Unified Body

Since this column is read by many people including those who do not practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, I try to express myself without using technical Aikido terms as much as possible.

This time, however, I would like to explain the most important technical term – -“Toitsutai”.

What is “Shinshin Toitsu”?

It means we are “one with the Universe”; that is your Ki is extending.

When explaining “Ki” to new students, our founder, Koichi Tohei Sensei, described it as “like surrounding water with our hands while we are in the ocean”.

We could say it is “my water” because it is in our hands. But we are supposedly in the ocean. We are merely surrounding a portion of the water of the vast ocean with our hands.

And if the water on the inside and outside of our hands is constantly coming and going, the water will not go bad. But if, for some reasons, the flow is prevented, the water will be stale.

The same is true for Ki. We are merely surrounding the portion of Ki of the Universe with our body/existence.

When Ki on the inside and outside of ourselves is constantly flowing in and out, we call this “Ki is extending”. In this state, our Ki will not become stale. If, for some reasons, the flow is impeded, Ki becomes stale/minus.

We are a part of the Universe, but when we forget this connection, we become “isolated” and the flow of Ki becomes stagnant. When Ki becomes stuck, various problems start showing up in our body, mind, and relationships with our surroundings.

Japanese term “Gen-ki” (energetic, feeling well, vigorous, literally means “beginning/root of things + ki”) is the state in which Ki is constantly flowing. The state where Ki is stuck is “Byo-ki” (sickness, literally means “sickened ki”). To be alive means our “Ki is flowing/extending”.

By understanding how Ki works, we can maintain the state of “Ki is extending”. One principle is “when we extend Ki or let it flow out, new Ki [naturally] comes in”.

It is a law of nature that “When we let things out, they naturally come in”, and the same is true for breathing. When we breathe out, we would naturally breathe in. But if we try to breathe in first, our breathing gets stuck.

It is important to “Extend our ki [naturally/first]”, which is the goal of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido practice.

In our training, we also use the term “Toitsutai” often.

Toitsutai is a state in which the body and mind are one/unified, i.e., our Ki is extending.

The last character, “tai”, in “Toitsutai”, literally means “body”, but it also means the essence of things, as in the Japanese Unified Body (統一体、Toitsu Tai) expression, “na wa tai o arawasu”, “the name represents the body.”

In other words, Toitsutai is “the original state of being one with the Universe”. It is important to note that this is not a special state, but our original/natural state.

Many people are quite surprised when they experience Toitsutai for the first time during their practice and really feel the inherent power of human beings. They are realizing for the first time, “I can’t believe I had this much power!”.

Toistutai is the foundation for all kinds of movement and many people are applying it in a variety of fields.

There are a few guidelines to check whether or not we have Toitsutai.

One of them is “balance”.

A natural posture is naturally balanced. By checking our body’s natural balance, we can tell whether or not we are in a state of Toitsutai.

Another one is “the ability to move instantly”.

When we are in a natural posture, we can move very quickly. By checking our ability to move quickly, we can tell if we have Toitsutai or not.

Yet another one is the ability to exert power.

If we are in a natural posture, we can exert maximum power. If we can exert power, we know we have Toitsutai.

If any of these elements is missing, for example, even if we have balance but cannot move quickly, we do not have Toitsutai.

I hope all of you who practice Shinshin Toitsu Aikido daily will work on having Toitsutai and demonstrate your power in your respective fields.

Translated by Mayumi Case
Edited by David Shaner and Matthew Attarian
Eastern Ki Federation

Original article in Japanese: 氣圧法とは (Kiatsuho)
May 1, 2023