Archives par mot-clé : haruchika-noguchi

Seitai

The Seitai principles, which could even be described as « Seitai philosophy » – a way of seeing and thinking about the world – were developed by Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976) in the first half of the twentieth century. In brief (!), Seitai is a « method » or a « philosophy » that includes Seitai sōhō, Taisōs, Katsugen undō, Katsugen sōhō, and Yukihō. These are practices that complement, permeate each other, and form the breadth of Haruchika Noguchi’s Seitai thinking. We can also mention the study of Taihekis (postural tendencies), the use of the hot bath, the education of the subconscious, the importance of birth, illness and death…

An art of living from beginning to end.

Today, unfortunately, the term « Seitai » is overused and means anything and everything. Some manual therapy practitioners too easily lay claim to Seitai (Itsuo Tsuda would say it takes twenty years to train a Seitai sōhō technician!). As for the charlatans who offer to transform you in a few sessions…, let’s not talk about it! The magnitude of the art of living, the global understanding of the human being in Seitai seem far away. If all there is left is a technique to be applied to patients, the essence is lost. If all there is left of Katsugen undō is a moment to “recharge your batteries”, the essence is lost.

Haruchika Noguchi and Itsuo Tsuda both went much further than that in their understanding of the human being. And the seeds they sowed, the clues they left for humans to evolve are important. Can we then speak of a way, of Seitai-dō (道 dō / tao)? Because that is a radical change of perspective, an upheaval, a totally different horizon opening up.

Let’s go back in history…

The meeting with Haruchika Noguchi: the individual as a whole

Itsuo Tsuda met Haruchika Noguchi around 1950. The approach to the human being as proposed in Seitai interested him from the very beginning. The sharp observation of individuals taken in their indivisible entirety/complexity, which Itsuo Tsuda found in Noguchi, was an extension of what had already captured his interest during his studies in France with Marcel Mauss (anthropologist) and Marcel Granet (sinologist). Itsuo Tsuda then began to follow Noguchi’s teaching and continued for more than twenty years. He had the sixth dan of Seitai.

« Master Noguchi has allowed me to see things in a very concrete way. Through each person’s manifestations it is possible to see what is in action inside. This approach is completely different from an analytical one: the head, the heart, the digestive organs, a specialist for everything and then, of course, the body on the one hand, the psychic on the other. Well, he has allowed us to see the human being, that is to say, the concrete individual, in his entirety. » (1)

Illness as a balance factor

All the more as it was precisely in the 1950s that Haruchika Noguchi, who had very early discovered his capacity as a healer, decided to give up therapeutics. He then created the concept of Seitai, i.e. “normalized terrain”.

« The word ‘terrain’ meant as the whole of what makes up the individual, the psychic aspect as well as the physical one, whereas in the West there is always a division between what is psychic and what is physical. » (2)

The change of perspective with regard to illness was crucial in this reorientation of Noguchi.

« Illness is natural, the body’s effort to recover lost balance. […] It is good that illness exists, but people must avoid becoming enslaved to it. This is how Noguchi happened to conceive of the notion of Seitai, the normalisation of the terrain, if you will. Diseases are not to be treated; it is useless to cure them. If the terrain is normalised, illness disappears of its own accord. And moreover, one becomes more vigorous than before. Farewell to therapeutics. The fight against illness is over. » (3)

Itsuo Tsuda. Photo de Eva Rodgold©
Yuki. Itsuo Tsuda. Photo de Eva Rodgold©

A path towards autonomy

Abandoning therapy also goes hand in hand with the desire to get out of the dependence relation that binds the patient to the therapist. Noguchi wanted to allow individuals to become aware of their ignored capacities, he wished to awaken them to the fulfillment of their own being.
During the twenty years they followed each other, the two men spent long moments talking about philosophy, art, etc., and Noguchi found in Tsuda’s vast intellectual culture the substance to nourish and expand his observations and personal reflections. Thus a relation which was enriching for both developed between them.

