Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Purpose of Practicing Kendo

I was doing some reading the other day, and I thought that this was something that would be good to share. It refers to kendo, but really applies to iaido as well.

**The Concept and Purpose of Kendo**

**The Concept of Kendo**

The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana (sword).

**The Purpose of Practicing Kendo**

The purpose of practicing Kendo is:

To mold the mind and body,

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honour,

To associate with others with sincerity,

And forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

To love his/her country and society,

To contribute to the development of culture,

and to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

The concept and purpose of Kendo was established by the All Japan Kendo Federation in 1975.

This would probably apply to most of the traditional martial arts in one way or another as well, but I thought that it really worth sharing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Esaka Seigen Sensei - article

Going through some old material here, and I came across this which I posted a few years ago on the kendo-world site.

There was a recent blurb in the Japan Times newspaper about Esaka Seigen Sensei. Here it is:

He holds the highest rank, 10th dan, is vice-president of the Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei and has been practicing the art form for 50 years. In his spare time he likes to compose haiku, do calligraphy and philosophize about life.

Life is a series of moments. Each and every one is precious. With this mind-set, you treat any encounter with a person or thing as if it is the first, even if it isn't.

Leave some water in the ladle for others. I like this famous Zen saying, which advises that even if you are thirsty you should not drink all the water, but should share what is left with other people.

We live among acquaintances and strangers. It's important to try to get along with others and not exclude people. You will be able to achieve peace if you focus on having a harmonious frame of mind.

You ultimately have to stand on your own two feet. The essence of martial arts -- or anything -- is to become independent without relying too much on others or being affected by time or place.

I don't want to create a clone of myself. As a teacher, I'd like to train somebody so that they surpass me, otherwise there will be no progress in the art form.

There are no enemies out there. Suspicion, surprise, arrogance, laziness, etc., are all enemies that reside in your heart, which is where all our enemies exist. That is why you should not blame others when you experience these feelings.

Wherever you are, that is your dojo- (place of practice). Any place in daily life is an opportunity to work on yourself, anytime and anywhere.

Be focused but not focused. In order to see the big picture you must make sure that your perspective doesn't become too narrow. That is why it is important to keep the mind relaxed and loose.

People can only see within the scope of their own ability. This can be likened to being on the first floor of a building. If you raise your ability, you will be able to see things from a higher dimension, the second floor. It's important to think about how you can achieve this.

Wisdom is a natural ability that you receive from your parents. As you refine your wisdom, it will start to spout out like water.

Put up with things -- endurance can be a good thing. It makes a person more big-hearted. However, it is important to make sure that stress doesn't build up, by letting it out little by little, so that you don't "go off the deep end."

Practice the art of checking. In iaido, you check until the very end, to make sure that your opponent has been completely defeated. This same mind-set can be used at work to, for example, check until the very last moment to make sure that you have not made any mistakes on a certain project.

You could be a diamond in disguise. If you don't work on yourself, or "polish" your abilities, you will never be able to tell if you are a diamond or not. Even if you have good natural ability, if you don't work on it, you'll just end up being a rock.

I learn about responsibility from flowers and bonsai trees. The effects of any maintenance on them are immediately apparent, so that any laziness on my part makes them wither. I like the fact that they respond so honestly.

Bad habits don't always have to be overcome. So long as they are socially harmless, they help to make you who you are, and may ultimately serve a good purpose.

Visualize what you want. Clearly depict in your mind the ideal way you want things to be, and then devise a method that can make that a reality. The rest just involves repeating this process, ensuring that you make revisions along the way.

Put pressure on yourself. People have a tendency to take the easy way out. But if you want to achieve your goals you have to be hard on yourself to a certain degree.

Lots of good things in there, you can find the complete article at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0060926a4.html

Other articles written about Seigen Sensei or including him are:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0030316a1.html
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0030316a3.html

Brad

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Core Con 2010 demo - a big success!

I'd like to personally thank Paul, Kelly, and Bert for all their help setting up and participating in the Core Con demo last Saturday.
We had a pretty good turnout for both the open discussion on Bushido, and especially the demonstration of iaido kata. Each member did excellent demonstrations of kata, and I think the audience enjoyed it very much. There were lots of good questions about the history of iaido/budo, the katana (Japanese sword), and iaido in general.

We demonstrated seven of the twelve All Japan Kendo Federation (Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei) seitei kata. Using bokuto (wooden swords) we broke down several of these, showing the functions of the kata and positions of the enemy. I think this helped the audience better understand the movements we were making and the underlying meanings of the patterns.

I performed several of the Musoshindenkoryu kata (dating back over 400 years) and answered questions about that.

Paul Dyer (4kyu) wrote up a brief article:
"A day to remember, a moment for the learning and sharing with others, the Moorhead iaido dojo presented a demonstration at the Core Con 2010. There are many reasons for people to attend this grand event, but one we do know is to understand the art of Bushido from the art form of iaido. Sensei Bradley Anderson developed an open forum of communication with the audience. Many asked questions, but very few understood the importance of patience and the meaning of Bushido. In the art of iaido, there is a quiet enemy within. The enemy becomes larger through our lifetime, and in the practice of iaido there is a battle of peace and unrest happening within our self. In iaido we study and learn how to defeat the unrest within ourselves. This was explained in the demonstration, both verbally and visually."

"A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive."
~ Carlos Castaneda quotes

There was video footage taken of the demo. I'll provide links once we've got something available for viewing.

We debuted our new kanji "Mu-shin" t-shirts. Mushin means essentially, "mental clarity/ enhanced perception by the absence of conscious thought / no-mindedness.” Very cool shirts, and we still have several available (blue or tan) in all sizes for $15 each.


Rank testing will be the 28th. Testing consists of members performing specified kata, and a short oral and written examination. Good luck to members testing for their rank!

Open Admission for members wishing to join the dojo begins May 5th. Practice starts at 6:30.

That's about it for now.
Brad

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Bradley Anderson
Head Instructor
Musoshindenryu Iaido - Moorhead Dojo