“The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind” said French writer and Nobel prize laureate Albert Camus. To change your mind and recognize that you might be wrong is what the Bujinkan is teaching us. Being right or wrong, strong or weak is irrelevant, it is “vulgar ” and a low understanding of true martial arts.
When you have the chance to spend some private time with Sôke, you have to be ready to see the world differently afterward. Each time I meet him in his house I come with a list of questions. But even though I have already my own answers, I always come to him with an open mind ready to modify my perception of the problem. When you speak with sensei, it is like what they say in Zen Buddhism, you have to come with an empty glass, so that it can be filled. If your glass is already full then nothing can be poured into it.
Yesterday in sensei ‘s house I had the chance to spend some quality time with him. While walking the dog, we began to speak about some technical points I wanted to get advice on (see detail in previous entry).
But then once my glass had been emptied, he began to speak about the Bujinkan. He said that we were ending a cycle of 42 years and we are beginning another one right now. He kept repeating “this is the end of the cycle “. By chance Darren and his translator joined us and communication was easier.
What I understood is that the number 42 is an important symbol not only in H2G2* but in many ancient traditions. In Japan it is often considered as a negative symbol because when you read the figure “42” as “4” & “2” it means death**.
Takamatsu sensei died when Hatsumi sensei was 42 years old. So this year he said, we have to be cautious. Maybe this is why we will not have the usual daikomyô sai this year. But this bad omen can also be tuned into a positive one, the end of the cycle being the new beginning (remember the new season in the kihon happô year).
Hatsumi sensei said that now it is up to the jûgodan to conduct this new cycle. This is not new as this was inferred by the scroll hanging in the dôjô this year giving the theme. Don’t panic! It doesn’t mean he is quitting. Sensei said that his budô is not Japanese but belongs to the world. During this 42 years cycle, he said, he has been spreading what true budô is. And this is not limited to the Japanese martial arts as “learning to survive is a human being quality, it is not limited by any borders “.
A few years ago, sensei said in class that “the Bujinkan is not made in Japan, it is made in Human”. The Bujinkan Budô he is teaching is based exclusively on survival and not on waza.
In order to survive “everything can be used”, he added, “a pen, a spoon, a cup can be tuned into deadly weapons and ensure your survival, if you understand the essence of budô “. The ryûha, the weapons are only tools to develop this understanding, the core essence of our training is Juppô Sesshô.
Since 2003, we are learning this Juppô Sesshô and this is the highest path of budô. Katachi are necessary to access the true kankaku. The saino konki is not in the forms, it is developed by and depending on his or her commitment and understanding. Only time and experience matter.
In the class after our meeting I asked him to paint a scroll with the text hanging by the shinden. But when he did it there were more kanji than on the original one. I asked why and he said: “I transformed it so that now it is a 御守 Omamori”. This new “42” cycle begins well.
Let me quote Albert Camus once more: “You cannot create experience. You must undergo it”. So I hope to see you soon on the mats so that we can undergo our experience together.
* Hitchhiker ‘s guide to the galaxy
En español para MF2: http://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy 😉
** Symbolism of 42: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_(number)
*** Omamori: good luck charm, amulet