A lesson about Ki
This was originally published in my Aiki eLetter (Aikido Newsletter) on September 13, 2004.
I have been hobbling around for two weeks with a badly sprained ankle; but it’s much better now, and things are returning to normal. How did I do it? Inattention. I was dashing round a corner, and I was distracted by a pretty girl who walked in front of me!
Anyway, that’s why I’m a few days late with this issue. 🙂
‘Grow flowers from your fingertips’. That’s a quote from Virginia Mayhew, my first Aikido teacher who introduced me to Aikido in Hong Kong.
I’m not sure if she got the ‘flowers’ image from O-Sensei himself, for she learned at the Ueshiba’s Honbu Dojo before it was even named Aiki-Kai. And Morihei Ueshiba still taught regularly.
Of course, Virginia may have got the phrase from Koichi Tohei, as well. Because he was the manager of the Ueshiba family dojo at that time – the early to mid 1960s.
I’ve heard Aikido teachers who teach extending Ki say it is like releasing a jet of water from your fingertips… You then visualize a water jet of Ki energy that extends out to infinity.
But ‘growing flowers’ is a much more gentle and beautiful image. (If you’re tensed up, you can’t extend Ki. And neither can you imagine that you can ‘grow flowers’ from your fingers.)
I mention it here as a reminder from Virginia Mayhew. Aikido should be relaxed and joyful, never angry, frightened or tense.
If you have any of those negative feelings, your Ki is not centered. You have lost your Ki.
So relax. Center your Ki once again, two inches below your navel. And ‘grow flowers from your fingertips’.
O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba knew war and death and struggle from first-hand experience. But after his ‘enlightenment’, he came to view violence as a form of temporary insanity.
We all need to relax, smile, and grow flowers from our fingertips! Make the world a better place.