Photo: Mario De Mol

Wow!  I'm humbled, inspired and in awe.  It all seems like a blur now I'm home.  Keiko under Unsui sensei, sake, curry donuts and sitting around the kitchen table at the hombu laughing and talking with Mario and Oliver.  Good memories that will last a lifetime.  I love Japan, but am very grateful for my fortunate way of life here in Australia, especially with summer approaching.

The training was rigorous, both physically and even more so mentally/technically.  A few times, I was way-the-f@#k out of my comfort zone, feeling like a complete beginner again.  The Sabaki Gata of Jinen Ryu Tantojutsu is a dichotomy, very technical in some aspects and yet, very simple in others.  Just when I thought I was getting a handle on it, the next waza was mind blowing in its execution of fine motor skills and timings.  Kept me on my toes (not literally though).  When we came to the final day of the techniques, Sensei said, "If you master these techniques, then you needn't be afraid of any man."  I believe every word of this.  The mastery of it though could easily take a lifetime...depending on how much you train.

This got me thinking.  How much training is enough training?  On a technical level, the more you temper the steel, the better hardened it is.  "Tanren", is written on one of the hombu walls.  It translates as the, 'forging of the spirit through constant repetition'.  It appealed to me instantly and I suppose it goes hand-in-hand with Sensei's whole philosophy for the Jinenkan.  Repetition of the basics is what gives our training its consistency and allure to those in other arts.  It is also the only thing that will embed the technical aspects of the art into your muscle memory.  As sensei says, "Again, again, again.  Then your body remembers."

There are no short cuts, no secrets, no quick route to the end goal.  The same goes for tempering the body.  I recently had the chance to speak to the AFL coach of the Bulldogs, Brendan McCartney, at a party.  We discussed all the strength and conditioning tactics used at elite athletic levels.  Some better than others.  Some fads, some tried and true methods.  "In the end", he admitted, "there are no short-cuts.  You have to put in the work to get the results. Simple!".

The same is true of budo.  Some of us may have natural talents.  Some of us may have to strive, but ultimately, we all have to get to our goal via the same road - Tanren.  Without it, we're just stopping halfway to our true ability.  If you're going to do something like Kobudo, why would you stop halfway?  Harden up, turn up, train waza, train the mind, train the body and its reserves.  We are capable of much more than we imagine but we won't even tap those reserves unless we forge through repition.

Travis de Clifford
Sessa Takuma dojo


tokushi said…
would be a nice tatttoo! :)
Travis said…
I'm considering it ;) You've got copyright to that one all over your back though :(

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