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Wisdom: The ability to see the true nature of things

People often say, “I clearly understand myself best”

But is this really true? Surprisingly, it is difficult to be objective about our own words and actions.


「智」 本質を見極める力

In aikido training, we always practice together in pairs. Even though I have been practicing martial arts for 25 years, there are times when I am not able to get a good hold of my partner. Also, depending on the physical characteristics and abilities of my partner, such as their size, muscle mass, and flexibility, it may be difficult to apply techniques in the way he or she has always done.

In our practice, we use a soft, Styrofoam pipe cover to practice sword fighting. I learned from Kinefuchi Sensei that this practice has two elements.  Not only is it important to find ways through your opponent’s defenses to hit them with your sword, but also to understand that where your opponent is hitting you is where you have an opening or space in your defenses.  This practice quickly shows us that we have unexpected gaps in our abilities, and because of this we can gain a better understanding of ourselves through practice and interactions with others.

It is a fact that many people say that disasters, accidents, and illnesses are "not just someone else’s issue," but in their heart of hearts, they have a feeling that it will not happen to them. And when something happens, they say, “No way. I never thought such a thing would happen to me!”

In reality, disasters, accidents, and illnesses are always a possibility, and it is a miracle that we are healthy, do not starve, sleep in a warm place, have access to education, and are in an environment where they can freely choose our jobs. Even though we say we understand such things with our words, how many of us truly live our lives while appreciating such miracles from the depths of our hearts?

This is another example of how what one thinks one understands is actually not fully understood.

Especially for leaders, once you think you have mastered everything, your growth as a leader and instructor stops. Times are constantly changing, and each student is different. Therefore, the same teaching method cannot be applied to everyone. Kinefuchi Sensei explained to me that Minoru Mochizuki Sensei said, “Techniques should change.” Because of this, Mochizuki Sensei also changed his martial arts practices to be made up of 90% standing techniques and only 10% sitting techniques, and he also stopped the practice of walking on the floor with our knees. Because of his changes, we also do not practice many sitting techniques at our dojo.

This month, our theme for our practice at Chiseikan Dojo is to try looking at what we have previously thought was "good enough" from a new perspective, and to see what is really happening around us right now, and to reassess what is really important. I believe this ability to see the truth is one of the key aspects that we learn from Budo.

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