Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido – Ki is Extending

The original discussion of the Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido was in during the Zoom online training on June 12, 2022. Subsequently, in September and early October, we had discussions of the individual five principles, for which the transcripts are provided following the links below:
Sep 4: Ki is extending
Sep 11: Know your partner’s mind
Sep 18: Respect your partner’s Ki
Sep 24: Put yourself in the place of your partner
Oct 9: Lead and move.

Ki is Extending (Sep 2, 2022)

Good morning, everyone. 


I hope everyone is very good this morning. Why don’t we read “The Essence of Ki” this morning,

“We begin with the number one in counting all things. It is impossible that this one, even reduced to infinitely small particles of itself, can ever become zero. Because just as something cannot come from nothing, one cannot come from zero. Universal Ki is the infinite gathering of infinitely small particles. This 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. In this way, we are one with the universe. Thus, we realize the essence of Ki.”

No matter how many times we hear Ki defined for us by Tohei Sensei or others, it still remains a bit of a mystery. It’s not easy to pin it down exactly. Basically, Tohei Sensei is saying that Ki is everything there is. If we talk to a physicist, he will note that there are cells, then molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, and smaller and smaller. The smaller we look, the less identifiable something becomes as either a particle of matter, or a wave of energy. We cannot say if this Ki is an infinite gathering of particles of matter that makes up all the universe, or an infinite gathering of waves of energy. It all depends on how we want to look at it. If we test it as energy, we see a wave.  If we test it as matter, we see a particle. 

We see in Tohei Sensei’s Four Basic Principles what appears to be an injunction to keep Onepoint, relax completely, keep weight underside, and extend Ki. But as we look at these Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, the first one is not “extend Ki.” The first one is “Ki is extending.” This is because if we think, when we see our opponent, that we must extend Ki, it is too late. The point Tohei Sensei is making with this first principle here, is that we must already be in a state of extended Ki. In other words, we must already open and including everything there is in our field of awareness. We must be already looking, already seeing, and already feeling what is present in the moment. If we wait until we recognize that there is something significant that may affect us in the moment, and then we think to extend Ki, this is too late. Instead, this has to be a condition of our ongoing awareness. 

Okay, so that is enough about that for right now. As we’re practicing our Ki Breathing today, our Ki Meditation, our Mind Body Meditation, let’s notice if we already have Ki extending and we are already including everything in our awareness, calmly and completely.

Ki Breathing – 20 minutes

Ki Meditation – 13 minutes

Mind Body Meditation – 12 minutes

When we practice together this way, we naturally feel fully aware of our body and our surroundings. We notice that we’re filled with Ki and are aware now of what it feels like to be alive and present. And so, I’d like to hear someone else say something about this experience of Ki is extending.

Fincher Sterling?

Fincher: Good morning, Sensei, and everyone. It was interesting. What came to mind? I don’t know why, but it seemed to me to be a struggle between my will and thy will. And what came to mind was, what does this “Thy will be done” mean? And how does it reflect what I’m using my will for? It seems to me to be a part of the meditation that we’re releasing a part of our will, so that you can notice and be present. I’m wondering if you relate to that Sensei. Is there something that’s happening there?

I think so, let me give it a shot. You know, we like to anthropomorphize everything. [This means to make something human] And when we anthropomorphize something like the universe itself, then we say “God’s will,” or “Thy will.” When we conceive of things this way, then it comes off as if someone or something or some force is against us, or in contrast with us, or even in conflict with our own will, or our own desire. But that’s a very petty, if you’ll excuse me, a very narrow way of looking at things, and it produces a very separate kind of feeling. If we are already “one with the universe,” then following the way of the universe means following the feeling of being complete, and together with everything that is. And this doesn’t mean following a belief or ideal. Instead, it means surrendering to whatever is the way in the moment. The way of the moment, the “way of the universe,” is not someone’s “will,” but just the way it is.  “What is” may be very pleasurable, or it may be terrifying. It may very well appear to be completely in conflict with the way we thought it was going to be, or the way we had planned on having it. But if Ki is extending and we can unify with that, then no matter what happens there is not conflict of will. In this way, we still feel completely fulfilled, because that’s all our job as a human being is. There isn’t another job. When we imagine our job is something else, getting something accomplished in a certain way, then whenever things don’t appear that way, we don’t have that feeling of fullness and satisfaction. We don’t have a sense of unification, we have a sense of a diminishment, of separation, and of isolation.

