Taiso - Gymnastics


Aikido Gymnastics

Traditional aikido gymnastics as it has been practiced in aikidodojos for decades. Here in a young and dynamic form.
The video shows each exercise only very briefly. In the original every exercise is of course carried out longer and more often (approx. 11 minutes in total).
In 2016, the teacher was 35 years old and had practised aikido for more than 20 years. That probably explains his extraordinary flexibility.

Radio Gymnastics I

(approx. 3 min. 15 sec.)
Japanese radio gymnastics has existed since 1928. It is often practiced in groups at school or at work. It was also used in the military. There was an interruption after World War II. Martial exercises were replaced. From 1951 it was heard on the radio again. Even today, the state broadcaster NHK (Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) broadcasts the exercises every morning at 6:25 a.m. There are two different choreographies that change every day.
The protagonist of this example uses a face mask because of Covid-19.
(original video).

Oneness Gymnastics

(approx. 5 min. 20 sec.)
In Tohei's Ki Aikido, health gymnastics (Kenko Taiso) were roughly the same as they are today in our Ki exams. From this Tohei developed the Oneness Rhythm Gymnastics for better marketing, backed with special music.
Oneness means the unity of mind and body with the ki of the universe.

Kenko Taiso

(approx. 2 min. 15 sec.)

  1. Stretching arms upwards and turning the torso
  2. Stretching arms upwards and bending the body to the side
  3. Bending backward and forward
  4. Schoulder blade exercise
  5. Stretching the neck forward and backward
  6. Turning the head side to side
  7. Bending at the knees and standing on tiptoe
  8. Stretching the knee
  9. Rotating both arms while bending the knees

Gymnastics in Aikido

The gymnastics in an aikido lesson serves to prepare for the following exercises such as the aikido techniques. In Ki Aikido there are no acrobatic movements and there is no extreme stress on the body. Therefore, gymnastics serve less for warming up and more for flexibility and coordination. Mind and body should always be in good condition in everyday life. With Kenko Taiso this should be learned, practiced and maintained.
Kenko Taiso is always done in the same way. A disadvantage could be that it gets boring and the exercises are only carried out mechanically. But there are advantages. The Aikidoka know the exercises after some time and do not have to keep looking at the instructors. So they can better pay attention to the correct execution. They can also do the exercises alone, e.g. practice them at home.
The first video (Shirakawa) is an example how to do the exercises ligth-heartedly. Even if mind and body are unified, the mind can be free.
Doing gymnastics with music can be a welcome change. In Aikido, however, one does not want to depend on it in the long run.
Recommended reading: K. Yoshigasaki, All of Aikido, Part 1, Chapter 1, Kenko Taiso.

The professor's beloved equation

Scenes from the film 博士の愛した数式 Hakase no aishita suushiki 2006

A math professor suffers permanent damage in a car accident. He has normal memory until the time of the accident. From then on, he can only remember the last 80 minutes.
The story revolves around the professor, his young female housekeeper and her 10-year-old son. The professor always finds an entry into his beloved world of numbers through the numbers that appear in everyday life. He is particularly drawn to Euler's identity: exp (iπ) + 1 = 0. This combines Euler's (Napier's) number e, the imaginary number i and the circle number π with the neutral element of addition 0. He also loves baseball. He teaches the housekeeper's son in math and baseball, which eventually leads to him becoming a math teacher.
The film offers interesting insights into the world of number theory. Are these "things the world doesn't need"?