Put Your Heart & Soul into Consistent Training

En text tagen från Facebook. Ursprunget till artikeln är just nu höljd i dynkel, men kommer via Mats Hjelm Finns många fler artiklar från Sôke som förhoppningsvis läggs upp här. Vi behöver bara hitta dem i våra gömmor.

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soke_shuko

 

In order to master any form of art, whether martial or aesthetic, consistent everyday training is crucial. It is well known that in the world of traditional Japanese Kabuki theater. The actors who portray female characters on stage (there are no actresses in Kabuki; male actors alone take all roles) maintain their feminine mannerisms even in daily life off stage.

 

What is the appropriate attitude for martial artists concerning consistent training? Bufu-Ikkan, or “consistent warrior living”, is my only advice. Naturally, this is all I can say no matter how the question is put to me – Do not give up. Keep going!

soke_halsslag

 

From my earliest years in the world of martial training, it was my goal to be truly good. In striving to attain that goal, I trained in the physical techniques three times as hard as a normal student. I devoted three times the normal mental effort in coming to a living understanding of the martial arts. I invested three times the normal amount of money that most students would spend in order to obtain the insights I needed. I trained fanatically and consistently and I became strong. As I found myself attaining the strength I had sought, however, I curiously enough came to discover a subtle new form of weakness in myself. I searched diligently for the roots of this suspicion of weakness. But I could never seem to get to the bottom of the question. I was truly at a loss. Nonetheless, I firmly believed in the validity of the teachings of the martial tradition behind my art, so I was sure that my continuing consistent training would eventually lead me to the enlightenment I sought. I just kept on training. I kept going.

 

One day, an invisible insidious enemy attacked, and I found myself struggling against a serious illness that had set in against my body. I knew in my heart that I faced a survival situation so dangerous that the outcome would literally be life or death. Simply standing up straight required a huge amount of energy. At times, my vision failed completely. I struggled to regain my health for five years. Sometimes, the demands were so great that I found myself thinking that death would be a much easier route than living.

soke_ninja

 

In the depths of that dark period, I discovered that my previous strength, the vital and virile martial power that I worked so hard to cultivate, was indeed a false strength. My previous power depended entirely on my being in peak health. When my health began to decline, my power began to vanish with it. Power that is at best conditional or temporary is not true power at all. It is merely the illusion of power.

 

Despite my weakened condition, I kept going with my training in the warrior arts. I never quit. Slowly, I began to regain my health. Eventually I recovered from the illness that drained me so for five years of my life. Looking back on my period of illness and recovery, I came to realize that I had consistently kept at my training the whole way through, no matter what my condition, no matter how weak or drained I had felt.

soke_monkey

 

From this experience, I learned the value of consistent training – adjusting the methods, pace, and focus to fit my body and mind no matter what the state of my mental and physical health. I now know that there is in consistent training a series of developmental stages appropriate for all the stages of life. There is an appropriate way to train when you are young and vigorous. There is an appropriate way to train as you enter the advanced years of your life. There is an appropriate way to train when you are ill, and there is an appropriate way to train when it seems that no training will fit. Even facing death at the close of life is a form of training; most people get caught between their fear of death and their hopes for immortality. Accepting the inevitability of death as something natural at that moment is a form of training for the warrior. Consistent training, ever fitting the goal to the means at hand, is the only way to cultivate the true strength that transcends all limitations.

 

Five years of struggling with illness led me to discard any concern with comparative values of what others would conventionally brand as strength as opposed to weakness, speed as opposed to slowness. In the grander scheme of things, from the higher divine levels of vision, the ultimate form of strength is a totally relative concept. I learned the power of “natural and fitting technique” a higher form of strength that transcends the conventional strength of raw physical power or even mental willpower that is so often the only thing taught in conventional martial arts schools.

soke_soke_hanbo

 

In your training career, there may come a time when you find yourself frustrated and disgusted with what you feel to be your own dullness. You just can not get the techniques right. Your training just does not seem to go the way you want it to. I consider this slump period to be absolutely necessary for your own growth. Your sense of frustration and constriction leads you to the breakthrough you need for advancement. Like a snake that struggles to shed it’s skin so that it can grow larger, the martial artist too must pass these inevitable stages of molting for growth.