Itsuo Tsuda was the editor of the magazine Zensei, published by the Seitai Institute, and he actively participated in the studies led by Noguchi on Taihekis (postural tendencies). A text by Haruchika Noguchi published in the magazine Zensei of January 1978 reveals that it was Itsuo Tsuda who advanced the hypothesis – validated by Noguchi – that type nine (closed basin) would be the archetype of the primitive being. (4)

The development of Katsugen undō (Regenerating Movement) by Noguchi particularly interested Itsuo Tsuda, who immediately understood the importance of this tool, especially as regards to the possibility it gives to individuals to regain their autonomy, without needing to depend any more on any specialist. While recognizing and admiring the precision and the deep capacity of the Seitai technique, Tsuda considered that the spreading of Katsugen undō was more important than the teaching of the technique. He therefore initiated groups of Regenerating Movement (Katsugen Kai) in a great many places in Japan.

Conférence d'Itsuo Tsuda. Photo de Eva Rodgold©
Conférence Itsuo Tsuda. Photo de Eva Rodgold©

Itsuo Tsuda favored the spread of Katsugen undō in Europe as a gateway to Seitai.

Today, even in Japan, Seitai sōhō has taken an orientation that brings it closer to therapy. One problem: one technique to apply. Katsugen undō becomes a kind of “light” gymnastics for well-being and relaxation. This is far from the awakening of the living, of the autonomous capacity of the body to react that Haruchika Noguchi’s Seitai is meant to be.

The yuki exercise, which is the alpha and omega of Seitai, is practiced at every Katsugen undō session. Thus, although Tsuda did not teach the technique of Seitai sōhō, he transmitted its essence, the simplest act, this « non-technique » that yuki is. The one that serves us every day, the one that gradually sensitizes the hands, the body. This physical sensation, that is real, that can be experienced by all, is today too often considered a special technique, reserved for an elite. We forget that it is a human and instinctive act. The practice of mutual Katsugen undō (with a partner) is also getting lost, even in the groups that followed Tsuda’s teaching. What a pity! Because through yuki and mutual Katsugen undō, the body rediscovers sensations, those that do not go through mental analysis. This dialogue in silence, which makes us discover the other from the inside and which therefore brings us back to ourselves, to our inner being. Yuki and Katsugen undō are for us essential tools, recommended by Haruchika Noguchi, on the path towards “normal terrain”.

But time goes by and things get distorted, like words of wisdom of some people become religious oppressions… Little by little Katsugen undō is nothing more than a moment to « recharge », relax and above all not change anything in one’s life, in one’s stability. Seitai, a method to lose weight after childbirth… While it is a life orientation, a global thinking. The huge step Haruchika Noguchi took in moving away from the idea of therapeutics is a major advance in the history of mankind. His global understanding of the individual, the sensitivity to ki, sufficiently recovering sensitivity and a center in oneself from where to listen to one’s own body and act freely.

It’s not even about opposing methods, theories or civilizations. It is purely and simply about the evolution of humanity.

Manon Soavi

Notes:

(1) Itsuo Tsuda, Interview on France Culture, Master Tsuda explaining the Regenerating Movement, issue N°3, early 1980s
(2) Itsuo Tsuda, Interview on France Culture, op. cit., issue N°4, early 1980s
(3) Itsuo Tsuda, The Dialogue of Silence, Paris, Yume Editions, 2018, p. 75-76 (1979)
(4) About Taihekis, consult Itsuo Tsuda, The Non-Doing, Paris, Yume Editions, 2014 (1973)

Noguchi-Chuang-Tzu #5

Concerning Chuang-Tzu’s chapter « The spirit of cultivating life » (V) by Haruchika Noguchi. to read the beginning https://www.ecole-itsuo-tsuda.org/en/noguchi-tchouang-tseu-1/

For as long as human beings live, they will at some point die. This statement has been tested for thousands of years, and so it is not a misapprehension. People generally do not accept the irrefutable fact that men die, and as they draw closer to death and feel death in their hearts, they worry and act impatiently, since they don’t want to die. But human beings are creatures that die. Bach composed the Goldberg variations for the sake of someone’s sound sleep, and this piece says again and again that men are mortal. Lire la suite

Noguchi-Chuang-Tzu #4

Concerning Chuang-Tzu’s chapter « The spirit of cultivating life » (IV) by Haruchika Noguchi.

