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Sports & Fitness // On the Move
Yu Shing Ting

The Many Benefits Of Aikido

Hawaii Ki Federation celebrates 60 years of aikido in Hawaii with a special public seminar Friday, Nov. 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Jodo Mission Social Hall (1420 Makiki St.). Hosted by Lokahi Ki Society, the seminar is open to people of all ages and abilities who are interested in the principles of ki (aikido).

“Aikido for some people is a way of defending themselves, a martial art, but that’s the small picture,” says Clayton Naluai, one of the founders of Lokahi Ki Society. “The big picture is that it’s a way of living.

“At the seminar, they’re going to experience something in ways that they’ve never experienced before. For instance, the power they have to achieve anything that they put their mind to doing, and discovering that they can be more than they thought they can be, do more than they thought they could do and have more joy, peace, love, harmony and prosperity than they thought they could have.”

Naluai, who sang with the famous old Hawaii musical group The Surfers, and has appeared on the original Hawaii Five-O and Hawaiian Eye, has been practicing aikido for 55 years. He first discovered it while observing a class taught by Koichi Tohei, a top student of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba in Japan.

“He pointed to me, said come over here, and asked if I can tumble. I said yes, and the next thing I knew I was flying through the air,” recalls Naluai. “It was not an uncomfortable feeling. It was, in fact, a feeling of elation, joy – and I tumbled. And through that experience I said, ‘I want to learn about this.’”

Now 76, Naluai was recently promoted to 7th dan black belt in shin shin toitsu aikido kai, and teaches at Lokahi Ki Society once a week.

“My teacher realized rather fast that I was not interested in learning how to defend myself. What I was interested in was the bigger picture: How do I apply these life principles in my life?

“I used to be a rascal kid. Before, they called us rascal kids and then they changed the label to juvenile delinquents. I could’ve been the best crook in the world, but fortunately, for the seeds that were planted by my parents, my teachers and mentors in life, including my aikido teacher Koichi Tohei sensei, I’m not the best crook. Aikido has made me a better person, I cannot deny that. And it’s a journey that continues to grow.”

It’s also a great form of exercise both physically and mentally.

“The principles (of aikido) have to do with exercising your mind and your body. Mind moves the body, so what condition your mind is in determines what condition your body is in,” explains Naluai. “If a person thinks that they’re weak, then the body responds accordingly.”

Cost for the upcoming seminar is $15. Space is limited. RSVP by calling Lokahi Ki Society at 372-7724 or email lokahiki@me.com. For more information, visit lokahiki.org.

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