Four Principles of Mind-Body Unification
There are Four Principles of Mind-Body Unification:
Keep One Point
Keep Weight Underside
Brief history of the Four Principles:
Whereas we can say that these principles reflect the laws of the universe and belong to no-one,
they were organized and taught in their current form by Koichi Tohei (more about Tohei Sensei).
Koichi Tohei was a student of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. After studying under
"O Sensei", Tohei Sensei started teaching the four fundamentals that he believed best reflected
the teachings of Ueshiba.
Tohei Sensei’s ultimate goal, from a pedagogical perspective, was to take concepts that often
seemed esoteric and mystical, and to make them easy to understand and demonstrate.
Tohei Sensei not only made these principles easy to understand for oneself, but through the
Four Basic Principles, he also made them easy to teach to others.
The power of the Tohei Sensei’s Four Basic Principles lies in their experiential nature, allowing you to experience first hand what it means to be relaxed, calm and strong. The implementation of the principles is easy to demonstrate but their effects are nothing but astonishing. It takes no prior experience or training and anyone can execute them.
When practiced regularly and applied to your daily life, they will prove to be a powerful way for you to tap into confidence which you have heretofore ignored.
The fact that they are universal and that it is easy to reproduce their effects makes them “scientific” in the true sense of the word.
They have been PROVEN to be REAL and EFFECTIVE.
Keep One Point
Located just below your navel, the “One Point” refers to a point in the body which can be considered to be the anatomical center of your body. But it is much more than that: it is the point in your body which YOU CANNOT PUT TENSION. The profoundness of this idea reflects the profound effects that Keeping Your One Point will have on your life.
It is located deep in the center of the body. Focusing your concentration on your One Point is a way of finding physical balance AND mental/emotional calm. Keeping your focus on your One Point allows you to “accept whatever happens without losing your composure.”
Breathing from your One Point (often referred to as abdominal breathing) will result in calmness of mind.
Koichi Tohei said in an interview: “O-Sensei was as solid as a rock but also very relaxed, and that combination made him extremely strong. He had mastered relaxation by completely integrating it into his body.”
When you relax completely, all parts of your body settle into their natural position. When relaxed completely, you will appear to be larger than you are. Your presence will be felt by those around you.
Perhaps the most powerful effect of relax completely is that it creates a state of non-dissension. Dissension being best defined as strife or conflict, non-dissension is the state where strife and conflict do not exist, especially within oneself.
Internal strife is without doubt the primary obstacle to performance.
Practicing relaxation at home will allow you to stay relaxed when you find yourself in situations of stress and conflict. When you can relax completely, conflict disappears and you can trust your abilities to perform. You will indeed become as solid as a rock.
Keep Weight Underside
Like the fallen tree in the forest, or a cat lying in the sun, all bodies sink to their lowest point. This is the underside.
When your weight is Underside, you are comfortable and light but your muscles do not sag. Your Ki is flowing freely. Your posture is strong and stable and your mind is flexible all at the same time. You can adapt quickly to changing conditions and you see things clearly.
In Eastern traditions, Ki is known as the universal energy. It is found everywhere. You have the ability to live in accordance with this energy and ride with it or you can ignore it.
Extending Ki is done by feeling how it can flow through your body through your One Point. When Ki is extending, your muscles are relaxed and strong. You are filled with energy. Your gaze is soft and you see far.
When you Extend Ki, you are bright and happy and you take joy in doing what you are doing. Extending Ki allows one to connect with others and with one's own Self.
Note: The above descriptions of the Four Principles of Mind Body Unification are extracted from "Ki no Kenko, Ki for Health". A link to this document can be provided upon request.