 

This moulting period can be a dangerous time for the unwary, however. Because of the frustration experienced in working through your current training barrier, no matter what it is, you can become an easy victim to the seductive allure of all the other martial technique systems that suddenly seem to appear to be so much more desirable or more glamorous than your own system. Just as one child is always more impressed with the toys of another child, it is a common weakness for students of our art to reach a point of “tough going” and then suddenly look to the other martial arts as a form of distraction. Anything and everything else suddenly looks so good.

soke_zempokeri

 

Use your commitment to consistency to work through these difficult periods. Keep going. On the other hand, however, it is of course necessary to realize that not everyone is destined to be a master of this art. You have to know the difference between working through a difficult period as part of the growth process, and struggling pointlessly with a hopeless goal. If your feelings of frustration and constriction stretch out for ten years, it is perhaps wise to re-evaluate your commitments. Perhaps this is not the art for you after all.

 

Train from the beginning with a sincere heart directed by proper motivation. It is pointless to work at the martial arts with the mere intention of collecting as many techniques as possible. This form of consistent concentration of course lacks the counter balance of the power of observation. Training for experience without awareness will only produce a martial arts scholar – one who is no more than a walking technique catalog with no real heart.

By Masaaki Hatsumi Sensei

 

(Contributed by Shidoshi Mats Hjelm, Sweden for Ura & Omote Newsletter,  September 1995)

 

Grading Concepts

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Grading Concepts

 

Here are some of my views about ranking within the Bujinkan on a cold,windy and rainy winters day.

Soke is beyond the trivial concept of ranks. He has spoken about ranking in regards to sports and budo many times over the years.

In the Bujinkan, we have a concept called “Sakizuke”. This is the way Soke received his ranks from Takamatsu Sensei. It is my personal opinion that he respected Takamatsu and the Arts so much, that he clearly understood what was required of him and thus trained three times harder then anyone else. The problem with the new generation ( and mainly the gaijin ) is that we do not understand the concept to our bones and soul. We shy away from accepting a role model, teacher, and also becoming students, disciples etc. We fear we will loose our identity and individualism or, we look at this teacher/student dogma as cultish and refuse to accept anyone as a long term teacher. Being a true budo student is complicated yet very simple. Thus, we see very few out there with the balance of body,mind and spirit to enter the dojo under the tutelage of a teacher. Peoples egos are too big. We live in an era of “entitlement”. It is an era where trust is rare and people find it difficult to be told what to do.

Takamatsu Sensei apparently taught whoever showed an interest in his budo. It was important for the continuance of his budo to spread it throughout the land in a hope that one day, someone will make something of it. He was lucky, as Hatsumi Sensei came along and became his deshi. I believe Soke is doing the same. He is passing on his knowledge to anyone who shows an interest in his budo. He has mentioned that it is his hope that one day, some masters from all the thousands will emerge. The more it is spread, the more chance the art has of surviving and ensuring the health and protection of the people of the world.

The Bujinkan is more like an organism than an organization. Soke spreads the seeds and some die, some grow into weeds and die sooner than later or become a nuisance, some grow into small trees,shrubs,beautiful flowers, and large trees. Each inhabit a space for a period of time. Some longer than others. Some learn well and have the right heart to endure the hardships and teach what they have learned or spread more seeds for the future. Some just hibernate, some just die and wither away. This is nature. This is the Bujinkan.

The Bujinkan and nature is the same.

