In my nine short years of experience, I have seen many Aikidokas who only practice one aspect of Budo, the physical aspect. Many may not know that there is so much more to learn. There are actually five aspects that we should strive to develop while we practice Bu and Bun. The five parts are as follows:
Tai = Body
Ki = Energy
Chi = Wisdom
Toku = Virtue
Shichi = Common Sense/awareness
Tai helps with our coordination and our physicality. It helps us to be more in the physical body in order to feel the full experiences that are available to us. Being in the moment is enhanced by being fully present in our bodies.
Ki energy moves around us, through us and within us. We do not generate ki. It simply exists. We train in order to become more sensitive to the movements of ki, as well as to discover where in our own bodies we may have physical and energetic blocks. These blocks make it so that the ki will not flow freely as it should. Through our continued training we will be able to allow ki to move more freely without hindrance or acts of will.
Chi is wisdom we gain from our experiences. By studying an art we are exposed to a limitless number of these experiences. From brush stroke to sword cut, by physically practicing an art or even just by viewing art we gain wisdom. Each moment, each experience can be transformative and by being aware in those moments we can see the truth of life. This wisdom allows us to accept our mistakes and learn from them in an effort to not repeat them.
Toku is virtue. There are seven virtues that budoka must strive to follow. The seven pleats of the hakama are a constant reminder of these virtues, and each pleat represents one virtue. Through practice we become better able to act on the 7 virtues.
Gi—(rectitude, integrity) : Right action, correct behavior and correct thinking. This virtue calls upon the intrinsic aspect of our forged spirit. We must not force others to follow what is right and wrong. We must strive to act with integrity and honor in our dealings with all people.
Yu—(courage, valor, bravery) : We must rise above the masses of people that are afraid to act. We must have heroic courage. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong. We must replace fear with respect and caution.
Jin—(humanity, charity, benevolence) : Through our training and practice we have forged ourselves and become able to bear burdens or tasks where others cannot. We must show compassion to others even where they do not show compassion to us. We must also always show compassion to ourselves.
Rei—(etiquette, courtesy, civility) : To look at or regard all with polite courtesy. We have no reason to be cruel. We do not need to prove our strength or insist that we are right. We must be courteous even to our enemies. We must strive to be not only respected for our artistry, but more importantly for the way we treat others.
Makoto—(complete sincerity, honesty) : When we have said we will perform an action, it is as good as done. The action of speaking alone has set the action of doing in motion. Speaking and doing are the same action. Makoto also means that we must be honest and sincere in all situations, even more so when it is a difficult situation. We must do our best to not do anything lightly.
Meiyo—(honor, dignity) : There is really only one judge of your honor, and that is yourself. Decisions we make and how those decisions are carried out are a reflection of who we truly are. We cannot hide from ourselves. This also means that we must give credit where credit is due. We must adhere to what is right and strive to be worthy of honor, esteem and respect.
Chugi—(loyalty, duty, devotion) : We are responsible for the way we influence others. Having done something or said something, we must know that we are now a part of it. We are responsible for it and all the consequences that follow. We must be intensely loyal to those in our care. We must remain fiercely true to those we are responsible for. Sometimes there are things that need to be done out of a sense of moral obligation and not for pleasure. We must show constant support and allegiance to those who we have dedicated ourselves.
Shichi is intuition and common sense. It is the ability to know how to act in any given situation. It is knowing what to do and when to do it. It is the spirit of hospitality. Shichi is also that which causes the hairs on the back of our necks to stand up when something is amiss. It gives us that feeling we have in the pit of our stomachs when something is just not right. Shichi is our “spider sense”. It is something that we are born with, but through years of turning a deaf ear we learn to quit listening to it. Through your training in the arts you learn to listen once again and to be aware of it’s powerful voice.
These are all things that take practice. We trip, we falter and we fall. That doesn’t mean that we quit trying. If we miss our mark, we try again. This is a journey, not a state of being. We practice to become better people and in doing so we make the world a better place.
* all of this was put together from lots and lots of reading of blogs, books and articles. Not sure ANY of it is truly original.