The Human body-mind, the Hito Jinja contains all the forces of the universe whether we are conscious of this or not. Most will remain latent throughout a life.
Existence is a matrix of sorts but much more. Whatever the activity we are required to master the skill of it will enable us to navigate well.
There are some great budoka out there, don’t get me wrong. Articulating what I want to say in words is no small task. I recently got reproached by one such individual I had praised in my writing but apparently, he and his associates had understood it as badmouthing.
Facts are self revealing and words are mere signposts not usually understood without some degree of semiosis.
Having said that, getting on a horse just so you can immediately proceed to get off, does not constitute horsemanship. Nor does sailing a boat on dry land. Talking about growing food will not help you eat and reciting the ABC or repeating the 1,2,3 will not get you to quantum physics or composition of manuscripts.
And yet this is exactly how some people train. “If you do this, I’ll do that,” or they get lost in ego and contest and entirely miss the point.
Blind rote is not budo of any kind other than as a starting point for beginners and you don’t need to train to continue to move poorly. To progress through increased levels of capability you must continually challenge your steppingstones and refuse to fall into the trap of letting them become resting places.
True and lasting happiness is not found in stagnation, but rather in not losing touch with reality. All animals and people have blind spots. And overcoming them does produce some measure of discomfort indeed. But that is the price the universe exacts for the processes of awakening. If we fail to overcome our own blind spots, we will walk ourselves into our own problems.
For example: some people think that maai is the space between two people and then they stop thinking or pressing the envelope. Whilst this concept is good for beginners it becomes a trap. Closing the gap becomes an obstacle and that gap, the idea of it gets wider and wider and more insurmountable, when there is no collusion.
It is not until maai and musubi are acknowledged as being one and the same, that the beginnings of progress can start to emerge.
It’s the same with all the other budo concepts that are blithely bandied around and freely discussed to death by masters of the keyboard and not much else.
Budo has a context and is a language. A language is a dynamic set of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communication and the elements used to manipulate them.
There is a definitive syntax for intensive interaction.
Ancient Greek – syn-, “together”, and – táxis, “arrangement”) is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. In addition to referring to the discipline, the term syntax is also used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language.
This applies also to the language of movement interaction.
An agreement, at law, is said to be a meeting of minds. By this definition a conflict could be seen as a clash of minds.
Put simply, the mind precedes the body and with intention generates action.
Budo training then, could be seen as an agreement to explore the possibilities of disagreement in a way that will result in domination over discord. In Aikido, a finer result is sought as reconciliation and enabling the fulfillment of integrity.
Rote does not unlock the infinite potentials held latent, but which can be unlocked in more courageous and questioning exploration.
Nor does contest unlock much more than fear.
There is a midpoint wherein dwells transitions and counters, henkawaza and kaeshiwaza. This increases skill. The increase of skill increases consciousness and depth of understanding.
Henceforth it becomes a Do, a means to awaken.
Paradoxically this generates a paradigm where increased perspective makes the diminution of violent expression possible. This is the Do of Bu or Budo, the Way of stopping conflict.
I recall the early days where I was fortunate to find accommodation when I had travelled across the country to practice with the then, only Aikido teacher in the land. The sweet Greek landlady could not understand the concept, that the reason I was practicing to “fight” was for purposes of peace.
She could not pronounce “aikido” and referred to my training as “I-killer,” bless her soul, and she lectured me incessantly about Pankrateon although she knew nothing about it, except that her ancestors were, according to her, invincible warriors because of it.
Shouting gibberish randomly will not communicate. Nor will entering gibberish as computer code get any functional result. Nor can you cook food by adding one or two ingredients then fearing to stir or add more. Or paint works of art by regurgitating simple forms alone. You must learn to COMBINE, mix and match with context. You must learn and know the LANGUAGES and ARTICULATE THEM. Hence the Kihon Waza, the alphabet of any art, are the ABC and the 1,2,3.
But there is more.
The languages of the Body-Mind, the Hito-jinja are subtle at the core and gross at the outer edges.
Finding the core is a life journey. It contains pitfalls, tests, trials and tribulations, and also immense rewards for the persistent.
But it requires a questioning mind and the courage to explore potentials and experiment with variables and also repeatedly returning to the centre found at the roots, which are in the basic foundational techniques.
The basic techniques are the keys that unlock everything else and must be known and understood well at a practical level.
Then they become a launching pad into infinite possibilities.