Photo: Karoliina Loimaala

Practicing Life Force


“A soft technique always includes toughness.” I am sure toughness could be replaced with another more suitable word in this context, choosing another synonym, but I give that freedom to the reader. Here some thoughts and questions that arose during my work in fascia meditation in relation to my practice and interest in martial arts, including the philosophy of budo (= the martial arts way, the arts of the peacemaker,…).

In short, we worked with Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir on the fascia meditation shortly in September in Helsinki and in the beginning of January in Berlin for about one week´s time.

As I understand the concept, you work with life force in the fascia meditation. Fascia is a connecting tissue between muscles and skin covering the entire body. In practice you activate a visualization where you change the consistency of all the bones in your body into melted butter. Activation of this image relaxes the bodily tissues. It allows you to get more receptive and gives room for you to sense the matter in your body moving.

This matter can be seen in different ways and be called by different names. It doesn´t limit itself to run through human bodies only - the entire world is consisting of matter. Through this matter it is a life force that is flowing. In India it is called prana. In China it is called ch´i. In Japan it is called Ki.  In the theory of budo practices ki is flowing through my body, through other bodies and the environment(s) around, hence through the matter. There are different techniques to control and be able to use ki. It is regarded to be far more powerful than pure muscular strength. Departing from this point of view, ´the weak one will defeat the strong one´.  

After a budo master Koichi Tohei (1920-) our personal ki has no individual existence. It is always part of the ki of the universe. “When we breathe in, we breathe the ki of the universe with our entire body. When our body and the ki of the universe are in harmony we are healthy and happy. When there is an infraction, we are tired and ignorant. When the flow stops, we die. “ - Timo Klemola, after Tohei, in “Karete-Do”, Otava 1988.

I understand the life force we work on in the meditation and ki as the same thing. This particular meditation is another practice to get the life force flowing, or in other words, notice and practice to understand that life force. One of the reasons I started to train martial arts was a meditational state I would enter while practicing - practice being active meditation. “When one gets to the core of one´s movement, one gets to the core of the universe”. – T. Klemola, “Karate-Do”. When this state of mind has been achieved, there is no difference between you and me, me and the world, subject and object, loser and winner, there is just one.

Practically I am now practicing three different manifestations/meditations of the same core. Individual physical force, internal force through softness and sensitivity, and a communal practice to understand ki in different forms of matter reaching and flowing outside my own body. In all of them I am practicing my understanding, sensing and using of ki, yet in different ways and forms.

Whatever the method, getting in touch with life force has grown to be important to me. I am wondering, if by getting softer and listening to the movement inside our own matter and how it responds to the rest of the matter - How would that affect our understanding of the world? Could we get a tad further away from the want of segregation? Would that enlarge or multiply ways of comprehension? I bet ki can be practiced in many other different ways, forms, names and outcomes. But all in all, we are of the same matter and I wish good for the entire blob.

Karoliina Loimaala