I left Japan for India a week ago, and I gave my first class here after the trip.
When you are in Japan training with Sensei and the Shihan you are not aware of how much your taijutsu evolves. But when you begin to teach again, you can appreciate the number of new things you have acquired. That was the case in class. Needless to say that the students were lost.
When in Japan I behave like a regular student. I try not to teach my partners as I want to get the most of each class I’m attending to. After a few days at the honbu my brain is totally fried and I feel completely lost.
When you’re in Japan, do not try to do “your taijutsu” simply copy what Sensei and the Shihan are giving you. When you are back to your dōjō, train what you learn there.
Sensei told me once “Arnaud train what you have to train, and teach what you have to teach”. When in Japan don’t teach, train!
Teaching is easier than being taught which is why so many are not doing what the teachers are doing in class. If you trained properly then the teaching will come easily as long as you have good basics.
When I opened the class, I had no clue about what I was going to teach. So I asked Eugenio to begin the class.
But then the “magic” happened. Suddenly every new feeling I had experienced, and didn’t get while at the honbu, everything was there in my taijutsu. The tsunagari, the awaseru, the mutō dori.
It was amazing to watch my body unfold naturally the same movements I was unable to do before at the honbu.
This is what I call the “Japan effect”. The benefits of training in Japan need a few days to emerge in your taijutsu. It is not about trying to do what you learned in Japan, but to let this new knowledge sink into your body.
You have to appropriate it naturally, and this is only possible with strong foundations. Without a deep training in the tenchijin, what you do is fake. You have to have trained your basics so much, that your body moves by itself. Thinking is not at play. This is the taihen kuden Shinden of learning.
When you get to this level then you can copy Sensei’s movements. What Sensei teaches is beyond the form. It is so subtle that your brain cannot understand it. A long experience, kuden, is needed.
Often people ask me why, as a Dai Shihan, do I need to travel to Japan three times a year?
I’m going there to get the “Japan effect”.