I read this article the other day and wanted to share it openly, it is just great. It was originally written by Paul Masse, a resident of Japan. I'll share the link to the original article on his website's blog at the end.
Zen Tai 全体
When you come to Japan, you may often hear the expression `zen tai`. Simply translated, it means 全 whole/complete and 体 body/essence. In the dojo, Hatsumi Sensei uses this to describe the movement to which we should aspire in our taijutsu, moving with our whole body, integrated and one. In the beginning it is natural that we move our hands and feet in a disconnected and often awkward manner. Think of it as puberty! We are always a bit embarrassed when your family pulls out a picture of us from our awkward years. So it is natural to go thru an awkward puberty again in taijutsu! Maybe this is what keeps us young on the path. It seems I am constantly going thru puberty in my taijutsu trying to keep up with my teacher! But once we pass thru puberty, we begin integration. Learning to move as an adult, as a human, from the essence of humanity.
In my dojo in Japan, Kasumian Study Center, I often use a trick my teacher taught me. I strap the arms of my students to their sides to force them at first to move physically from their center and whole. Look at the word holy, when you are moving from the whole as one, from your very essence, you become holy. Your movement can take on a sacredness. But don`t get caught in religion here. Think of it more naturally, when standing near a waterfall, small droplets of water hitting your cheeks can feel refreshing. They are individual drops separate from the stream, they have broken away and become separate. Now stand under the waterfall and feel the crushing force of all the drops that are moving as one. Even a small waterfall can effect enormous power because it is moving wholly.