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Aiki Insights – Episode 6 (atemi series part 4)

Episode 6 out now free:

The conversation continues about Yoshinkan Aikido and martial arts more broadly. This episode is Part 4 of a series on atemi (strikes). In it we explore the use of basic movement shumatsu dosa 1 as an atemi:

  1. The basic mechanics of Shumatsu Dosa 1: 1:00
  2. Basic movement Shumatsu Dosa as strike (atemi) to the solar plexus (suigetsu) to make Maai (distance) and control the situation: 1:30
  3. Basic movement Shumatsu Dosa as strike (atemi) to the leg in a kicking scenario: 4:00

In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido, Shintō Muso Ryū Mokuroku, 2nd Dan WTF Tae Kwon Do) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

yoshinkan #aikido #martialarts #budo #ryanslavinsensei #lawrencemonforte #sunshinecoast #caloundra #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治 #shiodaworld

Aiki Insights Episode 5

Episode 5 (P3) out now FREE!

The conversation continues about Yoshinkan Aikido. This episode is Part 3 of a series on atemi (strikes). In it we explore the timing and technique behind ‘attacking the attack’:

  1. The importance of posture and timing when taking the initiative pre-emptively in attack with shomen uchi.
  2. Attacking any straight attack with good posture.
  3. The importance of posture and timing when attacking the attack coming around at you.
  4. Applying the same principle to the hook punch (as any other round strike).

In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido and Shintō Muso Ryū Mokuroku) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

yoshinkan #aikido #martialarts #budo #ryanslavinsensei #lawrencemonforte #sunshinecoast #caloundra #mori #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #brisbane #westend #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治

Aiki Insights Episode 4

Episode 4 (P2) out now FREE.

The conversation continues about Yoshinkan Aikido. This episode is Part 2 of a series on atemi (strikes). In it we explore the role of atemi when being grabbed:

  1. Exploring a variation of shihonage (four directional throw) using a leg reap as the atemi.
  2. Exploring the role of atemi in kata mochi nikkajo osae 2 (2nd control submission from a shoulder/lapel grab).
  3. Exploring the role of atemi in kata hiji mochi nikkajo osae (2nd control submission from a shoulder/lapel and sleeve grab).
  4. Exploring the role of atemi in katate mochi yonkajo osae (4th control submission from a single hand grab).
  5. Discussing the mindset of mindful kata geiko training and respectful dialogue between shite and uke to explore points of vulnerability within techniques.

In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido and Shintō Muso Ryū Mokuroku) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

yoshinkan #aikido #martialarts #budo #ryanslavinsensei #lawrencemonforte #sunshinecoast #caloundra #mori #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #brisbane #westend #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治

Aiki Insights Episode 3

Aiki Insights Episode 3 (part 1) out now FREE on YouTube!

The conversation continues about Yoshinkan Aikido. This episode is Part 1 of a series on atemi (strikes). In it we explore:

  1. The fallacy of applying pre-emptive joint locks without atemi
  2. Exploring kote gaeshi with and without atemi
  3. Exploring ikkajo with and without atemi
    4: Explanation of the role of kuzushi (off-balancing) in responding to kento gata (jab cross combo) attack
  4. Exploring sumi otoshi with and without atemi
  5. Exploring sankajo with and without atemi

In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido and Shintō Muso Ryū Mokuroku) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

yoshinkan #aikido #martialarts #budo #ryanslavinsensei #lawrencemonforte #sunshinecoast #caloundra #mori #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #brisbane #westend #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治

Aiki Insights Episode 2

Aiki Insights Episode 2

The second episode in the continued conversation about Yoshinkan Aikido.

In this episode focussed mainly on Ikkajo (1st control) we explore:

  1. The mechanics around Ikkajo (1st control)
  2. The ikkajo shape as blocking mechanism against punch and a useful control
  3. Ikkajo as pre-emptive technique or useful to take the initiative in an inevitable violent confrontation
  4. The role of Uke and its importance in symbiotic learning
  5. The importance of the base as uke and the importance of kuzushi in dismantling it
  6. Ikkajo principle of shoulder rotation applied to kento shomen geri (jab and cross followed by a front kick) together with the principles of irimi (entering), circular motion and centreline (concentrated or focussed power from kamae)

In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido and Shintō Muso Ryū Mokuroku) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

yoshinkan #aikido #martialarts #budo #ryanslavinsensei #lawrencemonforte #sunshinecoast #caloundra #mori #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #brisbane #westend #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治

Aiki Insights Episode 1

New in 2022! Subscribe now to the new YouTube program ‘Aiki Insights’!

