Interview with Mr.Hiroyuki Aoki (Part1)


There are so many important principles in martial arts, and one of them is that we can live life while being fully surrendered to death. We can also go beyond life and death, and even die for others anytime with love. Furthermore, our bodies can become natural once again. All of us are born 100% natural. However, although our bodies are still natural, our consciousness makes our bodies unnatural. This is why we want to release those parts.

Hiroyuki Aoki Profile
Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1936. Graduates from Chuo University with B.A. in Law. Studies Japan Karatedo under Master Egami Shigeru. Creates Shintaido, a modern physical practice for body and mind development based in Judo, Karatedo and Aiki Jujutsu. Also creates a complete practice system of Japanese Bojutsu (Stick Fighting) spread worldwide today. Receives degree of Doctor of Literature from the California Graduate School of Divinity for his research on Religion and Philosophy. In 1994, starts providing educational support for children living in poverty in the Philippines. In 1998, receives the “The Order of the Grand Knight For The Distinguished Service of the World Peace” from the International Academy of the United States. Opens Tenshin Shoho Juku (Tenshin Calligraphy School) in 2001. Establishes NPO Tenshinkai in 2005.
Creates Kenbu Tenshin Ryu in 2008. Opens the first Kenbu Tenshin Ryu class, and guides students in their pursuit of the Do (Way) by building a healthy body and spirit, promoting purification of the world, and praying for world peace through Kenbu. Establishes Tenshinkai (General Incorporated Foundation). Creates Team Tenshin in May 2011, a volunteer group to provide support to the Great East Japan Earthquake victims through health exercise workshops, shiatsu, and bodywork on a regular basis at temporary housings in Fukushima and Minami Sanriku.
Also visits China, Philippines, Czech Republic, Italy, and France to promote international exchange through calligraphy and Kenbu.

Currently is the Representative Director of Tenshinkai Foundation, Tenshinkai Inc. Director, Director of Tenshin Calligraphy School, Founder of Kenbu Tenshin Ryu, Shintaido Honorary Chairman, Japan Mind-Body Science Director, and Japan Yojo Gakkai Supervisor.

Main Books:
“Karada wa Uchu no Message” (puhlished by Jiyu sha)
“Shin Karada Shugi Sengen” (published by Business sha)
“Shintaido” (published by Shunju sha)
“Shizen na Karada Jiyu na Kokoro” (published by Shunju sha)
“Un wo tsukamu Meiso ho” (published by Seishun Shuppansha)

Calligraphy Profile:
“Chugoku Shoho Gakuin (Chinese Calligraphy Institute accredited by Shanghai University)” master course graduate
“Chugoku Shoho Ten (Chinese Calligraphy Exhibition)” judge
Bokuseki Research Group “Hitsuzenkai” former adviser
“Chinese Santon Province Sainan Private Seika Shoho Gyoko (Calligraphy School)” honorary professor.
Also have been active as guest artist in various international calligraphy exhibitions.

Tenshinkai Facebook Page

Japnese Interview Page

Naoko Mitsuda(NM):
Since I was a child, I had very poor sports ability. I was the kind of child that would enjoy reading books all day long, and sports were not a part of my vocabulary at all. So today, this might be a totally reckless interview by an interviewer with no sense of sports, challenging a martial arts master. I hope you will bear with me today.

Hiroyuki Aoki(HA):
Feel free to ask me anything. I consider everything I have a wealth for all humanity to share together, as they were all passed down to me by my teachers and masters. I’ve learned not only from martial arts but also from pioneers in various fields. I exist here today as who I am, thanks to all the teachings I’ve received from nature and people, so my duty is to polish up those teachings the best I can and give something back to the world. Therefore, I am willing to answer anything I can today, so please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.

The first thing I’d like to ask you is about the “Old Shintaido Video” I watched on youtube. I couldn’t understand what was going on in the video. My mind went blank, and I just repeated watching a little bit, then pausing for a few minutes, and then playing it again for a while, and then pausing again. Can you tell me what was going on between you and your students there?

That video was from more than 40 years ago. Although they look very similar in movement, two different kinds of body practices were demonstrated there: one martial arts like, and the other a very special kind of training. To answer your question in sum, here’s what it was.

