Message from Sensei (2009)
33 issue (Jul. 2009)
This year is going by fast, it's already halfway through. I think everyone in the Jinenkan is applying themselves to their training more and more. I am also doing self-training that is suitable for my age but time certainly doesn't stand still for me. It seems like if you don't treat each day as being truly important, then you will end up with many regrets in life.
So far, I have made a number of DVDs and downloads in order to leave the recorded images of katas I have learned for both my and everyone else's benefit. Unfortunately this hasn't progressed for some time. However, I certainly plan on completing this. During the filming and picture taking, I think that the images were done well but then once it's all completed, I feel dissatisfied. But, I think it's better than having nothing at all.
In Japan we have an expression called "ichii-senshin", which means "using your heart for only one thing and not turning it towards anything else". Also in Greek mythology, there is the story of Pandora's box, in which hope alone remained inside.
Recently, I've been thinking that it is truly difficult to ever feel satisfied with oneself. But, by having hopes and goals, one can progress. By devoting yourself everyday to the hopes you have remaining in pandora's box, one day many of you will become able to do this training and furthermore, forge your mind and body.
Finally, next summer, there will be a seminar focused on dojo-cho,so please make plans to come to Japan. At that time, I want to give each dojo-cho a bugo or "budo name". I have begun thinking of a name that will be suitable for each dojo-cho. I hope everyone is looking forward to the seminar.
32 issue (Apr. 2009)
Time truly seems to fly by. I thought the year had just begun but it's already March, the season when news of cherry blossoms starts coming out.
Last year, America's sub-prime loan problem spread throughout the world. A lot of damage has been done to large corporations and the effects continue to spread even today.
Obviously many related subcontracting companies won't be able to avoid bankruptcy so whole groups of businesses are facing miserable times. Despite all of this, those mostly responsible for causing it, escape with huge sums of money, a fact that many find unforgivable.
Looking at this from a budo perspective, I think the winners and losers were decided before it even began. However, in this case the commander leads a life of leisure while his men are dying. He escapes without taking responsibility for defeat. If he were a samurai, he would most certainly commit hara-kiri as a sincere apology to his subordinates.
Even in the Jinenkan, there have been various problems. Therefore, from me on down to each dojo-cho, lets not runaway from our problems but rather fulfill our responsibilities and do what we can to help our students.
Also, while some dojos may grow and become profitable, I would add that if you invest in budo, you won't lose. However, if you invest in some other business I don't think you will be as fortunate. In Japan there is a term called "Bushi no Shoho" (Samurai business methods). This phrase is used to describe people who are either no good at business or amateurs in business. It is true that anyone who has a deep understanding of budo in their heart, will not be very skilled in business. Like I always say, don't chase after money, fame or status. Those are things that will come naturally later on.
This year again, many people came to train at the honbu. My greatest enjoyment comes from seeing everyone's improvement.
31 issue (Jan. 2009)
Happy New Year to all members
Another year has quickly gone by without even realizing it. In last year's Seiryu, I spoke about the meaning of "Otoshidama," a New Years gift of cash given in a special envelope. This year however, I want to tell you about Inazo Nitobe's book "Bushido," which introduced Japanese culture to the West.
In 1889, Dr. Inazo Nitobe was staying in Malvern, PA undergoing medical treatment. That same year, at 38 years old, he published his book Bushido in very eloquent English. The following year, his book was published in Japan in English. It wasn't translated into Japanese until 9 years later.
came up with the idea to write the book while he was staying in Belgium
with a distinguished law scholar named M. deLaveleye. During a
conversation, Mr. Laveleye asked, "Do you mean to say that you have no
religious education in your schools?" Upon hearing Mr. Nitobe's
response that they don't, an astonished Laveleye asked "Then how do you
teach morals?" That is the question that started it all. 10 years later
the book was published.
Nitobe Ph.D., started his book with the following line;
Bushido is a flower no less indigenous to Japan than its emblem, the cherry blossom. Then he gave careful consideration to the roots and characteristics of bushido as well as it's influence on the people. He revealed how bushido allowed the soul of Japan to blossom.
The reason I am introducing this book to you is because I want you to know the Japanese point of view and way of thinking, in order to understand kobudo better. Unfortunately, what I've told you so far about bushido isn't enough. Since Dr. Nitobe's "Bushido" has been translated into many languages all around the world, I would really like you to read it this year. Then, I can look forward to reading many Jinenkan members impressions of the book as you email them to me throughout the year.