In “Advanced Stick Fighting, Hatsumi Sensei speaks of Shinnyō, “thusness.” (1) (2) Known as Tathātā in Sanskrit, it defines “merely the way things are, the truth of all things.” (3)
This is also the real definition of “Shizen.” Due to limited time, teachers do not explain the depth of Shizen to their students. Shizen is not only “natural,” it is what “is in its natural state when there is no conscience involved.” You can read the explanation of “thusness” in “The Demon’s Sermon on the martial arts” by Issai Chozanshi. (4)
When you develop a shizen attitude, you tune your actions with your environment. Your moves express trust and confidence. This is Shinrai. (5) (6)
We know that a pure Budōka is someone with a deep sense of responsibility, a man or a woman that people will always trust. Once you are one with the world of natural movement, people will follow you.
That is what the warrior’s creed by Robert L. Humphrey explains beautifully. Jack met Mr Humphrey, Iwo Jima veteran and MIT teacher, while being a graduate student in San Diego in 1981. Since then, Mr Humphrey has been a mentor and a guide to my friend. Read Jack’s account of their encounter. (7)
Here is the warrior’s creed: (8)
Wherever I go,
everyone is a little bit safer
because I am there.
Wherever I am,
anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home,
everyone is happy I am there.
Jack Hoban introduced me to the warrior’s creed back in the 90s, and I often think about these words. (9) I see the creed as the essence of the Ninja warrior path. That is what we study with Hatsumi Sensei. He teaches the way to make our actions natural, to become true warrior.
If you reach this level, you are more than a Bushi, (10) you are a Yūshi, a courageous warrior, a hero.
Welcome to the Super Hero path.
Trust me, I’m a Ninja!
1 真如, しんにょ Shinnyō, thusness, Tathātā (the ultimate nature of all things)
2 信用, Shinnyō: confidence; trust; faith; reputation
3 Tathātā: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tath%C4%81t%C4%81
5 信頼, Shinrai: reliance; trust; faith; confidence
6 I’m not speaking here of the monk Shimotsuma Shinrai,下間真頼, from the mid 16th century. More: https://www.japanese-wiki-corpus.org/Buddhism/Shinrai%20SHIMOTSUMA.html
10 武士, bushi: warrior; samurai
11 勇士, Yūshi: brave warrior; hero; a brave man