Do versus Jutsu; Round 3

I’ve
written
before about the idea of DO versus the idea of JUTSU.

Since
the subject keeps coming up as a topic of discussion and debate, I’ll
revisit the argument and hopefully have something new to say about
it.  To begin with, what is a
do

and
what is a
jutsu
?
What makes them different or similar?



 Non-Japanese
keep trying to make
jutsu
and
do
into
important concepts, such as saying that
do
is
a “way” or “path” for spiritual development and the
jutsu
is
for combat, or that
jutsu
is
for battlefield arts and the
do
is
for peace time arts and sports. When you try to explain these
categories to native Japanese, they just shake their heads in
wonderment that anyone could come up with such a thing. The concept
of
do
is
quite a bit older than the martial arts in Japan.  In fact, it’s
quite a bit older than recorded history in Japan. Scholarship shows
all the ways
DAO
(the
Chinese pronunciation for
do
)
was conceived of and argued about in ancient China a thousand years
before there was a written language in Japan.



   Interestingly,
the Kodansha Online Dictionary lists this meaning for
jutsu

as
“a
means; a way.” So if

jutsu
means
“a way” and “
do

is
a way, then what really is the difference? The truth is there isn’t
one in this area. I’ve seen great classical swordsmen use the terms
“kendo” and “kenjutsu” interchangeably in the
same paragraph. I know some lines of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu that
call themselves iaijutsu, and others that call themselves iaido. What
is the difference between the two?  They are the same art, the
same syllabus, the same kata; just different suffixes added to “iai”
(which by the way, is perfectly capable of standing alone without any
suffix; just as one of the popular names for jujutsu
柔術
and
judo
柔道
was
yawara
,without
any suffix at all. 



 Let
me add a quick aside here. As Michael Hacker, the author of
The
Language Of Aikido
,
has pointed out,
jitsu
じつ
() isn’t
a term that is related to this conversation. It’s the result of a
mis-transliteration of the correct suffix “jutsu”



 One
of the greatest, most refined, and storied martial arts in Japan,
with a history going back more than 450 years and still going strong,
doesn’t use either suffix, yet it’s famous for the depth of its
philosophy and the writings of various headmasters. Yagyu Shinkage
Ryu Heiho
 柳生新陰流兵法.Heiho
means
strategy or tactics. I don’t think anyone would argue that Yagyu
Shinkage Ryu Heiho is not a sophisticated system that aims to develop
not just skill with the sword, but a better human being as well.
Shouldn’t its name include

then?
Only if you’re a pedantic
gaijin
(foreigner).
Do

and
jutsu

are
not meaningful categories in Japanese language.



 A
do
is
a way of doing something; and a
jutsu
is
also a way of doing something. There are many ways of expressing this
in Japanese. Across the 500 years or so that various forms of
bugei
(warrior
arts) have been practiced in Japan and around the world, a lot of
different terms have been used to describe martial arts. There have
been lots of words used to describe other practices that are seen as
“ways” as well. Tea Ceremony was known as
Cha
No Yu

for
centuries, long before the description “
sado
(Way
of Tea) was applied to it.

Get the Bum’s book!

 



 I
think the real villain in the
do
versus
jutsu
argument
is our own ego. Many of us would like to think that the art we
practice is somehow superior to other arts. Some people feel that
emphasizing the philosophical aspects of their practice makes it
better than those that emphasize more prosaic skills. Some feel that
emphasizing the physical skills the art teaches makes it superior to
those that talk about the philosophical aspects. Both sides are
letting their ego talk them into something that isn’t true.
Developing the mind and the philosophical aspects of understanding
doesn’t make one superior to those who focus on physical skills.
Emphasizing the development of physical skills doesn’t make one
better than those who put more effort into developing their mental
and philosophical abilities. Both have their place.



Practicing
bugei
is
a journey, not a destination.  This is a cliché, but one that
is true. When you begin training, all of your focus is on the
physical skills. It takes all your concentration just to follow what
sensei is doing and produce a rough approximation of the technique or
kata that is being shown. Later, after you have internalized the
movements, you begin working on the mental aspects of training. I
used to think that Kodokan Judo was obviously better than classical
jujutsu systems such Yoshin Ryu or Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu because Judo,
being a “
do”
art,
was obviously more philosophically sophisticated than simple jujutsu
systems that predated it. Being a
do,
I assumed that it must have a more principle-based curriculum than
any mere technique based
jutsu.



 I
was also an arrogant idiot. The idea that Judo is more sophisticated
or superior to Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu or any of the various styles of
Yoshin Ryu just because it has the suffix
do
in
its name is ridiculous. It’s as silly as saying that Aikido is
clearly superior to Daito Ryu because Ueshiba made his art a
do
and
Takeda didn’t. None of these arts is superior to any other because
of the name or what the art emphasizes. I have real trouble with the
idea that any
bugei
art
is superior to any other. All of them have strengths and weaknesses.
What makes an art superior or inferior is how well suited it is for a
particular situation or person. For a philosophically minded kid such
as myself, Judo and Aikido were great arts. 



