by GÉRARD BLAIZE - Most Aikido students today still begin their classes by performing exercises that combine body movements, word pronunciation, breathing combined with visualization, similar to those practiced by the founder of Aikido. These exercises are referred to in Japan as Chinkon Kishin No Ho (鎮魂帰神の方), i.e. "The Method for Calming the Soul and Returning to the Divine". This definition will surprise many aikido students who probably had no idea of the purpose of these exercises. What are these exercises? Where do they come from? How come that they are still practiced today? What is their purpose?