 

When Kung Wen Hsien saw the Commander of the Army, he said in surprise, « I wondered who it was, and it’s you. That one foot — is it the work of man or of Heaven? » The Commander replied, « It was Heaven’s, and not man’s work. Essentially, a man’s form is determined. From this, I know that being one-footed, too, is the work of heaven, and not of man. «

The Commander’s words are followed with : « A pheasant that lives in a marsh walks ten paces for one beakful of food and a hundred paces for one sip of water, but it doesn’t want to be kept in a cage. Though a bird may be filled with vitality there, it cannot enjoy its life. »

Chuang-tzu broke the various cages that environ people’s lives : the attachment that comes from being ruled by the things around you, the sense of values that goes against life, partial philosophies that hinder the development of life. He demands that we should step out from these prisons and conveys the Buddhist priest’s spirit of renouncing the world by casting off all attachments.

Again, Yun-men wondered why a priest should robe himself at the sound of the bell, when the world, so full of splendours, is very wide ; and there was the European thinker who threw away all his books and possessions.

« Common people breathe from their throats. Those who are slaves to the world choke out their words as though they were vomiting… Human life —is it in its essence as murky as this ? Is it I alone who see it as murky ? And is there someone who does not see it as murky ? »

Is it not because people don’t comprehend the pleasure a pheasant has from walking ten paces for a beakful of food and a hundred paces for a drink of water ? Is it because the children of men do not enjoy the fate of having no place to rest their heads ?

Because past knowledge is attached even to a single action like raising a hand or kicking out with a foot, human activity lacks buoyancy. Because with every breath drawn in and breathed out people vomit for joy or anger, or love or hate, human life lacks transparency.

When, as soon as someone spreads his wings, he injures them, it is because he is in a cage. To spread your wings is life’s demand. So long as they remain shrunken, without spreading their wings, human beings do not become strong. Breathe expansively and get out of the cage that hinders you from doing so. Throw off the weight of duty and act buoyantly. This is what cultivating life is. Chuang-tzu never stopped hoping that human beings would live actively without being hindered by anything.

« Life arises from death and death from life. What comes into existence passes out of it, what passes out of existence comes into it. » As for Chuang-tzu’s thoughts on the problem of what happens after death, he believed neither in the immortality of the soul, not in eternal life. « At one time, I may become a rooster… or a bullet.., or an insect. » In the one real world, there is nothing but the continuation of ceaseless change as various forms of life disperse and come together.

The last sentence of the chapter entitled « The Spirit of Cultivating Life » goes : « Although there is an end to the fingers putting fuel on the fire, the fire endures and we don’t know the end of it ». These words should be understood in the light of what has just been said. Chuang-tzu points to the continuity and flow of life, conceived of as fire, not for a moment entertaining the idea of any opposition between mind and body.

It is an especially interesting point that this chapter ends by broaching the question of death.

( to be continued )

Noguchi-Chuang-Tzu #3

Concerning Chuang-Tzu’s chapter « The spirit of cultivating life » (II) by Haruchika Noguchi. To read the beginning https://www.ecole-itsuo-tsuda.org/en/noguchi-tchouang-tseu-1/

Living is a more important matter than thinking. Being alive is not a means, but an end. So life should be carried on naturally only with the aim of maintaining life : a breathing in, a breathing out, a raising of the hand, a movement of the leg – all these should be for the cultivation of life.

Therefore, simply dwelling in health is a very precious thing. Zensei, which is to say, « A fulfilled life », is nothing but the road men follow, and it is the road ,of nature. Fulfilling the life that is given in peace of spirit is not for the sake of spiritual content, but is what should already have been undertaken before all else. We have to live in a vital way human life, which is health. Living always cheerfully and happily—this has always been what is of true value to human beings.

