Hello Illness #2

Continuation of Régis Soavi Interview’s  about Katsugen Undo (or Regenerating Movement), a practice made by Haruchika Noguchi and spread in Europe by Itsuo Tsuda: article by  Monica Rossi  « Arti d’Oriente » (#4 / may 2000).

To read part 1 –> http://www.ecole-itsuo-tsuda.org/en/bonjour-maladie/

Part #2

– How can one define Yuki ?

-Let the Ki circulate.

– How can Yuki help to activate the Movement?

– It helps, in the case where one has done the three exercises, or the exercises for Mutual Movement (activation through stimulation of the second pair of points on the head ; that is another way to activate the Movement). Yuki helps because it activates ; It’s very important for me to say that Yuki is fundamentally different from what we often hear spoken of, because when we do Yuki, we void our heads, we don’t cure anyone, we don’t look for anything. We are simply concentrated in the act. There is no intention, and that is primordial. In the statutes of the dojo, in fact, it is underlined that we practice “without a goal” ».

– Let’s come back to Yuki : if there are people who don’t get along, can they do Yuki together?

– It’s difficult. That is why during the course, I say, “Choose a partner.” I don’t say, “Do Yuki with the person next to you.” If two people don’t get along, It is difficult for them to do Yuki. Yuki must be something that one gives ; little by little, those who have practiced for a longer time, become able to do Yuki with everyone. Because there is a sort of detachment, after a time. There is no longer anyone that they really don’t like. They have a different sort of sensation.

– One often hears some very original opinions about the Ki.

– Yes, people are not short of ideas ! There are those who talk a lot about the Ki, but if you ask them to lay their hand on you, or to show what Ki is, they don’t know how to do it.
The Ki is extremely concrete. At first, when we begin to do Yuki, the hands are a bit wooden, and then, little by little, they begin to become sensitive… There again, I will refer to babies, to the relation with the mother, a mother who is sensitive, and close to her baby : when she touches the baby, there is a flow ; it’s the Ki that circulates. The relation between mother and baby is made only of something intuitive : the baby cannot talk. At birth, he doesn’t say, “Hello, Mother, it’s me, my name is Peter, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I want to pass water.” His only way to express himself is through gestures, movements, and eventually, crying. If the mother is sensitive, she knows if he’s hungry, she knows if he’s thirsty, she knows if he is enervated, or cold. When the baby begins to make noises, the husband says, “What does he want ?” The wife answers, “He’s hungry.” The father : “Oh ? But he just fed a half an hour ago…” The mother : “Yes, but I think he’s still a bit hungry.” The father : “Yeah… you and your ideas…” But, in contact with the baby, she gives him a bit of fruit, and in fact, he becomes calm. Another time, he cries, and the father says, “Ah, he’s hungry again !” The mother : “No, no, he’s eaten…” The father : “Maybe he’s still hungry.” The mother : “No, no, I don’t think so, he must be sleepy.” It’s an intuitive contact. One can talk about the Ki in relation to martial arts, or to the transmission of thoughts… but I’m speaking of natural things, and I say that what exists between a mother and her child, exists naturally in all human beings. And that’s what we rediscover with the practice of Movement. Women who practice the movement can improve the quality of their relation with their babies. They can tell, for example, when the baby needs to pass water ; when they feel he needs to urinate, they open up the diaper immediately, and the baby passes water outside of the diaper, from his first days. That allows the child to never be wet. So what happens? He will never have a problem with toilet training, there will be no need to teach him to go on the pot. If, from the first day, the baby satisfies his needs cleanly, with the diaper open, when he is able to sit up, the mother will feel that he needs to pass water, will remove his panty and place him on the pot, and the baby will urinate there. The dialogue that is established between the mother and the child, and with the father, if he is attentive as well, is something very surprising… There is no need to change all the electrical outlets in the apartment ; it suffices to tell the child that they are dangerous. If the dialogue is really there, the child will never go to touch them. These are experiences that people who practice the Movement have been able to have with their children. Because there are a certain number of children now who have been born at home and live completely naturally ; I am always surprised, and moved at the same time, to see women with this sort of attention for their children. It has become rare. Today, pregnancy and childbirth are medicalized, then the child is dropped off at a child-care center, then sent to school, and that way we are free of him.