 For
someone whose primary interest is physical skills, then arts with too
much talking about the philosophy won’t be suitable. Arts are
superior for what they can do for their practitioners, not because
they are better for learning fighting techniques. Who is going to
make the call as to whether Ono-Ha Itto Ryu or Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is
the better art?  Better for what? The only question where
“better” should show up is in “Which art is better for me at
this time and place?” That’s the only “better” I can think of
being at all meaningful.



 I’ve
got more bad news for folks on all sides of the
do
versus
jutsu
discussion.
You can’t make real progress in any art without both the physical
skills and the mental/philosophical development. The nice thing about
bugei
is
that they are lifelong studies. You never cease learning new things
from them. I do Shinto Hatakage Ryu Iai Heiho, a style of
swordsmanship which has only 22 kata in the curriculum. I’ve been
studying it for more than 22 years. You might think that with more
than a year of study for each kata I have learned all there is to
learn about them and I am bored with them. You would be wrong. The
individual kata still teach me things about movement and balance and
how to optimize my physical self. I also learn more about quieting,
controlling and directing my mind and my self.  Some days
practice is all about the physical techniques. I’m not sure I will
ever fully master the chudan kata
Tobi
Chigai
.
Other days are all about the mental state. I’m sure I will never
fully master my self.



 I
don’t know of any bugei that has come from Japan that has not been
heavily influenced by the concept of
do
of
michi
道。The
concept permeates the culture so thoroughly that it is inescapable.
There are even a number of styles of
soujido
(掃除道

that’s
housework, folks!). Arguing over whether something is a
do
or
jutsu
makes
no sense. If we have time to argue about this, we aren’t practicing
enough. We’re much better off spending more time practicing the
particular
bugei
that
is best for us where we are.




 


References
for further reading


Disputers
of the Tao

by
A. C. Graham, 1999, Open Court Publishing – this looks at not just
the Daoist idea of the way, but also how Confucius, Mozi, and many
others conceived of the Way in ancient China.
 
The
Language of Aikido: A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and
Terminology

by
Michael Hacker, 2017, Talking Budo. Hacker does an excellent job of
introducing the multifaceted world of Japanese characters and
language, and how it all serves to enhance, and sometimes confuse,
our practice of Japanese martial arts.





via Blogger https://ift.tt/2PbGUIs

Do versus Jutsu; Round 3

I’ve
written
before about the idea of DO versus the idea of JUTSU.

Since
the subject keeps coming up as a topic of discussion and debate, I’ll
revisit the argument and hopefully have something new to say about
it.  To begin with, what is a
do

and
what is a
jutsu
?
What makes them different or similar?



 Non-Japanese
keep trying to make
jutsu
and
do
into
important concepts, such as saying that
do
is
a “way” or “path” for spiritual development and the
jutsu
is
for combat, or that
jutsu
is
for battlefield arts and the
do
is
for peace time arts and sports. When you try to explain these
categories to native Japanese, they just shake their heads in
wonderment that anyone could come up with such a thing. The concept
of
do
is
quite a bit older than the martial arts in Japan.  In fact, it’s
quite a bit older than recorded history in Japan. Scholarship shows
all the ways
DAO
(the
Chinese pronunciation for
do
)
was conceived of and argued about in ancient China a thousand years
before there was a written language in Japan.



   Interestingly,
the Kodansha Online Dictionary lists this meaning for
jutsu

as
“a
means; a way.” So if

jutsu
means
“a way” and “
do

is
a way, then what really is the difference? The truth is there isn’t
one in this area. I’ve seen great classical swordsmen use the terms
“kendo” and “kenjutsu” interchangeably in the
same paragraph. I know some lines of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu that
call themselves iaijutsu, and others that call themselves iaido. What
is the difference between the two?  They are the same art, the
same syllabus, the same kata; just different suffixes added to “iai”
(which by the way, is perfectly capable of standing alone without any
suffix; just as one of the popular names for jujutsu
柔術
and
judo
柔道
was
yawara
,without
any suffix at all. 



 Let
me add a quick aside here. As Michael Hacker, the author of
The
Language Of Aikido
,
has pointed out,
jitsu
じつ
() isn’t
a term that is related to this conversation. It’s the result of a
mis-transliteration of the correct suffix “jutsu”



 One
of the greatest, most refined, and storied martial arts in Japan,
with a history going back more than 450 years and still going strong,
doesn’t use either suffix, yet it’s famous for the depth of its
philosophy and the writings of various headmasters. Yagyu Shinkage
Ryu Heiho
 柳生新陰流兵法.Heiho
means
strategy or tactics. I don’t think anyone would argue that Yagyu
Shinkage Ryu Heiho is not a sophisticated system that aims to develop
not just skill with the sword, but a better human being as well.
Shouldn’t its name include

then?
Only if you’re a pedantic
gaijin
(foreigner).
Do

and
jutsu

are
not meaningful categories in Japanese language.



 A
do
is
a way of doing something; and a
jutsu
is
also a way of doing something. There are many ways of expressing this
in Japanese. Across the 500 years or so that various forms of
bugei
(warrior
arts) have been practiced in Japan and around the world, a lot of
different terms have been used to describe martial arts. There have
been lots of words used to describe other practices that are seen as
“ways” as well. Tea Ceremony was known as
Cha
No Yu

for
centuries, long before the description “
sado
(Way
of Tea) was applied to it.