I believe Soke does not try to control mother nature, he rather accepts it and flows with it ( Shizen Gyoun Ryu Sui ). This is a far more powerful way of leadership – becoming one with mother nature. Soke allows what will be, to be. Of course, there must be intervention from man on occasions as we live in the realm of man. Yet, I believe Soke truly is attuned to the balance of Ten Chi Jin and lives in neither realm, but within the space of all three. Thus, he can rise above the trivial concept of ranking that his less than enlighten students ( us ) can comprehend. He leave us to fight and be concerned about these things for our own training,learning and life lessons. If we don`t understand, that is fine. Maybe we will when we are his age? Therefore, just look after your health and train to one day allow the teachings mature where the concept of “grades” is nothing more than “sowing the seeds”.

Soke is like a farmer, trying to nurture his crop so it can grow and then assist others in growth and finding a life. However, he is at the mercy of mother nature and as a result, some parts of the crop don`t survive or grow well. We are but rice, scattered by the martial wind to test our resolve as budding martial artists.

Some will get it, some won`t. Within this space is where we discover ourselves and what we need to learn to grow and survive.

The Bujinkan grades are based on heart. This heart is the heart of “keeping going”. Just talent or technique is not enough. We must have all three ( Sainou Kon KI ) to reach enlightenment ( Rokkon Shojou ). Therefore, I believe that grades are given to those that have shown perseverance and endurance over the years, even if they are not skilled. If they keep going, it is Sokes wish that ( maybe ) one day they will become skilled.

Really, we are just children. Here is one way I view some ranks/awards. You can also view from the perspective of Shu Ha Ri.

Mu kyu – yet to be thought of by your parents.Lol.

Shodan – sperm

Godan – born

Judan – puberty

Jugodan – 15yr old child ( in samurai culture considered a young adult free to enter life on his/her own ).

Shin Gi Tai Bufu Ikkan – Understands the unity of spirit/technique/Body through enduring years of hard training.

Yushuu – Adult ( in the midst of living, experiencing life, assisting others. )

Dai Shihan – Matured Adult ( experienced lifes trials and survived, leading through example in ShinGiTai, having lived a long life ).

Soke – Mu ( Zero or nothingness )

Just as with mother nature, there are problems,permutations,mutations,diseases,etc. We have this within the Bujinkan as well. Things do not always make sense and work out the way WE believe they should. There is something greater at work. If we believe we are in control, than we are sadly mistaken. Welcome to the workings of mother nature. Just when we think we know, we haven`t. Maybe this Gokui can help:

“If you think there is something, there isn`t. If you think there is nothing, there is”.

The world and those inhabiting it is forever changing and evolving in a tempering process that is infinite, beyond our life time of understanding. Therefore, it is important we try to develop a larger capacity ( utsuwa ) to accept or tolerate these times. I believe Soke has a huge capacity and therefore expresses it by calling himself a UFO. He rises above it all and on occasions, lands to fix things and/or take people for a ride of inspiration to a dimension showing what can be achieved with correct training in heart,body and soul.

Soke has said the Dojo is like a swimming pool and the students are learning to swim. He is the life saver but, he cannot dive in to save everyone, if he did, he would drown too. He therefore stands back and assists those who have the qualities of a budoka that can endure and stay afloat. It sounds harsh, but when you look at mother nature, she is harsh too. But, the training is fun isn`t it, even if we are drowning! So, it is also a lesson to live in the moment, learn to accept death, and die well. Lol. There are always two sides 😉

Those that rise in rank sooner than others, well… it is a test for everyone. It is a test for those that cannot accept it, and also for those who received the ranks. If both parties view ranking superficially and in a materialistic sense, no true understanding will evolve. They may continue training but, the depth of understanding of what they are doing may only ever reach skin or ego depth. They have succumb to desire, lack of maturity, and the unfortunate state of thinking in this modern world. The only way is to live in the Kukan ( space of life ).

