Recently, I have accepted invitations to travel and pass on what little knowledge I have of current training in Japan. What a task! It’s an important one. It’s my shugyo. And, I’ll do my best.
Do you regard yourself as a teacher?
Kyojutsu is something that is naturally around us all the time. People all have differing thoughts,opinions, motivations, philosophy, and on and on. As a result, people can end up manipulating themselves, through their own perceptions.
We all would like to believe that “our way” is the right way. Even if we believe that “our way” is based on the teachings of “our teachers”, we have actually absorbed the teachings according to our own desires and capacity. We have already made the teachings our own. This interpretation based on our own intellect may, on the surface be similar, but in actuality, be very different.
We have to really look deeply into the concept of being a “teacher” of the martial arts.
The reason we open a dojo, is so we can continue to study. We can study at our own pace what we have learned from our teachers. When we are teaching, we are actually voicing our thoughts,that is all we are doing. I don’t consider this teaching, but transmitting subconscious learning in words and action.
The transmission of budo can be likened to Denpa ( radio waves ) of which Soke talks about in his book Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai – Chapter 6 page 114-115.
Often I will be moving and the taijutsu will awaken the teachings and the secrets. The most important thing is to train well and sincerely. To teach, requires a person to formalise or consider a routine in which the information one has can be best presented and absorded by the students. For me, if you are thinking like this, then you are already thinking like a “teacher”.
However, it all depends on the heart and mind of the practitioner.
I also run classes based on passing on the fundamentals to the best of my ability. However, the mind set I hold is that I am training myself. The words that I say are but my thoughts that have arisen from my action. It is in every moment and in every action, that you can experience new learning that was once hidden to you. Voicing the words from your subconscious are words of truth. this is the most important teaching. These words are the ones that will resonate deeply. Not only in yourself, but those who watch,listen and absorb your lessons.
No question from the minds intellect will truly offer you the secrets of budo. Only those who sincerely practise will become familiar with the wonderful world and life lessons that taijutsu teaches.
I believe many intellects “believe they know” this budo we all study. But, the fact is, they will stop training, and the real budoka will remain. It’s not about intellect,skill, or being strong. It’s about Bufu Ikkan.
Every moment is a new moment. Even if we do the same technqiue with the same training partner for the whole class. In reality, it is obvious that we can never do the same technqiue twice. People change with every heart beat and breath. Our body accustoms itself to the moment. What we do is greatly dictated on our energy levels and it’s affect on our emotions. Every moment is changing. And with this change, our body and mind also changes.
Knowing that emotions greatly decide responce or action, we can learn to use this in a training/learning scenario to help students grow. By challenging the body, we challenge the psychology and emotions of the student. The practise within the dojo is meant to encourage growth through the experience of hardship. This requires the student to develop a strong spirit/heart and mind. With out concentrating on the internal aspects, no matter how skilled you become, you will fail if you have not developed in a balanced way ( shin gi tai ichi ).
I hold great importance on this, and thus have called my dojo the Shugyo Shin Gi Tai Ichi Dojo – ” Training to unify the Spirit,Technique and Body.”
In saying that “we are not teachers”, we actually are. However, the mind set is what is important. The students will consider you a teacher. They are expecting a certain decorum, professionalism, and hopefully, a decent level of ability in the martial arts.We must remember this.
In this regard, the teacher must understand kyojutsu. But,this understanding is not an intellectual understanding. It is an understanding from training correctly and sincerely with true masters. Kyojutsu is not about being intellectually cunning. It is about magokoro. Through absorbing directly the teachings in heart,mind and soul, we will begin to live and understand kyojutsu naturally. There is no need to think about it. Your knowledge will be seen in how you move,act, and just go about your normal,everyday living.
It is important to ( as Soke says ) develop the art of discernment. That is, to see the truth and falsity of things, and to know what is right and wrong, and good or bad for us. We must develop the heart and eyes of budo to see through to the truth.
We can see ( including myself ) that many people around the world are advertsing for seminars, etc. I must say, we should look at these people, but more importantly, the people who are hosting these teachers. This will give us an understanding of the type of people they are. Please consider this well.
Many people are trying to create niches for themselves or pass themselves of as having particular specialities. Why do people feel the need to change the manner in which the teachings are spread? The path has been set before us by Soke.
All we need to do is follow it. Plainly and simply.
Some people also attempt to infiltrate smaller dojos or less influenced dojos and try to become the “leader” of them. We can see this often. These people obviously have a desire to be “special” or be ” number one“.
Often the theme for the year is used as a catch phrase to my seminars. This is fine, but when I arrive, I begin the class by letting everyone know my true feelings on concepts like ” sainou kon ki” and “rokkon shoujou“. People often look dissapointed. However, by telling the truth about your knowledge ( or lack of ) you actually clean the air and make a fresh start. Often, as a result, you better get across the concept from “naturally” moving forward with the training, paying no attention to the weight of the theme.
As Soke has said –
” Rokkon shoujou is more to do with living and being able to smile which, incidentally, is a natural consequence of forgetting about budo.”
We can see kyojutsu working naturally here. To understand the themes, we actually have to forget them. To try to give meaning to them, is actually not natural. So, those that are trying to teach the themes of the past year or so, are actually going against nature and the very concept of Budo.
By seeing this, we can laugh and experience Rokkon Shoujou from a distance; of which is an integral aspect of understanding the martial arts and life as a whole.
In the dojo, we should be looking at the experience to ” purify ourselves”. Through the training, we are aiming to enter states of being, where we can experience moment to moment,and live freely beyond the restrictions of time. It is in these moments, we can come to truly absorb and appreciate the teachings of Soke. We must however, train! It’s no good just to stand there and lecture. If we do not move our body, the true lessons from within will not permeate and be drawn to the surface.
If we “shut up and train”, we may actually keep the channels open to recieve the radio waves ( denpa ) from Soke.
Bufu Ikkan !
I have decided to call my seminars
Bushinden Kai 武神伝会
”Gathering to respect the teachings of the Warrior Gods”
This is in respect of Soke and his transmission of the Bujinkan Traditions, and to remind us of how we came to gain this life aa bugeisha of the Bujinkan Dojo
My sincere view is that I’m travelling to help everyone and myself continue with our own shugyo by sharing our experiences with Soke and the Shihan of Japan.
Budo is not about instruction. It is about learning to teach yourself. This is the first thing I want people who attend the Bushinden Kai to understand. We are all on our own Shugyo. We must take responsibility for ourselves, while developing the heart and compassion of the Bujinkan Bugeisha.
Budo for life
Duncan Stewart Bushinden Kai
2010 Tachi Kumiuchi & Budo Taijutsu
Helsinki, Finland. – Shinden Bujinkan Dojo - 22nd, 23rd & 24th.
Copenhagen, Denmark. - Osterbro Bujinkan Dojo – 27th & 28th March.
Stockholm, Sweden. – Kaigozan Bujinkan Dojo – 3rd & 4th April.
United States – Madison Bujinkan Dojo, Wisconsin – 1st & 2nd May.
United States – 8th & 9th ( seminar venue to be confirmed ).
New Zealand - Hiryu Dojo – 22nd & 23rd May.
Canada – Vancouver – 17th & 18th July
United States - Los Angeles - 24th & 25th July
Venue details to be posted soon!
United States – New Jersey - 29th July – 2nd August
Canada – Montreal – 7th & 8th August
United States – Vermont – 15th & 16th August
United States – San Diego – 21st & 22nd August
Finland Unmei Dojo – Finland Taikai – 24th – 26th September
Germany – Gottingen Arashi Dojo - 2nd & 3rd
Germany – Reutlingen - 9th & 10th