Get the Bum’s book!

 



 I
think the real villain in the
do
versus
jutsu
argument
is our own ego. Many of us would like to think that the art we
practice is somehow superior to other arts. Some people feel that
emphasizing the philosophical aspects of their practice makes it
better than those that emphasize more prosaic skills. Some feel that
emphasizing the physical skills the art teaches makes it superior to
those that talk about the philosophical aspects. Both sides are
letting their ego talk them into something that isn’t true.
Developing the mind and the philosophical aspects of understanding
doesn’t make one superior to those who focus on physical skills.
Emphasizing the development of physical skills doesn’t make one
better than those who put more effort into developing their mental
and philosophical abilities. Both have their place.



Practicing
bugei
is
a journey, not a destination.  This is a cliché, but one that
is true. When you begin training, all of your focus is on the
physical skills. It takes all your concentration just to follow what
sensei is doing and produce a rough approximation of the technique or
kata that is being shown. Later, after you have internalized the
movements, you begin working on the mental aspects of training. I
used to think that Kodokan Judo was obviously better than classical
jujutsu systems such Yoshin Ryu or Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu because Judo,
being a “
do”
art,
was obviously more philosophically sophisticated than simple jujutsu
systems that predated it. Being a
do,
I assumed that it must have a more principle-based curriculum than
any mere technique based
jutsu.



 I
was also an arrogant idiot. The idea that Judo is more sophisticated
or superior to Tenjin Shin’yo Ryu or any of the various styles of
Yoshin Ryu just because it has the suffix
do
in
its name is ridiculous. It’s as silly as saying that Aikido is
clearly superior to Daito Ryu because Ueshiba made his art a
do
and
Takeda didn’t. None of these arts is superior to any other because
of the name or what the art emphasizes. I have real trouble with the
idea that any
bugei
art
is superior to any other. All of them have strengths and weaknesses.
What makes an art superior or inferior is how well suited it is for a
particular situation or person. For a philosophically minded kid such
as myself, Judo and Aikido were great arts. 



 For
someone whose primary interest is physical skills, then arts with too
much talking about the philosophy won’t be suitable. Arts are
superior for what they can do for their practitioners, not because
they are better for learning fighting techniques. Who is going to
make the call as to whether Ono-Ha Itto Ryu or Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is
the better art?  Better for what? The only question where
“better” should show up is in “Which art is better for me at
this time and place?” That’s the only “better” I can think of
being at all meaningful.



 I’ve
got more bad news for folks on all sides of the
do
versus
jutsu
discussion.
You can’t make real progress in any art without both the physical
skills and the mental/philosophical development. The nice thing about
bugei
is
that they are lifelong studies. You never cease learning new things
from them. I do Shinto Hatakage Ryu Iai Heiho, a style of
swordsmanship which has only 22 kata in the curriculum. I’ve been
studying it for more than 22 years. You might think that with more
than a year of study for each kata I have learned all there is to
learn about them and I am bored with them. You would be wrong. The
individual kata still teach me things about movement and balance and
how to optimize my physical self. I also learn more about quieting,
controlling and directing my mind and my self.  Some days
practice is all about the physical techniques. I’m not sure I will
ever fully master the chudan kata
Tobi
Chigai
.
Other days are all about the mental state. I’m sure I will never
fully master my self.



 I
don’t know of any bugei that has come from Japan that has not been
heavily influenced by the concept of
do
of
michi
道。The
concept permeates the culture so thoroughly that it is inescapable.
There are even a number of styles of
soujido
(掃除道

that’s
housework, folks!). Arguing over whether something is a
do
or
jutsu
makes
no sense. If we have time to argue about this, we aren’t practicing
enough. We’re much better off spending more time practicing the
particular
bugei
that
is best for us where we are.




 


References
for further reading


Disputers
of the Tao

by
A. C. Graham, 1999, Open Court Publishing – this looks at not just
the Daoist idea of the way, but also how Confucius, Mozi, and many
others conceived of the Way in ancient China.
 
The
Language of Aikido: A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and
Terminology

by
Michael Hacker, 2017, Talking Budo. Hacker does an excellent job of
introducing the multifaceted world of Japanese characters and
language, and how it all serves to enhance, and sometimes confuse,
our practice of Japanese martial arts.





via Blogger https://ift.tt/2PbGUIs

Budo Isn’t Natural



 


Jizo Sama on Mount Koya Photo copyright Peter
Boylan 2014



 



I’ve
heard proponents of various martial arts talk about how “natural”
their art is. They proclaim that whatever they are doing is based on
natural movements. Some are said to be based on the movements of
animals. Others claim to be based on the natural movement of the
human body.


I
was working with one of my students this morning on some kata from
Shinto Hatakage Ryu. His movement is getting good and solid. It
struck me that his strong, smooth movement was efficient, effective
and elegant, but not at all natural. When I began to think about it,
I realized I could not think of any martial art where the movements
are natural to human beings. By “natural” I mean that the
movements are ones that people make without having to be trained for
endless hours.


