Saturday, 19 September 2015

Through the Mists of Time - Part Two

Original Sources:rebloggy.comwww.jacknilan.com


Through the Mists of Time

Part Two

copyright © 2010 Douglas Tong, all rights reserved.

In this series of articles, we examine parts of Master Yoshio Sugino’s seminal book Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu Budo Kyohan (A Textbook of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu Martial Training), published in Japan in 1941.

In this passage, Sugino Sensei relates what budo means.




Budo’s Meaning and Purpose (Part 2)


“Since Meiji times, foreign thoughts and culture, flowing and entering in, have at last been changing sacred BUDO into sports, becoming competitive, winning and losing competition, good or bad competition, this situation is never true martial spirit, not true spirit.

Therefore, BUDO’s purpose is the Emperor’s grace to answer humbly. Country’s duty grace to reward in only one way.

This mission’s completion, in order to complete it, the tradition from old times came passed down, BUJUTSU (martial arts) and SHUGYO (ascetic training), these things done with true Japanese spirit, learning with loyal, brave, severe BU to honestly love and cultivate the country’s spirit.

One morning (at a time of emergency), the experience when as usual, not failing, trained in martial techniques, a healthy body is offered to the Japanese Emperor’s people, the highest and biggest, most beautiful responsibility to complete.”


Sugino Yoshio

The 16th Year of Shōwa
Chiba-ken, Katori-gun, Katori-cho

Extract from:
Sugino Yoshio & Ito Kikue (1941). Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu Budo Kyohan.

Author’s post-script:

Some compelling ideas in this passage.

“… becoming competitive, winning and losing competition, good or bad competition, this situation is never true martial spirit, not true spirit.”
In other words, true budo spirit is not about winning and losing. The true meaning and purpose of martial arts is not to become a killing machine nor is it to become some kind of athletic champion who can defeat all challengers. It is not about being able to “show someone who’s boss.” Here is an excerpt from the famous movie “The Karate Kid” that illustrates this point perfectly.

Daniel: Ever taught anyone?
Miyagi: No.
Daniel: Would you?
Miyagi: Depend.
Daniel: On what?
Miyagi: Reason.
Daniel: How’s revenge?
Miyagi: Look revenge that way, Daniel-san, start by digging two graves.
Daniel: At least I would have company.
Miyagi: Fighting always last answer to problem.
Daniel: No offence, Mr. Miyagi, but I don’t think you understand the problem.
Miyagi: Understand perfect. Friends, karate students, yes?
Daniel: Yeah.
Miyagi: Problem: attitude.
Daniel: Problem is, I’m getting my ass kicked every other day.
Miyagi: Yes. Because boys learn wrong attitude. Karate used to defence.
Daniel: That’s not what these jerks are taught.
Miyagi: Can see. No such thing bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.

It is not about medals, trophies, certificates, or plaques. It is not about belts, dans, or menkyo.
Daniel: Mr. Miyagi, what belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. You like? 
Daniel: Yeah, it’s very nice.
Miyagi: J. C. Penney, $3.98.
(Miyagi sees by Daniel’s face that his joke is not understood)

Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean “don’t need rope hold up pants.”
Karate here. (taps his head)
Here. (taps his heart)
Not here. (he pulls on his belt)
Understand?

Daniel nods.
Miyagi: Good night, Daniel-san.

“BUDO’s purpose is the Emperor’s grace to answer humbly. Country’s duty grace to reward in only one way.”
The translator uses the word “grace”. But it seems a better translation might be “call”, as in “call to duty”. So we could re-interpret these two sentences to read something like this:

“The purpose of budo is to humbly answer the call of the Emperor. The call to duty from/for the country can only be answered in one way.”
Thus, the purpose of budo is to be ready to serve the Emperor. 




Master Yoshio Sugino
Source: 
shaped-by-karate.tumblr.com


“This mission’s completion, in order to complete it, …BUJUTSU (martial arts) and SHUGYO (ascetic training), these things done with true Japanese spirit, …”

He talks about “this mission” which obviously refers to the purpose of budo discussed in the previous paragraph. To be ready to serve the Emperor (this is the ultimate mission), samurai ideally engaged in two types of training: martial arts and “ascetic training”.

For some information about shugyo, look here: http://zendoctor.com/ShugyoMeaning.html


“… these things done with true Japanese spirit, learning with loyal, brave, severe BU to honestly love and cultivate the country’s spirit. … a healthy body is offered to the Japanese Emperor’s people, the highest and biggest, most beautiful responsibility to complete.”
In the two quotes above, we can clearly see that Sugino Yoshio Sensei loved his country. Some key words from these two quotes: honestly love the country and the highest responsibility. Honestly loving your country is about patriotism. 


