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The Dragon Within Us

Recently I have put a hanging on the wall at Shin Sen Dojo. It is of a Dragon. The Dragon is seen as the guardian spirit of Aikido.

The Dragon is symbolic of the great spiritual force of Nature. It also reflects when your true and deep spirit is unified in your body and is expressed powerfully. In Aikido there is the phrase

“Ame no mura kumo kuki samu hara ryu o kami”

Sometime we chant this sound in the Dojo, particularly at Kotodama evenings or at waterfall misogi. Below is the breakdown of the word.

Ame no mura kumo The self that evolves in Universal Consciousness. Also universal energy Poetic meaning – Bellowing clouds of heaven

Kuki The sword of yin and yang. The combining of opposites to give birth to creative action. Also the 9 fierce spirits of Nature (the primary forces of life) manifesting in our body and action.

Samu Hara Poetic meaning- the cold plain of heaven. Awakened being – crystalline clarity. Also the energy of sun, moon, stars and tides in our body.

Ryu O Kami Poetic meaning – Dragon Spirit. The spirallic order of the universe. Instantaneous dissolution of karma. Divine action that brings instantaneous balance and enlightenment.

Once when I was staying in the Kamano Region of Japan which is the spiritual birthplace of many Japanese traditions, I stayed at an Aikido Dojo.

It was at the Dojo of Michio Hikitshuchi 10th Dan Aikido Master and Buddhist and Shinto Priest. He was very warm and welcoming to Tricia and me.

However his students were quite the opposite. Whether it was because I was a Gaijin (foreigner) or because they did not like the way their teacher was treating us so well – I don’t know. However they were resisting and making things very awkward on the Mat.

On one of the days, I decided to go and do misogi under one of the powerful waterfalls in the area. Misogi is where we sit in cold water and meditate whilst the waterfall descends on our head and body. This was a particularly strong flow and it was very challenging to keep my balance as the intense flow was pushing me down strongly. As I sat there I chanted the Dragon chant a number of times.

Later that night back at the Dojo I was training with an advanced Black Belt. He attempted to do their usual blocking and resisting but suddenly a powerful spontaneous Kiai came out from my Hara (kiai is the focusing of Ki into sound ie Martial Arts shout) I saw the practioner who was trying to block me go flying through the air – like I was a witness to the event. Everyone in the dojo stopped including the Sensei. From that moment on there was no blocking from anyone, for the rest of our stay there, training was enjoyable, gentle and friendly.

The point of the story is not the actual action of the sound but that when our spirit unifies in our body and expresses in the spirit of makoto (sincere, non calculating mind) then balance is restored.

Throughout training in Aiki, the pressure of a situation will bring out our energy to bring things to a centre – in harmony. I’ve had many experiences of this particularly in healing. So the dragon spirit is the yang inner fire of the spirit, of the universe that expresses bringing truth and balance based on universal consciousness. It is within the spirit of the universe but it is also an aspect of your spirit as well.