Kawaraban No. 84
Tendokan Trainer Koichi Watanabe
As people always ask me what I tell students, who just entered the Tendokan, during my Aikido lessons I will point out the following three statements.
- Selecting the Tendokan from all the other Dojos was the best choice.
- Continuous training is beneficial for the health of body and mind, and therefore you will become strong.
- If you practice continuously you will learn to appreciate the principles ‚ability to read the future’ and ‚clear mind/heart’.
I hope you will like those three points, and now I will provide a detailed explanation.
Today 20 years ago (October 25th, Showa 61, i.e. 1086) the Tendokan was invited to the second Friendship-Enbukai (demonstration), which was organized by the journal ‘Aiki News’ (presently renamed to ‘Do’), and Shimizu Sensei showed there a model Aikido demonstration. The performers, who had been invited at that time, were the leader of Youseikan Mochizuki Minoru Sensei (he was one of the students, who were sent for study by the founder of Judo, Kanou Jigoro Sensei, to the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei Sensei), the leader of Yushinkan Sugino Dojo, Sugino Yoshio Sensei (he was the best pupil of O-Sensei Ueshiba out of the group of masters of the Katori Shintouryu of coordinated Bujutsu), the director of the Osamu Koudate, Shioda Gouzou Sensei, and the Dojo leader of the Aikikai Ibaraki Dojo, Saitou Morihiro Sensei. And among all these well-known gentlemen, who were at any rate at that time the highest authority each in his field, Shimizu Sensei was the youngest Aikidoka, who participated in the demonstration.
When I was in the waiting room as the assistant of Shimizu Sensei, Sugino Sensei, with whom I had no acquaintance at all, talked to me with a friendly voice, probably by chance because there was nobody else in the room.
“Who is your teacher?”
“I am the pupil of Shimizu Sensei.“
“I see, so you learn under a very good teacher, don’t you.”
I was happy about those words of Sugino Sensei, and now I understood that Shimizu Sensei was highly evaluated by someone, who was the best student of O-Sensei Ueshiba and who was at the top as a Budoka as well, and therefore once again I thought, how lucky I was joining the Tendokan. I want that all of you taste such deep emotions, too.
As my body is not very strong naturally, I spent a lot of time thinking that I have to do something. In the summer when I was 25 years old I decided to join the Tendokan. Under the guidance of Shimizu Sensei and many other trainers my bodily strength improved, and my will power become stronger, too (you will understand that that of course only is a self evaluation). Because there are multiple connections between ‘mind/heart’ and ‘body’, improvements at one side stimulate and improve the other side, and such improvements in return award a positive effect. Therefore I think that if somebody wants only ‘bodily strength’ it might be good enough to go for a fitness club and practice ‘alone in the society’.
But even if you want to train ‘spiritual strength / strength of the heart’ ‘alone in society’, isn’t the training of your mind somehow limited? What is the reason for that? Is ‘mind’ really necessary, if you would survive on earth as the only human being? After all you will surely mostly be busy feeding yourself somehow, protecting yourself against wild beasts, avoiding blazing heat and storms. With other words, the existence of ‘mind’ is of importance only if there are other human beings. Therefore, to train ourselves we go among other people and after all possibilities will only show up according to our engagement for others. It is a wonderful feeling, if you understand that before one knows the original training ‘for yourself’ becomes as well training ‘for others’.
I think that Budo “is an art which we practice to survive under dangerous circumstances”. According to the explanations of Shimizu Sensei ‘the ability to read the future’ and ‘clear mind/heart’ is necessary, and therefore a continuous and serious training is important for success. When repeating techniques during practice it is easily possible to fall into the trap of inertia, and do you know, who is the one, who will never ever fall into this trap? The answer is: ‘the beginner’. Accordingly this is one of the reasons, why we make progress, if we practice with beginners.
I want to tell the advanced students, who already passed the limits of ‘a beginner’, that it is not necessary to instruct beginners all the time intensively. It is much better to have the beginner influence you positively by his serious mind and to practice in a normal way together. Such experiences, which will be obtained by accumulated training, will be for those, who already crossed the limits of the beginner, a further step to become better and stronger. This step means ‘surplus’ and ‘self-confidence’ etc. Whoever acquires those abilities will be able to associate with other people in a better way, will perceive the environment, and furthermore is this related to the ability to perceive future events.
Dear beginners, let us now practice with a fresh spirit for three months. If you are successful … let us take the challenge of 3 years. During this continuous training let us help you.
© translated by Ichiro Murata and Peter Nawrot, 08/2011