What is the One Point, hara, or lower dantien?

The one point (also hara or lower dantien) is often explained as the centre of gravity and this is a good start, or “in the ball park” as a Japanese Sensei of mine once joked. But this is only the stepping off point.

For each of us the One Point is the centre of the universe.

The universe is of infinite size and therefore every point in it is also at its centre. Imagine the universe shrinking around you until it is compressed to a single point as inconceivably small as the universe is inconceivably large. This is the One Point, and we can learn to control and use it.

I have found that the One Point becomes the centre of my mind and can be moved about to stabilize myself mentally or physically.

In the West there is a saying “to keep yourself grounded” and this too is a good place to begin, as it too incorporates control of both your physical body and your mind. 

To keep one point is the first of the four basic principles of Aikido (Ki no fudo ho). If we achieve one of these principals, we also achieve the others but if we try to achieve more than one we will not achieve any.

It is as easy to recognise when someone has one point; they are relaxed, happy, centred, balanced, “grounded” and they move without breaking this form, they strike the ball sweetly, throw faster, run effortlessly and always have a light floating feeling. The opposite is also true when we lose one point; our form is bad we bounce around and look to be trying too hard.

If your find you have lost one point, shrink the universe by half and by half until it forms at your centre, and let your mind move there where it too is the centre of the universe.

“O” is for the One Point

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6 thoughts on “What is the One Point, hara, or lower dantien?

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – a retrospective « A Fettered Mind

    • Your welcome, it is a concept mostly taught in dojos rather through zen/philosophy but once learned is invaluable, I first applied it to public speaking and eventually it became a habit and I often speak to large groups at conferences etc. without letting my nerves high-jack me.

      • I can imagine nerves hijacking anyone. Yikes! I am such a beginner and I so appreciate learning through your blog (especially since I can’t get to a dojo) because you put the teachings forth in easy-to-digest chunks in clear and precise language. That I greatly appreciate. There is SO MUCH to learn! ♥

    • Yes “One Point” is difficult to understand without the physical tests and teachings “on the mat” e.g. in a dojo environment. But this training it is a short cut to achieving so much more “off the mat”. We learn so much faster when we see and do, and feel ourselves lose, and then regain the One Point. That’s why the martial arts have wide appeal and are studied by many people who have no interest in pure self defense or “fighting” arts. It is like a laboratory environment where we can test our minds safely.

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