Let us have a universal spirit that loves and protects all creation and helps all things grow and
develop. To unify mind and body and become one with the universe is the ultimate purpose of
Four major principles to unify mind and body:
1. keep one-point
2. relax completely
3. keep weight underside and
4. extend ki.
2. The value of our existence
Our lives are born of the Ki of the Universe. Let us give thanks for being born not as plants and
animals, but as human beings blessed with a Universal Mind. Let us pledge to fulfil our missions
by helping to guide the development and creation of the Universe.
3.The way to union with ki
The absolute universe is one. We call this ki. Our lives and our bodies are born of the ki of the
universe. Study thoroughly the principles of the universe and practice them. We are one with the
universe. There is no need to despond, no need to fear. The way we follow is the way of the
universe, which no difficulty nor hard-ship can hinder. Let us have the courage and say, ‘if I have
a clear conscience and a calm spirit, I dare to face an enemy of ten million”.
4. Unification of mind & body
Mind and body were originally one. Do not think that the power you have is only the power you
ordinarily use and moan that you have little strength. The power you ordinarily use is like the
small visible segment of an iceberg. When we unify our mind and body and become one with the
universe, we can use the great power that is naturally ours.
5. The one point in the lower abdomen
The universe is a limitless circle with a limitless radius. This condensed becomes the one point in
the lower abdomen, which is the centre of the universe. Let us concentrate our mind in this one
point and become one with and send our ki constantly to the universe.
We are accustomed to having trouble with nervousness unnecessarily. Nervousness causes blood
vessels to contract, making it difficult for the impurities to leave the body, and thus makes one
susceptible to many diseases. Relaxation is truly the elixir of life. Let us spread the true method of
relaxation, which enables us to meet each day with a spirit like that of a mild spring breeze. If we
practice this, we never need get nervous and excited in our daily affairs.
7. Living calmness
The weight of objects is always naturally underside. Therefore the physical expression of living
calmness is that the weight of every part of the body is also underside. Like the calm still surface
water that reflects the moon and a flying bird, true living calmness is the condition of our mind
that reflects all things clearly. This is our original and natural state. By understanding these
principles, we can acquire true living calmness.
8. Plus life
The absolute universe is one. Then two opposing forces appeared, and the relative world was
born. In the orient this dualism is called ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, in the west, ‘plus’ and ‘minus’. a bright
happy life is called a ‘plus life’, and a dark gloomy one is called ‘minus’. Let us eliminate every
minus thought and strive for plus life henceforth.
9. The subconscious
The subconscious mind acts as a storehouse of knowledge and past experiences. The materials
stored in the subconscious mind form the conscious mind. Henceforth let us cease putting any
minus materials into the subconscious. Let us always extend plus ki and live our life with a
10. The principle of non-dissension
There is no conflict in the absolute universe, but there is conflict in the relative world. If we unify
our mind and body become one with the universe, 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 of peace.
11. The definition of ki
We begin with the number one in counting all things. It is impossible that this one can ever be
reduced to zero. Because just as something cannot be made of nothing, one cannot be made from
zero. Ki is like the number one. Ki is formed from infinitely small particles, smaller than an atom.
The universal ki condensed becomes an individual, which further condensed becomes the one
point in the lower abdomen, which in turn infinitely condensed never becomes zero, but becomes
one with the universe. Thus we understand the essence of ki.
12. Ki development exercises
It is easier to coordinate mind and body when we are sitting or standing still than when we are in
motion. But true unification means to maintain the coordination of mind and body even when we
are moving. The ki development exercises train one to always maintain the unification of mind
and body in our daily life. By applying them to our life, we can perform to the best of our ability
in all circumstances.
13. The unity of calm and action
Just as tops spinning violently and rapidly becomes steady, the most rapid movements results in
calm. Like the eye of the typhoon, which, is always peaceful, inner calm results in great strength
of action. Calm and action are exactly one. Only when we keep our one point and unify our mind
and body, can we find spare time even when we are busy. Keep a calm mind and you will be able
to perform to the best of your ability, even in an emergency or when facing important tasks.