Along
with Shinto Hatakage Ryu Iai Heiho I teach Shinto Muso Ryu Jo and
Kodokan Judo. Among the movements and principles taught in those
three arts, I cannot think of a movement or technique that I would
call natural.  In truth, the hallmark of good, effective budo
seems to be how unnatural it is. Developing proficiency in any budo
movement requires years of practice with a good teacher. It never
just happens. Even with students who have a natural affinity for an
art, it takes years, perhaps half as many as a natural klutz like me,
but years.


I’ve
written before that
all
I teach is how to walk and how to breath
.
I was exaggerating a little there, and Ellis Amdur was generous
enough to call me out on that point and several others. However,
walking and breathing are examples of unnatural budo movement.  There
isn’t much that is more natural than walking, and breathing might
be the most natural thing we do. Nonetheless, as budoka, we spend
years learning to breathe properly from our guts and to stay balanced
and stable when we walk.



 


Musings Of A Budo Bum - essays on the nature of budo



 


Why
does it take so much effort to learn to do something that we were
born doing? Breathing is the first thing we do for ourselves when we
are born. We take a breath and let the world know how unhappy we are
to have been kicked out of the wonderful home where we’ve spent the
last nine months. Once we do that, we never stop breathing. What else
about breathing could there possibly be to learn. A great deal when
you dig into it. Our natural instincts aren’t very good when it
comes to breathing.  Even before we get to all the inefficient
ways people have of breathing, for all that it is a natural,
automatic act, put people under just a little bit of stress and they
will actually forget to breathe! I spend too much of my teaching time
reminding students to breathe for the first couple of years they are
training.


When
they do remember to breathe, they usually are doing it poorly;
breathing with their shoulders or taking shallow breaths or finding
some other way to do the most natural act in the world wrongly.
Proper breathing must be taught and practiced until it is an
unconscious act. When sparring, you don’t have sufficient mental
capacity to think about breathing correctly. If your breathing skills
aren’t honed so that proper breathing happens even when you’re
not thinking about it, you won’t breathe well under stress.


Walking
feels nearly as natural as breathing. No one had to teach you how to
walk. You figured it out for yourself, and you’ve been doing it for
longer than you can remember. What could there be to learn about
walking? From the condition of the students who come to the dojo, or
just doing some casual people watching, we can see that most people
haven’t learned very much about how to walk properly.  They
roll their hips. They slouch their shoulders. They slap their feet on
the ground. They lean forward past the point of balance. They stand
on their heels. New students spend hours hearing me correct their way
of walking. Because of all the bad habits people pick up over the
course of their lives, learning to walk in a solid, stable, balanced
manner takes a long time to learn to do consciously. Learning to do
it unconsciously when under stress takes even longer. Good walking
isn’t natural at all.


When
you consider the discrete movements and actions that make up any budo
art, things become even more unnatural. Just about the first thing we
teach in judo, and the technique that prevents more people from
getting hurt outside the dojo than any other, is how to fall safely.
Two year-olds fall pretty well. They are relaxed and comfortable with
falling down, perhaps because they do so much of it. By the time we
start school though, falling is met with stiffness and fear. There is
no technique in judo that we practice as much as falling. Falling
well requires coordination of the entire body and I’ve never met
anyone besides trained gymnasts who took to it without hours of
accumulated practice. It’s an entirely unnatural act: we don’t
like to fall.






This
doesn’t even begin to approach the mental aspects of what we are
teaching in the dojo.
Mushin.
Fudoshin. Heijoshin.
Everything
about the mental aspects of budo is unnatural.  We strive to
override all of our natural reactions under stress: to not stiffen
up, to keep our breathing and heart rate calm and steady, to ignore
the monkey brain’s insistence on fighting or fleeing, to retain
mental control instead of panicking, to adapt to the situation
fluidly instead of trying to impose a solution.  None of these
things happen naturally. All of them take training and practice.






Everything
we do in the dojo leads to being able to respond to stressful
situations with these unnatural skills. All that physical practice
has effects on our mental states. Breathing properly comes in handy
when things get stressful and the monkey brain wants to start
hyperventilating. Having practiced good breathing statically and in
all sorts of kata and free practice that gradually increase the
mental and physical pressure, over time it becomes ever easier to
maintain the calm breathing and heart rate which anchor calm mental
patterns.






Once
you can maintain
mushin
while
people are trying to hit you with a big stick, or choke you
unconscious, it becomes less of a stretch to maintain that mental
state under the stress you encounter outside the dojo.
Fudoshin
is
even better. This is the unmovable mind that isn’t disturbed by
anything, no matter how stressful. People with
fudoshin
don’t
seem quite human. They are no more natural than a Rolex is. Both take
tremendous work to create. Both demonstrate the pinnacle of human
development in their own areas. For all its combined beauty,
engineering and functionality, no one would call a Rolex “natural.”
 






Like
a Rolex, the mind developed through budo is elegant, refined and
resilient. This is a mind that can make the choice to step inside an
attack to evade and counter in the same movement or to slip out of
the attack and then disarm the attacker.






