Saturday 21 June 2014

Aikido and the Spiral

The purpose of the spiral is restoration of balance. This is to do with yin and yang, this is to do with centre, this is to do with your true nature, this is to do with loving acceptance.

The main thing to study I would say, when it comes to the spiral, is to first recognise it is a manifestation which appears when there is an imbalance to handle. This applies and is a spiritual principle and can then be seen in action in the mental field and the physical field also, as it is with all spiritual truths.

So let's take a look physically. A good place to start is in the bathtub or the sink. Watch the water go down the plughole. A spiral forms to handle it.

We have various energies at play here but basically we have one large body of water trying to get from 'a' to 'b'. Yet the hole is only small. So a spiral forms to handle it. The same with tornado's and hurricanes. We have high pressure and low pressure and heat and cold etc and when the imbalance is great enough and one side wants to rush into the other we have spirals forming. After which all is calm again.

Now there is another principle to consider here when addressing the spiral and that is the principle that energy prefers circles. What is a spiral actually? A series of connected circles.

This principle is used in the field of electronics with the copper coil and in building work with the drill and the screwdriver.

The spiral handles great quantities of energy......easily. The basis of taisabaki.

On a more jovial note have you heard about the whirlwind romance?

Now, mentally you can experience the spiral in many ways. What about when you are trying to understand something and the book or person is giving you so much data all at once that you go dizzy, you spin mentally. A spiral manifesting to handle the overload.

Balance restored mentally is what we call understanding.

Aikido uses the whole complete spiral which is actually a torus. Imaginge an egg timer. It's like two cones. A simplified way of seeing the completeness. Up and outwards wherein lies kokyu, down and outwards wherein lies koshi.

Two dimentionally it is the figure 8 or infinity.

Lastly I would say that the most important point is the principle of the circle.

The circle of light thus is utilized by the phenomenon of the spiral.


Tuesday 17 June 2014

R.I.P. Sensei.

Today I received the sad news that my Sensei had passed away yesterday. Sensei Mike Muspratt, seen in the photo above.(left)

So excuse my indulgence as I give a few reminiscences here.

It was in the late seventies that I came across him teaching Aikido in Watford. I was searching....knowing there was something spiritual I was looking for. My friend and I had numerous discussions about what we 'stood for' and we got into lots of situations against gangs and bullies and hooligans but also thought that the paths we were leading wouldn't end up somewhere nice. So we were searching....both of us. I could only word this something as chi at the time. I had studied a few martial arts and my friend was a very competent boxer but he found that it was easy to hurt people and take blows but seemed pointless now......there must be something else.

So one day he came to me and said he had found a guy who seemed to be what we were looking Watford of all places....and there was me saving to go to Japan or China. I said I would come that night and he said that you have to have an invitation and meet the guy first. Well, I was in such a state of mind shall we say that I said no, I'm coming....he'll have to throw me out if he don't like it.

Well, I went, got changed, joined in....asking nobody. I just followed what everyone was doing. Then out came the teacher from a little side room and everyone stopped and sat seiza. I followed the rituals as best I could, hoping he wouldn't notice me. Then the class began.....long warm up then Aikido. I remember the first strange thing I saw was someone doing unbendable arm. I went straight to him and asked him to show me. Wow....I gotta learn this. Inside I was up and running.

Meanwhile I was aware, I thought, that he still hadn't noticed me and so to me my plan was working. Anyway....come the end of the lesson everyone started getting changed and my friend said that some stayed for tea afterwoods. Then shock, horror, I saw the teacher heading my direction. "This was it" I thought,"now for trouble". I braced myself for the oncoming telling off or worse and felt like I was ready for anything...."I don't care!" Mike approached and as our eyes met he just smiled. Woah....I felt like an iceberg melting mixed with a balloon deflating. He asked my name and asked me if I would like to see something. I said yes and he went and picked up a broom. He held the handle and told me to grab the brush end. Then he told me to use all my atrength to push him over. I laughed and thought "easy!!!" and proceeded to push. "Huh???" That didn't make sense. So I pushed using both hands and all my body weight and all it made him do was proceed to stand on one leg yet it felt I was pushing against a mountain.....impossible. Yet the effect on me was like a light had been switched on. Anyway he then asked if that was the direction I wanted to go and with eyes wide I almost shouted "yes!!!" at which point he said that I was welcome. Phew! What a mind blowing, life changing experience on that first meeting.

Mike had broken away from from the Aikido organization at the time and decided to call his Aikido Zen Shin Kan. He told us that people refused to meditate and use Ki and they were going the wrong direction. He had met and trained with Tohei Sensei and had decided that the principles of Shin shin Toitsu, the format, would be his way of teaching yet once again not as a member of the newly formed Ki Aikido organization. So his way was teaching the principles of such yet really only quoting and demonstrating the words of Ueshiba and sometimes other Japanese he had trained with....Noro seemed to be his favorite.