So, the way I choose in each moment is to be grateful to include everything that I can perceive. Of course, there’s always lots that I can’t perceive yet, so life is practice.

I can see you thinking, maybe half listening, that there is something you want to say, yes?

Please share with us what you’re thinking about. 

Fincher: Well, I’m still thinking of this little trigger. And isn’t there something that we can just kind of relax into? I mean, you know, we have that phrase that “we’re not so willful but we are somewhat surrendered?”

Yes, well, “surrendering” does not mean trading our will for someone else’s will. It means giving up keeping ourselves separate. If you say, “thy will be done,” don’t characterize it as someone else’s will. Instead, think of it as following the way. Following the way of the universe is following the will of the universe.  It is not following someone else’s will. There isn’t anybody else to have a will! The universe is just the way it is. So, we give up trying to demand that the universe become our way and just let it go. 

Suzuki Sensei said, “So what, Do nothing, Be natural, and Don’t worry, be happy!” That’s so beautiful. We love those words because that’s a perfect way of reminding ourselves that we’re not here to fulfill our own personal will, to exercise our own separate, idealized willpower. We’re here to discover what is the way right now in this universe that we are each the center of. We each have this experience. It’s all for each of us. All we have to do is just accept. Thank you. 

Thank you. Someone else please.  Lynn Curtis, can you say something please?

Lynn: Thank you Sensei. Well, I very much relate to this kinesthetically, through my body. And when I feel connected, my body feels electrified. I feel like I’m completely, you know, plugged in. However, teaching children these concepts, I try to put it in the simplest, most relatable language for them. What came to me one time was that it’s like your family rice cooker. Just sitting on the counter, it’s devoid of any energy because it’s not plugged in. But then, when you plug it in, now it’s working for you. And I thought, Okay, I’m going to use that analogy for the next class for the kids. I relate to this because it makes me feel completely electrified.

It’s beautiful. And it’s exactly like that, isn’t it? It’s just being plugged in to the universe. 

This business of “ki is extending” is really just being ready. Being awake, awake and ready to go. In the simplest terms, that’s all Tohei Sensei is saying, just be ready. You know, we all experience the state of being ready for anything, is a tremendously different sense of ourselves in our surroundings than when we’re just sitting around thinking about things. As soon as we start planning about something in the future, and ignoring the now, it’s possible to cut ourselves off completely from reality. Of course, it’s necessary to plan for dinner or plan for some special occasion. But we can do that by remaining plugged in, just like we can have a conversation with each other and still be experiencing this place here and now. This wonderful, complete feeling of Ki is extending. 

Thank you very much. 

Phoenix:  Good morning Sensei. I was I was watching the ocean yesterday ,while my husband was swimming. And then, as you spoke this morning, and as I was sitting here, that sense of just coming and going of my breath, I mean, just that kind of continuous motion was like the ocean. The settling into that and out of it. You have spoken about this before, but today, there was a very strong sense in me that it was a completely natural motion. It just happened. I am so grateful to have that sense of it.

Yes, beautiful. I remember when I was a young man, I read that a famous teacher at the time, Paramahansa Yogananda, said that whenever we see a large body of water, we must sit down, be quiet and enjoy it fully, because it’s a perfect reflection of the depth of our unified being. When we look at the ocean and take a moment to enjoy it, we automatically feel the fullness and rhythm of life. 

 So yeah, as you point out, we can have this same experience just by opening up in the moment right here right now. Thank you very much. 

Thank you, everyone. I appreciate it. See you next week. 


 Domo arigato gozaimasu