Sorry for not posting anything for a while. The trainings here in Japan is great, at least for those who have been training for a while. For beginners it might be hard and difficult. It is not said right out but I guess it’s expected that you know the basics well before you come to training in japan. There is plenty of good teachers everywhere, somewhere around 150 “true” master instructors in Bujinkan Dojo. You don’t need to go to Japan for good basic training if you are under 4’th dan!
Soke says that it is time for us to throw away the basics. He said we should throw away Sanshin no kata, Kihonhappo and everything else we know at the moment. This reminds me of a famous story about a zen master, I will quote the story from memory (so please don’t take it literally)…
Once an experienced samurai visited a zen master and said that he knew everything about the martial arts, but he have not yet reached enlightenment. So he is coming here for advice about how to reach it. The zen master offered him to sit down and have a cup of tea and talk about this. He put a cup on the table and started to pour into the cup. The cup was filled but the master kept pouring. The samurai said, can’t you see that the cup is already full?
The master said yes, and it is the same about you! You have to empty the cup (mind) before you can fill more into the cup. The samurai understood and later on finally reached enlightenment.
This is the meaning of 器 UTSUWA. It can mean a bowl, vessel or container. But it can also mean ability, capacity or caliber. When you have learnt all the basics and all the techniques there is the cup will be full. In order to pass beyond this stage you need to empty the 器. See other posts about the theme of this year and 才能魂器 (sainou kon ki / sainou tamashi utsuwa).
Everytime you go to training you should throw away everything you know, “empty the cup”. Then eagerly try to take everything in like a sponge with a playful and artistic kind of mind. This is the 極意 GOKUI essential point passed on through many generations in Gyokko-ryu that we study in Bujinkan Dojo. Keep the mind of a three year old kid that want to learn everything. Even if you think you know everything (see my previous essay) throw it away. The one who gives away everything has it all.
Keep this in mind when training. Also keep in mind that there is 20 years of 面 omote-training and then 20 years of 裏 ura-training. I might come to this in a later post.