Copenhagen Bushinden Kai 2010
Flying to Copenhagen was a nice short flight. It was nice to see the warmth of the sun over a land free from deep snow. The feeling of Spring was definately in the air.
Meeting with Michael at the airport, he drove me to a quaint hotel just out of the city centre. We were met by wonderful staff who very quickly made me feel very comfortable.
From there we drove to a popular eating area beside the canal. I was able to sit, relax and, enjoy the company of Michael while also absorbing the hospitality and warmth of the people of Denmark.
Michael and I ate and then proceeded to my first training session. With no less than 30 people in attendance, we began class with a simple, yet important look at aspects of the Koshi Kihon Sanpo. We looked greatly into the importance of self training and ways in which you can train to positively improve your goal of achieving Shin Gi Tai Ichi.
The following day was with Philipp. We walked in the warmth of the spring sun around the city. He was a great tour guide and presented me with interesting facts about city sights, etc. We met with his beautiful wife for lunch and enjoyed another nice time sitting in the sun talking and relaxing.
A canal tour helped me gain a greater appreciation of the unique flavour of Denmark. Unfortunately, the “little Mermaid” was off frolicking in Asia on a “Good will tour” I believe. Regardless, the architecture and buildings revealed the history and evolution of the city and culture as a whole.
On Saturday and Sunday people from as far as Lithuania and Malmoe in Sweden visited to participate in the Tachi Kumiuchi Bushinden Kai. Over 50 people were in attendance and we filled the training centre with bodies and minds open and ready to experience my interpretation of recent training in Japan.
The Royal Princess of Denmark is a Tasmanian. Upon confirming my travels to Denmark, I felt it an opportunity to ask Souke if he would like to present something to the Royal Family of Denmark. He obliged, and said that he would paint a ” Tasmanian Tiger “.
Souke completed the painting of a Tasmanian Tiger on a large Kakejiku. He was very happy about it. In fact, it is believed to be the first Tasmanian Tiger ever to be painted on a traditional Japanese Scroll.
Souke added above the picture, the following Kanji:
和 愛 猛 勇
Peace Love Ferocity Courage
” Protect Love and Peace with the Courage and Ferocity of the Tasmanian Tiger “
I had also purchased a box especially for the Kakejiku that was made from a tree called ” Kiri “. This tree can translate as ” Princess Tree.” I believed this to be rather fitting. Especially as it was to be presented to the Princess of Denmark.
On the front of the box, Souke painted ” Ko Teki “ ( attacking Tiger ).
Prior to the commencement of training, I explained to everyone that this was a gesture in light of this years theme ( Rokkon Shoujo ). With a feeling of maintaining a connection with our family roots, and also developing ( through Art) the peaceful connections ( tsunagaru ) of Japan, Denmark and Australia ( Tasmania ), we will be presenting Soukes unqiue artwork to the Royal House.
Within the training of the two days, we naturally studied aspects that arose from our experiences together. By this, I mean that by connecting with each other ( uke & tori ) we have the chance to become enlightened to learning that was once obscure to us. From sincere and selfless training, we can find ourselves naturally in a space ( kuukan ), free from preconceieved thought or desire. This space is where the secrets lie. It is nothing mystical. By being open to feeling the truth of that moment ( shunkan ), we have the potential to step closer to the world of truth ( Kanjin Kaname ).
If we move as we desire, then we are unable to really get close to the essence of budo – the gokui. The aim for all martial artists is to cleanse themselves – purify the spirit and mind. My feeling is that we need to focus on correct traning and developing Shin Gi Tai Ichi.
We should take training seriously, but not ourselves too seriously. We have to try and develop ourselves in a balanced way. Moving with balance is the key. We can learn these internal lessons from our training. Souke has once said:
” Taijutsu training is moving meditation. “
Also, the manner in which we train is important. If people just sporadically do whatever they want, then positive and really skilled progess is difficult. there is a process called Shu Ha Ri. This process has been reiterated recently more and more by Souke. The more we try to gain a working appreciation of this process, the more we can see it’s necessity in all areas of learning and not just within the realm of the martial arts. Shu Ha Ri is actually universal in nature and is present in all cultures throughout the world. As is Sainou Kon Ki. There is nothing mystical about them. They are in fact integral components within the realm of humans that have ensure the evolution and development of our species for millions of years.
Within the dojo, I attempted to pass on my understanding on the way to train for correct development. Using the principles of Shu Ha Ri, I made reference to learning correct taijutsu and kihon ( form and principles ) to be able to progress and understand the usage of weapons correctly ( happo bikenjutsu ) while lastly moving in a space free from all structure – both mentally and physically. This is a circle of learning and can be likened to the symbol for harmony ( wa ).
People attempt to rush through these three stages. There are no shortcuts. Firstly, remember this!
I moved and recollected on the importance of developing ones own Shin Gi Tai and Sainou Kon Ki. These thoughts were not pre fabricated notes written for the purpose of instruction. I didn’t bring any notes with me to Scandanavia. It was important to me to really practise what is preached by our Souke. I have therefore attempted to expand my capacity by allowing moments to occur without interrupting the natural flow.
The two days opened many lessons for all of us. Souke often mentions about injuries and taking responsibility for your actions. I like to also reiterate his comments when I am about to commence a class. If at anytime you have an accident or cause an accident, you must look after yourself or that perosn involved. This is developing the compassion of the warrior. We have many responsibilites in life. We can not just walk away and forget they exist.
Numerous times during the seminar, we/I made jokes that arose within the moment. People laughed. It always seemed that these moments were all timed naturally to perfection. It was in these moments, just like there is moments of rest during a fight, that we could experience the connection all spirits, free from internal or external conflict.
Souke often admonishes us to train without the feeling of fighting. To do this, In my eyes, we must develop ourselves and have a healthy understanding of what distance means in all realms – physical,spiritual,psychological. This distance is crucial for maintaining your “life space” and to live freely and with a lightness of being free from adversity.
I felt that naturally, with no desire to really make it into a study group as such, that we entered moments that we could say were purifying through laughter. At times I strongly emphasised my thoughts on points that I see as important for correct and positve development. Many people looked very interested, and were thinking deeply in these moments. The road of self purification can be a lonesome,depressing and difficult road. We are searching the depths of the soul that many people dare not go too. People are afraid of their truth. And often more afraid of having to change.
Quickly, after these moments of self reflection, I found that humour naturally arose to create a more light hearted ending to the conversation. People laughed. We would then forget the seriousness and move forward. The lessons are not forgotten, just made easier to digest and absorb for future growth.
I would like to thank Michael, Jasper, Mikkel, William, Andrius, Phillip, and everyone else who helped make this Denmark Bushinden Kai a wonderful learning experience.
Thanks also to Mikkel Blomsterberg for taking the photographs of the training.