Friday, November 11, 2011
My path through my yard and woods is circular. I walk it every day. Every day, nature looks different even though it is the same path.
Today the path is covered with large brown oak leaves. The poison ivy is mostly gone or turned to red. There is much more brown and gray than this summer when many shades of green were the dominant colors. Soon the path will be covered in white. Yet it is the same path through the same woods and yard during all these changes and cycles. Each day a new me walks on a new path even though it is the same me and the same path.
Testing for one point is an important part of ki development for both tester and the person being tested. By pushing with an appropriate amount of pressure the tester provides the person being tested with the opportunity to find their center and then, to learn to trust their center.
As a beginning reference we teach the center is 2 inches below the belly button. I could not feel my inner center at first so I had to practice feeling my center was where my hand rested on my skin 2 inches below my belly button.
As I continued to do ki exercises and aikido technique I learned what my inner center felt like. When I was a second kyu I decided to trust that feeling and my real inner strength started to develop.
The repeated falling, rolling and contact of aikido techniques with a partner presented me with opportunities to experiment and learn what felt most dependable for me. I progressed though times of power bursts and complacency. Both periods affording unique opportunities for me to meet myself and work though ego challenges.
The process of having one point and developing strong ki is a remarkable journey. No one can hand you the secret. Correct feeling can be developed by anyone through devoted training. Part of becoming an integrated martial artist is developing a sense of self. We don’t need experts to explain secrets to us anymore than we need priests to define the word of god to us. The secret is there is no secret.
Ki development provides one way to develop inner strength though the practice of ki exercises aikido technique and principles of non violence. Power over is discouraged as we train together so we all become stronger. A sense of compassionate understanding and appreciation of differences are all by products of non-competitive training, along with the desire to continue to learn and teach. There are no short cuts on this circular path. It is an enduring practice.