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> Samurai Approach To Shred/training
Todd Simpson
post Jul 27 2012, 07:58 PM
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This is really more in the world of Sensei Ben but after watching this KILLER documentary about legendary Samurai Musashi, I was struck by how similar many of this teaching are to what my instructors taught me, and what I try to teach my students. The main thought that stuck with me is a proverb from his Masterwork, THE BOOK OF THE FIVE RINGS .

"THE WAY IS IN TRAINING"


Here is the documentary. Long but worth a watch for any budding Samurai, or Shredder. smile.gif




He took an almost "Bruce Lee" approach, using practical lessons learned as went along instead of relying on tradition alone. A path of learning that I have seen bear fruit with students for years. The Art of the Sword, the "Riddle of Steal" as it were, seems so similar in many ways to the "Riddle of Self" and Art of the Guitar/Axe. The guitar is an extension of who you are. You can hear in it whether a person has dedication, purpose, experience, anger, etc. Just as Samurai spoke with the blade and it told everyone around who they were.

Here is a link to the chapter on The Way.

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http://kenpokarate.com/the_way_is_in_training.html

Miyamoto Musashi
The Way is in Training

There are many ways for the beginner to train, as he must first developer strength, coordination and stamina before he can understand what he is learning. One who is too weak to throw or block a punch, can hardly understand the movements, and that prevents him from understanding that a block is also a strike. Even a strong student will find that his body is moving in ways for which he was not trained, and find himself physically weak in those areas. Then too, he may have the strength, but lack the coordination to exercise the move with ease. And even if he has the strength and coordination, he may lack the stamina for the practice required for Kenpo Karate.
As daunting as this may be, still, the beginning student who is without strength, coordination or stamina, will take one step at a time; one move at a time; one technique at a time, and even with his first day of training, when taught by a Kenpo Karate master, he will be on a path to the Way.
Like Musashi's Five Rings, there are five essentials in Kenpo training: Technique, Principles, Perception, Intention and Movement.
The first move the student learns is the last move the student learns, as the student will gain understanding as he encounters the five essentials, which like the Five Rings, are circles of progression. Thus, the student will begin on a path to the Way if the first move does not diverge from the Way. But the student will not know if his move diverges, because he will not even understand the Way of Kenpo.
The first move in Kenpo is the beginning of a technique, just as the first move in Tai Chi Chuan is the beginning of a posture. The first move is repeated a thousand times, in a hundered different ways, in techniques that defend or attack, or which attack as they defend. It is the hundreds of techniques that are done dozens of ways that leads the student to understand the principles behind the techniques. But principles are empty when the student does not know all the techniques he can employ. Thus, one who understands principles will none the less be defeated if he does not know and practice the myriad of techniques required to know the opponent.
The Way requires training by a master of Kenpo, because one who has deviated from the way, or has reduced the training to meaningless theories, cannot possibly lead the student to the Way. A student may learn techniques and principles, but never perceive the Way because of limited training; and one can only be trained in Kenpo, true Kenpo, by one who knows the entire system. The true Kenpo master cannot teach a student. He can only show the student the Way and it is the student who must learn the Way for himself. But he cannot learn the Way unless he is taught the Way. This paradox, like the Zen koans cannot be understood unless one first understands.
In this cycle of training, practicing, learning, understanding and perceiving Kenpo, one begins to understand Intention, and through the cycle again, when knowledge gives way to perception, the student finds that learning many things does not teach understanding. Yet it is only through learning many things that one can come to understand Intention, and perceive that which cannot be seen, and know the opponents Intention before it is transmitted to movement.
Thus, after rigorous training one learns that stamina reaches a breaking point, while endurance pushes beyond to understanding. Thus in the recycling of the Five Rings and Nine Principles, the student will continually gain insight into the five essentials of Kenpo training. And the student who has been taught hundreds of techniques, with hundreds of variations will slowly come to understand the technique principles, and perceive what the opponent can do before he can do it. But this sense of perception can only be obtained by knowing the depths of Kenpo and having a knowledge of all arts.

This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jul 27 2012, 07:58 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 27 2012, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jul 27 2012, 07:58 PM) *
"THE WAY IS IN TRAINING"


Definitely. I always believe that our practise, or training is a way of seeking answers. The process of training is what will lead us to those answers, even if we have to discover and discard a few on the way to getting there.

Like chipping away at that block of rock until we get to that perfect statue underneath. Even if we feel like we're not getting anywhere, we're still chipping off the rock. smile.gif



QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jul 27 2012, 07:58 PM) *
He took an almost "Bruce Lee" approach, using practical lessons learned as went along instead of relying on tradition alone.


This is the whole ethos I've come to adopt after many years of trusting a system, a technique or somebody else's dogmatic word.. you and your own experience are your best teacher. People can only point the way and inspire but you will uncover your own truths and answers ! smile.gif

Killer post, Todd ! Let's go grab some Katanas and cut stuff up !! cool.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jul 27 2012, 09:55 PM
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Wou! This sounds very interesting to me... thanks a lot for sharing mate! I'll bookmark this one an see it as soon as I can. smile.gif


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Azzaboi
post Jul 28 2012, 12:26 AM
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Interesting approach, which actually is quite the same!

