MindBody Aikido is the practice of aikido with mind and body coordinated. We use the marvellous system of aikido, devised by the founder Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), as a tool to explore synchronising mind and body to produce surprising results consistently.
Aikido is a synthesis of three root words: ai (harmony), ki (universal energy), do (a path or Way).
Ueshiba emphasised that, to live optimally in the world, we need to harmonise with the forces of nature. This contrasts with the modern response of fighting with or trying to control nature or other people.
In order to harmonise with the world, we need to relax physically, to calm our mind and senses, and be open to what the world and people are saying to us. By practising mindbody coordination, we naturally harmonise with the principles of nature.
According to most - if not all - traditions around the world, the origin of the material universe is a subtle energy. This philosophy of ongoing creation is called Vitalism. In quantum physics, this is the field from which subatomic particles appear and disappear millions of times every second, to form the illusion of a constant physical world.
On the individual level, ki is the subtle energy aspect of our bodies. Ki is the energetic blueprint that precedes DNA, that governs the growth and regeneration of the body. According to traditional healthcare, by identifying and correcting dysfunctional ki in the body, disease can be reversed or at least alleviated. This forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and acupressure, and Healing with MindBody Coordination.
Another aspect of ki is how it flows according to mental intention - "where the mind goes, energy flows." By practising MindBody Aikido, we gain a sense of an attacker's intention through feeling, and learn to capture, control and neutralise an attacker's ki.
Thus Ueshiba became "invincible" because he could perceive his attacker's intentions and lead their ki, possibly even before they had initiated their physical attack.
Seeing me before him,
The enemy attacks,
But by that time
I am already standing
Safely behind him.- Morihei Ueshiba
In the time the various martial arts were studied - and used - by the samurai warrior class in ancient Japan, the arts were purely combative and intended to disarm or kill as efficiently as possible.
Over the last 200 years the samurai class was disbanded and prohibited from carrying weapons. In the 20th century, martial arts were prohibited and went underground. Morihei Ueshiba had come across a number of spiritual teachers in his life, and through his own spiritual experiences, he evolved his art from combative aiki-jutsu, to aiki-do, a Way of self-development. This transformation also occured in the sword arts (kendo), the bow (kyudo), and grappling (judo). Elements of Zen and Shinto were integrated to inform these arts of self-discovery and self-mastery.
A Way is therefore a particular study and practice, which involves self-discipline and introspection, through which a person can come to understand their limiting and conflicted beliefs, and transcend them. This not an intellectual approach, but a holistic approach involving body and mind, which transforms a person's life experience.