I remember thinking as a first grader that sitting up straight was somehow an important thing for me to be doing. At the time, it was primarily a matter of what I thought the teacher expected of us kids. But now, after practicing Aikido Kokikai for a number of years, I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve realized that correct posture is far more important than it seemed back in grade school, when I sat in my little wooden chair with my back straight and my chest out. (Until, after a few minutes, I got sick of it and went back to slumping.)
When I first started practicing Aikido, there was a banner at the front of the room with the four basic principles of Aikido printed on it. One of those four principles was \”Extend Ki\”. I imagined that somehow, perhaps after years of training, or through some sudden revelation, I would discover what Ki was, and – if I was real lucky – how exactly you \”extend\” it.
A number of years ago, at the end of a seminar taught by Aikido Kokikai founder Sensei Shuji Marauyama, I went up to Sensei to thank him. He had these words for me: \”Oh, Jim. Everything\’s perfect. Just more relaxed!\”
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies. Loosely translated, Aikido means \”way of harmonizing or blending with energy. Aikido techniques are intended to be implemented after first blending with the motion of the attacker, so that the defender may redirect the attacker\’s momentum without directly opposing it, thus using minimum effort. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.