What is Aiki Insights?
It’s a conversation about Yoshinkan Aikido specifically and martial arts more broadly. In these videos we aim to explore all things Aiki in a budo sense and delve into the concepts and principles that make this style of aikido such an effective martial art for self defence and self development.

The presenters are Ryan Slavin (5 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido and Shintō Muso Ryū Jojutsu Mokuroku) and Lawrence Monforte (4 Dan Yoshinkan Aikido). Between the presenters they possess over three decades of martial arts experience. Both presenters are students of Mori Michiharu Shihan – the last uchideshi of Master Gozo Shioda (Kancho Sensei), the founder of Yoshinkan and direct student of O’Sensei.

Enjoy the conversation in this first edition more by contributing respectfully in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe the the channel.

selfdefense #training #yoshinkan #aikido #養神 #yoshinspirit #合気道 #養神館 #sunshinecoast #武道 #budo #budolife #aikisokuseikatsu #合気即生活 #health #healthylifestyle #fitness #fitnessmotivation #martialarts #martialartstraining #martialartslife

塩田剛三 @aikido.club #yoshinkanaikido #osu #ryanslavinsensei #sunshinecoast #caloundra #mori #morishihan #michiharumori #austalia #brisbane #westend #selfdefense #ライアンスラビン先生 #森師範 #合気道#武道 #塩田剛三 #渋川剛気 #養神館 #森道治

Coffee break article

Our dojo was established in 2013 and it had to close over the past two yers for the first time in its history. Since its been such a challenging two years with COVID, I thought it was a good opportunity to reset and reconsider the purpose of training in the dojo.

In this article I have shared sentiments from Mori Michiharu Shihan. Please note though that the ideas conveyed in this article are not solely my own, I have adapted them to our context.

A fresh start

One of the best places in which to train one’s body physically is a gym as it offers physical exercise with its main purposes of developing muscle strength and/or gaining cardio-vascular fitness. On the other hand, a dojo (martial arts school) is generally regarded as the place to train martial arts, and in doing so train one’s physical body as well as to discipline one’s mind. So, the difference between a gym and a dojo is the training of one’s mind. For instance, no one would bow to their weights or barbells with gratitude before they use them in a gym, while we teach our adult students and children to bow to any weapons upon taking them to use in order to show one’s respect.

Why do we pay such respect to inanimate objects as if they have a spirit, a life, a consciousness? We know that the weapon is just a piece of timber, not even human, but we learn the mindset of being grateful to use that piece of wood since we cannot learn certain techniques without it. We also pay the same respect and gratitude to the dojo itself, the hall where we need to carry on training. Obviously there is no need to mention the gratitude we also pay to our training partners, but we are thankful to inanimate objects, which are vital and essential to learn Aikido both physically and spiritually.

Furthermore, in a dojo we acknowledge and pay homage to the memory of our many teachers who have passed. Our teachers have graciously given us the opportunity to train in our lifetime through their diligence and discipline over many centuries, all the while carrying on the traditions in which we part-take still today. One of the ways we do this is through voicing our respect and appreciation using the term “OSU”. Despite the literal meaning “to force oneself to persevere, “OSU” is the special term used in the Japanese budo world to show a sense of respect and gratitude whenever it is said. Its funny you know, without thinking I often find myself saying “OSU” in other contexts and I have to catch myself so that I don’t seem too weird or make another person feel uncomfortable. Anyway, I guess being overly respectful yet contextually inappropriate is better than being disrespectful altogether

You probably have heard of a famous samurai, Tesshu Yamaoka, who lived about two hundred years ago. He was an expert swordsmanship as well as a politician, a Zen master, an enlightened thinker and a calligrapher. He was also called “a last Samurai” which is an expression Japanese people use to admire a great man. He left an interesting message about Budō training, “Even in training, there is no other path to seek. Only sweep away the dust of our minds.” When the dust piles up in the mind, the eyes get clouded, preventing the ability to see things clearly and therefore one makes mistakes, poor decisions or misjudges. But this interpretation is just one aspect. Mori Sensei believes that he sought a way to perfect his human spirit, not simply a master of swordsmanship. Well, Mori Sensei says that he can relate this thinking a lot to his teaching as it teaches about the mind’s dust. And I have to agree whole heartedly. Dust is something minute and light and it is easy to clean. Yet, if we leave it for a time without cleaning, then it piles up. Once it’s piled up, it gets stuck and stains, which cannot be cleaned easily any longer. Some examples of our mind’s dust are such things as miserliness, want, hatred, self-love, self-indulgence, grudge-bearing, anger, greed, arrogance. Sensei believes himself to not be a great person like Tesshu Yamaoka, but he too says that finds himself “cleaning dust from my mind whenever I am standing in the dojo, sweeping away my faults, especially anger and arrogance. This cleaning procedure also helps me maintain a peaceful relationship with my loving wife.” Here we can see yet another example of how the dojo and the teacher (the ‘sensei’: simply one who goes before you – ‘sei’ – and leads the way – ‘sen’) offer such rich opportunities to discipline the mind, not simply the body.

