Katsugen Undo

The basics for this exercise are taken from Haruchika Noguchi Sensei and “Noguchi Seitai”. “Seitai” basically means “properly ordered body.”

(If you go to the “Video Practices” section of our site, you will find a video lesson of the basic protocol I am presenting here. Likely much easier for you to follow as you watch me do what I describe here.)

In very simple terms Noguchi Sensei said that we all have a tendency to hold on to excess energy that inhibits us from rebalancing ourselves and thus we inhibit our ability to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

In terms of what we are exploring together, the above means that we often tend to create limiting and habitual forms of somatic communication. We lose the ability to fully communicate with our body, and we lose the ability to be fully aware of the communication of the body. It is the communication patterns of the body that lead to our verbal communication patterns. When you limit your ability to communicate somatically and be aware of your somatic conversation, you also limit your ability to communicate verbally and be aware of your verbal conversation. Of course your overall state of well-being will be affected as well.

The greater your ability to be aware of and embody a full potential range of somatic communication, the greater your ability to communicate verbally and “understand” your feelings.

Prior to attempting to understand the verbal communication of others:
1) Enliven your own ability to communicate somatically to yourself.
2) Learn how to understand the somatic communication of others.

Haruchika Noguchi Sensei has at least two books that have been translated into English: “Order, Spontaneity and the Body” (this book is his most important I think, and well worth reading) and “Colds and Their Benefits”, Zensei Publishing. Noguchi Sensei used to say that the purpose of Katsugen Undo is to create an orderly way to unconsciously move the body, while adjusting those parts of the body that we cannot move voluntarily.

PART I

  1. Sit on a chair, several inches from the edge of the seat. Move around some in various unprogrammed ways. Move your head and neck around, as well as your arms, bend your trunk back and forth, and tense and relax your muscles. Get comfortable with your range of movement. Feel your spine, neck, and head expanding up towards the ceiling, and feel as if you are “sitting on top of the world” and enjoying the ride. Be certain to feel your breath, and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling. Please also go ahead and make some sounds. Whatever suits you in the moment.
  2. Now with the fingers of both hands, begin to feel the area directly below your sternum. (Your sternum is at the very bottom of your rib cage at the middle of your rib cage. Think of a straight line going from your nose down to your belly button. The sternum is directly on that line at the bottom of your rib cage.) With one hand, find a place about three finger widths below the sternum that feels a bit soft or inviting. This spot should be your solar plexus.Now place the index, middle, and ring fingers of your “other” hand, directly below your first hand. Then bring your first hand down and match the position of the “other” hand. This is not an exact science. Feel for what feels like the right place for you.
  3. With your fingers pressing on this soft spot: Breathe in deeply through your nose all the way down into your stomach. Now exhale slowly through your mouth (making a “haaa” sound) while bending forward. As you bend forward, press your fingers deeply into your soft spot. Time it so that you have breathed completely out, just as you reach the place where you are bent forward as far as you can comfortably go, and your fingers are pressing firmly into your solar plexus area.
  4. Once you have completely breathed out, completely and suddenly relax your fingers and your entire body while remaining bent over.
  5. Breathe comfortably and stay in this position for fifteen or twenty seconds and then sit back up.
  6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5, four or five times. It is likely that you will want to yawn at some point, and that your solar plexus will soften somewhat.

PART II

  1. With your hands resting on your lap, slowly twist your trunk and your head to either side, as far around towards your back as you can. Twist your eyes around as well, as if you were trying to see your spine.
  2. When you reach the point of maximum twist, completely and suddenly relax while returning to a centered position.
  3. Repeat this movement to your “other” side, and then, sit comfortably for fifteen or twenty seconds, breathe, and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling.
  4. Repeat this entire process to both sides, four or five times.
  5. Take a few moments and feel your breath and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling.

PART III

  1. You are to do the same basic twisting movement as in the previous exercise. (Be certain to swing your eyes around.)
  2. This time you are meant to also bounce a bit from your center while swinging both of your arms to the side that you are twisting towards. You bounce, twist your head and trunk, and swing both arms to the side that you are twisting.
  3. At the moment of reaching the point of maximum twist, you flop back towards center and then immediately bounce and twist to the other side.
  4. At the moment of reaching the point of maximum twist to your “second” side you immediately return to center and completely and suddenly relax.
  5. Inhale fairly strongly through your nose and exhale through your mouth (about three times), and then after sitting there for just a few seconds, repeat the entire process four or five times.
  6. When you are done, sit completely relaxed while noticing what you see, hear, and feel. Be sure to feel your breath.

PART IV

Once you have learned what to do, the following steps should be carried out in one continuous movement:

  1. Make a fist with your thumbs tucked inside the rest of your fingers. (This is NOT the kind of fist that you would be making if you were wanting to strike out at something.)
  2. As you breathe in through your nose, bend your arms at a ninety degree angle and raise both arms to your sides, so that your arms are at shoulder height and your fist are facing forward.
  3. Now breathe out through your mouth making a strong “haaa” sound as you tense your entire body (including your face and your anus), throw your head back, and thrust your raised arms strongly backwards as if you were trying to get your two shoulder blades to actually touch.
  4. The moment you reach the point of maximum tension, completely and suddenly relax (but don’t collapse), and be certain to feel your breathing.
  5. Take a few moments to notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling, and then repeat this whole process four or five times.
  6. When you are done, sit with your eyes closed, notice your breathing, and allow whatever movement you might have, to continue.

_______________

  1. Open your eyes slowly and breathe rather strongly three or four times, through your nose and down into your stomach and out again through your nose.
  2. Carefully feel your breath and note what you are hearing, seeing, and feeling.

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