Human beings live because they are born, and because they are living, they eat and they sleep. They are born as a result of a natural demand, and they live as a result of the same demand. To live is natural. And so to die is also natural. Human beings’ accomplishing the life that is given them comes before all else. But this does not mean being attached to life at all. Chuang-tzu disliked any craving for particular things. For him, the arising of any attachment is at once a departure from the way. So he speaks about cultivating life and maintaining the body in order that the present moment that is given, precisely because it is the present moment, may be used fully, and certainly not because the thing given is life.

Chuang-tzu saw as a single whole the contraries of good and evil, of beauty and ugliness, and of the useful and the useless, and for him life and death were also a single whole, what comes into existence passing out of it and what passes out of existence coming into it. « Life arises from death and death arises from life » he wrote.

When Tsu-yu contracted a crippling illness, Tsu-szu visited him and asked, « Do you think your fate is unpleasant? » Tsu-yu’s answer was astounding : « Why should I find it unpleasant? If changes are brought about and my left arm turns into a rooster, I’ll use it to herald the dawn. If my right shoulder is transformed into a bullet, I’ll use it to bring down a pigeon for roasting. If my buttocks become carriage-wheels and my spirit a horse, I’ll ride along on them. Then I would need no other vehicle but myself—that would be wonderful! »

« Time does not cease even for an instant, and if it is destiny for a human being to be born, then it is natural that living form should be lost. If you are content with time’s flow and in accord with the order of things, then there is not especially any joy or sorrow. This is what the ancients called « deliverance from bondage ». You put a noose round your neck and you can’t get it off ; this is because it is tied by the mind that thinks in terms of right and wrong and good and bad. Nothing can overcome heaven. Nothing comes of hating heaven. »

Chuang-tzu’s point about cultivating life is clear in the words that come in the passage where Kung Wen Hsien speaks to the Commander of the Army : « The work of man is still the work of nature. » This is the road he walks. Within his attitude — that whatever happens, it is proper, and that when something happens, you go forward and affirm reality – there is not a trace of the resignation that lies in submitting tu destiny. His affirmation of reality is nothing but the affirmation of reality. The dignity of the man is conveyed only by Lin Chi’s words : « Wherever you are, be master. »

From Chuang-tzu’s point of view, the security of the bird-cage is no better than being obliviously asleep. He feels the vitality of life only so long as existence is unconstrained.

(to be continued)

Picture : Chuang Tzu. Lu Chih (1496–1576)

Noguchi-Chuang-Tzu #1

Concerning Chuang-Tzu’s chapter « The spirit of cultivating life » ( I ) by Haruchika Noguchi.

Chuang-tzu’s chapter « The Spirit of Cultivating Life »  is an exposition of the way to cultivate the spirit of life, that is to say, one’s whole being. Nevertheless, if—still reading the first two Chinese characters in the usual way—one takes the title as meaning something like « The Rules for Maintaining Health », the result is very intersting. Hitherto, where rules for maintaining health or rules of hygiene are concerned, the only things that have been preached are « Treat life as precious » and « Be careful » ; and one hasn’t been able to feel, even a little, the vital activity of life in such preachings. It may be because of a lack of any Chuang-tzu-like element in them.

I shall look at « The Spirit of Cultivating Life » not as a means to spiritual develOpment, but as one of the sciences of health, and I hope to be able to discern what is concealed within it : the true lineaments of life, which is exuberant and positive.
Chuang-tzu begins his chapter with the words : « Our lives are limited, knowledge is unlimited. It is perilous for what is limited to follow what is unlimited. It is still more perilous to apply knowledge. » Rather than using knowledge to bore seven holes in the Formless ( as in the parable he concludes his seventh chapter with ), Chuang-tzu wanted to remain within undifferentiated nothingness, and he taught that human beings should remain within this.

