Always train every day
This can be as little as 20 minutes a day but you will still find benefit and keep balance between mind and body. This always facilitates a deep understanding of the three components, kihon, kata and kumite.
“In calligraphy it is progress when the paper, brush and ink are in harmony. Yet they are so wont to be disjointed!”
Train for yourself and not for others
Too many train only to teach and improve their appearance. True training is hard and it must be for oneself. Do not fall into the trap of so many who only train to be the teacher. This is not the way and those that do only hide their dishonesty and inadequacy behind the veil of title. If you are dishonest with yourself how can you teach and lead the way for others! Only the blind will follow……
“In the midst of a single breath where perversity cannot be held, is the Way. If so then the Way is one. But there is no one who can understand this clarity at first. Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.”
Do not train to teach but teach as a result of your training
The path of training is long and along the way many fall to the easy route of teaching only and training just enough to show new techniques and new ways. Train firstly for yourself and as you train harder you will learn that depth is the way not volume and the disguise of pretty moves. This learning is the path of true study and facilitates that which is learnt being past on to your students as they grow ready to receive.
“To put forth great effort in correcting a person’s bad habits is the way it should be done. One should be like the digger wasp. It is said that even an adopted child, if you teach him continually so that he will resemble you, surely he will”.
First there is training and then there is teaching
Remember that martial arts start with training and always finishes with training. That which you learn as a by product of this endeavour is a plus. Do not neglect keiko especially hitori keiko. The need to train on your own is paramount in addition to that which you do in the lessons. Do not train to teach but train to learn and in doing so this will show you the way to teach others. Too many practice only to teach and show their prowess rather than train to understand. Teaching is a by product of hard training!
When the student of Bujutsu grows the teacher grows and when the teacher grows the student grows! They are both inexplicably linked!
Do not use pretty words to disguise your inadequacies
Learning from scripture is important but to own the words you must train to understand there significance and importance. Words alone are like leaves falling from the tree. Do not blind with intellect to hide your physical inadequacies. If you train hard the words will become known and earned and the honesty of the passing in time with your students can be share instead of hidden. Knowing your own darkness is the best way of dealing with the darkness of others and showing the light.
Train hard and strive to improve, understand and learn more. There is always more.
Do not sit back and say I know this. Discern that which you think you know and realise that it is only one level. It is never about volume and technique only. Remember that which you would say now would be different in one year’s time. In knowing this you will know that hard training, correct training and time produce a deeper understanding. The self grows and the understanding of you and your opponents is better understood.
“To gain is suffering, loss is enlightenment”
Form alone is like an empty glass- fill the glass with your endeavour, hard work and understanding
Movement alone, technique alone or kata alone are like shadow boxing in the dojo. They need deep understanding, expression from the self, the attributes of power, grace, speed timing concentration and spirit to name just a few. Without these they are of little value accept to the way of the art without the martial. The origins of Bujutsu are firstly through fighting and lastly through fighting. This should be remembered when you train.
“The proper manner of calligraphy is nothing other than not being careless, but in this way one’s writing will simply be sluggish and stiff! One should go beyond this and depart from the norm. The principle applies to all things!
Do not hide behind rank and title, for rank and title is all they are
There are many who use status to elevate their standing and prowess. This leads to arrogance and ultimately the way of posture instead of hard work. The body never lies and soon one can see that fitness is lost and sweat becomes a rarity. In the way it is necessary to work hard always and this will produce good fitness and the secret oil of Bujutsu, sweat!
By inconsistency and frivolity we stray from the Way and show ourselves to be beginners, in this we do much harm.
Remember the mouth may lie but the body never does
To the trained eye as soon as you move it is shown if you train properly or not. The voice in conversation is easy but the quiet statement of fact in movement and action is louder. Do not stray from the path of honesty in yourself and try and fool others.
If a sword is always sheathed, it will become rusty, the blade will dull, and people will think as much of its owner.
Without sacrifice there is no gain. Loss is gain and gain is loss
To reach a standard in the study of the way it is necessary to sacrifice time with others for yourself. Whilst this is viewed by many as being selfish it is that which must be done. Gain from training but know your close ones loss from not having your company. Gain from training and know your friends see less of you. Gain from training and know sleep is curtailed to accommodate that which must be done, training.
Lead by example and not by your mouth – Do not be enticed by pretty words for pretty words are all they are.
It is well observed that too many teach from their mouth and not from their bodies. Their sermons espouse great understanding by appearance but their movements show the novice in training. Few words should be spoken in training, these should be saved for afterwards. Do not hide behind pretty words and be honest to yourself and work hard in the areas you know to be inadequate. In doing so others will recognise your endeavour and will follow your example! This is the best way to teach.
A person who knows but a little will put on an air of knowledge. This is a matter of inexperience. When someone knows something well, it will not be seen in his manner.
To the discerning eye the true depth of training and understanding is seen in the movement and the way of the serious martial artist.
You must learn about everything to know how to deal with it and defeat it
The study of all things and ways in Bujutsu is paramount, for how can you defeat that which you know not! Too many stay in the security of their own style and dojo and venture not to the waters afar. Whilst this attains the concept of perfection it is just an illusion in the true sense of Bujutsu. It is necessary to be aware of all ways of fighting and understand the strategy to defeat all. The long weapon for distance, the short weapon for close range, all have their place. It is he who relies not on each totally but knows their usage when and when not. This applies to the kick and punch as much as the Bo or knife.
The fish looks large in a small pond but the true way is in the open water
In time growth and familiarity of the environment and those around you results in over confidence and finally arrogance to ones ability and standing. This should be avoided at all cost and exposure to training and students outside the safety of ones own dojo must be sought. One must feel the insecurity of the unknown and learn the skills of zanshin and evaluation of oneself and opponents. Being trapped by style, by teacher or by dojo is common and leads to restriction, lack of development and a blindness to a broader understanding.
If a man is not willing to sacrifice for his training then he is not fit to train in the way and sport alone is his vehicle.
The study of Bujutsu never ends and the challenges remain a constant companion in life. There are no judges on this path and no others to blame for ones shortcomings. It is true that in sport there are sacrifices made for those who reach the pinnacle of heights in that which they do but the time span is short and soon the middle years take their toll and the do becomes the talk and the uniform becomes a blazer. In bujutsu there is no end and the study and intensity never abate. The middle years a time to amalgamate the do and the thought and the later years to construct and delve deeper into that which was and becomes something else. The early morning thoughts of why and how and the late night fatigue remain a constant companion.
Hard training and vigour are not enough. You must learn from scripture too but know its place in the balance of things.
“If your strength is only that which comes from vitality, your words and conduct will appear to be in accord with the Way and you will be praised by others. But when you question yourself about this there will be nothing to be said. When your own heart asks, is the secret principle of all arts.”