"The guitar is an extension of who you are. You can hear in it whether a person has dedication, purpose, experience, anger, etc."
So true - you can really tell a lot in the style and emotion of someones playing and everyone does it differently.

"There are many ways for the beginner to train, as he must first developer strength, coordination and stamina before he can understand what he is learning."
Wax On - Wax Off, start first by polishing the guitar lol, then tuning, play slow and build up with a strong core understanding of the basics, very important!
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Nihilist1
post Jul 28 2012, 02:10 AM
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Thanks, Todd! This definitely helped me understand our recent conversation more; and it was certainly enlightening.

PS. You weren't joking when you said it was a big post smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 28 2012, 08:28 AM
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I've recently watched this documentary and I am glad to discover it posted by Todd here!

Musashi is a GREAT inspiration to me and now that I am practicing his ways with the sword I feel even more involved. I think that all that we learned is a great intertwining - sword fencing and guitar playing - they are related in many ways, aren't they?

After watching this vid you might want to take the time and read the Book of 5 rings and Musashi's 21 Precepts smile.gif

Good luck to all in our journey!

Cosmin


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Todd Simpson
post Aug 8 2012, 04:36 PM
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Yup! Guitar Bushido Lives!

QUOTE (Azzaboi @ Jul 27 2012, 07:26 PM) *
Interesting approach, which actually is quite the same!

"The guitar is an extension of who you are. You can hear in it whether a person has dedication, purpose, experience, anger, etc."
So true - you can really tell a lot in the style and emotion of someones playing and everyone does it differently.

"There are many ways for the beginner to train, as he must first developer strength, coordination and stamina before he can understand what he is learning."
Wax On - Wax Off, start first by polishing the guitar lol, then tuning, play slow and build up with a strong core understanding of the basics, very important!




Well said! The BOOK OF FIVE RINGS is available online for free for reading but it's worth a purchase. I'm looking for a hard bound version as we speak.

Todd

QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 28 2012, 03:28 AM) *
I've recently watched this documentary and I am glad to discover it posted by Todd here!

Musashi is a GREAT inspiration to me and now that I am practicing his ways with the sword I feel even more involved. I think that all that we learned is a great intertwining - sword fencing and guitar playing - they are related in many ways, aren't they?

After watching this vid you might want to take the time and read the Book of 5 rings and Musashi's 21 Precepts smile.gif

Good luck to all in our journey!

Cosmin



Happy to help! wink.gif I posted this actually for you to help illustrate our conversation. Glad it's making sense. smile.gif It's a big of a "War and Peace" post to be sure!

Todd


QUOTE (Nihilist1 @ Jul 27 2012, 09:10 PM) *
Thanks, Todd! This definitely helped me understand our recent conversation more; and it was certainly enlightening.

PS. You weren't joking when you said it was a big post smile.gif



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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 9 2012, 09:17 AM
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Great to hear Todd. Yesterday I had my first acquaintance with Batto Jutsu forms - literally sword drawing.

Battōjutsu (抜刀術 battō-jutsu?, art of sword drawing) is a Japanese term meaning techniques for engaging a sword[1]. It is often used interchangeably with the terms iaijutsu, battōdō, or iaidō, although each term does have nuances in the Japanese language and different schools of Japanese martial arts may use them to differentiate between techniques (e.g. standing or sitting techniques). The emphasis of training in battō-jutsu is on cutting with the sword. All terms are somewhat more specific than kenjutsu (sword techniques) or kendō (the Way of the sword), as the latter two refer mostly to techniques where the sword is already out of its scabbard (saya) and is therefore engaged in combat.

Battō-jutsu usually incorporates multiple cuts after drawing the sword. The emphasis of training in iaidō is on reaction to unknown situations, or reacting to sudden attack.


In my school, in order to have a complete approach, we are studying both ken jutsu and batto jutsu. I found out that drawing and putting your sword back into the scabbard (saya) is incredibly detailed and difficult.

In order to engage it properly, I tried to assign a groove to all the moves and not look at the sword or scabbard while doing this. Eyes on the opponent they say smile.gif

But anyway, coming back to the books - aside from Musashi's writings, I would also recommend a good read of Bushido and Hagakure. Hagakure is something more like an interpretation of Bushido and it offers a detailed view into the lives and customs of samurai, from the perspective of a samurai. It's very difficult to understand the way these people acted and used to think, so give it some time and try to read while thinking things over smile.gif It'll help a lot!

Also, think about your guitar as your sword - with the sword you practice in order to simply manage to stay alive while with the guitar, you are practicing in order to be able to express yourself on stage.

The stage is your battlefield....each mistake can be transformed into a smart move... smile.gif and the comparisons go on and on and on and on...


