Updated: Dec 8, 2019
"Even though surrounded
By several enemies set to attack,
Fight with the thought
That they are but one."
- Morihei Ueshiba
This is one of the many poems or ‘doka’ by O’Sensei, which his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba chose to include in his book The Spirit of Aikido. Aikido is partly about relaxing, extending ki, keeping the “one point” and cultivating the “weight underside” concept. All of these principles are exemplified in this poem. Ki cannot flow unless the body is relaxed. The relaxed body, flowing with ki is free of stress allowing dedicated focus on everything at hand during any given moment of time. The relaxed body which is extending ki allows for focus on allowing all movements to originate from the hara (anatomical center). The relaxed body, extending ki, moving from the hara can then be rooted to the earth.
If training is solely focused on what is before the eyes; the body, the attack, the thought of what technique to perform and how it should be executed, then the principles will grow but not be as powerful as when the principles are in motion and accepting of all energy from all directions. The mind must be mindful to the rear, to the front, to the left and to the right. It must be in the hara, in the arms, beyond the arms into the group, beyond the group to the walls of the dojo and beyond the walls of the dojo to the mountains and the plains. The power of ki will always be in direct relation to how far it is sent in every direction.
Ki training must be done while alone as while in the company of many, whether it be in the dojo or a crowded public venue. It cannot be turned off if it is to grow and it cannot be forgotten when the overwhelming occurs. It is the root of what we are and how we live. The physical aspect of Aikido training can be soft and hard, yin and yang, but the connection of ki between one-to-many participants dictates the power and perception of hard versus soft Aikido. Multiple attacks can be overwhelming but only because we choose to view it in that way. It is a group of attackers and the word “group” is singular so it is truly a singular attack which requires attention. If focus is given to each individual in the group then focus is truly lost because the mind is drawn into many directions, preventing the ki to flow, breaking the connection to the hara and the earth. Train daily with multiple attack in mind. Treat all moments in the work place and in the home with a relaxed mind while extending ki in all directions. In the dojo, treat all single attacks as if from many approaching from all directions