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The Center

The hara is an area of the body centered in the lower abdomen (just below the belly button) that is an energy (ki in Japanese, chi in Chinese) center, called the field of elixir in Qi gong, also spelledChi kung (kiko in Japanese), an area where life energy is generated, restored and stored that can be used for health, healing, or martial arts purposes. To the Japanese it is the area within which life vitality resides and the reason, some suggest, that Japanese ritual suicide by disbowlment (harai kari) is actually a sacrifice of a person's vital energy source in the name of honor. Traditionally, a long piece of cloth was wrapped around this area (see haramaki) in cold weather to prevent loss of vital energy from this center. Many warriors and martial artists also concentrate on this center to focus their energy and mind. This area is also the center of gravity of the body and is seen as the source of the body's greatest strength. In the martial arts and ways it is the area from which true power is generated. The term is related to Harageri, or stomach art. See Harageri, or stomach art.

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