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 9 2012, 09:48 AM
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I think another cool thing with starting a new activity, martial arts in this case, is that it puts you back into the beginner's mind and you can apply that to your guitar playing too smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 9 2012, 09:59 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 9 2012, 08:48 AM) *
I think another cool thing with starting a new activity, martial arts in this case, is that it puts you back into the beginner's mind and you can apply that to your guitar playing too smile.gif


It's kinda difficult to get acquainted with that incredible vibe you have when you start doing something new. Every minute seems like a groundbreaking discovery, right? biggrin.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 9 2012, 10:07 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 9 2012, 09:59 AM) *
It's kinda difficult to get acquainted with that incredible vibe you have when you start doing something new. Every minute seems like a groundbreaking discovery, right? biggrin.gif


Yes it all seems like too much to take in and you're frantically trying to keep up with everything. But it's in that environment that we thrive and pick up things without noticing it. smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 9 2012, 10:11 AM
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Exactly smile.gif Plus all the excitement involved!


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Dieterle
post Aug 9 2012, 11:30 AM
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This might help a bit too !

GOJU RYU !






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Ben Higgins
post Aug 9 2012, 03:05 PM
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QUOTE (Dieterle @ Aug 9 2012, 11:30 AM) *
This might help a bit too !

GOJU RYU !








Gogen Yamaguchi 'The Cat' ! smile.gif



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Todd Simpson
post Aug 11 2012, 04:02 AM
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Sounds very cool! Post some pics! Thanks for adding the reading suggestions as well! The BUSHIDO THREAD!
QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 9 2012, 04:17 AM) *
Great to hear Todd. Yesterday I had my first acquaintance with Batto Jutsu forms - literally sword drawing.

Battōjutsu (抜刀術 battō-jutsu?, art of sword drawing) is a Japanese term meaning techniques for engaging a sword[1]. It is often used interchangeably with the terms iaijutsu, battōdō, or iaidō, although each term does have nuances in the Japanese language and different schools of Japanese martial arts may use them to differentiate between techniques (e.g. standing or sitting techniques). The emphasis of training in battō-jutsu is on cutting with the sword. All terms are somewhat more specific than kenjutsu (sword techniques) or kendō (the Way of the sword), as the latter two refer mostly to techniques where the sword is already out of its scabbard (saya) and is therefore engaged in combat.

Battō-jutsu usually incorporates multiple cuts after drawing the sword. The emphasis of training in iaidō is on reaction to unknown situations, or reacting to sudden attack.


In my school, in order to have a complete approach, we are studying both ken jutsu and batto jutsu. I found out that drawing and putting your sword back into the scabbard (saya) is incredibly detailed and difficult.

In order to engage it properly, I tried to assign a groove to all the moves and not look at the sword or scabbard while doing this. Eyes on the opponent they say smile.gif

But anyway, coming back to the books - aside from Musashi's writings, I would also recommend a good read of Bushido and Hagakure. Hagakure is something more like an interpretation of Bushido and it offers a detailed view into the lives and customs of samurai, from the perspective of a samurai. It's very difficult to understand the way these people acted and used to think, so give it some time and try to read while thinking things over smile.gif It'll help a lot!

Also, think about your guitar as your sword - with the sword you practice in order to simply manage to stay alive while with the guitar, you are practicing in order to be able to express yourself on stage.

The stage is your battlefield....each mistake can be transformed into a smart move... smile.gif and the comparisons go on and on and on and on...



Very well said! I was talking in another thread to NIHILIST who is joining a bluegrass/country band about the same thing. It's CRITICAL to be able to step outside yourself and your comfort zone and approach things with "New Eyes" and "New Ears". Once you learn to be comfy with that, you can even approach things you know well with the same idea.


QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 9 2012, 04:48 AM) *
I think another cool thing with starting a new activity, martial arts in this case, is that it puts you back into the beginner's mind and you can apply that to your guitar playing too smile.gif



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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 12 2012, 02:47 PM
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I have another recommendation in what regards samurai related books, with teachings that can be extraordinarily well extrapolated into guitar playing, for instance. Check out this link: http://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Japanese-War...l/dp/0500251886

I totally recommend Dr. Turnbull's works about Japan and it's warriors biggrin.gif


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MonkeyDAthos
post Aug 26 2012, 02:27 AM
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i guess that explains this wallpapper



laugh.gif


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flamen
post Aug 26 2012, 05:30 AM
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lol @ paul gilbert tongue.gif excellent hahaha
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Ben Higgins
post Aug 26 2012, 10:02 AM
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QUOTE (MonkeyDAthos @ Aug 26 2012, 02:27 AM) *
i guess that explains this wallpapper



laugh.gif


I've never seen that.. it's brilliant !! laugh.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 26 2012, 11:29 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 26 2012, 09:02 AM) *
I've never seen that.. it's brilliant !! laugh.gif


Yes indeed biggrin.gif You might know he even has a solo record called 'Acoustic samurai' smile.gif


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