Relaxed
when the natural reaction is to be tense, calm when nature urges
panic, unflinching when nature urges you to dive behind cover, and
unmoved when distractions abound, the mind and body of someone well
versed in budo is not natural at all. It surpasses what nature gives
us by refining the natural core of our beings into something new,
with all the naturalness of high grade steel. Budo isn’t natural.
 It’s better.








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Budo Isn’t Natural



 


Jizo Sama on Mount Koya Photo copyright Peter
Boylan 2014



 



I’ve
heard proponents of various martial arts talk about how “natural”
their art is. They proclaim that whatever they are doing is based on
natural movements. Some are said to be based on the movements of
animals. Others claim to be based on the natural movement of the
human body.


I
was working with one of my students this morning on some kata from
Shinto Hatakage Ryu. His movement is getting good and solid. It
struck me that his strong, smooth movement was efficient, effective
and elegant, but not at all natural. When I began to think about it,
I realized I could not think of any martial art where the movements
are natural to human beings. By “natural” I mean that the
movements are ones that people make without having to be trained for
endless hours.


Along
with Shinto Hatakage Ryu Iai Heiho I teach Shinto Muso Ryu Jo and
Kodokan Judo. Among the movements and principles taught in those
three arts, I cannot think of a movement or technique that I would
call natural.  In truth, the hallmark of good, effective budo
seems to be how unnatural it is. Developing proficiency in any budo
movement requires years of practice with a good teacher. It never
just happens. Even with students who have a natural affinity for an
art, it takes years, perhaps half as many as a natural klutz like me,
but years.


I’ve
written before that
all
I teach is how to walk and how to breath
.
I was exaggerating a little there, and Ellis Amdur was generous
enough to call me out on that point and several others. However,
walking and breathing are examples of unnatural budo movement.  There
isn’t much that is more natural than walking, and breathing might
be the most natural thing we do. Nonetheless, as budoka, we spend
years learning to breathe properly from our guts and to stay balanced
and stable when we walk.



 


Musings Of A Budo Bum - essays on the nature of budo



 


Why
does it take so much effort to learn to do something that we were
born doing? Breathing is the first thing we do for ourselves when we
are born. We take a breath and let the world know how unhappy we are
to have been kicked out of the wonderful home where we’ve spent the
last nine months. Once we do that, we never stop breathing. What else
about breathing could there possibly be to learn. A great deal when
you dig into it. Our natural instincts aren’t very good when it
comes to breathing.  Even before we get to all the inefficient
ways people have of breathing, for all that it is a natural,
automatic act, put people under just a little bit of stress and they
will actually forget to breathe! I spend too much of my teaching time
reminding students to breathe for the first couple of years they are
training.


When
they do remember to breathe, they usually are doing it poorly;
breathing with their shoulders or taking shallow breaths or finding
some other way to do the most natural act in the world wrongly.
Proper breathing must be taught and practiced until it is an
unconscious act. When sparring, you don’t have sufficient mental
capacity to think about breathing correctly. If your breathing skills
aren’t honed so that proper breathing happens even when you’re
not thinking about it, you won’t breathe well under stress.


Walking
feels nearly as natural as breathing. No one had to teach you how to
walk. You figured it out for yourself, and you’ve been doing it for
longer than you can remember. What could there be to learn about
walking? From the condition of the students who come to the dojo, or
just doing some casual people watching, we can see that most people
haven’t learned very much about how to walk properly.  They
roll their hips. They slouch their shoulders. They slap their feet on
the ground. They lean forward past the point of balance. They stand
on their heels. New students spend hours hearing me correct their way
of walking. Because of all the bad habits people pick up over the
course of their lives, learning to walk in a solid, stable, balanced
manner takes a long time to learn to do consciously. Learning to do
it unconsciously when under stress takes even longer. Good walking
isn’t natural at all.


When
you consider the discrete movements and actions that make up any budo
art, things become even more unnatural. Just about the first thing we
teach in judo, and the technique that prevents more people from
getting hurt outside the dojo than any other, is how to fall safely.
Two year-olds fall pretty well. They are relaxed and comfortable with
falling down, perhaps because they do so much of it. By the time we
start school though, falling is met with stiffness and fear. There is
no technique in judo that we practice as much as falling. Falling
well requires coordination of the entire body and I’ve never met
anyone besides trained gymnasts who took to it without hours of
accumulated practice. It’s an entirely unnatural act: we don’t
like to fall.






This
doesn’t even begin to approach the mental aspects of what we are
teaching in the dojo.
Mushin.
Fudoshin. Heijoshin.
Everything
about the mental aspects of budo is unnatural.  We strive to
override all of our natural reactions under stress: to not stiffen
up, to keep our breathing and heart rate calm and steady, to ignore
the monkey brain’s insistence on fighting or fleeing, to retain
mental control instead of panicking, to adapt to the situation
fluidly instead of trying to impose a solution.  None of these
things happen naturally. All of them take training and practice.






Everything
we do in the dojo leads to being able to respond to stressful
situations with these unnatural skills. All that physical practice
has effects on our mental states. Breathing properly comes in handy
when things get stressful and the monkey brain wants to start
hyperventilating. Having practiced good breathing statically and in
all sorts of kata and free practice that gradually increase the
mental and physical pressure, over time it becomes ever easier to
maintain the calm breathing and heart rate which anchor calm mental
patterns.






