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Running Water does not molder

Kawaraban No. 1


by Kamata Shigeo

In Eastern medicine there is the term “Running water does not molder”.

Running water does not molder, is always fresh, so that fishes can exist as well. This is valid for the human mind and body as well. You will be able to keep youthfulness by continuous and uninterrupted moving during practice. You will be able to develop tremendous power if you always without any break continue with something, be it at work, at study, at martial arts, or at the arts.

In Miyamoto Musahi’s (1584-1645) ‚Book of the 5 Rings’ (GoRinSho) the method of morning and evening training is explained. In ‘The Book of Water’ is said: “One thousand days keeping fit during practice, ten thousand days training”. And regarding training is preached: “On very long way, too, every step moves you forward”. To achieve everything all at once is a misbelieve. Step by step, by repeated practice, you will master the secrets of the way little by little.

In ancient time there was a man at Nara named Myosen. He entered the Genko temple and studied the teachings of the Hoso sect. Because he was slow-witted, he did not understand anything although he was instructed. The reason was, that the teachings of the Hoso sect were extremely difficult. The desperate Myosen gave up his study and decided, to leave the temple. Coincidentally in that very moment it started raining, and when he took refuge of the rain under the gate, he turned his attention to a stone, which built the fundament of the gate. On this stone the rain felt drop by drop, whereby a cavity was formed. Watching this he became enlightened. Actually weak little drops of water are able to wash out a stone. He understood that this would take a long time. Myosen, who became enlightened by this, returned to the temple again, took pains full of devotedness, and finally became the well-known Buddhist monk Daisozu.

Buddhist sutras go as follows:

You human beings, if you take pains with devotedness, nothing is impossible. Therefore you human beings you only have to strive for devotedness. If for example even only a bit of water is running continuously, it results in washing out the stone.

According to the teachings of this sutra you will understand the meaning of devotedness. The sutras teach us that even small drops of water wash out a stone if they drop continuously on this stone.

The words of these sutras fully correspond to the term ‘Running water does not molder’. In the sutras ‘continuous devotedness’ is mentioned. Everywhere in practice there is continuous effort. In our dojo as well the head, Shimizu sensei, always talks about ‘continuity becomes strength’, and encourages us. That is exactly the same as ‘Running water does not molder’. Just even doing one thing continuously results in tremendous strength.

I think, progress is caused by continuity and devotedness. And during aikido practice it is extremely important, to practice in full concentration and to extend ki.

© translated by Peter Nawrot 10/2005