KASHIWAYA SENSEI

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  • Excerpts from Instructors' Manual

    The following essays are from the manual distributed at the 2000 Instructors' Intensive:

  • Ki Breathing
  • How to do Ki Breathing
  • Kagen - Ki Testing

  • Ki Breathing

    Ki Breathing means whole body breathing. It can be described in the following three ways:
    • External Breathing (Lung Breathing) ­ Drawing air into and expelling from the lungs through the nose or mouth.

    • Internal Breathing ­ The process in which an animal or person takes in oxygen from the air and releases carbon dioxide through the circulation of blood in the vascular system; The process in which air is carried through the bloodstream to the lungs where carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is carried through the blood to the rest of the body.

    • Skin Breathing ­ The skin breathes taking in oxygen, releasing carbon dioxide. The skin also regulates body temperature by allowing heat to escape.
    Correct Ki Breathing should be natural and comfortable, not forced. Mankind exists as a part of the universe. By breathing, the Ki of a person's whole body intermingles with the Ki of the universe and becomes refreshed. Breathe out so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the universe; breathe in so that your breath reaches your one point and continues infinitely there.

    • Ki Breathing can be done every day.

    • It is an indicator of oneıs health

    • By doing Ki Breathing, you are able to develop coordination of mind and body as well as be able to face any difficulty or danger.

    • Especially if you practice Ki Breathing just before sleeping, "Plus Ki" enters the subconscious mind and subsequently you are able to direct your life in the positive direction


    How to do Ki Breathing

    1. Sitting with coordination of mind and body ­ Sit with big toes crossing lightly, both knees slightly open, about two fists apart. Place both hands lightly on the thighs with fingers naturally pointing downward. Straighten the sacrum and relax the whole body while bringing the mind down to one point.

    2. Exhaling ­ Close eyes gently. Open mouth slightly and start to exhale calmly, as if saying ³ah² without using your voice. Maintain the same sitting posture while exhaling. Imagine that the whole breath comes out slowly from the entire body. Exhale for about 15-20 seconds.

    3. Complete Exhalation ­ Imagine breathing out completely down to the toes while you incline the head slightly forward and bend body slightly forward. Pause calmly for a few seconds.

    4. Inhaling ­ Keeping the same posture as when finishing the exhalation close mouth and being to inhale calmly through the nose with a smooth, relaxed sound like the tranquil sound of an ever-flowing stream. Imagine inhaling gradually from the toes through the legs, abdomen, and chest for about 15 seconds. Note: Maintain the same posture while inhaling; do not move head or shoulders upward during inhalation.

    5. Complete Inhalation ­ When your breath has reached through to the chest, return the upper body to the original position. As you finish the inhalation, your head should return to the original position calmly. Note: Do not over-stretch or lean back when returning to the original position.

    6. Complete Cycle ­ By the time you feel you have finished inhaling, maintain the same posture for a few seconds before beginning the next exhale. Total length of cycle (exhalation, pause, and inhalation) is about 45 seconds.
    Like the essence of training coordination of mind and body, Ki Breathing will start to positively effect your daily life. It is not necessary to demonstrate how much you can do Ki Breathing by the number of hours you breathe, how long you can breathe, etc. Ki Breathing exercise is an invisible practice, like the developing roots of a tree. Through slow and consistent practice, you will benefit most from Ki Breathing and you may eventually notice the depth of your roots.

    Kagen

    KAGEN ­ addition and subtraction; allowance for; degree; extent; measure; condition; seasoning; flavor; moderation; adjustment; influence (of the weather); state of health; chance.

    In Japanese, there are many expressions using -kagen which indicates the proper adjustment of something. For example, hikagen ( hi = fire) doesn't just mean the adjustment of temperature in cooking. It also implies proper adjustment of timing as well as the consideration of the diner and ingredients. Again in cooking, mizukagen (mizu = water) is the proper adjustment of water in terms of whether a dish calls for steaming, boiling, or soaking, etc while taking into account the elements that are not outlined in a recipe. These elements, time of year, ingredients, diner, etc. are known by every good chef through experience.

    Other Japanese expressions using -kagen-:

    • tekagen (te = hand) ­ (vs) (id) going easy on someone; take situational peculiarities into consideration; rough estimate; making an allowance for
    • Ii kagen ni shinasai! ­ Shape up!; Act properly!

    In our training, -kagen can be applied to the elements of Ki Tests. Ki Tests are not just the examiner pushing the examinee. If the examinee doesnıt move, was Ki really tested? It is how the examiner approaches, touches, and pushes the examinee that is important. Through these actions, the tester tries to examine the "invisible" side of the person tested, not the obvious result of whether s/he moves or not. This means that the examiner must know what the "invisible elements" are.

    In order to be able to "see" these invisible elements, we must first understand the term, seishiga. Seishiga is roughly translated as "the image of seishi (living calmness)". In photography, a blurry image may indicate movement, but it is not a clear image of the movement. This blurry image is also a result of a photographer trying to ³capture² the movement statically. Seishiga is not static. It is not stopping on the movement itself to get a clear picture. In order to obtain a clear image, a photographer takes into account the "invisible" elements of the movement, the speed of film, lighting, etc.

    Another example of seishiga can be illustrated in the hitting of a ball. If we stop our eyes on the ball, we will miss it. "Seeing" the ball is not just what the eyes and brain takes in. We have to feel the "whole ball," which includes the invisible elements. In the same way, we should be able to see the "whole" of a situation with a calm eye.

    Going back to the example of cooking, a good chef is able to see the "invisible" elements important to hikagen and mizukagen because s/he loves cooking and cares about the diner. Like parents who are able to see their own children without being blinded by prejudice or love, a Ki examiner should be able to take in all the invisible elements of a Ki Test and adjust accordingly. The Ki examiner should know "kikagen."


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