Monday, November 27, 2017

Zen and Martial Arts complementarity



It is common belief that Zen practice will help someone progress in Martial Arts. 

Matsuoka Roshi, himself a black belt in Judo as written at length about it. Taisen Deshimaru even dedicated his book Zen Way to Martial Arts to this subject.

Shimanukuro Hanshi performs Tameshigiri - actual cutting of a rolled tatami mat cover.
Tameshigiri



In an article about  Zen and Martial Arts the author writes : 

"The Samurai achieved perfection in martial arts such as kenjutsu, kyujutsu, and jujutsu through the practice of Zazen"

But I have met several Martial Arts Masters who reached  a high level of mastery without practicing Zen.

Even if it had a deep influence on the ways of the samurai class,  saying that Zen was THE basis of their spiritual training is a questionable generalization.

Now this being said, here is this week's question to you all :

Do you think the practice of Martial Arts can help someone progress in Zen ? 

I hope you had a happy thanksgiving and saved lots of money by not spending any during black Friday...










Monday, November 13, 2017

Culavedalla Sutra


Us Zen people do not care too much about Buddhist scriptures. We might be missing on some things. The Pali Canon has many gems...

As I was researching Mindfulness of Feelings, I discovered 2 weeks ago the Culavedalla Sutra and found it very interesting in 2 aspects :

    Elder Nun Dhammadinnā’s Story painted at Wat Pho, Bangkok

  • In this sutra, the teachings are given by a Nun named Dhammadinna while the Buddha is sitting beside her listening. After the talk, the Buddha said that he could not have taught any better and praised her. This is a good reminder of the importance of the contributions of Nuns to the Dharma.








  • I finally found some clarification about the "neither pleasant nor non-pleasant" feeling, the one that leads to delusion if you let it take you away on arising. I had had quite some problems understanding what the damn thing could be. And there it was quite clearly : 

"Pleasant feeling is pleasant in remaining, & painful in changing, friend Visakha. Painful feeling is painful in remaining & pleasant in changing. Neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is pleasant in occurring together with knowledge, and painful in occurring without knowledge."


Beside that, this Culavedalla sutra is very insightful about the 5 aggregates and the Noble Eightfold path. You might enjoy it... 


 

May all beings be happy...
 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

TAMESHIGIRI training


Our next  Tameshigiri training session will be held this coming Saturday November 18 at the Mokurai Dojo in Headland, AL.






Please contact me at (334) 798 1639 or by email at frederic.lecut@gmail.com if you would like to attend.


Tenshin Ryu Kenjutsu : one origin of Yoshukai Iai



In 2014 I spent 2 hours at Mr Culbreth's residence with Soke Yamamoto to discuss Yoshukai Iai with him.
Soke showed me some bunkai for several of the waza and we also discussed the origin of Yoshukai Iai which he had not learned Iai from Dr Chitose but from 2 different masters from Kyushu. 

Although I am not exactly sure I fully understood Soke Yamamoto, I believe he had been training in Kumamoto in the 2 styles of Tenshin Ryu and Jigen Ryu, until one of the masters he was training with quit teaching.

In this Tenshin Ryu video, you can see where some of the Yoshukai Iai moves probably come from.





Although Tenshin Ryu Nodachi is much longer than the regular Katana used in Yoshukai iai, the waza at 1:40 is very close to the Yoshukai Waza #8, and the next one at 2:00  is very similar to our #7. 

Also, Chiburi and Noto are the same. 

I teach Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu at the Yoshukai Karate Dojo in Dothan , Alabama. You can contact me at 334 798 1639 or by email at frederic.lecut@gmail.com

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tai Chi and good Sleep lead to better Health.


 
Sleep, Stress and Inflammation
Lack of Sleep can induce stress and chronic inflammation

Stress, which can be caused by lack of sleep, causes  inflammation. The stress level of insomniac people can be so high that constant inflammation occurs throughout their bodies. Such chronic condition can contribute to illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and other serious medical problems.

A recent study shows that inflammation levels can be reduced within the body through both cognitive behavioral therapy and Tai Chi practice.

The study was designed around 123 older insomniac adults. They were randomly assigned one of three different types of treatment: 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, 
  • Tai chi movement meditation, or 
  • A sleep training seminar. 

Tai Chi reduces Stress and Inflammation due to lack of Sleep

The Study showed that : 

  • Those who received cognitive behavioral therapy and practice Tai Chi experienced significant reduced levels of stress and inflammation and slept better. These benefits were maintained after 16 month. 
  • Those participants unlucky enough to be assigned to sleep seminar classes, there was no benefit in lowered inflammatory rates.

Researchers concluded that behavioral modifications that reduce stress are the key to better physical health, once again illustrating the link between mind and body.




You can practice Tai Chi in Dothan every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 7:30 to 8:30 AM and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30 PM

For more details, please contact Frederic Lecut 
by email at  frederic.lecut@gmail.com 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639


 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Should Masters adapt to their Disciples ?


Humans are a highly adaptable specie with a great ability to learn and develop expertise. Still, body types generally condition our physical abilities. 

Judokas know it is easier to throw someone taller than you and to sweep someone shorter. This is simply due to the relative position of their centers of gravity. 

O Soto Gari Sweep
O Soto Gari


So during his first sparring matches a short guy will generally put emphasis on throws, and a tall one on sweeps. With years of diligent practice, abilities change, expertise comes and a tall fighter might develop a great way to throw an shorter opponent, or a shorter guy might become excellent at sweeping a giant. 

However, at the beginning, in order to develop self confidence in students, a teacher should adapt his teachings according to their physical abilities and be able to teach both types of techniques, independently from his own preference and body type.

The same applies to spiritual practice. Dharma gates are boundless, we vowed to enter them. We should be able to teach a variety of practices. You may liken the Buddhist path to the ascension of a mountain. On your way to the top, several trail of various difficulty are available.  Zen in essence is about getting off those trails to directly climb to the top. Not everyone can do this. Some people will fall off the rocks, some will get lost on their way. 


This is going to hurt.
Gravity is not just a theory...

I believe a practice leader should know how to teach different path to different disciples at different stages of progress. Before teaching them how to climb rocks, lets teach them how to walk the trail. The Buddha first talked about the 3 Noble Truths : Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta. Emptiness came much later... We should keep this in mind.




What are your thoughts ?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

TENSHO DAI


Tensho Dai, a tonfa kata, was created by Master Yuki Koda (1944- 1997) the late head of US Yoshukai Karate.

Tonfa were originally handles used to turn the top stone of a traditional Okinawan rice grinder.



Okinawan kobudo weapons Tonfa were originally handles to stone rice grinders
Okinawan Rice grinder with its Tonfa wooden handle


Here the kata is demonstrated by Shihan Mike Lilley at the World Yoshukai Karate &  Kobudo organization summer camp in Eufaula, Alabama, USA on June 17, 2017.





 Enjoy and practice...