We must also acknowledge that Soke respects those with “real world” experiences. These people are often ranked quickly out of respect, regardless of their actual dojo ability. Soke says that if these people have seen battle and survived, they understand budo. We have to remember that Soke never saw battle. According to Nagato Sensei, Soke felt for many years that he could not successfully pass on the feeling of Takamatsu Sensei as he had never killed anyone. Therefore, I believe Soke admires and respects those with similar qualities and gives them ranks/awards/status from sincere respect ( among other things ).

As a result, we see a wide variety of skill sets in the Bujinkan. Those that cannot or did not accept this manner of ranking have left the Bujinkan or cause problems. These people have their own strong ideas of what ranking should be like and cannot see beyond to Sokes teachings. If you are one of these people, it might be better that you leave the Bujinkan or, just shut up and train.

Any issue that arises is not Sokes problem. It is ours. If we cannot accept it, then we have to change it to appease our egos. If we were true students, we would learn to accept the teachings of our Soke. His life is testament to his teachings. Therefore, don`t follow your own way, follow the way laid by 2000 years of Budo transmission. Just as Soke has.

I hope that one day enough of us will mature to continue following Sokes transmissions in tune with the path of nature.

The tradition of the Bujinkan recognizes nature and the universality of all human life, and is aware of that which flows naturally between the two parts:

“The secret principle of Taijutsu is to know the foundations of peace.To study is the path to the immovable heart (fudoshin).”

To know that patience comes first.
To know that the path of Man comes from justice.
To renounce avarice, indolence, and obstinacy.
To recognize sadness and worry as natural,
and to seek the immovable heart.
To not stray from the path of loyalty,
and with a balance between the pen and the sword,
always delve deeper into the heart of Budo.

To follow this code is part of the dojo’ guidelines.

Meiji 23 (1890) Spring, Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu
Showa 33 (1958) March, Takamatsu Toshitsugu Uou
Hatsumi Masaaki Byakuryu

 

Regler i Hombu Dojo

Mark Lithgow fick i uppdrag att berätta lite om etikett för dojos i allmänhet, men Hombu Dojo i synnerhet.
Läs och begrunda!

Länken till Facebook där detta är kopierat:

https://www.facebook.com/mlithgow/posts/10153313662984044?fref=nf

 

“To all my Bujinkan friends:

I had a chat with Soke at his house last week regarding ‘dojo manners’, and he said that these things were important to pass on to all Bujinkan Dojo members. Today (Sunday May 10th, 2015), he had me stand up in front of the class to pass them on to the people present.

Dojo etiquette can vary from school to school, and even from dojo to dojo within one school such as the Bujinkan. It is often learned by simply watching other people who know better. Unfortunately, these days we have so many people coming through the new Honbu Dojo, and because most people are new to the place, they don’t have many good examples to watch in order to know how things should be done. I myself have often felt the need to intervene, and play ‘manners police’. I sometimes feel a little bad doing it, but on the other hand, this my home dojo. I am a member of this dojo, not a visitor, and I have been now for close to 3 decades. It is actually my ‘duty’ to instruct visitors in how to behave in my dojo.

When discussing this with Sensei, it soon became evident that he feels very strongly about etiquette. He may seem easy-going, but on the inside, he expects it and respects people that have good manners. He righty feels that it is not his place to teach or enforce etiquette. As the Soke, he should be able to just turn up at his dojo, teach, and leave. The general running of the dojo and the cleaning and maintenance should be done by others. That goes for things such as correct etiquette too. He said that the ’Shihan should handle this, and that because of my experience with dojo of other arts, I know how dojo SHOULD be treated’. Apparently, for that reason, I am the ‘perfect person to transmit it’. Smiley smile Something he said today, incidentally, when I went back to his house after training, was “How can we expect to be taken seriously by the Japanese martial arts world if our basic dojo etiquette is so lax?”