Once
you can maintain
mushin
while
people are trying to hit you with a big stick, or choke you
unconscious, it becomes less of a stretch to maintain that mental
state under the stress you encounter outside the dojo.
Fudoshin
is
even better. This is the unmovable mind that isn’t disturbed by
anything, no matter how stressful. People with
fudoshin
don’t
seem quite human. They are no more natural than a Rolex is. Both take
tremendous work to create. Both demonstrate the pinnacle of human
development in their own areas. For all its combined beauty,
engineering and functionality, no one would call a Rolex “natural.”
 






Like
a Rolex, the mind developed through budo is elegant, refined and
resilient. This is a mind that can make the choice to step inside an
attack to evade and counter in the same movement or to slip out of
the attack and then disarm the attacker.






Relaxed
when the natural reaction is to be tense, calm when nature urges
panic, unflinching when nature urges you to dive behind cover, and
unmoved when distractions abound, the mind and body of someone well
versed in budo is not natural at all. It surpasses what nature gives
us by refining the natural core of our beings into something new,
with all the naturalness of high grade steel. Budo isn’t natural.
 It’s better.








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Who Is You Teacher?




 

My first iaido teacher, the remarkable Takada Shigeo Sensei Photo Copyright Peter Boylan

My
teachers are in Japan. These are the people I look to not only for
how my budo should be, but also for how I aspire to be as a human. A
true teacher is not just someone you learn technical excellence from,
but human excellence as well. In the dojo we train in the rawest,
most basic expressions of conflict, power, and life. I don’t think
it is possible to learn raw, fundamental lessons such as how to
throw, strike, choke and break a fellow human without picking up
other lessons about living from the people doing the teaching.







In
the dojo we study and practice under the close direction of our
teachers. There is no other way to do this safely. My teachers have
all earned my respect and love just not for their technical skill
(which is enormous) but for the humanity with which they lead and
teach. My teachers, the people I readily claim, and who, I am proud
and humbled to say, freely claim me as their student, are human
beings. They have flaws and weaknesses. They are also remarkable
budoka who continue to work at improving their budo, their
understanding and themselves.







I’ve
known my teachers, trained with them, been scolded by them and gotten
an occasional “OK” from them (that being the highest praise I’ve
ever heard them give). In the dojo we have earned each others’
trust. I’ve trained with my teachers for more than 25 years. At each
step along the way, I have learned that they are exemplary human
beings. I know that can’t be said for everyone who teaches martial
arts, and I am extremely lucky to have found teachers of such high
quality.







Kiyama
Sensei’s budo life stretches back to the 1930s with training in judo
,
kendo, iaido and jukendo in school during wartime Japan. He has seen
just about every excess that can be committed in the name of
developing a student’s spirit and technique. He can recall training
in kendo
bogu
(armor)
in the summer heat until people had to go to the side to throw up,
and then come back and continue training. This was supposed to
develop spirit. Instead he points out that people died all too
frequently from that effects of that sort of training, so he doesn’t
teach that way.



Kiyama Hiroshi Sensei at home Copyright Peter Boylan






Kiyama
Sensei is my second iaido teacher. My first teacher, Takada Shigeo
Sensei, introduced me to Kiyama Sensei early on in my iaido journey
as an excellent teacher. When Takada Sensei died, I was left without
a teacher, and Kiyama Sensei accepted me into his dojo. It took a
while before I was really his student though. I had to go through a
keiko
with
him to discover what sort of person he was, if he was the sort of
person I wanted to be learning from and emulating. It was clear from
the way he treated everyone, from the 70, 80 and 90 year old members
of the dojo down to the 7,8, and 9 year old members, that he
respected his students, cared for them, and treated them well. It was
also clear from the way his students treated him that they really
cared for him. The bows at the end of class were not perfunctory. The
school age students would approach him after class to say “Thank
you” and he would offer some advice or help with their practice,
and the “Arigato gozaimasu” that came from both the students and
Sensei was clearly sincere. What kept the classes in order and
running smoothly was the obvious respect the students had for their
teacher, and the teacher had for the students. It didn’t take me too
many practices to realize that this was a place I wanted to be, with
a teacher well worth learning from.







I
respected Kiyama Sensei right away, and soon I learned to trust him
as well. It’s not enough for a student to trust the teacher though.
The teacher must also trust the student. This is especially true in
koryu
budo

where
transmission and the continuance of the system are always in
question.
Gendai
budo
are
generally large organizations where testing and advancement are
outside the control of any one teacher. In
koryu
budo,

transmission
is all about the teacher-student relationship. If the teacher doesn’t
completely trust the student, the student isn’t going to learn
anything much. The teacher isn’t concerned just with helping the
student develop and learn the art. The teacher must think about the
quality of the people who will be the next generation of teachers in
the art, and who will be responsible for the art after she dies.
There aren’t any dan ranks to collect, just teaching licenses. With
each of these, the teacher is saying to the world around him and the
teachers who have gone before him that this person is worthy to care
for and extend this hundreds of years old tradition into the future.
It’s not like giving out dan ranks for technical skill.

