The Reiki Symbols

Reiki Symbols Stone

While many know Reiki is a powerful healing method, few but the initiated know of the existence of the Reiki symbols that are used to focus that power. The Reiki symbols are characters derived from both Sanskrit and Japanese. While many in the Reiki community consider the characters to be of sacred value, it’s important to note that the characters are not proprietary to Reiki use. Indeed three of the four Reiki symbols have significance in Buddhist philosophy.

Traditionally the Reiki Ryoho (typically stated in English as “symbols”) were passed down from master to student in secrecy. Reiki students themselves were not allowed to keep written copies of the symbols, rather they would need to have them committed to memory. The publishing of the Reiki symbols in print and on the internet is the subject of much controversy among practitioners. Some feel that traditions of Dr. Usui (the founder of Reiki) should be honored while others feel that the characters on their own do not hold power to those who have not undergone a Reiki attunement with a Reiki master.

In respect for my Reiki teacher and own personal beliefs, I will discuss the Reiki Ryoho but will not publish them. They are easily found though.

The first symbol: Cho Ku Rei

The power symbol. A Reiki practitioner would use this symbol to increase the power of their healing. The symbol has many stand alone uses (cleaning negative energy, on the spot treatments, spiritual protection, etc.) and can also be used in conjunction with other Ryoho to enhance their power.

The second symbol: Sei He Ki

The symbol for emotional/mental harmony. A Reiki practitioner would use this symbol for calming the mind or emotions and to promote healing of such areas. The symbol clears emotional blockages, balances the spirit, and heals past traumas.

The third symbol: Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

The symbol for distance healing. This symbol is used when a Reiki practitioner sends healing to a client who is in another area. The symbol can be invoked to promote healing in the past, present, or future.

The fourth symbol: Dai Ko Myo

This is the master symbol of Reiki and the most power of the Ryoho. It is only used by Reiki masters. It signifies intelligence and wisdom and can be used to heal the soul.


How to Survive a Street Fight

Full Circle Jujitsu How to survive a Street Fight

I worked as a bouncer doing nightclub security for five years in New York City and San Francisco.  I saw a lot of crazy stuff during this time, though I got out of it relatively without a scratch.  I was a young black belt in my 20s, weighing in at 165 pounds and standing 5’9” tall. Typically I was the smallest of the security staff at the club I worked in, although I had full respect of my co-workers due to seeing me deal with situations.  I was never able to visually intimidate most people.  However, intimidation was never my intent at a bouncer.  I was there to diffuse and (if I’m very honest) to put my training into practice.  During this time I saved a number of club goers from danger, but there were those that weren’t so lucky.  This was never due to any fault of my own; some people are just hell-bent on fighting.  I once saw a one-on-one fight turn into a five-on-one fight in the span of 5 seconds.  The loser was beat to a pulp.  I would bet good money he never forgot the experience. So, if you want to know how to survive a street fight, here are some personal observations from my experience.


Don’t get into a fight with a stranger if you can avoid it.  You never know whom you are fighting or what their capabilities are.  You also have no idea the level of insanity the other person may posses.  In all reality, dusting it up over something that can be talked out is just bad for personal business.  It’s not worth it.

Talk your way out of it.  Please take my advice on this one and let your ego be bruised. An extremely low percentage of fights are worth it.  Let someone else think they’ve “won” rather than risk damage or worse.

Should you be unwittingly dragged into a fight, don’t ever underestimate the capabilities of your opponent.  Looks can be deceiving!  Take my example of being small for a bouncer.  I was just as, and sometimes a lot more, effective than my peers who had 100 pounds of weight on me.

Watch out for their friends and even strangers.  There is no such thing as a fair fight.  Rarely will you see in this day and age friends who will let their buddy fight one on one.  Especially if their buddy is the one losing! Always assume that there is a potential second or third opponent and watch your back.  Keep moving, and don’t stand still.  This will help you catch your surroundings.

Get out of there.  Don’t stick around to gloat.  Get to your car or to anywhere that would be safe.  You run the risk of being hurt further or winding up arrested.  You might not be charged with a crime, but the police are well within their rights to arrest people who are fighting and sort it out later in the courts.

Don’t do any more damage to someone than it takes to defend yourself.  Should you find yourself in legal trouble, you will have to be able to prove that your response wasn’t excessive to the incident at hand.  For instance, say you wind up in a fight in a bar and your opponent is on their last legs.  For good measure you wind up hitting them one last time and their head hits the bar railing, killing them. You are now potentially (depending on the local laws, I’m not a law professional) on the hook for involuntary manslaughter.  You can’t at that point in front of witnesses prove that you felt in fear for your life.