True ‘fudoshin’ is not a rigid, immobile state of mind, but the condition of stability, which comes
from the most rapid movement. In other words, like the steadiness of a spinning top, the state of
perfect spiritual and physical stability arises from movement, which continues infinitely and is so
infinitely rapid that it is imperceptible. This movement is condensed at the one point in the lower
abdomen. By putting everything in the one point, we can experience ‘fudoshin’ and not lose our
stability no matter what happens.
15. Ki breathing exercises
Breathe out, so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the universe: breathe in, so that
your breath reaches your one point and continues infinitely there. The ki breathing methods are
an important way of unifying mind and body. At night when all is quiet and calm, do this alone,
and you will feel that you are the universe and that the universe is you. It will lead you to supreme
ecstasy of being one with the universe. At this moment the life power that is rightfully yours is
16. Kiatsuho - pressing with ki
We have learned coordination of mind and body and the ‘ki breathing methods’. Therefore we
can bring the ki of the universe into our bodies at anytime. When a water pump is dried out, no
water can flow from the well up through the pump. To start this flow again we must put some
water back into the pump. In the same way, ki does not flow strongly in a person suffering from
illness or misfortune. Let us practice ‘kiatsuho’ to put back into these people, stimulate their own
flow of ki, and give them a fresh start to happiness.
17. Reiseishin - the universal mind
We are blessed with a spirit that is one with the spirit of the universe. This spirit is called
‘reiseishin’. The moon is clearly reflected in the water when the water is calm. In the same way
when our mind and body are unified and calm, our ‘reiseishin’ manifests itself completely. Once
this happens all suffering and wicked desires fall away, and the universal spirit of love and
protection for all things appears in us. Let us strive to realise our ‘reiseishin’.
18. The mind that seeks truth
We call the mind that wants to make the way of the Universe clear and to put it into practice the
mind that seeks truth. However clever a dog or a monkey may be, they cannot realize the
universal mind. Only human beings have the privilege and capacity to realise it. If you have a
mind that seeks truth, you are happy because this is the proof that you are a real human being.
An old oriental saying tells us, ‘when our willpower is concentrated upon a stone, it can pass
through it. When our willpower is focused and in harmony with the universe, it can command the
wind, rain and thunder’. But from where does our willpower come? Those who understand and
answer this question are those who accomplish important tasks. When we coordinate mind and
body by stilling the waves of our mind to imperceptible, infinitely decreasing ripples, we can send
forth our great willpower that moves the universe.
20. Intoku - good done in secret
Just as the number one never can be reduced to zero, once we act or speak, our action or speech is
never completely erased. An old oriental saying tells us, ‘sow good, and the harvest will be good. Sow
evil and reap evil’. We must understand that everything we do comes back to ourselves. Therefore
before wishing for our own happiness and welfare and that of our children, we must do good in
secret. To do good in secret means to act without seeking attention and praise, to act without any
hope of reward. This is called ‘intoku’. Among the various ways of performing intoku, to walk the
way of the universe and to lead others along this way is best.
21. Setsudo - teaching the way of the universe.
Selfish people have never understood and travelled the way of the universe in the past. Therefore
when we realise the principles and the way of the universe, the universe gives us the responsibility
to spread them to the world. Do not think that you cannot help another person. What you learn
today, you can teach another the next day. The world is full of people who have lost the way of
the universe and suffer illness. Let us do our best to explain the correct principles of the universe
22. The treasure of ki testing.
Having no colour, no odour and no shape, the mind is not something that can be grasped by the
senses. However, based on the principle that the mind and body are actually one, we can know the
state of this ungraspable mind by testing the body, which is available to our senses. Ki tests are not
founded on the idea of testing for strength or weakness. The most important factor in ki testing is to
accurately inform the person of the state of his or her mind. Thus, the person performing ki tests
must truly understand and exhibit oneness of mind and body from the outset and then perform the
Nature appears to us in four seasons.
The spring is bright and warm, the summer lazy and hot.
The fall is decked with colour with a trace of sadness, and the winter frosted and severe. Similarly,
the movement of shin shin toitsu aikido are rich and varied. There is both severity and kindness,
speed and calmness. It is designed to express the many moods and characteristics of men and
women, young and old. But if it for one moment varies from the principles of the universe, it is
no longer aikido with ki.
