiencing oneness.

Ki-Exercises and Ki-Testing

In the Ki-Exercises we learn the principles of natural, relaxed posture based on a calm mind, discover oneness of mind and body, and learn to apply this in various postures and movements. We practice a “3-Minute-Exercise”, Junan Taiso (natural stretching exercises while sitting on the floor), the Aiki Taiso or Hitori Waza (basic solo movements borrowed from Ki-Aikido), and the Oneness Rhythm Taiso (a 5-minute set of movements done to a dedicated music). All these are practiced rhythmically and naturally in oneness of mind and body. To test if we really experience oneness during these exercises, our partner can give us a “Ki-Test”. Sitting or standing calmly in various postures, or being in motion, a partner touches the body and sees if it can be moved – to show us if we currently experience oneness, to show us the state of our mind. Besides habitual unnatural postures and movement patterns, this way we can also uncover typical or habitual thinking and behavioral patterns that inhibit us from experiencing oneness.
In Ki-Meditation we calm our mind in the Onepoint in the lower abdomen. When we condense this Onepoint infinitely by half, half, half...  we will experience true and living calmness and oneness with the Ki of the infinite universe. We hear the silence, which is behind all sounds... we perceive the space, in which all things, events, thoughts and emotions appear, and disappear… We discover our true being - universal consciousness (reiseishin). Thus mediation develops true calmness, clarity, and an equanimity, which cannot be disturbed by the behavior of others. In this way, meditation (and Ki-Breathing) are indispensable elements of our Ki-Aikido study – as they prepare the ground for truly being one with your partner, not viewing him as an opponent, but instead realizing, that in reality we are walking the path of the universe together. Living from this calm state enables us to perform well and effectively no matter what life presents to us.

Ki-Meditation

In Ki-Meditation we calm our mind in the Onepoint in the lower abdomen. When we condense this Onepoint infinitely by half, half, half… we will experience true and living calmness and oneness with the Ki of the infinite universe. We hear the silence, which is behind all sounds… we perceive the space, in which all things, events, thoughts and emotions appear, and disappear… We discover our true being – universal consciousness (reiseishin). Thus mediation develops true calmness, clarity, and an equanimity, which cannot be disturbed by the behavior of others. In this way, meditation (and Ki-Breathing) are indispensable elements of our Ki-Aikido study – as they prepare the ground for truly being one with your partner, not viewing him as an opponent, but instead realizing, that in reality we are walking the path of the universe together. Living from this calm state enables us to perform well and effectively no matter what life presents to us.
Of all our energy sources (sleeping, eating, drinking...), breathing is the only one we cannot do without even for a few minutes. A natural breathing pattern, which is centered in the lower abdomen (as opposed to most people's upper-chest breathing), is key for allowing the Ki flow naturally through us, which is of utmost importance for our health. Sitting in living calmness, we pay attention to our breathing, centered in our Onepoint in the lower abdomen, connected to the infinite universe. Ki-Breathing is an essential exercise to deepen the experience of oneness of mind and body and oneness with the Ki of the universe. Ki-Breathing will be taught and practiced together in the dojo, with help and corrections from the Sensei as needed - but of course it is good to also practice alone at home. For many students, a daily time sitting in Ki-Breathing and Ki-Meditation becomes eventually normal like cleaning the body or eating.

Ki-Breathing

Of all our energy sources (sleeping, eating, drinking…), breathing is the only one we cannot do without even for a few minutes. A natural breathing pattern, which is centered in the lower abdomen (as opposed to most people’s upper-chest breathing), is key for allowing the Ki flow naturally through us, which is of utmost importance for our health. Sitting in living calmness, we pay attention to our breathing, centered in our Onepoint in the lower abdomen, connected to the infinite universe. Ki-Breathing is an essential exercise to deepen the experience of oneness of mind and body and oneness with the Ki of the universe. Ki-Breathing will be taught and practiced together in the dojo, with help and corrections from the Sensei as needed – but of course it is good to also practice alone at home. For many students, a daily time sitting in Ki-Breathing and Ki-Meditation becomes eventually normal like cleaning the body or eating.
Kiatsu is a form of therapy with Ki as developed by Koichi Tohei Sensei. The Kiatsu "therapist" helps the "patient" to rediscover his oneness with the healing power of the natural flow of the Ki of the Universe. Kiatsu does not focus on points nor uses it forceful pressure, but rather we connect through touch following "lines", which might naturally go deeper as needed. By connecting with the other person in oneness of mind and body and with natural Ki flow, their mind and body are allowed to relax and coordinate into oneness as strains and blockages dissolve, giving them a feeling of enhanced energy or Ki flow. Instead of actively healing the other, we rather support the healing power their own body and mind naturally possess. Kiatsu is also excellent for self-therapy. Naturally, regular meditation and Ki-breathing will deepen our ability to give Kiatsu, as does the practice of connecting to our partner in Ki-Aikido, and vice versa.

Kiatsu

Kiatsu is a form of therapy with Ki as developed by Koichi Tohei Sensei. The Kiatsu “therapist” helps the “patient” to rediscover his oneness with the healing power of the natural flow of the Ki of the Universe. Kiatsu does not focus on points nor uses it forceful pressure, but rather we connect through touch following “lines”, which might naturally go deeper as needed. By connecting with the other person in oneness of mind and body and with natural Ki flow, their mind and body are allowed to relax and coordinate into oneness as strains and blockages dissolve, giving them a feeling of enhanced energy or Ki flow. Instead of actively healing the other, we rather support the healing power their own body and mind naturally possess. Kiatsu is also excellent for self-therapy. Naturally, regular meditation and Ki-breathing will deepen our ability to give Kiatsu, as does the practice of connecting to our partner in Ki-Aikido, and vice versa.
Sokushin no Gyo (bell meditation) is a form of misogi (cleansing) that involves our whole being. The action of repeatedly "hitting" (dropping) the bell and yelling all out for an extended period of time (usually 15 to 30 minutes) can be tiring and test the endurance of both mind and body. Tohei Sensei developed Sokushin no Gyo as an exercise to realize and maintain oneness of mind and body while in full action. Without oneness of mind and body, Sokushin no Gyo is difficult or even impossible to sustain. But when mind and body are one by relaxing completely, the Ki of the Universe can naturally flow. So Sokushin no Gyo strengthens our will to give 100% - and the experience of it helps to convince us that great accomplishments are possible when mind and body are one - a very valuable lesson for our lives.

Sokushin no Gyo

Sokushin no Gyo (bell meditation) is a form of misogi (cleansing) that involves our whole being. The action of repeatedly “hitting” (dropping) the bell and yelling all out for an extended period of time (usually 15 to 30 minutes) can be tiring and test the endurance of both mind and body. Tohei Sensei developed Sokushin no Gyo as an exercise to realize and maintain oneness of mind and body while in full action. Without oneness of mind and body, Sokushin no Gyo is difficult or even impossible to sustain. But when mind and body are one by relaxing completely, the Ki of the Universe can naturally flow. So Sokushin no Gyo strengthens our will to give 100% – and the experience of it helps to convince us that great accomplishments are possible when mind and body are one – a very valuable lesson for our lives.