Monday, February 3, 2014

Yukizure - Bunkai


Yukizure is the first waza of the Okuden Tachi waza set of the MJER Curriculum...

The Bunkai of Yukizure is that you are being escorted ("escorted" is the literal meaning of "Yukizure") to a place you don't really want to go by two guys you don't really like.  They may not be really bright, because they have left you with your sword.

One of them is on your right, the other one on your left.




While walking with them, you take a smaller step to be behind them, bump onto your left escort from behind, draw and cut the right escort's neck or left shoulder. This cut is one handed, it is Nukitsuke.  Immediately follow up by cutting the other escort with a two handed kirioroshi.

In this video taped on February 1st, 2014, at the Shindai Aikikai of Orlando, FL, Carl Long Kyoshi demonstrates the Bunkai of Yukizure.



If you are interested in learning Traditional Japanese Swordsmanship, the KNBK website provides valuable information about various aspects of the Art, as well as addresses of schools (dojo) licensed to teach Iaijutu in the USA and other countries.


Thursday, January 23, 2014


Jesus said somewhere : “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

What exactly is a Rich Man ? Generally, it is any human entangled with earthly, physical possessions. Basically, in our societies, Things that Money can buy.

If you have something other people don't have and wish to have, you are richer than them.

These things can be of different nature - they can be hard assets - house, car, land... they can also be less tangible. You can be rich of a knowledge or expertise of intellectual, practical or spiritual nature : Nuclear Engineering, Chinese poetry or Psychology; Karate, Watercolor painting or Ice skating; Yoga, Zen or Christian contemplation.

If it is easy to understand for most of us how craving for mundane things - so called hard assets - is going to be a serious hindrance on the way to enlightenment (to access the Kingdom of God).

But what is less obvious is that cravings and attachments to other riches, the intellectual and spiritual ones, are also going to be a problem.

It is however clearly taught, and rightly so, by various traditions.

In Zen we have Master Sengcan's Shin Jin Mei :

If you want to know the truth
Do not hold opinions for or against anything...
Do not search for the truth
Simply cease to cherish opinions.

For Christian medieval mystic Meister Eckhart the path to freedom is found in “unbinding the attachments that constitute one’s preferences, desires, or inclinations.” 

No matter the tradition you follow, you have to totally empty your cup before it can be filled.  Make room for the Truth to enter. Empty it fully, even of your willingness to empty it... 

The only way to do that is to try and try again: daily practice. 





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sitting Still


There is a story that tells of Meister Eckhart’s meeting with a poor man: “You may be holy,” says Eckhart, “but what made you holy, brother?” And the answer comes: “My sitting still, my elevated thoughts, and my union with God.” It is useful for our present theme to note that the practice of sitting still is given pride of place.





In the Middle Ages people were well aware of the inexhaustible power that arises simply from sitting still. After that time, knowledge of the purifying power of stillness and its practice was, in the West, largely lost. The tradition of preparing man for the breakthrough of transcendence by means of inner quiet and motionless sitting has been preserved in the East to the present day. Even in cases where practice is apparently directed not to immobility but towards activity – as in archery, sword fighting, wrestling, painting, flower arrangement  – it is always the inner attitude of quiet and not the successful performance of the ways which is regarded as of fundamental importance.

Once a technique has been mastered, any inadequate performance is mirrored in wrong attitudes. The traditional knowledge of the fact that it is possible for a man to be inwardly cleansed solely through the practice of right posture has kept alive the significance of correct sitting. The inner quiet which arises when the body is motionless and in its best possible form can become the source of transcendental experience. By emptying ourselves of all those matters that normally occupy us we become receptive to Greater Being.

It should be understood that the transformation which is brought about by means of meditation is not merely a change in man’s inner life, but a renewal of his whole person. It is a mistake to imagine that enlightenment is no more than an experience which suddenly brings fresh inward understanding, as a brilliant physicist may have a sudden inspiration which throws new light on his work and causes a re-ordering of his whole system of thought.



Such an experience leaves the person himself unchanged. True enlightenment has nothing to do with this kind of sudden insight. When it occurs, it has the effect of so fundamentally affecting and shaking the whole person that he himself, as well as his total physical existence in the world, is completely transformed.

