Why these games are here.
The ideas behind the Body Mind & Modem site come from the martial art called Aikido
Kokikai. When you practice this art - throwing people, and being thrown - you can't
help but develop a calmer, stronger, more comfortable mind/body state. Why is that?
The reason (I believe) is that practicing Aikido gives you feedback on how your mind and body are doing. If your mind is more calm and your body is more relaxed, Aikido techniques work better. A better feeling comes to you. (It really feels great.) Conversely, if you're tense or upset, Aikido techniques don't work very well at all.
Now sitting where you are - in front of a computer monitor at work or at home - you probably can't just hop up and start practicing Aikido. But you really could benefit from some kind of feedback on your mind/body state. That's the reason for these games.
These games are here to give you feedback. They will let you know how well you are doing at keeping one-point, relaxing, thinking positive, and finding correct posture. When you're more relaxed and calm, you'll do better. When you get nervous, or try too hard, or slump in your chair, or hold your mouse too tightly, you'll probably do worse.
We tried to be thoughtful in designing these games, because some activities are great at reinforcing a strong ki feeling, while other activities don't help much at all.
Take basketball. Watch basketball players on TV. Most of them are very relaxed. They don't tense up when they're shooting. They move gracefully. Why is that? I believe part of it is because basketball gives you such immediate feedback on your mental and physical state. If you're calm and relaxed, the ball is more likely to go in the hoop - it's that simple. (In fact, shooting hoops is a wonderful way to work on your own ki training. Keep one-point, relax, just shoot and see what happens. In fact, why don't you turn off your computer and go do that right now?)
Now football is a different story. The quarterbacks and receivers seem pretty relaxed - but then, they get immediate feedback when throwing and catching. The linemen, however, always seem to be using maximum muscle. Granted, they are trying to move people weighing 250 pounds or more. But it's pretty easy to show that relaxation and calmness works just as well here as it does on the basketball court. So how come most of these guys haven't discovered that?
My feeling is that it's because they don't get very good feedback from their sport or practice. Say someone helps a defensive lineman learn to be more relaxed and calm. Then he applies this feeling during a game or practice. He will probably react quicker, be more effective at slowing down his opponent, and things like that. But this kind of feedback is not as clear as having a basketball go in the basket, or not.
What makes things even fuzzier is, though that lineman got better results when relaxed and calm, he won't feel as though he worked as hard. Being relaxed and calm makes it easier to achieve better results. And being trained in the culture of football, he is likely to feel like he's not "giving 100%", so he'll try harder next time, inevitably getting more pumped up and using more muscle - moving further and further away from a good ki feeling!
Not to pick on football too much. It's just that football players - and all athletes - have so much to gain from ki training. But we need to find better ways to provide feedback to these athletes. Runners should have speedometers they can look at while they're running so they can see what happens when they run with greater relaxation, or change their posture. Baseball players should have monitors that tell them what happens to the speed of their bat when they practice keeping one-point.
Which brings us back to our games. In each case, we tried to design them so that you get feedback on your ki state. Keep one-point, relax, and your results should be better. Get tense and try hard, and your results will probably get worse. In this way, we hope, we can reinforce the feeling that we are trying to teach people about at this web site.
Here's a little warning: While these games aren't bad, they are nothing compared to the actual practice of Aikido Kokikai. If you live near a Kokikai dojo (school), and you've spent the time to read this far, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. Go to the Aikido section of this site to find out more.
But now, onto the games.
The Seven Samurai (Minus Three)
Mildly Irritating Puzzle