A simple westerner-friendly technique to calm the mind and learn a basic Aikido technique to develop Ki (Chi in Chinese), the universal life force.  Painting of Mushin by Kosi Gramatikoff, Costa Mesa kendo Dojo, California    Home


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The symbol for Ki-  the concept meaning 'life force' or 'spiritual energy'

Developing Ki

Presented below is the core philosophy as presented in Ryan's Den. The authors hope that the motion picture will be produced to bring awareness of the universal truths contained in this philosophy to a greater audience.

For millennia, man has searched for a source of superhuman power. He has practiced diligently in countless forms of athletic endeavor in an attempt to increase his muscular strength. Through his superior intelligence he attained the undisputed title of 'king of the jungle', but only with the aid of additional weapons. Man has always had to accept a level of physical power greatly inferior to many animals.

This search for superhuman power has led man to the far corners of this planet, especially to the Far East, where tales of yogis, swamis and martial arts masters with extraordinary physical power abound. But even if one were to find such a master, the time, money and dedication required to learn their ancient techniques would be prohibitive for most of us.

After an exhaustive search among the power centers of the Far East, poring over endless volumes of written material, and working with numerous alleged masters, the search culminated in Japan, a tiny country whose power as a nation has become legendary. Here we came into direct contact with The Source. The secret was discovered and has been distilled to a simple westerner-friendly process which almost anyone can appreciate and practice for him or herself.

The greatest single source of power on the planet available to man is gravity, the force which holds everything together. Gravity is the essence of the 'life force' which is referred to as Ki in Japan ( the 'ki' in Aikido) and Chi in China (the 'chi' in Tai Chi). Learning to harness this powerful force leads to the development of one's personal Ki or Chi. Learning to harness this power will take time and effort, but it is not nearly as difficult as one might think. Indeed, in the ancient traditions of the East, one acquires the technique by doing nothing, by learning to relax and allowing the power to work through him or her.

To begin, first find a comfortable seat which will enable you to sit erect, back straight with your hands folded comfortably in your lap and your feet squarely on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart. You may also sit crosslegged on the floor or on a cushion if that is comfortable for you. You may also kneel in what is known as Seiza in Aikido. Eventually you will be able to apply this technique standing up or moving about, but for learning and practice, the seated or kneeling position is most effective. The visual aid at the left on this webpage should be printed, cut out and placed in front of you at eye level, perhaps taped to a blank wall. You should try to rid yourself of all external distractions during your practice sessions. Ten or fifteen minutes per session is normally adequate at first, although you may wish to increase the time as you become more accomplished.

Now, relax your body completely, keeping your spine erect and concentrate on your breathing. This is a common form of meditation in many diferent world religions and disciplines. Breathe deeply in.... out.... in .... out .... in .... out .... Try to draw the breath from down deep in the abdominal area. This is sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing. It has been proven physiologically that this method of breathing is more beneficial than shallow 'chest-only' breathing. If you have difficulty with this form of breathing, it may be useful to take some time and lie down with your back flat on the floor, knees raised and practice this preliminary exercise. Place a book on your abdomen and try breathing deeply again. The book should rise and fall with your breath. Practice in this position until you can breathe comfortably and naturally in this manner. It is essential to master this deep or diaphragmatic breathing in order to begin to awaken awareness of your physical centre or HARA as it is known in Japanese. All effective physical endeavor depends upon proper breathing. Focusing your energy in HARA through deep breathing is the first step of this technique, with which, after some practice, you will begin to harness the infinite power of gravity or Universal Ki..

Now, once again, seated comfortably, back straight, hands folded in your lap, feet squarely on the floor (or crosslegged), and focus your eyes on the first symbol, HARA (hah-rah). Imagine the symbol is the cross-hairs of a rifle scope and visualize it is directly over a point two inches below your navel, HARA, the physical center of your body. This first step involves a deep, slow inhalation, drawing your breath in from your abdominal area or HARA with your attention calmly fixed there.

Second, shift your gaze to the second symbol, MUSHIN (moo-shin), which is an empty circle. As you exhale slowly, keep your attention on your physical centre, your HARA, but keep your mind focused on the empty circle. With practice, this empty circle should become a reflection of your mind, which is also empty of all thought. This is the meaning of the ancient Sanskrit word, MUSHIN... or literally "mind of no mind". This is the state that highly trained martial artists enter during combat. Once mushin is attained through the practicing or studying of martial arts, or through other arts or practices that refine the mind and body like this practice described here, the objective is to then attain this same level of complete awareness in other aspects of the practitioner's life.

