by clif high, Thur, Jun 27, 2013 07:38
Sagawa Sensei (as reported by Kimura in 'Transparent Power'....yet another international best seller that escaped your notice**), describes 'aiki' as something 'more' than mere 'ki hoarding', or 'ki flow'.
In my ki studies in my 40's, i think i touched the 'aiki' force. It was an odd occurrence, during rondori with 'hard fall ju-jitsuistas' that i first became aware of the 'something' that was flowing through my arms, in a fashion UNLIKE ki force, that was flinging all these kids (ju-jitsuistas) about the mat. To this day, that experience has not dimmed in memory (yet another aspect of aiki), and indeed, is still so sharp, nearly 20 years on, that the coursing of the aiki force of that day can still be recalled easily by merely touching the memory.
At that time, 20 years back, there were Sunday morning, open-mat, all style, training sessions over at the Leisure Ed facilities (gymnasium) at The Evergreen State College here in Oly, WA. It was during one of these early morning sessions, when hardly any aikidoka showed, and the mat was dominated by fierce, hard fall types, and some karate guys, that 'aiki' revealed itself that first time.
Of course there were doubts. As it was, i as very fit, strong for my size, and so the throws i was executing were within my capabilities....but, this was different, qualitatively. For hours after the session, the aiki was within me. It/i went around exploring things....shake a man's hand, and feel/know his elbow injury of 11 years back and the subsequent 2 surgeries (that got it wrong)....touch the side of a car, and feel the previous presence of the occupants, vaguely, but strangely with certainty that there three, two female, one male, their approximate ages, and how long the car had been empty. It was odd, even to someone used to perceiving the 'odd'.
In my fifties, i was pretty sure it was there, the aiki force, and that i could feel it...and even, almost on demand. But matterium chose that decade to have the death processes of my brother and many friends be my driving force, so aiki was not explored, excepting periodically. Yet each time, it was there. Calm, compressed, and ready. Palpable, once you know where to touch.
Now, at 60, i am certain that 'aiki' is existent. It is with me daily. But with that certainty has come doubts. Is it force? Or intelligence? Frequently the latter seems much more appropriate as i suspect that aiki 'plays' with matterium through me. It also seems as though aiki has an interest in myself, and a few others (once you can see aiki in yourself, you (at least i) can perceive it in other beings (not all are humans)) that is, somewhat, independent of our conscious minds and their goals/behavior. Others also report this sensation of 'caring/guarding' in the aiki experience.
It is intriguing, and aiki exploration is seemingly the point (now) of the rest of my life. In this exploration, i have developed a number of exercises, and self-tests. Mainly, at first, just to be sure i was not getting too nutty in my advancing years. Then later, as tools for exploring the experience.
What follows is a very simple, very effective, self-test for aiki. The test will be described, but not the results (what you should perceive) as it will not serve your exploration to have advance knowledge...you can be fooled by the placebo effect/power of suggestion, and 'create' the experience from your mind. When aiki is with you, there is no doubt it is not mental projection. In fact the feeling within the body is so strong as to force one's mind to a new form of rather shocking body awareness. But initially, that is not the case. One can fool perception by mental projection (but only so far, and so long) into thinking that they are perceiving aiki. In reality, it is the base 'ki' force that is flowing...a necessary precursor, in my opinion.
The Test 1:
sit down. Ground the elbows with no cloth by resting them on wood, or glass, or some other (non plastic) natural surface (stone, wood, water, sand et al). When sitting at a wooden table, place the elbows about shoulder width apart on the table. Sit as comfortably as possible. Hold the hands up like paddles with the palms facing each other, separated by the width of the shoulders. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on your hands, and wrists. Relax, completely. Then, with infinite slowness, bring the hands nearer to each other until you begin to feel 'it'. Then, back them off a bit, until the 'it' feeling wanes***. Then push them back toward each other. You will know it when you feel it. It is quite distinct.
And once you get practiced at the experience, you can actually invoke aiki and let it travel through your hands into others body's such that they can perceive it as well.
Initially, you may feel the ki flow, this is NOT aiki force. Persistence will provide a different sensation that 'triggers' the aiki into greater activity. Or is it wakefulness? So far, i am not quite sure, aiki has characteristics that are seemingly intelligent. So is it a force, or something else? Do not know, but i do wish to explore it, either way....
** do not waste your money buying this book. It is really only a training journal full of aphorisms that are mostly meaningless to those not on a very specific path with certain levels of understanding of their place on that path.....so mostly NOT for regular humans.
*** there are tons of fun math things to work out on this if you wish...use circles, measure distances, and look at the ratios over time of experience.