At the end of the day, just don’t fight.  If you have to fight, keep good awareness of your surroundings and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.  Don’t hurt anyone in excess to the danger of the situation.

This article written by Alessandro Ashanti originally appeared on


The Importance Of The Book Of The Five Rings In Modern Times

Miyamoto Musashi | Full Circle Jujitsu | Full Circle Warrior Arts

If you ask a martial artist to name the greatest warriors of all times, among them they might say Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), the author of The Book of Five Rings. Musashi was a legendary Japanese swordsman who is known by having cut down 60 men in his time as a duelist. Far from being the only duelist in Japanese history, what separates Musashi is that he took the time to document everything into the paper in the form of the Go Rin No Sho – The Book of The Five Rings, a manual on swordsmanship strategy.

At first sight this seems like simply another book about martial arts, however the truth is that when Miyamoto wrote the book he was already old and had nothing to lose about revealing his fight secrets. Although a lot of the content is specific to the feudal period of Japanese swordsmanship, there are endless things that martial artists and others can learn from the text. Strategy can be transcendent to context.

Mushashi’s book is divided into 5 different parts:

#1: Ground:

In the first chapter of the book, Miyamoto clearly focuses on the idea that if you want to succeed in combat, you need to have a plan. This is something that you learn in each martial arts style in varying degrees. You need to first study and, only then, fight.

Knowing your capabilities and skills as well as understanding the dynamics of the conflict will help you succeed. Despite not knowing in advance who will win any situation, the better you’re prepared the better odds you have to be the winner.

#2: Water:

Within this part of his book, Miyamoto refers to one of the major difficulties many martial arts have: adaptability. When fighting an opponent, you need to utilize all the tactics and techniques you know and use the best one to defeat your opponent; not the one that you prefer. Before the fight even begins, you need to know what movements you’ll be applying to your opponent and always be ready to change your tactic.

#3: Fire:

This is the part of the book that concerns about being a fierce fighter. One thing is for sure: you may have been trained by a renowned master and be in great shape. But if you lack the ferocity, you will lose the fight if your opponent has only ferocity. You don’t have to be like Miyamoto who never slept or never washed his body. You just need to apply what he said: “The way of the warrior is the resolute acceptance of death.”

#4: Wind:

You need to focus not only on your martial art system but also to study your opponents. And who are they in the 21st century? You need to learn who they are, what they wear, and how they operate.

The lesson behind this part of the book is pretty simple: let’s say that you’re learning karate. You can consider taking Eskrima or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to expand your horizons.

No matter how much you want to run away from the idea, you know, even though it may be deep in your heart, that combat is animalistic, violent, and simple. You can only understand it and accept it.

#5: Void:

In this last part of the book, Miyamoto explains that you need to focus on 2 different aspects:

— Mental: When you’re with the right mindset, even though you’re in the middle of combat, you won’t have any fear. This doesn’t make you either stupid or brave; it just shows that you were focused on winning. When you study the martial arts as well as you can, when you know all the parameters, when you have a backup plan for any action, you will know what to do.

— Technical: Knowledge and learning are meant to be forgotten. And only when you are able to fully acknowledge this, is that you’ll be ready to fight because your body will move as if it is automatic.

As you can see, the Miyamoto’s The Book Of The Five Rings couldn’t be relevant to the modern era. Yes, things have changed since Musashi’s age. However, all the knowledge and insights written in the Book of Five Rings can still be applied to everyone’s lives.



The Late Night Chase

Car Chase Alessandro Ashanti Full Circle Jujitsu Full Circle Warrior Arts

The late night chase.

22 years ago my girlfriend (many relationships ago) asked me how work was the night before.  I had to think for a second since I had just woken up.  “Hmmm, I had some guys head on the hood of a car and then the police showed up to take over.”, I said to her.  Not a sentence everyone can say about their job.  At the time I had been working as a nightclub bouncer for the last 5 years in New York City and San Francisco.  This gave me invaluable insight into the psychology and physicality of the martial arts.  I had been a martial artist since I was 10 though more seriously since I was 16.  This was and has been my life’s work.  Not all martial arts stories are about how you defeated someone through one on one “combat”.  The following is a story about how I dealt with a car chase through the streets of San Francisco one late weekend night.