Our lives are limited, there is no limit to shoulds and shouldn’ts, and if, possessing limits, one tries to abide by limitless shoulds and shouldn’ts, one is left only with the anxiety that one is unable to abide by them. Nevertheless, people still chase after shoulds and shouldn’ts. And their anxiety grows.

The way of hygiene is pursued with the sole result that shoulds and shouldn’ts are multiplied ; the shoulds and shouldn’ts that people must heed multiply more and more ; and then the anxiety to heed these rules coupled with the ‘ fear that they are not able to do so makes people ever more timid and weak-spirited, and the other side of the coin is that this anxiety and fear increase the powers of disease-causing agents and of unhealth.

Noguchi Haruchika. Photo issu de http://noguchi-haruchika.com
Noguchi Haruchika. Photo de http://noguchi-haruchika.com

 

Separated from the fundamental matter of enhancing life, hygiene strives only to avoid unhealth, to keep away from harmful things, to escape from things that are feared ; and so it becomes difficult for people to live in a vital way. Eating all one can, sleeping as much as one wants, sparing oneself trouble as much as possible, resting as much as possible, taking lots of medicine, avoiding heat and disliking cold, wearing more clothes than is necessary, and living in a safe way by these means—should we call this health ? Should we call these methods, for which human beings have used every bit of knowledge they have, hygiene ?

What force is there in an enumeration of forms ? It only vitiates the human spirit. Does it not only make life wither ?

Living in a healthy and vital way means not being daunted by cold, heat, wind or humidity, working without being fatigued, sleeping without dreaming, finding whatever you eat delicious, and always enjoying life ; it does not mean not falling ill. Not falling ill should not be a purpose, but a result. Healthy people are not daunted by illness, and they pass through an illness when they have one in a splendid manner, becoming all the more energetic and full of fife ; and you don’t need to read about Nietzsche’s experience in order to understand this. When shoulds and musts control human activity, then human beings have already forged fetters for themselves. Knowledge is a weapon for human beings, and a power for accomplishing their intentions. But when knowledge is piled up and the freedom of human beings is restricted, people become unable to live in a lively way because of shoulds and shouldn’ts, rather as a deer’s antlers become a hindrance to it. And then there’s nothing better than to become free by cutting that knowledge off and throwing it away.

When you want to eat, eat ; when you want to sleep, sleep ; when you want to work, work. It is not a matter of having to eat, it is not a matter of having to sleep, it is not a matter of working because you should. Much less is it a matter of eating, sleeping or working because of what the clock says. It is not a matter of living tomorrow’s life in accordance with yesterday’s knowledge. Tomorrow is for opening up the new on the basis of tomorrow’s experience. Past knowledge, customary fetters—separate yourself from such things and live in a vital way. The vital activity of life that is always renewed belongs to the person who lives always in an unfettered way.
( to be continued )

Kokoro

A text by Haruchika Noguchi, founder of Seitai.

« The kokoro that resides deep within man, has invaluable faculties; its possibilities are so endless and inexhaustible that even if we put together all the ki and we make it concentrated we will never end being incapable or helpless. Everything begins to change, not just the body, when the ki focuses and concentrates in the kokoro. Those who practice it told me after the changes experienced.

kokoro haruchika noguchi
kokoro Haruchika Noguchi Haruchika Noguchi Photo: Seitai Kyokai

Many associate the word kokoro to willpower, but it in fact it does not have its own virtue;  on the other hand, instead of pretending to achieve something by willpower force if we simply visualize that we are going to get there, our wish comes true. Anyone knowing how to use his kokoro will see the realization of his wishes.

Since the dawn of time up to now, human being has invented countless things. Here is a table. It has not been around forever, it was created by the use of visualization. Visualization always precedes what will then exist; the word comes just after. If we proceed in this order, step by step, without deviation and with firmness, our wish will be fulfilled. Only then the various worlds in which humanity evolves will widen further. Mankind is like that.Lire la suite