The significance of the dojo’s existence is definitely different from other sports. Through hard physical training in the dojo, in Aikido in our case, we discipline our body and mind, learn the mind of respect and gratitude, and clean dust from our consciousness which has accumulated daily at work or school or home. In our dojo, all the students arrive at the counter firstly where they greet and put their membership card out before they move on to the changing rooms. Although it is only a few minutes at the counter, I can see that you bring in with you feelings from both good and bad experiences throughout the day; happiness, excitement, sadness, irritation, anger, stress, etc…The great thing is seeing a student come in troubled, moody or depressed and leave the dojo with a beautiful smile, refreshed with a happy and appreciative “OSU” upon exit after the class, ready to pick up the baggage again of the outside world with a revigorated spirit. At this moment, my full satisfaction and joy in running a traditional dojo fills my heart. I am happy knowing this student’s heart and mind was cleansed to a certain extent and therefore he/she can go home in a better state. I enjoy this feeling immensely; it enriches my work and it makes it extremely fulfilling.

Well, in this uncertain time, I must be honest… I have felt unsure of whether the Sunshine Coast Dojo would withstand the challenge presented by Covid-19 in 2020/21. That said, I can’t predict what is to come in the months ahead (or perhaps years with this virus); after all, we don’t live in the future, we live now at this time, at this moment. So, I see this challenge now to be a great opportunity to restart the dojo with a refreshed mind in 2022, a determination and a devotion to the significance of the dojo at this moment. To all the Sunshine Coast Dojo’s students, let’s support each other in continuing to build a worthy and fulfilling place together today. Then, tomorrow will take care of itself!

 OSU!              

Ryan Slavin

Five critical questions for self-reflection and progress evaluation

How is your training going? Can you even begin to answer this question? What do you use to judge? Many people travel through their life’s endeavours without a thought to how best to assess how they are actually going. Or they may offer themselves a cursory ‘good’ to satisfy their ego before moving on without any true reflection or introspection over the quality of the skill/behaviour/attitude they are exhibiting in the endeavour they have undertaken. Is this you?

 Lyn Sharratt (2020) CLOSING THE GAP TO RAISE THE BAR: The Power of 5 CRITICAL QUESTIONS. https://www.lynsharratt.com/post/closing-the-gap-to-raise-the-bar-the-power-of-5-critical-questions

Here are five critical questions that can help you to assess how well you are going in anything, especially your aikido training. They are critical in the true sense of the word because they provoke metacognition (thinking about thinking) to move your learning/training forward.

1. What are you learning (and why)?

This question is not as simple as it looks. It is not the obvious task at hand, but the enduring conceptual learning that can be applied to novel situations, otherwise known as transferable knowledge/skills. In other words, ‘what are you learning?’ is not the same as ‘what are you doing?’ And in your daily aikido training for instance, this does not simply mean the technique – for example, shomen uchi ikkajo osae 1 (front strike #1 control lock). This question actually asks you to understand the conceptual learning that is taking place. In this case, for shomen uchi ikkajo osae 1, the question is asking you whether you know that you are learning to,

  1. strike in a pre-emptive manner to pressure your attacker before they pressure you;
  2. control the shoulder by rotating the elbow out and away from Uke’s centre of balance. This action of controlling the shoulder allows shite to control the whole body and take uke’s balance through the basic foot movement of shumatsu dosa 1.

So, in response to this question ‘what are you learning?’, in this technique you are learning i. how and why to strike pre-emptively, and ii. how to control an attacker’s body through controlling the shoulder in a rotational movement started at the elbow. If you engage in metacognitive reflection during and after training, this is the concept that you can transfer into any situation. In other words, this is your deep learning/skill development.

2.  How are you going? 

As I mentioned above, it’s easy to trick your ego into thinking you are doing well without scratching the surface and digging deeply into the quality of your performance. People do this every day by responding to this question with a simple ‘good’. But what does ‘good’ actually look like? Do you know? Has ‘success’ been shown to you clearly, and have you taken note of what it takes to demonstrate ‘success’?