Mike was very spiritual yet very messing....his Aikido was soft yet fierce. Zen definitely suited his way. With the sword......unsurpassed by any I have seen. Also very zen like he had the knack of knowing what was on your mind and giving you a relevant puzzle to solve.

I remember one occasion early on when people from another dojo came as he had let them use his dojo. They were from a yoshinkan dojo. Apparently there had been some kind of trouble and a so called fierce Teacher from Japan had been overstepping the mark and damaging students. So Mike let them come to our dojo and sure enough they then reported how said teacher was furious. Typical Mike...he told them to tell him to come down the following sunday and bring his sword. Magically that ended the problem.

Ahhh, too many memories and stories and experiences.

Mike...Sensei....Thanks for Being There.

R.I.Peace. Graham.

Monday 16 June 2014

Aikido...complimentary opposites

I'll start by saying complimentary opposites are all good...thus there are no negatives.There is no good and bad for bad is not the complimentary opposite of good.

I find that the whole theory Aikido wise of the circle is and the principle of the circle is much to do with these complimentary opposites. The two working together form a cicle.....the circle is perfect.

Love and life are complimentary opposites. They form a circle. So in life it is best to only find and do what you love. Only then will you feel complete for only then will you truly Be. It's your life and it's your's your circle.

Now, if we look at energy and pathways of energy we can look from the viewpoint of geometry. Give if you will energy some life.....and you will find given the choice energy loves and prefers circles. People in construction and architechture know this principle and thus they build arches. Plane builders know this too and thus the windows of planes are circular. Nature knows this too and thus we utilize this in Aikido.

Spiritually in Aikido you must learn to see the circles without which you will never understand ma ai, or even kotegaeshi or the wave indeed. You will never understand entering for it is all to do with the circle.

About a year ago now I was visited by long term Aikidoka who wanted to meet and one of the things he wanted to 'test' was what I said about the circle for I said you actually have to put it there and 'see' it for real. So as a demo I asked that we get into a grappling 'match'. So we wrestled each other and then stopped. Then we did it again but this time I said I would use the circle. Gently like holding a baby I lowered him to the floor while he struggled and fought but found it had no effect.

All was in the circle.

The book of five rings? The book of five circles.


Tuesday 10 June 2014


POWER. Too much talk about power and how to get power and what leads to power. Sometimes it seems to me that everyone is after power. We have internal power, we have correct structure leading to power, we have this fascination with power. Well to me it's all a load of nonsense. It's the usual human backward think.

Power is not a RESULT. Why would anyone in their right mind search for power? An insane folly.

I have stated before so many times that power is something everyone already has. Thus it cannot be something you gain through doing x, y, z. Thus the majority of folk are led down the path of ridiculousness.

Let's take such statements like the one I just read via some Aikido pratitioner and generally agreed with yet upon inspection is nuts. Statements like correct posture, structure leads to power. No it doesn't. Nothing leads to power. It leads to something but never to power.

You already have power. Now this is where 'bun' comes into play. You have the power to already have it.

What is the result of good learning? Ability. So through good learning and application you gain ability. Full stop. You have the power to learn and that's the only power there is.

In fact a statement I read only last night was given as leading to power and I just shook my head in disbelief. It led to understanding, a necessary thing on the way to gaining ability if applied properly but there you are once again putting things backward. You have the power to learn and thus to understand and thus to practice according to that understanding and then to finally gain an ability. That's natural, that's so natural that babies and toddlers do it without books or diplomas.

So isn't it funny how so many are enticed by the thought of power? Doesn't that show us something? Yes indeed it does. It shows us how badly educated they are for they feel they have no power and believe it's something you gain. Upside down! Inverted.

The search for power is self defeating.


Sunday 8 June 2014

Aikido...No Techniques?

Techniques, techniques, techniques.....generally there is a great overemphasis on techniques as everyone tries to improve their techniques.

On the other hand there are those who 'discover' so called 'techniqueless Aikido'.

It makes me wonder why on both counts.

The truth of the matter is as far as I am concerned that most therefor do not even understand the word technique itself.

Technique is the result of applied principle. How many know which principle is in effect and leads to the technique called kotegaeshi? How many know which principle is in effect which leads to iriminage? Yet blindly people try to improve their technique. Thus they get all bound up in the physical oblivious to the underlying spiritual principle.

Now on the other hand those who emphasize the more spiritual sometimes deny the technical and thus technique. So once again they don't really understand what technique is.

Spiritually speaking true aikido is about natural universal manifestation. O.k. but what is this natural manifestation? What form does it take? Well it takes the form of energy and motion in harmony. Now, when you understand the energy manifestations and their FORM then you will understand the resultant form which is called technique.

The ways of energy needs to be understood to understand these forms....NATURAL WAYS of energy.

Irimi is a natural way of energy yet I have never met one person yet who could show why? I'm not talking about the technique here called iriminage but rather the motion called irimi. Bun means study...

It's all good.G.