– Yes, but then it is necessary that the woman not work during the first years of the child’s life?

– It’s a choice. Economically, it can be a problem for a couple today, but on the other hand, one can make use of the modern social legislation. Our society is in movement ; what is difficult today, can be less so at another time… it’s the economy. Isn’t the life of a small child worth a few small financial sacrifices ? Today, people go to the supermarket with babies only a few days old : frankly, doesn’t that seem aberrant to you ? Babies need our attention. They’re not packages we carry about ; people toss babies up in the air, thinking it makes them laugh ! In fact, it simply agitates the stomach gases, which provokes a semblance of a laugh, but the child isn’t really laughing at all. Well, if there was a great giant who took you and threw you up in the air, would it make you laugh ?katsugen undo

– During the sessions, you went round doing Yuki with people who were doing Yuki with each other: why?

– To help them empty their heads. Often, one begins to do Yuki, and then an idea comes along : “Oh, no, my car is not well parked, what if I get a ticket ? Last week I didn’t find a good spot either, I had a terrible fine ! Oh yes, and I have my taxes to pay too, etc…” At these moments, our attention goes up in our heads. So I simply let the energy come back down again.

– And it’s the sensitivity you’ve developed through the Movement that allows you to understand who has that problem?

– One can tell by the person’s posture as well. But yes, it is a development of sensitivity.

– Why precisely do these three movements help activate the Regenerating Movement ?

– The first exercise is to loosen up the zone of the solar plexus, which has become for modern people, a zone of concentration and rigidity. We press lightly on that zone, with a voluntary exhalation. One can say it’s a bit like an artificial yawn. The true yawn is involuntary. I can’t say, “Veronique, yawn !” It doesn’t work. But this exercise is a technique that resembles a yawn

– One feels almost breathless at the end of that movement.

– We have no more breath, so at that point, the inhalation begins ; we do it three times. When we yawn, the plexus loosens up.
The rotation of the spine is a technique that allows us, in a certain sense, to loosen up the spinal column. Above all, one mustn’t force the movement. This rotating movement normally should take place in the third lumbar vertebra, which is the rotating vertebra, but often people have become so rigid that the back can no longer turn… It’s an exercise that allows us to increase the mobility of the body during the practice of Regenerating Movement. I would almost say that these two exercises are incidental, because when we are accustomed to activating the Movement, it suffices to inhale through the second points on the head, and the Movement will begin.

– And the act of taking the next person by the hand, making a chain among all the participants of the session?

– It’s the chain of activation ; that is also an exercise of sensitivity : to send the ki all through a group of people, unifies that group. That’s the reason why, here as well, I coordinate the respiration of the group. Each person holds the wrist of the person next to him, which unifies the group that is going to practice together. This creates an atmosphere and coordinates the ki.
To come back to the three exercises, the third is an anti-natural exercise. We fold our thumbs into the palms of our hands ; that at least is natural, as babies all do it ; but to exhale while contracting the zone of the occiput, and then to relax suddenly while continuing to exhale, is not.

– Above all, it’s not very easy to contract the muscles while exhaling.

– Yes, to exhale in that fashion is against nature. On the other hand, to stop the Movement, we repeat the same movement but with an inhalation : that is a return to something normal. The third exercise, which is not natural, but technical, is precisely the exercise that Noguchi designed to permit the voluntary system to have a pause. In the case of mutual Movement, it’s the second points of the head which directly affect the extrapyramidal motor system : through them, we create the conditions that allow us to activate the Regenerating Movement, even though it doesn’t always occur immediately. It’s a bit as if, in a factory, there’s an iron-handed boss who runs everything. At a given moment, he goes off on vacation for a month. At first, the workers don’t know what to do, they’ve gotten out of the habit of working on their own… it’s a bit like that in our bodies ; that’s why the movement doesn’t always begin automatically when we’ve done the three exercises, it can take a little time. .

