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The meaning of “do” (a path)

Budo (martial arts), Sado (tea ceremony), Kado (flower arrangement), Shodo (calligraphy), Koudo (incense). In Japan, there are many different types of instruction that can be called a path or “do”. I have also studied many of these different “paths” over the years. What were the commonalities between these different paths? From what I learned, what can I teach my students? These thoughts often come to my mind. Right now our dojo is closed due to another state of emergency, and in the extra time that I have right now I read an article written by Professor Toshikazu Numano. As I was reading, these same thoughts were in my mind and because of this, I noticed the following sentences.

Professor Burnd H. Schmidt proposed a model for understanding the value of experiences across five elements. His “strategic experience module” includes:

(1) The value of feeling “Sense” - Feel with all five senses

(2) Emotional experience value “Feel” - Appears in emotions and moods

(3) Creative and cognitive experience value “Think”- Obtaining new knowledge and ways of thinking will stimulate more curiosity

(4) Physical experience value and value obtained in all lifestyles “Act” - The act of moving one's own body and the experiences that come from this are useful for everyday life.

(5) Reference groups and cultures “Relate” - This leads to peace of mind that people belong to a group that shares the same culture.

After reading this, I felt like I was able to organize my thinking more clearly than ever before. "That’s it! What I can teach and pass on to my own students. It is the combined “experience value” of these different experiences."

Not only for the martial arts (budo), but every “do” requires this delicate use of "Sense,” or “the value of feeling” to be applied. Martial arts apply the senses of sight, touch, and hearing. We can also apply the sense of the taste, that isn’t used in the other “do” through tea ceremony. I've only learned Kodo (incense) once, but this “do” requires us to use our sense of smell.

For "Emotional Experience Value (Feel)" in the martial arts (budo), you have to read the feelings and movements of your opponent, and do this while maintaining your own center of balance. In tea ceremony (Sado) practice, my teacher often said "You have to be aware of the feelings and effort of the person who prepares the tea. You don't just drink it." I also remember her saying that "The tea that is made when the spirit and movement are united is very delicious.”

In flower arrangement, your spirit and way of approaching life are reflected in the arrangements that you make. When you're in low spirits or carried away by the situation, all of these emotions are transmitted into the flowers and how they are arranged. This is also true when you feel calm or full of happiness. This relationship also works in the opposite direction, in that when I want to change my mood, I can feel happier and more grounded through the process of arranging flowers. Emotions are also clearly expressed in calligraphy (Shodo). If you concentrate on writing when you are feeling calm, the characters that you write will be calm. Or if you prefer to write while feeling different emotions, these will all come through in the characters that you write.

"Creative and cognitive experience value (Think)"

There are countless techniques in the martial arts (budo), and even if you have already learned many of them, you will continually discover new ways of approaching or applying these. Because of this, you will be able to learn techniques forever. The same is true for tea ceremony and flower arrangement. There are countless things to remember, and even if you become a teacher, you continue to learn. Whether you interact with new people or work with different flowers, this will stimulate your curiosity to learn new things and gain new knowledge.

Physical experience value and value obtained in all lifestyles “Act”

My tea ceremony teacher said, "Please forget everything that you learned today. I will repeat it again the next time that you come. Your body will properly remember in time.”

My flower arrangement teacher said, "Let's make the flowers look the most beautiful." "Please treat them carefully with a gentle feeling for the flowers."

My calligraphy teacher said, "Each character has a flow. Let's write it carefully according to how they flow."

All of these words have helped me in teaching martial arts. And what I’ve learned in real life is being put to good use.

Reference groups and cultures “Relate”

In martial arts, we call students “monto.” After they join our dojo, I explain what “monto” means. "When you join our style of martial arts Nenshinryu Budo, it means that you passed in through the outer gate that is traditionally built outside of a Japanese house or building. Because of this, we are all living together under the roof, like one big family. Let’s think together, help each other, and grow together. If we are able to do this we can work together to continue improving our techniques will preserving those that we have inherited from our teachers.

The many different types of “do” that I have learned until now have helped me to be able to teach this “experiential value”. It will make me very happy if these things that I am teaching will help enrich the lives of my students.

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