Friday, November 7, 2008

SHIMABUKURO Sensei's Interview

Quotes from a 2007 Interview of Shimabukuro Sensei in Black Belt Magazine.

You can read the entire document at : Shimabukuro Sensei's Exclusive Interview

What is the biggest misconception about the samurai sword?
Most people are surprised to find out that Japanese swordsmanship is not the same as you see in the movies. The chanbara movies show long fight scenes where samurai fight for minutes. In real combat, a sword fight takes seconds. The blink of an eye is all it takes to end a real battle.

Why is traditional weapons training still an essential part of martial arts?
All traditional Japanese martial arts are based on the principles of combat with a weapon. Everyone’s empty-hand combat system is better understood after one has trained in a traditional weapons system—especially swordsmanship. The precision and etiquette required to master an ancient samurai art like that of the sword leads each of us to a better understanding of strategy in combat and our place in a peaceful society.

What was the most significant moment in your own traini
The moment I realized that setsu-do (discipline) and giri (obligation) were the foundation of living the highest life condition. These two things give [you] the responsibility for—and influence over—your training and your future.

What element of your personal development has been most positively influenced by the martial arts?
I thought karate was a tremendous martial art, but I learned dignity from the training I received in iaido. My introduction to sword training was definitely the most powerful influence on my development as a person. The principles of swordsmanship teach that ideals are more important than money or power.

Any closing thoughts? Culture and history are very important. You cannot [execute] correct swordsmanship without a correct teacher or without a true lineage. If you become like the samurai, you carry the same attitude. Swordsmanship is not like other arts. Other arts were not built around bushido. The sword teaches bushido.

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