Mind & Body Mastery for Sports, Music and Life – SAKHAROFF.COM

On Ki/ 1 – Dead vs. Living Stillness – Can You Win the Battle?

I just returned from the trip to Russia with my juniors. Fantastic trip rewarded with the joy of meeting my family and a bunch of new books in russian. BTW it’s pretty amazing to visit a bookstore with a whole bookshelf dedicated strictly to Aikido and several ones on breathing techniques…

Well, revenons à nos moutons. One of the books i bought was a translation of Koichi Tohei’s (1920-2011) “Ki in Daily Life”. I cannot recommend it enough, it’s simply a gem of life wisdom from the founder of Ki Aikido. I want to quote one piece of his wisdom: “Dead stillness is not a real stillness. Stillness in action is a real stillness. We have to learn to maintain the coordination of mind and body in everyday life.”

Kohei is talking about the ability to maintain centered attention throughout the day. He is talking about keeping one point concentration, the point also called Hara, situated 3 cm below the navel. In an interview to the american Black Belt magazine from 1965 he says: “I definitely keep my one point at all times. If you do it only in the dojo, you cannot develop your ki because the training you receive in the dojo is too short. Only an hour or two a day is not enough. You must do it until it becomes a part of you and you do it naturally – unconsciously like breathing. Too many beginners do not really understand and keep concentrating on the one point (a point 2 inches below your navel) almost in a physical manner. They look at their expanded bellies and think they are doing it right. They do not understand they must concentrate, not intensively, but calmly.”

dead or living stillnessAnother great figure, samurai, philosopher and painter Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) wrote a following story in one of his books. Its about this swordsman, who’s reputation was not as great as Musashi’s but have been regarded as undefeated in his time. When he was asked how was it that he managed to remain undefeated all that time, he simply said that before each match he will draw his sword and slightly tap the tip of his opponents sword. From there he could gauge whether his opponent had the living stillness or the dead stillness within him. For those that had the latter, he then proceeded to attack with vigour and win the fight. But for those with the former, he would find some excuse for not fighting. Thus he wouldn’t have to scrap in a fight he wasn’t assured of winning…

Do you imagine how much we could gain from training one pointed attention and being centered throughout the day – living in the now, not past or future, but NOW? Choosing only the battles we can win – but mostly not taking everything we hear, sense, feel and see too personally. Wow, what a breathtaking freedom…

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today”
John Lennon (1940-1980)

Sounds good? Let’s talk about dead and living stillness and other interesting stuff at my free seminars on Buteyko breathing normalization system for reversal of chronical diseases and on my own DancingSword peak performance training program every Wednesday and Thursday 19.00 at my DancinSword school in Fredensborg. See ya guys 😉

Meanwhile you are welcome to read my other recent articles:
Stress – head-based motivation of goals vs. integrated inspiration of process
Deadlines and stress – how is your belly supposed to feel?
Training system for musicians to help athletes and sick
Asthma is common among Olympic athletes! – The big question is WHY?

Misha Sakharoff
DancingSword.dk – Mind & Body Mastery for Sport and Life


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