By: John Woodend
“. . . unless you learn it with your body you cannot expect to get true understanding” Koichi Tohei
Last month I briefly went over the four principles of Mind and Body Coordination. This month I would like to explore the first principle “Keep One Point”.
“One Point”, is the physical posture that enhances our natural balance. It may seem unusual that we would have to learn or, more accurately relearn, how to balance ourselves naturally. However, in most people’s daily lives proper posture and balance is pretty low on the totem pole of priorities and that is the reason why one would need to “relearn” something that is natural.
To understand how to get one point, I start off by having people get into the football three-point stance. The three-point stance and the standing/neutral wrestling position both have the exaggerated elements of attaining one point. Then, from either of these positions, slowly raise your body to a standing position, stopping short of where your natural upright posture would be. Then slightly turn your torso to the left, so your feet are shoulder width apart, side by side. You will find that your weight is on the balls of your feet. Your knees are loose, not locked, and have a bit of a bend in them. Your hips are back. There is a slight forward bend at your hips. Your back is straight. Your chest is open and your sternum lines up over the balls of your feet. And your arms can just loosely swing in front of your body, with your wrists hanging just in front of your hip line. A tip to make this posture more comfortable and stable is to be as relaxed as you can, without collapsing in on yourself. This is part of the second principle, “relax completely”, which I will be going over next month.
The above explains the physical/balance aspect of “One Point”. The next aspect is where does one put one’s mind? How do you keep your mind centered and in coordination with your body? The simple answer is you put it where your body’s center of gravity is, your lower abdomen. More specifically, it is the center point on the front of your pelvic bone. If you put your index finger on that point, your mind will drop down to your “One Point”, and by doing so you will lower your minds center of gravity. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get out of your head, and rejoin the “now” of whatever situation you may be in. Once your mind has lowered to your “One Point”, there is no need and is counterproductive, to keep concentrating on that point. Just mentally settle to your “One Point” and carry on with whatever your actions may be.
The physical of aspect of getting “One Point” will seem awkward at first. And the mental aspect of “One Point” can be tedious and seemingly impossible to keep your mind lowered at first. However, with playful practice of Keeping “One Point” you will find slow but steady progress in improving your overall balance and awareness.