This second question asks you to reflect and evaluate your training according to a success criteria and exemplar that is clear, specific and increases in complexity over time (stage appropriate in your level and development). If we go back to our earlier example shomen uchi ikkajo osae 1, how might you judge how you are going when practicing this technique? Here you will need to be able to articulate or show evidence in your practice of whether you are demonstrating the 2 conceptual points in the earlier question according to the way they have been shown/demonstrated and explained in class by your instructor.

In your training on the mats (during your practice and afterwards), are you frequently thinking about how your technique is or isn’t reflecting the conceptual learning in the manner it’s been shown to you? If not, you are not fully engaging in the learning process of your art!

3. How do you know?  This question is closely connected to the earlier one but assumes you are responding to feedback relating to the example or ‘success criteria’ demonstrated to you. Feedback in this sense in the dojo can come in many ways. For example,

  • thoughtful consideration of the instructor’s demonstration and explanation of the technique
  • awareness of higher belts’ (sempai) display of the technique with others around you in the class
  • awareness of what you feel as uke when you receive the technique from higher belts (or even the instructor if needed)
  • verbal advice from your instructor or a senior student partner (sempai). I.e., ‘place your foot there…’ or ‘place more weight on your front leg…’ or ‘your angle is not 45 degrees in your cut down and therefore you are not generating enough power’ etc..
  • kinetic data or messages from uke. I.e., when your technique has not worked or aspects of it are not effective or consequential on your uke. For example, in shomen uchi ikkajo osae 1, you may not have off-balanced uke in the initial shomen uchi strike and shumatsu dosa 45 degree cut down with slide; or you might have moved only with your arms and not with your whole body and uke wasn’t effected in the shumatsu dosa movement, etc..

4. How can you improve?

When problems or mistakes are faced in your training – and let’s be honest, there should be mistakes as this is learning – you should have mechanisms at your disposal to self-regulate and find your way forward. This is what we term, ‘failing forward’. When you ask yourself this fourth question, I want you to be able to articulate what you need to do next based on what you’ve been shown or feedback you have been given specifically to improve your technique. For example, you might say to yourself ‘here is where I am with this technique and here is what I’m going to do next to get better based on what I’ve seen and been told to do.’

5. Where do you go for help?

Finally, the last question you need to be able to address for metacognitive awareness of your learning effectiveness is ‘where do you go for help if you’re stuck?’ In other words, how might you access the necessary information to get back on track with your training at a high level? It’s easy to say, ‘I go to sensei when I get stuck!’ But what’s important to me is that you have strategies beyond me as your teacher too. Of course I want you to come to me for help, but I also want you to be able to be really resilient about where you go when you may not have access to me for advice. Your training/learning does not have to stop when you step off the mats! You may choose to,

  • research online and study into others performing the technique on YouTube etc. You might ask yourself, how does the uke receiving the technique here seem to be affected? Is it similar or different to the way I feel when I receive the technique? What is shite doing well that I might not be doing? Just be mindful that many poor examples exist online, and you will need a certain level of proficiency to be able to discern these.
  • canvass your peers (sempai) in the dojo for their input, especially if you can discern certain students who have greater proficiency in specific areas or techniques on which you are looking to focus your improvement.

Hopefully you have taken something from this to enhance your training and even better, enhance your learning per se.  After all, this model is well researched, and I find it highly useful and effective in the work I do inside and outside the dojo. But most importantly, I apply this to my personal learning or skill development in everything I do so that I can be the best learner I possible can be.

Who is your teacher?

The following article was written by Glen Henry, Menkyo Kaiden Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu.

In the practice of Koryu Budo / Bujutsu, one of, if not the most important aspect, is to know your linage, and at the fore of that is to be able to answer without hesitation when asked, who is your teacher?

In many cases this is typically the person who runs the dojo where you started your training and if one is fortunate to join a dojo with a legitimately and highly qualified practitioner one may be able to call that person their teacher for the life of that person.

For a beginner however, it is not always apparent if the person “in charge” is suitably qualified, in all aspects of the Ryu / Style, spiritually, morally and technically.  Over time the student will, with experience assess if they have made the right choice, or if they should search further for someone more in line with those qualities.

 Another issue today is the mobility of people either by choice or necessity, which makes it impractical to continue training at one dojo. In this situation, one must make very careful choices on whether to abandon their teacher completely or maintain the relationship albeit at a distance, with occasional meetings but regular communications. The underlying point is that at some time a personal commitment to one teacher will become necessary to progress fully into a KORYU, and in so doing a new world of obligations arise.

