Tools of 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.
FORM PRACTICES 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
sanguinic - optimistic and social, air
choleric - goal-oriented and impulsive, fire
melancholic - analytical and quiet, earth
phlegmatic - relaxed 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.
The basic element of life
Artistic, creative expression is an essential part of our nature. And yet, creativity is understood today as an envied gift of some privileged ones, until the rest of us live with the belief; „Oh, I am not creative, not good enough for art.”
This can be changed by realizing that creativity is not a privilege of some but the essential part of every human life. All we need to learn is how to connect to it and let it emerge into our everydays.
It is important to understand, that creativity can manifest in every action not only in the form of art. There is a creative way for how to speak, how to move, solve a problem, create a working tool, how to dress up and organize our practical life.
Today this ability is even more in need than ever before. In our consumer society we are encouraged mostly to play the role of the consumer and user only. But if we do so, it makes us more and more passive to express our originality and keeps us away from the feeling of being awake, present and alive.
Therefore JIAIDO supports everyone to become a creator, an inventor in any - and ultimately in all - aspects of life. Through practice of JIAIDO we are able to tap into the creative source and become independent, confident and versatile.
JIAIDO's effect on creativity
As Tai Sabaki and Ate relax the body, bring stillness to the mind, attention turns inside from the outside world and awareness starts to grow. JIAIDO by its movement meditation fosters the creative process by increasing the Ki flow, the intelligent life force in the body and strengthens the ability of prolonged concentration.
When body and mind become connected and harmonized, new ideas start to emerge. This is the reason why JIAIDO practitioners often report - only after few months of training - , that creative expression starts to arise in different forms. Inspiration and artistic skills appear unexpectedly, which were dormant all their lives.
Some start to play a music instrument, some write a book or poem, become active in culinary arts or paint a picture for the first time in their life.
Pure, egoless creativity can only spring from meditative stillness and presence and never from distress and destructive state of mind.
JIAIDO breaks down the habitual patterns of the conditioned mind, takes you out from the head, from the intellect and brings you to the heart where creation becomes always fresh, original and alive.
For expressing freely we need to be able to stop the judgements, competitiveness, expectations and instead, tune into the part of our consciousness where inspiration and intuition is to be found.
Art practices in JIAIDO
In JIAIDO the particular creativity practices are based on the same principles of: conscious movement, breathing and continuously maintained focus at the same time.
The act can be music, singing, free dancing, painting, writing or any other kind of self-expression. Through these activities we evoke, enhance that open state, where there is no doubt, fear, and self-judgement to stop us. Any form of art created in this way inspires, uplifts the spirit of all, and brings beauty, joy and bliss to the creator and to the viewer as well.
It really does not matter what is the object of the process itself. The goal of Jiaido with conscious creative activities is to become more present in our daily life, to connect to our own being, and in its absolute to Life.
Any act performed with this intention, - besides providing beauty and joy to all - serves a higher purpose, becomes a spiritual practice, a tool for inner transformation.