In a recent and interesting article Dan Ordoins quoted Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Thank you Dan this sentence made me think a lot!
What does it mean for a Bujinkan practitioner? How can we manage it own trail while obeying to our master?
In my opinion it is possible if we rewrite it as follow: “once you have acquired the necessary knowledge and reached the jûgodan level it is not anymore necessary for you to go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.
In japanese 山道 yama michi (mountain trail) gives this idea of difficulty of trekking but also the importance of 道 michi or dô (the path, the way.
Therefore “leaving a trail” is creating your own taijutsu and this can only be achieved if you reach the level where it creates itself.
In a private discussion with sensei a few years ago, he told me that all jûgodan were turning into little Sôke…and that it was good because it meant that he had been able to transmit the essence of ninpô.
This is this essence that matters but it can only be found if you have a guide, a master, a “sensei” to teach it to you.
Without a real sensei, without the be respect and obedience you owe him there is no way you can “leave a trail”.
Bujinkan is about survival, so choose wisely your next step.