Monday, November 23, 2009


In my precedent post I quoted an interview of Nakamura Sensei - in which he explained his distrust of a particular way to support a sword blade with the open hand. To illustrate his point he was explaining how a Japanese Master of Kenjutsu had in this way cut his fingers when he assassinated a political opponent in 1935.

I want to make it very clear here, that I am absolutely not approving of the use of Martial Arts in general, and swordsmanship in particular, to hurt or kill other sentient beings.

Some of the posts on this blog are very technical with a pedagogical content, and mostly intended for actual students of one way.
As a teacher I often use historical anecdotes or even jokes to help students memorize details of techniques and moves.

Some of my readers, not involved in Martial Arts might have from this post inferred that I approve of assassination, or of using sword to kill other sentient beings. This is not the case, and if I mislead you in that direction, I apologize for it.

My goal is to reconcile Buddhism and Martial Arts to get past the apparent contradiction between the ideal of compassion and violence. I believe in the potential of Martial Arts to transform ourselves, providing they are skilfully taught and practiced, as was for example Karate in the traditional society of Okinawa at the beginning of the 20th century.

In the following weeks, I intend to post on MUSHIN - commonly translated as "Empty Mind" - a concept or state at the heart of Zen and Budo Practices.

MUSHIN has sometimes been used as a justification for terrible actions by Japanese warriors and soldiers during the first half of the 20th century.

It is important for students of the Ways to realize what Mushin really means.

No comments: