Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Spirit of KI

This is a second extract of an article by Zen Master Matsuoka Roshi. Matsuoka Roshi was the instructor of Taiun Elliston Roshi, Abbott of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center and founder of the Silent Thunder Order. Matsuoka Roshi's teachings have been recording in 2 books : "Mokurai" and "the Kyosaku" (Now available for downloading). This part is specifically about the spirit of "KI" (CHI of QI in Chinese). The way Matsuoka Roshi explains KI is down to earth, intuitive and very easy to grasp.



             The spirit of “ki” in the Martial Arts is very important. When your mental condition is imperfect or clouded, you cannot use your whole potential. But, when your mind, or heart, or spirit, is completely pure and clear and calm, your action will be spontaneous and contain boundless power. If your mind is clear, your opponent will not be able to predict when you will attack, or defend, or what technique you may use.

To understand this further, imagine a father sitting beside his young baby. The father can look into the infant’s face and see only pure, clear eyes. The father will never be able to see that in the next moment the baby will hit him in childish gesture. And yet, the baby hits his father unexpectedly. The father simply could not foresee that his son would strike, in the baby’s innocent face. The baby’s mind is clear and pure. Such a young child does not plan or think to hit his father a moment later. He just hits when the impulse strikes him. He acts naturally, spontaneously.

If your mind is as clear as a young child’s, neither will your opponent be able to foresee your next technique. Your action will flow harmoniously from a union of your mind, your body and your spirit. Your pure mind or spirit will conquer your opponent. And your pure mind will come to you from Zen. 
 

          I would like to add to Matsuoka Roshi what I have learned from my own experience - when you act in the same way the baby acts, not only will your opponent know what you are going to do, but neither do you, actually, once you did act, you might not even be quite sure about what you did. Actually, you did not do anything. Whatever happened happened through you, without you really trying to make it happen. This is what is called the "Samadhi of Action".

          It would be a mistake to believe that such thing could ever occur without serious training...

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