A GREAT GIFT FOR SENSEI!!







A
lot more rests on the relationship between the student and teacher in
koryu
budo

because
the arts are usually small and closely held. They aren’t meant to
to be spread as far and wide as possible the way modern judo, kendo,
iaido or aikido are. Just as the student entering a dojo wants to be
sure the teacher and the dojo are right for her, the teacher looking
at students has to be sure each is right for the continuation of the
art. This isn’t a concern when the art has a global structure and
rank system with hundreds or thousands of dojo around the world. It’s
a critical concern when the art may consist of as little as one
teacher and 4 or 5 students. Even within larger koryu budo systems,
which student receives a teaching license is a critical issue.
Concern for how new teachers represent the art and pass on the
precious teachings never leaves the mind of current teachers.







How
do you earn your teacher’s trust? Start by showing up for every
practice. Be sincere in your training. Be honest, helpful and
genuine. Show your interest in the art through your actions. Help out
with the operation of the dojo. Take care to learn the art as your
teacher is presenting it. Don’t let the words “But so-and-so does
it differently.” ever leave your mouth. Learning isn’t a
 competitive art with people are looking for the newest
variation of a technique to surprise someone with.







Once
you’ve found a teacher worthy of polishing you, and you’ve done
the hard work to be accepted as their student, what do you do to
maintain and fortify your relationship? Now you have to work harder.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting practice with Sensei become an
automatic activity that you do without fail but forget to look for
the treasures in every practice you attend.







I’ve
known many people who are interested in techniques and physical skill
but are so satisfied with who they are that they leave the bigger
lessons their teacher has to offer on the dojo floor, never taking
them to heart. They show up for every practice, but they somehow
manage to learn nothing but technique.  The lessons on how to
respect others and yourself, how to be an exceptional human being,
float past them like an evening breeze that doesn’t even ruffle
their hair. Go into each keiko looking to discover treasures. You’ve
been lucky enough to find a good art and a good teacher. Treasures
such as these do not sit on every street corner, and much like
precious silver, require care and time and effort to polish and
maintain. Be mindful that what you are learning is rare and don’t
let treat is as an everyday affair. Show Sensei at every
keiko
that
you are all there and you know that you are receiving a wondrous
treasure.







You
teacher makes significant effort to share her art with you. For any
good teacher, teaching is not transactional. Teaching is a gift and
an investment in the student. Your teacher is also a person. Do you
take the time to know more of your teacher than just the teaching
persona they wear at the front of the dojo? Some of my most precious
lessons in budo have come from my teachers outside the dojo while
eating, laughing and sharing. Great teachers are exceptional people,
in the dojo and out, but if you don’t make the effort to get to
know them as people in addition to them being your teacher, you’ll
miss out on many extraordinary aspects of their personalities. Buy
them a cup of coffee. Accept graciously when they want to buy
you
a
cup of coffee. Help out when they need it.  Ask a question and
pay attention to the answer. Listen when they want to talk about
something that doesn’t seem related to the dojo. You never know
what Sensei might be trying to share with you.







Who
is your teacher? Why did you choose them?


 
Special thanks to my editor, Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.




via Blogger https://ift.tt/2RKxHoZ

Who Is You Teacher?




 

My first iaido teacher, the remarkable Takada Shigeo Sensei Photo Copyright Peter Boylan

My
teachers are in Japan. These are the people I look to not only for
how my budo should be, but also for how I aspire to be as a human. A
true teacher is not just someone you learn technical excellence from,
but human excellence as well. In the dojo we train in the rawest,
most basic expressions of conflict, power, and life. I don’t think
it is possible to learn raw, fundamental lessons such as how to
throw, strike, choke and break a fellow human without picking up
other lessons about living from the people doing the teaching.







In
the dojo we study and practice under the close direction of our
teachers. There is no other way to do this safely. My teachers have
all earned my respect and love just not for their technical skill
(which is enormous) but for the humanity with which they lead and
teach. My teachers, the people I readily claim, and who, I am proud
and humbled to say, freely claim me as their student, are human
beings. They have flaws and weaknesses. They are also remarkable
budoka who continue to work at improving their budo, their
understanding and themselves.







I’ve
known my teachers, trained with them, been scolded by them and gotten
an occasional “OK” from them (that being the highest praise I’ve
ever heard them give). In the dojo we have earned each others’
trust. I’ve trained with my teachers for more than 25 years. At each
step along the way, I have learned that they are exemplary human
beings. I know that can’t be said for everyone who teaches martial
arts, and I am extremely lucky to have found teachers of such high
quality.







Kiyama
Sensei’s budo life stretches back to the 1930s with training in judo
,
kendo, iaido and jukendo in school during wartime Japan. He has seen
just about every excess that can be committed in the name of
developing a student’s spirit and technique. He can recall training
in kendo
bogu
(armor)
in the summer heat until people had to go to the side to throw up,
and then come back and continue training. This was supposed to
develop spirit. Instead he points out that people died all too
frequently from that effects of that sort of training, so he doesn’t
teach that way.