‘Do nothing’ does not mean ‘don’t do anything’, ‘mu’ or ‘nothing’ is not merely the lack of
something. It refers to the state in which the mind has grown imperceptibly calm, and then
allowed things to take their natural course. If you can leave things entirely up to the universe and
not put up the slightest resistance, then you can pass the highest level of ki tests
After realising a principle, unless you learn it with your body you cannot expect to get true
understanding. Scholars in particular tend to learn in theory only. You must practice to be able to
return to essential principles at any moment.
Things appear very complex but underneath they are quite simple. People complicate things by
super-imposing their own viewpoints and advantages. If you remove all that is superfluous, most
problems have very simple solutions.
When you teach people it is useless to try to change their character. Correct their bad habits first,
then their true character can come through. Teachers must have a positive mind. If their attitude
is negative, it infects their students. Students cannot learn from bad examples until they develop
their own powers of judgement.
Until you can clearly make up your mind, you are better off not doing something. Make a habit of
being decisive in your daily affairs. Some people can be heard to say, ‘what will I do if I get
killed?!’ If you die, there is nothing you can do. Whatever you have to do, do it now, while you
are still living. You must practice to be able to return to essential principles at any moment.
Human beings cannot grow without feeling gratitude. Gratitude towards things is an attitude
which fosters growth.
Be vigorous and full of energy, and make ceaseless efforts. As instructors you must always be full
of positive ki. This means that little things do not discourage you and that you approach all things
boldly with an attitude of determination. Whenever you enter the dojo you must be in a positive
frame of mind. Your students come to the dojo in order to change their minds from minus to
plus. If the instructor is minus, there is no need to come.
The ki of the universe is absolute. There is no such thing as strong ki verses weak ki. Correctly
speaking, ki is strong only because it is strongly extended, weak only when it is not extended
strongly. There is no limit to how strong your ki can become if you train yourself to extend ki
The body has limits, the mind does not. It is fine to train your body, but you should not stop
there. While you are still young, you must train your mind. The body ages, but the mind does not.
Aikido with ki becomes effective the older you get, because you become less attached to your physical strength
and so can relax completely. Aikido without ki becomes weaker and weaker with age.
There are people who say, ‘oh, I’ve heard that story before’, when they listen to a ki lecture. In
doing this, they miss the chance to discover something new in it. The fact that it sounds the same
to them is just proof that their mind is too small to contain it.
The ki of the universe has never for a moment stopped moving. We call this continuous growth
and development. Do you think it strange that human beings seem to be the only one trying to
stop the movement of ki?
Because the four basic principles are ultimately the same, if you get one, you naturally have the
other three. However, in practice it is not that easy. When you teach from one direction, you tend
to go too far, and when you approach from the other direction, you tend to do likewise. So you
must swing back and forth like a pendulum, gradually approaching the centre. It seems after all,
that you do need four different approaches.
What good does it do if you can coordinate body and mind only in a quiet place? If you cannot be
unified in the midst of your daily work, what good does it do you? If you want to experience true
calmness, you must find ways to calm the waves of your mind in daily life.
By trying to get rid of distracting thoughts, that very effort only further disturbs the mind. Just as
you cannot calm waves on the waters’ surface by trying to smooth them out with your hand, the
mind cannot calm itself. If you try too hard to extend ki, you become tense and it does not work.
If you try too hard to calm the mind at the one point, you become too tense to do it. Rather than
think that you must extend ki or keep one point, just think that ki is already extending, or that
your mind is already calm at the one point, and let it alone.
Ki power is real power. If you send it out, it goes out. In the same way it is possible to protect
someone at a distance. When you believe and act as if ki power is real, then it becomes effective.
Since you have got to keep breathing as long as you live, you might as well practice ki breathing.
The blowing of the wind and the flowing of the clouds are expressions of the rhythms of the
universe. Each individual leaf that falls off a tree falls with its own rhythm. The same is true of ki
breathing. There is a proper rhythm to exhaling and inhaling.
