Aikido during the coronavirus – how to strengthen your immune system (Not only for martial artists!)

Aiki­do tea­ches us how to accept, uti­li­ze and impro­ve any situati­on whi­le lear­ning some­thing new. How can we apply this art to the current situati­on surroun­ding the coro­na­vi­rus epi­de­mic? With all the safe­ty pre­cau­ti­ons and the ban on tra­i­ning, how can we meet in even bet­ter con­di­ti­on and heal­thi­er than before? 

We are being offe­red the oppor­tu­ni­ty to practi­ce Aiki­do in eve­ry­day life.

(In this article, I am not wri­ting about the “hand washing” type of pre­ven­ti­on – virus pro­tecti­on pro­cedu­res are descri­bed frequent­ly and suf­fi­ci­ent­ly elsewhe­re. The following article is about stren­gthe­ning your per­so­nal immu­ne system.)


Common Sense and Simple Measures

We still have litt­le infor­mati­on about coro­na­vi­rus, but a few things are almost cer­ta­in. COVID-19 is a respi­ra­to­ry dise­a­se (i.e. it main­ly attacks the respi­ra­to­ry tract), and even in an epi­de­mic, a lar­ge pro­por­ti­on of the popu­lati­on rema­ins heal­thy. Our resistan­ce to the virus depends main­ly on our immu­ne sys­tems. What does this depend on?

  • Drin­king regi­me – doc­tors recom­mend drin­king a lot and often to keep the mucous mem­bra­nes moist (In Taiwan, which managed the epi­de­mic, autho­ri­ties recom­men­ded drin­king warm water)
  • Food – eat well, varied and slowly. Eve­ry­o­ne needs somewhat dif­fe­rent food and I assu­me you know what and why you eat and how food affects you.
  • Anti­o­xi­dants and die­ta­ry sup­ple­ments – gene­ral clas­sics inclu­de fru­its, vege­tables, and lots of vita­min C. You must cer­ta­in­ly have your own tricks – some pre­fer herbs, some mushro­oms, others gre­en tea or gre­en food.
  • Fre­sh air – being out in the sun, with tre­es on all sides and high sky overhe­ad incre­a­ses immu­ni­ty some­how automatically…

Now we have time to indul­ge in all these things!

(On the other hand, smoking, too much alco­hol and sub­stan­ce abuse harms your body.)

Physical activity and health

Regu­lar exer­ci­se is very impor­tant for our immu­ne sys­tems. Ide­ally, we should move twi­ce a day for 10–20 minu­tes in an intensi­ty appro­pri­a­te to our con­di­ti­on. Impor­tant is regu­la­ri­ty and the gol­den mean (extre­mes do not impro­ve immu­ni­ty). Some tips:

  • Aiki­do war­mup – Our warm-up is sim­ple, but when we do it regu­lar­ly, it is an excellent heal­th exer­ci­se. Do you remem­ber the exercises?
  • Hand waving – This excellent and ver­sa­ti­le wor­kout is part of our warm-up. It wakes up and warms your enti­re body – for more details and videos, ple­a­se see this article. If you make it the core of your excer­si­ze, I recom­mend 5–20 minutes.
  • Mak­ko-hó – This set comes from shi­at­su and stret­ches the who­le body with all its ener­gy paths. It is also gre­at for cal­ming down at bed­ti­me. On goo­gle you can find many vari­ants. I recom­mend this image PDF by Jan Ple­tá­nek (from his web­si­te Tai­ji Par­du­bi­ce)

The exer­ci­ses abo­ve are just the foun­dati­on. Each of you will get to know dozens of other exer­ci­ses (basic ste­ps, cen­ter exer­ci­ses, wea­pons, ener­gy or bre­athing exer­ci­ses…) so you can build your eve­ry­day indi­vi­du­al wor­kouts to meet your needs.
Of cour­se, I recom­mend wor­king out in a heal­thy and well-ven­ti­la­ted area.

A merry mind – The First half of health

“The mind of an ordi­na­ry man is overwhel­med with opti­mism and ease eve­ry time he over­co­mes a pro­blem. Depres­si­on comes when one is over­powered and crushed by some­thing. Having an opti­mis­tic sta­te of mind means wan­de­ring in enli­gh­te­n­ment; being depres­sed ulti­ma­te­ly means a dun­ge­on,” wro­te Samu­rai and Zen mas­ter Sho­san in the seven­te­en­th century.

And the Czech clas­sic figu­re Svejk added: “It takes peace.”

How can we achie­ve this under the circumstances?

  • Don’t take the news too per­so­nally – jour­na­lists are paid to cre­a­te dra­ma, and if we con­su­me media too often, our spi­rits begin to fall. The solu­ti­on is to limit moni­to­ring our messages and Face­book and not spend too much time com­pla­i­ning. Cir­cum­stan­ces exist as they are– com­pla­i­ning does not affect them, it affects us.
  • Regu­la­te your stress– stress wea­kens the immu­ne sys­tem. So if you feel that life is put­ting too much pres­su­re on you, try to find a way to distan­ce your­self and beco­me more com­for­table. Sle­ep, fre­sh air and exer­ci­se can also help.
  • Cour­te­sy and kind­ness – peo­ple are alrea­dy begin­ning to snap at each other and bic­ker about the situati­on. They do not rea­li­ze that they are main­ly poi­so­ning the air for them­sel­ves. Cour­te­sy and kind­ness are at the core of our practi­ce – and now we can practi­ce them under pres­su­re. Greet, ask, thank… and, if possi­ble, resol­ve any dif­fe­ren­ces with a smi­le and humor.
  • Ple­a­sant com­pa­ny – spen­ding time with the peo­ple we love and who set us at ease, pla­y­ing with children…
  • Take advan­tage of the time – many of us are for­ced to have more free time than usu­al. We can start the pro­jects we alwa­ys wan­ted to do: cre­a­te some­thing, read a book, learn some­thing new…

That’s all for now. We’ve been given more time… how are we going to use it?

Text by: Mar­tin Švihla
Translati­on: Isa­bel Sovitzky