I spoke about three points in the dojo today on Soke’s request. More will probably come up, but I think that this is a good start. I also feel that I may have to repeat the announcement once in a while, until it reaches the point where there are enough examples for new visitors to learn from, and so that it grows into a real part of our dojo culture. They may seem very basic…. Indeed, they are common sense to many people. But from what I have seen in the dojo recently, they are not known by everyone, and they need to be addressed.

1) Bowing in and out of the dojo.
Bowing in and out of any dojo in Japan is just ‘common sense’. You’ll even see the custom practiced outside the dojo, in such places as supermarkets and department stores. Staff members, as they leave the shop floor on break or at the end of their shift, at the ‘staff only’ door, will often turn around and bow to the shop before walking through the door. I have to admit that I myself sometimes became a little lazy in the old Honbu Dojo, sometimes neglecting to bow. With the new dojo under construction, I mentioned this to Soke, telling him that although I had sometimes been lazy, I had made it a new rule for myself after the new dojo was opened. We had a long discussion about it then, which continued last week. For him, bowing as you enter the dojo is essential to showing respect to the dojo. To Sensei, even bowing twice would not be bad: once at the entrance to the building, and once more when walking into the dojo proper… onto the mats. After some discussion, however, he conceded that the main entrance one is optional, but bowing as one enters the main training area is essential. As you cross over the threshold, stop, pause, bow, pause again… then walk into the dojo. At that moment, you are leaving the outside world behind you, and getting into ‘training mode’. The same when leaving.. Stop and bow. Take a moment to reflect on the fact that you came out of there safely, and are about to go back out into the real world.

It is only necessary to do this once when entering and once when leaving. If you have to go out to your bag, or to use the restroom, you don’t need to bow each time. Just when switching between training mode and outside mode.

2) Shoes in the doorway.
This is based on a simple idea that ‘Inside is inside and outside is outside… and those two places are kept seperate’. When we are training in the dojo, we are wearing indoor footwear… usually tabi. Indoor tabi can have cloth or leather soles. Rubber-soled tabi, known as ‘jika tabi’ are for outdoor wear, and should never be worn in the dojo! Indoor footwear is for indoors, and outdoor footwear is for outdoors ONLY. The border is the wooden boards on the floor on the ‘genkan’ (entrance). The wooden boards are INDOORS. A few weeks ago, I arrived to find a bunch of shoes actually ON the boards! If you are wearing (indoor) tabi, don’t dirty the soles by going outside, and then tread that dirt back inside. If you want to sneak outside for a quick smoke, please put your shoes on! Again, once your tabi have been outside, please do not tread the dirt back in the dojo! And don’t step out of your shoes onto the (outside) floor, then step up. Step up directly from your shoes! The doorway in the new dojo is a little small, and sometimes you might have no choice but to take one step on the outside floor. It can’t be helped sometimes, but please try your best to avoid it.

3) The Shômen wall
The shômen (front) wall of the dojo contains the ‘kamiza’. The kamiza is regarded as a sacred part of the dojo and should be treated with respect. It is not a place for putting any personal effects. Nothing except the things that actually belong on it should be placed on the shelf. Under the kamiza in the new dojo is a kind of wooden-floored alcove. It is used as a little display area for statues etc., but it should be treated in the same way as the actual shelf on which the shrine sits. It is not a place for bags, drinks… and certainly not for people to walk, stand or sit in. Actually, the entire front wall is treated in the same way. In the new dojo, apart from the areas mentioned above, the remainder of the shômen wall is actually taken up with the training weapon storage closets, but even in the old dojo, where there was some space either side, the rule was that no personal effects should rest against the front wall. The side walls OK, but not on the front wall, which is regarded as an extension of the kamiza itself.

The above points were the ones mentioned today, but I would like to add a couple more – some things that I noticed today, which I feel warrant a mention.