– How much time does it take, on the average ?

– It all depends on the sincerity of the individual in his practice ; his capacity to accept the voiding of the mind. So, for a certain time, the workers don’t quite know what to do… But all the same, we must eat, so they get organized… and in the end, it works just fine… When the boss comes back, that’s when there can be a problem, because he wants to recover his authority. The workers say to him, “Listen, we’ve been getting on fine without you. We find you quite useful in the directorship, for commercial relations, and plenty of things. Fine, but… let us lead our lives ! »

About the sensation, by Itsuo Tsuda

"So what is the Universe to which Noguchi refers? It is, if you will, for lack of anything better, the Universe of sensation.
Sensation has no objective coordinate. Three hours of gossip may seem very short, while one minute waiting for the bus can
seem very long.
Real sensation has no language of its own. We try to make it communicable by using words of relative value. If we strip our personal experience of any attempt at coordination, all that remains is sensation. Now life begins with sensation and also ends with it. And between the two, we become organised.
Sensation disappears as society becomes organised and replaces it with words. We are obliged to submit to verbal constraints in order to communicate sensation. We end up confusing sensation with our idea of it. We think we have sensation, but it is only something we’ve been mulling over in our heads. This is also what provides the basis for all advertising techniques.
Pure sensation has no dimension: the Universe is no larger than a poppy seed. Just because in the universe of perception we discover
galaxies millions of light years away, our life as sensation will not be affected in any particular way. A chilli seed in your food, a thorn in your finger or a baby’s cry affects us more than a scientific discovery.
For we who are moulded according to the mechanical conception of life, it is difficult to give sensation more prominence than it is granted in society.
Thus, as sensation becomes more distant from our lives, it is deprived of all its natural attributes: the natural and spontaneous movement of the body, the difference between pleasant and unpleasant, the normal functioning of the body. There will be more and more people with movement difficulties. This is the price we pay for civilisation.
On the other hand, as we get sensation back, perspective changes, the horizon widens, movement becomes freer. The idea of being the centre of the Universe yourself becomes conceivable."

Itsuo Tsudan, "One", Yume Editions, 2017

– How can one know if it’s really the Regenerating Movement that is activated ?

– That’s an excellent question ! How to tell if it’s the Regenerating Movement, or our imagination, or the result of a suggestion from the person who’s given the conferences and who organizes everything… At first we don’t really know ; is it the Movement ? Is it not the Movement ? After a certain time practicing, we know : we know because we recognize it. It’s very simple : when you scratch an itch, you know that it’s an itch and not something imaginary ; you don’t search for the itch, you know where it is and your hand goes there. For the Movement, we know in the same way.
What’s more, we can verify it as well, in the quality of what takes place in our bodies, in the quality of our reactions to illness and in all the events of life. There are people who come to do the course ; on the first day, nothing happens, and on the second day they begin to fidget and become agitated. They have paid for the course, and they want it to be good for something ! So I go to see them, I stop their agitation by doing Yuki ; if their movement stops when I do Yuki, then it wasn’t the Movement. Even in the case of excessive reactions, I always know if it’s the Movement or if it isn’t ; that’s why I conduct the courses, and why not just anyone can do it..

– I’ve noticed that certain movements that come naturally during the sessions can resemble those that are called in Tai-Chi Chuan, “spiral movements”. Is there a relation, or not ?

