Sonkeishin: Respect


hs3The Bujinkan is growing in quantity but it seems to me that some of its original qualities tend to disappear. And 尊敬心 sonkeishin (respect) seems to be the first one on the list of endangered qualities.

I train Bujinkan because I deeply respect our Sôke Hatsumi Masaaki. The respect I feel for him has nothing to do with the arts he is teaching or showing us but with the man he his. I have been in contact with a few “great men” in my life but none, so far, has been able to mould me and influence me the way he did. I am who I am because  I had the privilege to meet Sensei in July 1987 at the first European Taikai organized by Peter.

That was nearly 25 years ago (more than half my age) and through Hatsumi sensei’s permanent teachings (martial and non martial) I was trained to become a true human being.

The Bujinkan Arts  mainly develop one feeling and this is intuition. The Sakki test is the pragmatic proof that one has reached this level of intuition.

In Latin, “intuition” is “intuitus” and means the “act of looking at things”. Our Bujinkan training develops our “vision” and we gradually become able to see or “sense” any situation better than many others. The sixth sense is common to all living creature but is rarely accessible to humans. Luckily, the long hours of strenuous training unearth it from within our brain and makes it available to us. Through Hatsumi sensei’s teachings we learn to become more intuitive, i.e. aware of things without apparently thinking. “Don’t think!” as he often say it in class.

Intuition is also 感覚 kankaku in Japanese and means “feeling”. The more we “feel” (through our 5 senses) and the more we develop our sixth sense.

Now funnily, the word 尊敬心 sonkeishin (respect) is somehow linked to the way at which we look at things. But as “kankaku” exists only in the present, “sonkeishin” is linked to the past.

To respect someone is to look at someone’s actions in the past. The Online Etymology Dictionary says it comes “from Latin respectus “regard,” literally “act of looking back at one,” pp. of respicere “look back at, regard, consider”.

What someone has achieved in his life is what creates respect. But the Bujinkan growing in quantity I have the intuition that less respect is shown to the elders. Remember that you are who you are because these elders made it possible for you. Look at how Sensei speaks about Takamatsu sensei. This is how you should feel about those who shared with you what you are so proud to have today. Getting a Jûgodan doesn’t free yourself from sonkeishin, on the contrary.

With time some arguments, disagreements, and fights might appear with your elders, but you should never show a lack of sonkeishin to them.

If you do so then 尊敬心 sonkeishin (respect) will turn into 損敬神 sonkeishi (loss of reverence) and the Bujinkan magic will be lost.

Thank you Sensei for your guidance all through these years, and for your help to become an adult.

Respectfully, your student Arnaud