Let’s say you are trying to strike me with your fist or Tanto (short katana) with blinding speed. Before blocking that, what I would do is, I would actually strike a counterattack the moment you step forward, and then block and throw you. However, most people say it’s too fast and therefore, they can’t catch it with their eyes. They tell me “It’s just not visible”. I tried demonstrating this very carefully on a TV show before, but even at that time, Mr. Danshi Tatekawa (Rakugo artist who was one of the guests) asked me, “Aoki Sensei, what did you do just now?” Even top class businessmen and performers/artists have asked me the same thing. They still couldn’t get it after giving them a detailed explanation.

For me, all I could see was that a student fell on the ground just after he ran towards you. Then, after grabbing your hands, he started to shudder all of a sudden in ecstasy. Then he fell by himself and moved ecstatically again…
I did understand that some kind of change must have occurred either in his body or consciousness. Something was definitely going on, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

Broadly speaking, there were two different kinds of body practices demonstrated there. One was block and counterattack against a powerful attack, and the other was control of Ki (energy), which goes beyond the physical level of blocking and attacking. This is called “Meiso Kumite (meditation partner practice)”. What you saw in the video was a mixture of these 2 kinds of practices, so I can imagine how difficult it was to understand what was going on.

Simply put, it’s like showing people before the beginning of Showa period a computer—they would have no idea what it is. They’ll just be wondering what’s hidden inside the box.

I read a book on songs composed by Beethoven before and it was filled with musical terms. It said he was a very studious man and that when he fell into a slump, he went back to studying the classics again diligently and created a new kind of music after that…However, I still couldn’t understand the significance of it at the time, as it was such a different world from mine.

So it’s no wonder why it’s so hard for others to understand the kind of practice I created, even for people in the martial arts field.

It seems that all people could see there is the attacker running with all his might to strike me, but gets blown away for some reason. However, I’d already given him a strike even before his attack. I didn’t actually strike him physically, but I showed my intention to counterattack him by moving my hand. Since he still continued to attack me, I blocked that while giving him another strike, and then threw him afterwards. These 4 kinds of techniques must have been hard for people to visually see with their eyes.

The second Kata (form) is called “Meiso Kumite (meditation partner practice)”. Generally, people’s bodies become stiff if you try to force it down, but if you let it release all the tensions until it gets totally loose, your partner’s body will reconnect to its natural rhythm.

So was that all happening in an instant there in the video? It’s when he grabbed your hands that your student started to shudder in ecstasy, right?

Yes, it all happens in a blink of an eye. They (in the video) have reached a level of practice where they could attain such state of consciousness just in a second, whereas it may take more than a few minutes for an average practitioner to reach the same state. It may even take days for someone that has never practiced these things before. So those you saw in the video are highly advanced practitioners that don’t even need any preparation to warm up. They are capable of sensing my physical and mental movements instantly. This technique is not about warming your hands gradually with a hot-water bottle, but about creating intense fire all of a sudden with a burner. In this sense, it’s a technique that could burn your hands in an instant.

Can those students moving in ecstasy in the video go back to their daily lives without a problem after that kind of deep training? Can they get on the train, go home, and work properly like they usually do?

That’s a very important point. They look as if they’re in a trance state, but in fact, they’re very sober inside. Hence, even while moving in a deep meditative state, they could come back to reality right away.

It looked as if they’ve surrendered themselves entirely to the point where they’ve lost willpower and self-control.

They’ve really surrendered themselves to me entirely and are in the state of Mu (nothingness), but can nonetheless understand everything around them, like “Aoki Sensei is doing this now, I’m feeling this, and others around us are thinking this way.” It’s indeed a very sober state of consciousness. A state of total drunkenness and clear alertness coexisting simultaneously.

Both you and your students?

Yes, that’s right. Especially those moving the most intensely. Oh in fact, why don’t you ask one of my students here?
(Aoki Sensei calls one of his students in.)

(to student) You know how you move intensely when doing “Hikari to Tawamureru (playing with light)”, right? Well, Mitsuda san is concerned that whenever you do that practice, your spirit is pulled into a trance state, unabling you to go back to your daily life afterwards. Can you explain to her what kind of state you’re actually in when practicing that?

(student)Well, you can actually perceive your surroundings with great sensitivity. “Perceive” not only in the visual sense, but able to feel many things all at once. However, because our consciousness becomes so open and free right after that practice, it might be difficult to talk logically right after.”

So as I said, it’s an extremely sober state. No intoxicated at all.

To Part 2

by legacyofcayce | 2015-01-10 12:00 | Interview