Your mind should be empty, open but fully alert, aware and responsive. Indeed, only when your mind is empty, not caught up in extraneous thought processes, can it be fully alert and aware. Just as when you are busy talking out loud or thinking about something else, you can not be truly listening. You must first learn to empty your mind so that you can 'listen' for the force of gravity. Actually it is something you will begin to feel rather than hear, after you have learned to empty your mind of all thought. This is not easy, for the mind loves to chatter on incessantly, but if you continue to focus on the empty circle, seeing it as a reflection of your empty mind, eventually the mind will be still. If you dip a clear glass into a rushing river, and hold it up to the light, the water will be cloudy with sediment floating around in it. But if you set it down and let it be still long enough, the sediment will settle out and the water will become clear. So it is with the mind.

Now... practice these first two steps over and over: HARA - MUSHIN

Remember to breathe in slowly with the first and out slowly with the second. Eventually you should achieve a state of deep relaxation in which your mind is clear and alert, your body erect but relaxed and your attention fixed firmly on your physical centre or HARA.

When you have mastered the first two steps, you are ready to shift your gaze to the third symbol, SHIZEN (shee-zen). This is the Japanese word for Nature. You may recognize the symbol as the scientific designation for female, which we generally think of nature in terms of, i.e. mother nature, the force which encompasses all natural phenomena including gravity. Note that the cross-hairs from the first symbol have moved outside end below the circle symbolizing your contact with the earth. After a brief pause in your breathing, after the exhalation of MUSHIN in the second step, draw in a second deep breath from HARA but attempt to feel the force of gravity underneath the soles of your feet. It is actually a pulsating rhythm, like all forces in nature, and you must allow your own bodily rhythm to adjust to this subtle pulsation. Feel this force pulling through your feet, up your legs to your physical centre, your HARA.

In the fourth and final step of this process, you again exhale slowly, extending your energy from your centre in which ever direction you choose, through your hands for example, if you were trying to lift something. This is KIAI (kee-eye), another Japanese word used in martial arts to denote the sharp sound one makes in conjunction with a forceful expulsion of breath as he delivers a blow or absorbs one from an opponent. For the purposes of this exercise, simply exhale your breath slowly, pulling this gravitational force up through your feet through your physical centre or HARA where you are focusing it at a single point, and extending it through your eyes back to the fourth symbol KIAI. You may recognize this symbol as the scientific designation for male. The arrow represents the extension of this force outward.

You have now completed the four step process:


If you practice it faithfully, it will ultimately allow you to draw upon the infinite force of gravity, focus it through your own physical centre and extend it in whichever direction you choose. Once you have fully internalized the process, mastered the breathing technique and feel you are receiving and transmitting the gravitational force or Universal Ki, you may start experimenting with it, standing, moving, lifting, pushing pulling, punching, kicking, throwing, etc. Virtually every movement you make will be greatly enhanced if your movement and entire physical body is centered, balanced and in harmony with and transmitting the universal force.

While this simple process initially will help you with your physical endeavors, especially sports activities, you will ultimately discover how to apply it mentally as well, for you are now in touch with the greatest force in the universe, Ki. With the aid of this force, you will find all your efforts continually more and more effective.

May the Force always be with you, in you and moving through you.

The "system" on the website is borrowed from Aikido's "Four Basic Principles to Unify Mind and Body"

1. Keep One Point: This is a natural place of physical, mental and spiritual balance. By concentrating on our one point and keeping correct posture we naturally coordinate mind and body.
2. Relax Completely: When we calm our mind, our body naturally relaxes. By keeping one point, mind and body relax completely, releasing all stress and tension.
3. Keep Weight Underside: The weight of an object naturally settles at its lowest point. Living calmness is a state where the weight of our body naturally settles underside. When we relax completely we can always remain calm.
4. Extend Ki: Ki is living power. Extending Ki is to utilize our living power to the fullest extent. By focusing our mind and body we can live a healthy and vigorous life.
Those four principles correspond to HMSK. We simply developerd a one word mantra for each principle... HARA, MUSHIN, SHIZEN, KIAI - otherwise it is identical.

We would highly recommend as an adjunct to this meditation mantra that you also consider something like Japanese Aikido or even Tai Chi (Chinese system) to put these principles into action.