Environmental Factor, April 2007, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Ki Aikido Instructor Demonstrates Mind-Body Synergy
By Eddy Ball
As part of NIEHS Women's History Month celebration, on March 21 in Rodbell Auditorium third-degree black belt Mayumi Case gave a demonstration and talk on "Self-Empowerment for Women Using Mind/Body Coordination." A native of Japan, the diminutive Case has nearly a decade of experience in Shinshin Toitsu (mind-body coordination) Aikido, a school of martial arts that emphasizes the oneness of mind and body or "mind be the body," and she is the head instructor at Raleigh Ki Aikido.
One of Case's first objectives was to dispel the notion that martial arts necessarily involves the lethal kicks and flat-hand chops people see in the movies and on television. As Case teaches it, the discipline is a defensive tool when needed and a way of life, leading to harmony with others, positive thinking and self-empowerment - and away from negative introspection, conflict and collision.
"Women have a greater advantage when it comes to learning this concept and applying it in their lives," Case began. "We pay more attention to our internal state, and we can't resort to our physical strength, because we don't have it." The people who seem to learn Ki Aikido the most quickly are the most vulnerable, including children, women and older people.
After introducing the four principles of Ki Aikido (see sidebar), Case asked for volunteers. With the first, she explained how to find the "one point," a center of gravity in the lower abdomen, and focus weight downward as a defensive mechanism. With her second volunteer, Case, who is petite at 5'1" and 120 pounds, demonstrated her power to resist the attack of a much taller, heavier and more muscular young man.
The "ki" in Ki Aikido, she explained, "can be translated roughly as 'energy, life force or universal mind.'" It is the opposite of what she called "selfish mind" and gives the school its distinctive quality. In many ways, achieving oneness of mind and body is a return to an original state of integration. "Ki Aikido involves attention to the natural state," she continued. "There's nothing mystical about it. We all have that power."
Four Major Principles to Unify Mind and Body
Keep one point: Allow your mind to dwell naturally at the one point in your lower abdomen.
- Relax completely: To relax completely is to completely release all stress from your total self -- mentally, physically, and emotionally.
- Keep weight underside: The weight of any object is naturally underside. Therefore, allow the weight of every part of your body to be naturally underside.
- Extend Ki: Our Ki is part of the Ki of the Universe. When we extend Ki out, new Ki naturally comes in to replace it. In this way, our Ki is always circulating with the Universe. This is our original and natural state. Everything in the Universe is born of the Ki of the Universe and returns to it.
"If we unify our mind and body, become one with the Universe, and practice its principles, others will follow us gladly. Do not say that this is a world where we must struggle to live each day. The true way to success is exactly one and the same as the principle
of non-dissension, and that is the way to peace."
Ki Aikido Master Tohei Sensei