What is Usui-Do?

Usui-Do is a meditative, spiritual system. Its purpose is to maintain unity of the self (body, mind and spirit) through harmony and balance. This is performed in an unconditional and nonjudgmental manner. A set of "Concepts" known as the Gainen form the basis of the entire system. This is what the Gainen look like in Japanese exactly as Usui himself arranged them!

What is an Usui Dojo?

An Usuidojo is a place where one may experience the message of Usui Mikao in the company of like-minded people. The motto of the Usuidojo was “Unity of Self through Harmony and Balance”.

The information is given out in a formal “dojo” setting. The “students” are called “doka” and come to share experiences with each other and with the “shihan”. The “shihan” calls upon the sum of all his previous experiences from other dojos to make his presentation. A dojo is NOT a classroom (a place where a “teacher teaches” and “students learn”). We are not mindlessly accumulating “information”. It is not so much what we do in the dojo but more how we do it and how we experience it such that it aids our personal development and well-being.

We all had to learn to walk. It took time; It took effort. We stumbled and fell. We learned to balance, to coordinate our body. We are STILL learning to walk as our bodies age. This is how one may experience the dojo. We make a series of “journeys”; we become a “different person” or a “new person” as the result of those “journeys”. That “new person” may now make the same journeys and re-experience them in a totally different manner, leading to the emerging of yet another “new person”.

In the dojo we must be in “input mode”. That is, we should be using all of our senses to observe the shihan and the interactions between doka and shihan. If a question arises in our minds we must set it aside for later. That question puts us in “output mode” and we will be unable to focus properly on what is going on within the dojo. We must listen and observe from the stillness of our hearts. We leave our bags and our shoes and our overcoats outside the dojo. They represent the outside world. We enter the dojo and become part of a private world and become one with Usui, the founder.

At the Shoden level we begin by studying the Gainen, a family of three concepts that were developed by Usui and are practiced as part of the daily lives of Usui’s followers. We then progress through a number of simple practical exercises to develop mindfulness. Included are certain movements called kata which have origins in what is termed medical qigong that was imported centuries ago from China. They are similar in nature to the movements used in taijiquan (Tai-Chi). We introduce another method of misogi known as kenyoku 乾浴 or dry bathing.

At the okuden level we have an opportunity to experience Captain Hayashi's early 'medical' application of Usui's unique way of working with clients outside the dojo environment. At kaiden we expand upon our understanding of the system as a whole, delving deeper into the Buddhist roots of the teachings.

We do not make use of "symbols" or "attunements"; these were not part of the original teachings.

The Reiki kanji

The REI-KI kanji have origins in China. They made their way to Japan where they retained their original Chinese meaning. Their origins and use are often misunderstood in the West. Click here for an explanation of the structure of the kanji.

Richard Rivard's website contains an interesting article at that outlines the changes in Usui's system over the last 80 years.

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