– I don’t know Tai-Chi Chuan well enough to say. But in any case, the human body has a form : a trunk, two arms, two legs, a head, and they are centered round an axis, the spinal column ; the human body moves from left to right, forward and backward, and in rotation. When the Movement is activated, there are people who only move horizontally, I mean by that, from left to right ; others only move forward and backward. Little by little they recover their full capacity ; effectively, the movement has a tendency to become more or less a spiral, because in that case, the whole spine moves, and each vertebra has recovered its natural flexibility. But you mustn’t believe that the Regenerating Movement is a sort of spiral ! The Regenerating Movement depends on each person. There are people who have difficulty in bending forward, and when they straighten up, they have a backache. These people will have a forward/ backward movement. For years, and perhaps always. Others will have a lateral movement. Another, who has his energy continually going up to the head, will tend to have a movement of the neck. The Regenerating Movement corresponds exactly to each individual.
There isn’t any “one” movement which is better than another. There are all sorts of movements ; here, we’ve been talking about exterior movements, but what happens in the interior… we don’t see. There are movements of the internal organs, there are even much more subtle movements in the cells, but we don’t see them. What we see is always what is exterior. The Regenerating Movement works slowly inside and demands a great deal of continuity. There are people who have practiced the Movement for more than twenty years ! And that doesn’t always mean that they have arrived at something… we are on the Way of Detachment and we are ridding ourselves of something.

– Should we practice the Regenerating Movement every day?

-“We should” nothing at all ! Everyone does as he likes !

-The continuity you speak of, then, is more a matter of a regular practice ?

– Effectively, there is a certain regularity, but one feels it for oneself. If one practices once a year, for example, we can’t really talk of continuity… here in the dojo, there are four sessions a week, some people feel the need to participate in all four sessions, others come to one ; others come every other week… that depends on their needs.
When one practices the Movement, at first, there is a period of relaxation ; if one has a bit of insomnia, one will sleep ; if one has digestive problems, one begins to digest with no problem, everything seems to become more regular. But if one continues the practice of Movement, the body begins to want to work… It’s a period where things are a bit more difficult : one had one’s shoulders completely blocked, and they have relaxed quite well, but that’s not enough, one must recover one’s flexibility, and so the body begins to work, to pull, to react ; the stomach, which before accepted everything, begins to say, “That food is all right, but that other, I don’t want” : it reacts spontaneously, to recover its suppleness. This is the period of hypersensitivity, where old pains or even some very perturbing sensations can be awakened. This is sometimes a rather difficult moment to live through.
Next comes the period of elimination : our body has been working well, so it begins to eliminate all the old junk we’ve accumulated… This moment, as well, can seem a bit strange… Our urine can become very dark, our eliminations very strong, the body eliminates everything that isn’t good for it. We can have eliminations through the skin, our perspiration becomes very strong : it’s the normal process. If we haven’t understood very well, we can be worried. The more we practice, the more these reactions will go quickly.

– Someone told me that in your conception, there is no health or illness.

– Illness is a process of readjustment of the body : in illness, what we see are the symptoms. If you had no symptoms, you wouldn’t know that you were ill. Now, more and more people fall ill because of medications and their secondary effects ! It’s even become risky to go to the hospital ! There are people who are never ill : they seem strong, resistant, but then one day they suddenly die. They are people who have become very rigid. Their bodies no longer react to anything. Noguchi called that, “illness without illness” ! Illness is what allows the body, unceasingly, to stimulate a reaction, a renewal. If we call on our immune defenses, our body will be capable of responding, and it will end up stronger. When one practices Martial Arts, one doesn’t engage a real combat, it’s training ; a person who trains himself, when there is a need to jump in the river to save someone from drowning, will be able to do it because his body is in condition. In the case of medicine, it’s the same thing. if our body is accustomed to respond, if it is accustomed to intervene with all sorts of white blood cells, etc., if it’s accustomed to work to recognize different sorts of microbes, to be able to react to them, then it will respond to the slightest things. Today, no-one accepts illness, or pain. One has the impression that civilized man wants to live in a cocoon, in a sort of submarine, where everything is hyperprotected, antiseptic, with an Internet screen to see the world from outside ! In fact, that even poses a problem for doctors. In France, recently, the question of antibiotics has come up : we are so bombarded with antibiotics that today they have become ineffective !

All of that is a consequence of fear. People are maintained in a state of fear. One of Tsuda’s articles is titled : “Hello, illness !” Children aren’t afraid of illness. They respond well, spontaneously and with strength!
Régis Soavi