Today I want to speak about training 訓練 (kunren).
I was reading my notes from the past years and I stumbled upon a discussion I had with Sensei back in 2010. We were having a coffee at his place and he said: “Arnaud you have to teach what you have to teach, and to train what you have to train.”
There is often a vast misunderstanding between 教えます Oshiemasu, teaching, and 訓練します Kunreshimasu, training.
The kanji 教, means teach, but also faith, and faith is something you have or not. There is no training to get it, you can develop it if you have it.
Conversely 訓練 is composed of two kanji 1) explanation, instruction; 2) connect, take along. This is therefore something that requires time and effort if you want to get it.
訓練, forces you to test everything for yourself. A book, a video, even a Densho (if you can read it) are not enough. You have to internalize the form in order to make it yours and this requires a real training. Often I’m surprised to see that very few high ranks put themselves out of their comfort zone. If you want to excel you have to take risks and the first one is to destroy the techniques and test alternative interpretations. This is a permanent “trial and error” process. Obviously you will often fail, but at the end you will build your own taijutsu, the one that is made for your body.
I remember one day asking Senō sensei how he gained his precise movements. His answer was amazingly simple. “I trained all the basics in slow motion changing the angles degree after degree until I knew the best way to do it” he said. I commented that it must have been a very long study. “about 5 years” he said.
Today many teachers don’t really train, they teach. And this is sad because Shingin Budō don’t need techniques but demands that you keep a “student ‘s mind” in order to have a chance to be “guided” by the divine martial winds. Train the movements for yourself and find your own answers, then, when in Japan, ask for correction. As you know there is no good or bad way of doing those techniques, but there is a truth hidden within and this truth unfolds when you stop teaching and seriously train.
I found out that by saving the last twenty minutes of the class for me, I could train much more while officially teaching, maybe you should try it.
Bûfû Ikkan (keep going)