To what extent the habit of sitting can impress and change us becomes clear only when we have taken pains to practice it. After a short time we find ourselves asking: how is it possible that such a simple exercise can have such far-reaching effects on the body and soul? Sitting still, we begin to realize, is not what we had imagined physical or spiritual practice to be. We are faced, therefore, with the question: “What is it we are really practicing if, although both are affected it is neither body nor spirit?” The answer to this is that the person who practices is himself being practiced. The one who is worked upon is the Person in his original totality, who is present beneath and beyond all possible differentiation into the many and various physical, spiritual, and mental aspects. In so far as we regard and value ourselves as incarnate persons, certain manifestations in our life move from their accustomed shadow into the light of understanding. Thus our moods and postures take on new meaning. So long as we think of body and soul as two separate entities, we regard moods simply as “feelings,” and look upon bodily attitudes and breathing as merely physical manifestations. When, however, the whole person is recognized as a “thou,” it is no longer possible to separate body and soul. Once it becomes a question of transformation, our basic moods, together with all the gestures and postures that express them, acquire new significance. They are the means through which we grow aware of, manifest ourselves, and become physically present in the world…


The so-called “peace” of the world-ego, illustrated by the bourgeois aim of a “quiet life,” comes about when all inner movement and growth have stopped. Of quite a different quality is the peace of inner being and the life which strives to manifest itself through it. This kind of peace can only prevail where nothing further interrupts the movement towards becoming. To achieve such an attitude to life is the aim of all practice and meditation; it can never represent a state of “having arrived” but is always a process of “being on the way.” Such practice, therefore, is by no means acceptable to all. There are many who throng to the so-called prophets who promise a cheap kind of peace to troubled mankind. But such “masters” simply betray man by hiding from him the real cause of his anxiety, which lies in the desire for transformation inherent in his innermost being.


From Karlfried Graf D├╝rckheim, Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise: The Way of Transformation,

This excerpt appeared in the  Parabola Fall 1996 issue, Peace.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Choun no Kun kata


Kaicho Mike Culbreth is teaching the first part of the Choun no Kun Bo kata to a group of Black Belts. 

Taped at the World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Karate Headquarters in Dothan, Alabama on January 15, 2014. 







The BO (KUN in Okinawan language) is a 6 foot wooden staff.

The Bo kata taught in Yoshukai Kobudo are 

  • Bo kata shodan, 
  • Bo kata Nidan, 
  • Bo kata Sandan, 
  • Choun no Kun, and 
  • Choun no Kun Dai.

Bo kata Shodan, Nidan and Sandan were created by the late Sensei Koda to teach the basics of Bo to beginner students (before black belt). They essentially are selected parts of Choun no Kun . 




Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I completed yesterday (December 21st) one of my goals for this year. I practiced each one of the MJER Shoden waza and Batto Ho waza 150 times - that is home practice and dos not include class practice. I also practiced Yoshukai Iai - the whole set - 120 times. The long term goal is to practice each waza 1000 times.

Katachi cannot be practiced solo, so far we are up to 350 times Ukenagashi Sono Ni, both parts. I certainly cannot say our execution is perfect, but it has improved a lot. When we first started, we would, maybe, get one acceptable waza each 20 or 30 repetition. Now there are times when I can perform properly 3 or 4 times in a row. 



How do I know they are good ? That's a good question. It feels good, it seems that the timing is good, the distance is good, the opponent's boken slides effortlessly on mine. Notice that I did not say it was perfect ! I am sure there will be things to improve, which I am not able to figure out by myself, and this is what seminars are about.

One thing I know is that our practice has improved, and that this is the only way to progress.

I practice 4 or 5 mornings per week - MJER Iai, Yoshukai Iai, then Zen, the whole thing takes about 1 1/2 hours. Some days I have to shorten it. 

We practice Katachi in class, usually Tuesday night for we have a 3 hours class. We only account for sets of 10. If you practice 3 times a waza, you don't really have the opportunity to improve it, so it does not count. We do 2 to 5 sets, each opponent does both Uchidachi and Shidachi part. It takes a while, but it is worth it. 

Practicing each waza 1000 times will take years, but we have time ! In 2014 I want to complete 150 of each Chuden and Okuden waza; for katachi: 1000 Ukenagashi Sono Ni - then we will switch to an other one, possibly Shinmyoken. 

What are your goals ? 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Visit Mokurai Dojo


Short home-made video of Mokurai Dojo where we train and practice in Tai Chi, Yoshukai Karate, MJER Iaijutsu and Soto Zen Buddhism.




Come train, practice or visit with us !

You can reach me at frederic.lecut@gmail.com or by phone at (334) 798 1639.


Mokurai Dojo - 610 Mitchell St, Headland, AL 36345, USA



Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The words below are a paraphrase of Carl Long Sensei's closing statement at the end of our KNBK Instructor's seminar in November 2013. They perfectly express my deep feelings about Budo : 

"This is a good group, the technique is good, it will get better, and this is important. 

This being said, what is more important is that during these 3 days we spent together, each one of you gave something and learned something. So several of us became better persons, because of what they learned, because of what they taught, because of the interaction within the group. 




Budo is not just about you, about becoming better at it. Budo is about making the world a better place. If only one person becomes a better person, the world becomes a better place for everyone else. "