When I drive, I’ve always found that my martial arts training applies to how I deal with the road and other drivers. I had one very unforgettable high speed chase in San Francisco in the early nineties. Martial arts strategy helped me out drive a group of four guys trying to do me in.  This was the era of wannabe gangsters thanks in no small part to the popularity of gangster rap.  What the music inspired at the time was every middle and upper middle class kid thinking it was cool to go around threatening to shoot people or giving “threatening” looks outside of the window of a car.  Having grown up in New York City and known actual thugs, this looked ridiculous to me.  Here is what followed that night in San Francisco. I had a group of young very suburban clean-cut types; probably on the swim team, four of them, drive up on me.   The passenger of the car started giving me what they called a “mad dog” stare.  Seeing him with his blonde hair and baseball cap, I couldn’t help it.  I started to laugh.  This was my one mistake.  As I drove off I heard their car start to speed up behind me; sure enough I had given them all the reason they needed to pick their fight with me.  I heard them start to pass, unsure if they had a weapon or not I told my girlfriend calmly that I might have to crash her car into theirs.   They drove up past me.  One of them started to reach out the window with his whole body, something was in his hand but I couldn’t’ tell what.  I swerved the car slightly to the left knocking into theirs on the tail end.  Something hit our windshield from the thrower.  Their ultimate gangster move was to toss a cup of liquid from a red plastic tumbler.  Things then took a more serious note as we started to get into a high speed chase down Church St in the Castro district.  I decided to apply some jujutsu to my driving and lock them into a side-by-side engagement speeding up my car so that they would match my speed.  I then suddenly slammed on the breaks, sending them flying about 50 meters in front of us before they were able to stop.  I sat and waited as one of two things could happen.  They would either have to drive back to me or they would get out of their cars can try to chase me down on foot.  For all I know these kids are now successful doctors or lawyers, however their decision to get out of their car and chase me on foot wasn’t exactly the smartest move.  I waited until they were about ten feet from my car then I swerved around them and took off.  I asked my girlfriend if she could think of the nearest police station.   The other car eventually caught up with us throwing a tire iron out their window.  I found a police car before reaching a precinct.  With the police present it was comical to see the gangster façade on my “assailants” fade.  I was even able to give one of the young men my card (“Martial Arts Instructor”) and ask them to call me so we could work out the damages.  That call never happened directly, instead the driver got his mom on the phone to speak with me.


Who am I and what is Full Circle?

Professor Ashanti Full Circle Jujitsu Full Circle Warrior a

I’m Alessandro Ashanti, founder of Full Circle Warrior Arts and Full Circle Jujitsu. I use the term “founder” very loosely as I only think of myself as someone who is carrying on the work of several of my teachers. Full Circle was born in the aftermath of politics and has served as a safe haven for myself and my students. Some would call it an eclectic approach, however I’ve never set out to borrow techniques from various styles and then slap them together according to choice. I call this the Dim Sum approach to martial arts (one from column A two from column B). Rather my core ideology is to find where technique and approach is consistent to the core concepts of Full Circle. In all my years I have always remained a student as well as a teacher. I’ve developed an improbably compatible resume of styles through serious study with some incredible teachers. I’ve always strived to learn what my teacher is trying to teach and to limit to the best of my ability what my natural inclination would be while practicing.

Training since 1980 in the martial arts I’ve also earned a 3rd Dan in Zujitsu under it’s founder Soke Chaka Zulu. An 8th Dan with the World Sansei Goju Organization under Hanshi Manny Saavedra, my philsophical mentor for the last 25 years. A 3rd Degree Black Belt in Sanuces-Ryu Jujutsu with Hanshi Anton Muhammad A 5th dan in Jujutsu with the American Jujitsu Association. I have also studied various other styles of martial arts, most notably Capoeria Angola with Mestre Terry Baruti.

Since 2004 I have been in pursuit of “mastery” of the Filipino Martial Arts. I currently hold the rank of Pangalawang Guro Serrada Eskrima under Guro Khalid Khan. Many months after moving to Phoenix, AZ I was fortunate enough to meet Guro Michael J. Butz and began studying Kada Anan Eskrima under him. From Guro Khan to Guro Butz, I transitioned from stick theory to blade theory.

While I currently train under the banner of Full Circle, Full Circle was actually the name of my first dojo. It was a term coined by my teaching partner and senior, “VW”. For me, it has become somewhat of an octuple-entendre. It holds many meanings. In the practical martial arts sense, Full Circle refers to maintaining 360-degree awareness around you at all times. In the philosophical sense, Full Circle means always returning to our beginnings with new knowledge learned on the circular path of life.