Kiyama Hiroshi Sensei at home Copyright Peter Boylan






Kiyama
Sensei is my second iaido teacher. My first teacher, Takada Shigeo
Sensei, introduced me to Kiyama Sensei early on in my iaido journey
as an excellent teacher. When Takada Sensei died, I was left without
a teacher, and Kiyama Sensei accepted me into his dojo. It took a
while before I was really his student though. I had to go through a
keiko
with
him to discover what sort of person he was, if he was the sort of
person I wanted to be learning from and emulating. It was clear from
the way he treated everyone, from the 70, 80 and 90 year old members
of the dojo down to the 7,8, and 9 year old members, that he
respected his students, cared for them, and treated them well. It was
also clear from the way his students treated him that they really
cared for him. The bows at the end of class were not perfunctory. The
school age students would approach him after class to say “Thank
you” and he would offer some advice or help with their practice,
and the “Arigato gozaimasu” that came from both the students and
Sensei was clearly sincere. What kept the classes in order and
running smoothly was the obvious respect the students had for their
teacher, and the teacher had for the students. It didn’t take me too
many practices to realize that this was a place I wanted to be, with
a teacher well worth learning from.







I
respected Kiyama Sensei right away, and soon I learned to trust him
as well. It’s not enough for a student to trust the teacher though.
The teacher must also trust the student. This is especially true in
koryu
budo

where
transmission and the continuance of the system are always in
question.
Gendai
budo
are
generally large organizations where testing and advancement are
outside the control of any one teacher. In
koryu
budo,

transmission
is all about the teacher-student relationship. If the teacher doesn’t
completely trust the student, the student isn’t going to learn
anything much. The teacher isn’t concerned just with helping the
student develop and learn the art. The teacher must think about the
quality of the people who will be the next generation of teachers in
the art, and who will be responsible for the art after she dies.
There aren’t any dan ranks to collect, just teaching licenses. With
each of these, the teacher is saying to the world around him and the
teachers who have gone before him that this person is worthy to care
for and extend this hundreds of years old tradition into the future.
It’s not like giving out dan ranks for technical skill.

A GREAT GIFT FOR SENSEI!!







A
lot more rests on the relationship between the student and teacher in
koryu
budo

because
the arts are usually small and closely held. They aren’t meant to
to be spread as far and wide as possible the way modern judo, kendo,
iaido or aikido are. Just as the student entering a dojo wants to be
sure the teacher and the dojo are right for her, the teacher looking
at students has to be sure each is right for the continuation of the
art. This isn’t a concern when the art has a global structure and
rank system with hundreds or thousands of dojo around the world. It’s
a critical concern when the art may consist of as little as one
teacher and 4 or 5 students. Even within larger koryu budo systems,
which student receives a teaching license is a critical issue.
Concern for how new teachers represent the art and pass on the
precious teachings never leaves the mind of current teachers.







How
do you earn your teacher’s trust? Start by showing up for every
practice. Be sincere in your training. Be honest, helpful and
genuine. Show your interest in the art through your actions. Help out
with the operation of the dojo. Take care to learn the art as your
teacher is presenting it. Don’t let the words “But so-and-so does
it differently.” ever leave your mouth. Learning isn’t a
 competitive art with people are looking for the newest
variation of a technique to surprise someone with.







Once
you’ve found a teacher worthy of polishing you, and you’ve done
the hard work to be accepted as their student, what do you do to
maintain and fortify your relationship? Now you have to work harder.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting practice with Sensei become an
automatic activity that you do without fail but forget to look for
the treasures in every practice you attend.







I’ve
known many people who are interested in techniques and physical skill
but are so satisfied with who they are that they leave the bigger
lessons their teacher has to offer on the dojo floor, never taking
them to heart. They show up for every practice, but they somehow
manage to learn nothing but technique.  The lessons on how to
respect others and yourself, how to be an exceptional human being,
float past them like an evening breeze that doesn’t even ruffle
their hair. Go into each keiko looking to discover treasures. You’ve
been lucky enough to find a good art and a good teacher. Treasures
such as these do not sit on every street corner, and much like
precious silver, require care and time and effort to polish and
maintain. Be mindful that what you are learning is rare and don’t
let treat is as an everyday affair. Show Sensei at every
keiko
that
you are all there and you know that you are receiving a wondrous
treasure.







You
teacher makes significant effort to share her art with you. For any
good teacher, teaching is not transactional. Teaching is a gift and
an investment in the student. Your teacher is also a person. Do you
take the time to know more of your teacher than just the teaching
persona they wear at the front of the dojo? Some of my most precious
lessons in budo have come from my teachers outside the dojo while
eating, laughing and sharing. Great teachers are exceptional people,
in the dojo and out, but if you don’t make the effort to get to
know them as people in addition to them being your teacher, you’ll
miss out on many extraordinary aspects of their personalities. Buy
them a cup of coffee. Accept graciously when they want to buy
you
a
cup of coffee. Help out when they need it.  Ask a question and
pay attention to the answer. Listen when they want to talk about
something that doesn’t seem related to the dojo. You never know
what Sensei might be trying to share with you.







Who
is your teacher? Why did you choose them?


 
Special thanks to my editor, Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.




via Blogger https://ift.tt/2RKxHoZ