Firstly, when a technique is being shown in the middle of the dojo, please be aware of your surroundings, and show some consideration to others who are also trying to see what is being shown. If you are right by the wall or there is nobody behind you, by all means remain standing. But if you take a little look over your shoulder and realise that people behind you may not be able to see properly, please duck down a little or kneel so they can see over you. Today, I was translating, so I usually try to get a little closer to Sensei. I am never standing at the back, but am usually kneeling at the front. Even so, I still had people standing right in front of me. A little consideration, please!

Secondly, if you’ve used dojo training weapons during training; rokushakubo, hanbo/fukuro shinai etc., please put them back where you got them after training. Someone always vacuums the floor after training (any volunteers to do that are always appreciated, by the way!). It is not their job but put away your weapons after training!

Anyway… I just wanted to let Facebook-land know the details of what was said in the Honbu Dojo today. Hopefully this also will help general etiquette awareness to people who may be visiting the Dojo in the future.”

Träna budo

Måhända att rubriken inte riktigt överensstämmer med inlägget, men denna gång hittar jag inte nån rubrik på texten. Jag har snott inlägget från Duncan Stewart på Facebook. Nu har inte alla Facebook eller kanske inte läser överallt där.

Nåväl…….

Här är länken till originaltexten: https://www.facebook.com/BujinkanTasmaniaTokuBuRyuSuiDojo/photos/…..

 

The Dojo is not a mere social outlet, nor a place where people can appease their desires and do what they want. Budo is military and thus, the fundamental basis is to listen and learn, and entrust oneself to Mu and the teacher. Taijutsu is the art of the body. We are learning the technical body art of war. This must be remembered and thus the right attitude and spirit developed from the beginning. This is why we have Seishin Teki Kyoyo at the commencement and conclusion of keiko and paramount in every art learning top killing techniques for survival.
People enter the dojo with too much of themselves. The concept of “emptying one cup at the door” is so important. Even those who have trained a long time have yet to relinquish their ego and beliefs. The only way to understand, is to be a bug on the horses tail.
Bad habits come in all guises. Purification of the self is searching deeply and being sincere enough to “feel” ones shortcomings and then have the courage to weed them out through blood,sweat and tears. In other words, Musha Shugyo.
In the old days, the truth of the budding students character was shown through having to endure being uke for a long period. Or, clean the dojo and do errands.
Nowadays, we often see students enter the dojo and are able to practise waza straight away and not have to lift a finger to clean or assist in dojo maintenance. This is the consumer mentality. I feel the modern way of many is a sickness, and it breeds students and teachers who will never come close to understanding the heart of budo, regardless of if they train forever.
For those who truly have budo in their heart, they should not have to be told to help or clean, etc etc. It should be in the soul of the person. The dojo environment will assist in activating this sense of duty, obligation and selflessness. If it doesn`t, than it is nothing but a hall for sports.
The higher ranks have a duty. This duty is to continue to learn and discover their faults. They are then to transmit these life experiences to the juniors to assist in their own development. An example is that the high rank will often be the lower ranks uke. The lower rank will then receive greater ability and knowledge from experiencing the open heart ( shin den ) and open body ( tai den ) of the higher rank.
Unfortunately nowadays, we do not see this, as most teachers believe they cannot show weakness or be thrown by lesser ranks. In good dojos, the teacher will often express the essence of waza from taking the role of uke. The ability to receive is the basis of all learning,development and teaching. If the teacher ceases to take the role of uke, a separation occurs in both mind,body and spirit. This move from the path is felt by both students and the teacher and, marks the beginning of the end for the teacher. This is why Soke admonishes all of us not to become teachers but students. The only way is to keep training with the heart of receiving.
The dojo is a sacred place. In fact, no matter where you are, if you are holding the budo heart, the very place you stand is sacred. Those that have the true budo heart permeate this and, if we are honest, we can feel something very unique about them. I believe it is for that very reason that they hold a just and sincere heart devoted to a good path.
It is this heart that I try to understand in my training.

When you enter the dojo, please enter with the Bujinkan heart.