People who are fast learners tend to pick things up so quickly that they lose out on the
opportunity for repetitious learning. Even if you learn something quickly with your conscious
mind, you will easily forget it after you stop practising. That which is learned with the
subconscious mind is not easily forgotten. Therefore to learn something with the subconscious
mind, requires months and years of training. Just because you were able to do it before, do not
assume that you can do it as well the second time. Each time you do something, you must return
to your beginner’s mind, and give it your best.
You must not think of what you learned as belonging to you. Your learning was only possible
because of the people who taught you. If you forget this, before you know it you fall under the
illusion that you are the only one who can do it, or the only one who understands. This is called
being full of yourself. It is wrong to think, ‘I am strong’, because this strength is nothing but
weakness turned inside out. You must think how to act within universal principles.
Instructors must always be positive. Even if someone fails at something, you must have the
energy to help them turn it into success. When teaching, always compare the correct way with the
incorrect way, side by side. Then the reasons for the correct way become obvious. You must
In order to lead with confidence you must first have ki extended. Whenever you undertake a task,
before you begin you should tell yourself that you can and will do it. If you make a habit of this
you will find that you can accomplish most anything that you try. If you find yourself forced to go
into a dangerous place, it is all the more important to extend very strong plus ki.
If you let yourself take things easy after you have finished a major task, then your ki slackens and
you will be unprepared for the next job. How can you expect to get anything done this way? If
you do not slacken your ki, then you will not be caught unprepared. Why do you think we
practice eight-way exercises for sending your ki equally in all directions?
You yourself do not heal the other person with Kiatsuho. By filling your own body with the ki of
the universe, you are able to then put it into the other person’s body, stimulating that person’s life
force, which is what does the healing. In order to do this, the person giving kiatsu must first unify
mind and body.
If you throw a stone into a lake, it makes waves on the surface. Eventually the waves disappear,
but just because you can longer see them does not mean that they are really gone. They have just
become too small for us to see them. In the same way, we calm our mind by half, half, half... and
the waves of the mind become infinitely calm. They never actually stop.
They say that you must sit upon a rock for three years. If you persist at something for that period
of time, you will gradually achieve a tangible result. When you meet an obstacle in training, you
should just quietly persevere. You will then always be able to overcome that obstacle, though later
you will meet another. This process is repeated infinitely. But the reason that you can go on is
that you know that the wall will eventually disappear. Is that not the same as having no wall to
When learning something new, you must never be critical at the beginning. Always do your
thinking after trial and error. Most people make up their mind one way or the other before they
even get started. The most important step is to remove your coloured glasses and get a clear view.
When your techniques are rough it means you are forcing against the principles; proof that you
are still immature. You will not be able to stand up to a stronger opponent you must
try to follow the principles. Your character comes out in your techniques. So do the habits of
your mind. By correcting the techniques, you can correct the bad habits of your mind. If you
constantly collide with others in your practice, your mind will develop a habit of clashing with
The purpose of ki-aikido is not self-defence; that is a mere by product. It is far more important to
learn to control the mind and body. It is too late to try to calm the mind after you take up the
sword. First you must calm the mind and then take up the sword. When you raise the sword up
overhead, do not cut your ki. Continue to calm the mind by half, half, half and create a living
calmness in that infinite reduction. When practising cutting with the sword, you will find infinitely
more value in cutting just five to ten times with ki fully extended, than you would in cutting a
thousand time with mere physical strength.
Some people are quick to find reasons and excuses why they cannot do things. This cuts their Ki
and in times stifles their motivation altogether. Motivation is extending Ki, not receiving it.
People today are more concerned with what they can get, than what they can give or do for
others. That is why they cannot extend Ki. Even our own training can be as intoku or good done
in secret. Because someday it will bear fruit in the ability to help others develop.
Until you change the sub conscience mind, you cannot say that you have learned something. If
something is worth learning, you should stick with it until you have changed your subconscious
mind. If you want something to go smoothly, send your ki to it fully. Being lazy only makes it
harder. Ultimately, you give up. Sending your ki to something is the easiest way to proceed.
If you hold a wooden staff with a tight grip and try to raise it overhead, it feels quite heavy. If you
hold it lightly it feels light. In the same way you should not approach things with too serious an
attitude. Take a lighter point of view. In other words, think positively.
-- Koichi Tohei.