Offering your body to the Emperor (i.e., the highest responsibility) is about self-sacrifice, sacrificing oneself for the country.

Sound familiar?
Recall the famous words of John F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

Source: http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/John_F_Kennedy/5.htm



Self-sacrifice. Duty. Our police officers, military personnel, firefighters. They all know about duty and self-sacrifice. And we have heard these words, these “virtues”, spoken of before, a long time ago.

“This code is said to have emphasized virtues such as loyalty, honor, obedience, duty, filial piety, and self-sacrifice.”

Source:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushido


So, ultimately, what is Sugino Sensei talking about in this entire passage? Simply, he is talking about Bushido. The meaning and purpose of budo is to follow the ancient code, Bushido.

In koryu, nothing has changed. It may have a more modern face to it now, but deep down inside, at its core, it is really still the old code. A 600 year-old code, passed down from generation to generation, travelling down the centuries, to now.


 Mr. Tong can be contacted via email at: dtong@tokumeikan.com

Thank you, Douglas!  These are deep insights into the meaning of Budo, lessons that extend across all the traditional arts.


Many readers are familiar with Mr. Tong’s articles. He has has been a frequent contributor to our site. Each article offers valuable insights into the heart and soul of the traditional martial arts. I strongly encourage readers to click on Douglas Tong’s name in the archives section to the right to access more of his articles. into the heart and soul of the traditional martial arts. I strongly encourage readers to click on Douglas Tong’s name in the archives section to the right to access more of his articles.

Mr. Douglas Tong has been teaching kenjutsu (classical Japanese swordsmanship) since 1994. Mr. Tong trained exclusively in Japan under these teachers: 
Katori Shinto Ryu under the late Master Yoshio Sugino in Kawasaki-shi.
Yagyu Shinkage Ryu (Ohtsubo Branch) under the late Master Masao Mutoh in Zushi-shi.
Ono-ha Itto Ryu under Master Takemi Sasamori in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
Muso Shinden Eishin Ryu iaido under Master Toshihiko Izawa in Fujisawa-shi.
Mr. Tong has a nidan (2nd Dan) in iaido (Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei – All Japan Kendo Federation). He was tested at the Kanagawa Prefectural Gradings in Yokohama.
Mr. Tong was the first to introduce the style of Katori Shinto Ryu (Sugino Branch) to Canada in 1994, and was the driving force in the growth of Katori Shinto Ryu in the province of Ontario. Mr. Tong learned Katori Shinto Ryu in Japan under the direct tutelage of the legendary Master Yoshio Sugino, who was the swordfight choreographer for Director Akira Kurosawa’s two most famous samurai films, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo.

Mr. Tong began his study of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu under the late Master Masao Mutoh, the 10th soke of Yagyu Shingan Ryu Taijutsu (Edo-Line) and 2nd headmaster of the Ohtsubo Branch of the Owari Line of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. He now continues his studies under Mutoh Sensei’s successor, Master Yasushi Kajitsuka. Mr. Tong is the leader of the official study group (keiko-kai) for Yagyu Shinkage Ryu (Ohtsubo Branch) in Canada under Master Kajitsuka.

Mr. Tong teaches classes in kenjutsu at various dojos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). He also runs workshops annually for organizations such as Rapier Wit Stage Combat School, at martial arts expos like MMA Expo, and at fan conventions such as Anime North. Mr. Tong and members of his organization perform public demonstrations twice a year at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre for their Spring and Fall Festivals. Honoured to be a part of the largest annual gathering of the Japanese community from Ontario and upstate New York, they have been performing there each year since 2005. They also demonstrate at various local charitable events such as McMaster University Fencing Club’s annual fencing tournament (a fundraiser for McMaster University Children’s Hospital) and Anime North (fundraising for SickKids Hospital). And they demonstrate at local cultural events such as the Museums of Burlington’s Japanese Culture Day in 2014, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the twinning of the two cities of Burlington and Itabashi, Japan. Tokumeikan is proud to be a part of these major cultural festivals and exhibitions of martial arts in the Greater Toronto Area.

Mr. Tong is also involved with the Japanese community in Toronto, serving for years as one of the assistant kendo instructors at the Nikka Gakuen Kendo Club, as well as volunteering and helping out at the Nikka Gakuen Japanese School.

In his professional life, Mr. Tong has a Master’s Degree in Education. He taught overseas in Japan. When he returned to Canada, he was employed as a lecturer and course instructor in the Department of Applied Linguistics at Brock University in Canada. He is currently a public schoolteacher with the Peel District School Board and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers in good standing.


Mr. Tong can be contacted via email at: tong@tokumeikan.org or at doug@dragonfencing.com



He can also be reached at 519-942-6381

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