Giri – Obligation & Duty

In a school practicing the Japanese Koryu (traditional styles) we enter a realm of customs and expectations that are far different from the western concept of club membership, which in many instances is a more social or casual affair.

The membership of a Koryu is from the outset probationary and the period of probation is not fixed, it depends on each individual, the authority held by the head of the Dojo, and the advice and support of senior members of the dojo.

The student though admitted to training, will only progress provided they begin to show the character of a good student, and the dedication to training and support of the dojo and their fellow students. This in some ways may appear to be discriminating, or elitist, yet the character of a Koryu though similar to that of a family, can choose its members based on standards that will strengthen, not weaken it, by ensuring each member is the right “fit” in personal qualities and moral goodness. A natural family sometimes cannot control the quality of its members. It is therefore at the discretion of the Dojo Cho in allowing a student to remain.

In time the relationship and commitment by both parties may lead to the formalization of such by the offer of teacher to student the Oku Iri – official entry certificate, and what is ostensibly a contract between teacher and student for the continued instruction in the Ryu.

This is only the right of a legitimately recognised person, usually holder of Menkyo Kaiden, and as such the recipient becomes a personal student. From that time on the student can then answer unequivocally when asked, who is your teacher?

At this point the student is ever more aware of the concept of Giri (dedication to their teacher and dojo and duty to support it) is an essential development in Budo, and closely relates to “Ninjo “, a feeling of conflict between what we want to do and what we should do. It requires a commitment to the dojo and the teacher equally.

The teacher’s commitment has been putting in the years of hard training to acquire skills and qualities that are being passed on, and for affording links to the Ryu that reach far back into history, in providing the Dojo as a place of focus by the membership. These are not things which come cheaply, or without great effort and dedication on behalf of the teacher/ dojo owner.

Giri is displayed in many small ways, which indicate to the teacher, the level of commitment, acceptance and understanding of the traditions of Koryu. The evidence of this can be seen firstly in the regularity of training, and the attitude toward the practice, the teachings and the interaction with members especially in difficult circumstances. From these interactions, a teacher will be able to deliberate on the advancement of a person to higher status signified by the issuance of Mokuroku, scrolls of transmission and teaching licences, and ultimately complete transmission, Menkyo Kaiden.

Broken Linage

As earlier noted, the mobility of people and their ability to maintain a relationship with a single teacher throughout their years of practice is sometimes difficult or unavoidable. If the issue is merely the tyranny of distance, as long as regular communication can be maintained, the relationship can continue, as is the case of many practitioners who spent time in Japan and then after returning to their home country, remained a student of their Japanese teacher.

There are times of course when the relationship becomes impractical, such as there is no branch school in the new location, or in the instance that the teacher passes away, and a new teacher must be chosen from within the Ryu, or if a new Ryu is to be sought the whole process starts over. In these cases, and out of respect, a student should inform their teacher of the situation and reconcile the matter between them.

Another situation which also occurs when an individual is looking for fast promotion and therefore goes “Teacher Shopping” in an attempt to find someone who will promote them quickly, often when the aspirations of that person are more driven by Ego, than by humility.

Unfortunately, there are some schools who take advantage of this situation and provide qualifications for a fee, and ultimately devalue the legitimacy of the original Ryu or their own. Genuinely dedicated students will see this and quickly lose respect in their choice of teacher and will be more likely to leave.

In the case of the teacher passing away and a teacher from within the Ryu is sought it is not necessary to make an immediate choice, and other teachers within the Ryu are not obligated to accept. Each case is considered on the merits of the circumstance, and reasons in such a choice.

The person seeking a new teacher has to approach any new prospective teacher with the same spirit they had with their original teacher, and that the choice is made from a perspective of respect for the qualities of that teacher, not for any future advancements, but from a genuine desire to become that person’s student and to accept their teachings, even if there are some differences in what they previously were taught. This is a point of commitment and acceptance by both parties and again it should be seen as a potential lifetime relationship. Any other reason for such a relationship may therefore be insincere, and not in keeping with the true spirit of Sensei and Deshi. The new teacher will now doubt observe differences between his teachings and the style of the newly accepted student, and there will be points of difference that will require delicate advice to bring those differences around. This is an important issue as it will affect all students in the group, if there is dissent or conflict between the two.

The process of Shu Ha Ri is at the core of this new relationship, even when the two have trained in the same Ryu but not necessarily together previously, or for some time in the past. There will always be the want to stay loyal to the past teacher, and this can sometimes lead to negative feelings, and why it is sometimes better to wait for a “mourning” period before making the request of the new teacher. Of course, once the choice is made there should be no looking back and once again be able to answer that question, who is your teacher?

Glen Henry