How do we work at JIAIDO?
Meditation in motion
JIAIDO is an active movement meditation practice, which develops physical strength, mental power and emotional balance. The movements are based on Chinese and Japanese internal martial arts.
In JIAIDO the main purpose of the training is not to gain unconquerable physical strength or impressive fighting skills but to generate inner power for developing wisdom and fostering spiritual growth. There is no combat, no competition, not even instructions for self-defense.
The techniques of Tai Sabaki use the potential of these ancient martial arts’ movement choreographies by adopting their complex and synchronized coordination and harmonious movement styles to develop effectively both brain hemispheres simultaneously. At the same time JIAIDO revitalizes and manifests the essence and original purpose of all martial arts in practice which are Self-improvement and Self-realization.
As JIAIDO is meditation in movement it is generally performed calmly and rather slowly. It is emphasized to complete one movement before moving into the next. During practice there are two essential elements at the same time: focus on the movement and focus on the breathing.
Slow motion develops muscle strength, improves balance and enables the practitioner to follow the movements with continuous attention, effectively improving concentration.
However, slow motion in itself would not be enough for developing awareness effectively. It needs to be combined with deep - meaning conscious abdominal - breathing.
Hara breathing helps to increase the capacity of the lungs and enhances the circulation of life energy (Ki) in the body as well.
We work on our invisible parts through movement
Body, mind and spirit are connected and interrelated. Working on one in a specific way has a great effect on the others as well.
Therefore working with the body is one of the greatest opportunities for inner growth, being the easiest to relate to and available for everyone without any former education or preparation.
To get the benefit on all four levels of our being (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) first we need to learn how to move the body in an attentive, conscious way.
By developing and transforming the way we move, we gradually develop and transform our invisible, subtle parts as well.
Through learning how to move (and breath) consciously in JIAIDO we learn how to recognize and manage our emotions - how to use and express them in a healthy and constructive way - and how to reprogram disturbing thought patterns which create constant limitations both in our everyday life and in our self-realization.
Tai Sabaki creates space and opportunity to relate to ourselves and each other deeply, purely - based on understanding, tolerance, appreciation and love.
Tai Sabaki can be practiced individually, with a partner, or in a group.
Even a minimal of 15 minutes individual practice done regularly is significant for someone strives for a well-balanced self-development.
It is a great tool to clear out the mind and shape each and every day into a balanced, joyful and conscious adventure.
Practicing in a group in the dojo (school) multiplies the effects of all techniques; it holds the attention and pace together effortlessly. Practitioners can support and encourage each other easily to stay active and present while performing combinations and breathing patterns together. It gives a unique, indescribable experience when bodies moving together perfectly synchronized and separate individuals merge into oneness.
Partner practice aims in the first place to grow the ability to relate and communicate with each other in a new way. We learn how to act from the here and now, how to respond freshly every time instead of habitual reactions. Even between strangers creates a profound experience of connecting from “heart to heart”, leaving judgements, discriminations, distrust and fear behind for a while. By pairwork we develop a pure relation with our own being, with others and with our environment as well.
As the highest practice - based on the basic techniques (kehon, waza) of the movement meditation - there are eight katas in Tai Sabaki.
KATA SYSTEM IN JIAIDO
Kata is an arranged sequence of defense and attack movements replicating a fight situation with imaginary opponents. Kata have been used for hundreds of years by many styles of martial arts including karate.
Kata - literally meaning ’form’ in Japanese - has been used as a secret way of passing on techniques by Masters without written records from generation to generation.
By practicing in a repetitive manner to various levels of mastery, the practitioner develops the ability to execute those techniques and movements in a natural, reflex-like manner, under any circumstances, without thought or hesitation.
Kata is meant to train the mind and body. It develops fitness and muscular endurance, and provides a path leading to spiritual growth and wisdom.
The eight katas in Tai Sabaki correspond two by two to the four main centers of our being (three Tandens plus the Crown, the seat of the Ultimate).
The meaning and function of kata is much more than what we know from traditional martial art understanding. They are designed by the Master of Jiaido in a specific way to facilitate the energy to receive, hold, activate and stimulate in the body. They help to develop stability, finding direction and transform the negative thought patterns of the mind. These abilities are not only useful in the dojo but even more in our everyday life.
Katas are progressively powerful and challenging for the practitioner by their complexity, length, the difficulty of the breathing pattern and the forceful grip of the attention at the same time.
4 ELEMENTS IN JIAIDO
The idea that all matter is made up of four elements - earth, water, air, and fire - has been the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine for two thousand years.
The elements are rare to find in their pure state on Earth, every visible thing is made up of some combination of this four components.
The four elements were the base of describing four fundamental temperaments of human beings as well, such as
sanguine - optimistic and sociable, air
choleric - goal-oriented and impulsive, fire
melancholic - analytical and quiet, earth
phlegmatic - calm and peaceful, water
Every single thing in the universe - even humans - are made up of some combination of these four components.
In order for a person to be well both mentally and physically, the four elements need to be in balance with each other.
We work with the four elements in JIAIDO to bring this balance. We look at them as fundamental building material for shaping and harmonizing our personality.
In our practice they manifest in four different rhythms, four breathing methods corresponding to the basic qualities in nature: slow, fast, hard and soft.
1 - Ju-do (flowing, soft, undulating - water)
2 - Go-do (hard, intense - earth)
3 - Haya-do (fast, explosive and powerful - fire)
4 - Aiki (light, slow, effortless - air)
BALANCE IS THE KEY
Every day we find ourselves in different situations and the way we are able to response to them depends on the combination of the elements within.
Whether we are able to face and solve problems, get frozen from them or even run away, depends on the proportion of the building materials in us.
Each individual is made up of a different mixture of the four elements, creating a certain character. No mixture is better or worse than another one; each has its advantages and disadvantages.
But it is very important to remember is that our personal elemental combination determines our tendencies; the way we perceive the world, the way we react, the emotions we feel, the decisions we make, the way we communicate, express ourselves.
With JIAIDO practice - Tai Sabaki in particular - we develop the skill how to recognize, and balance out the elements in us and be able to manifest them, use them harmoniously in different life situations. Without losing our character we will be able to choose to respond to the moment according to its need. The deep and free exploration of these qualities makes us masters of all four elements.
The ability to balance these elements skillfully provides a strong, stable foundation for a harmonious and happy life.