Tag Archives: Martial Arts

Revisit Your Conclusions On Patton, Horse Gyrations & Kata

25 Jan
This post is a continuation an earlier post filed under “Dojo Experiments”. Prior to reading the within, please read “General Patton, Horse Gyrations and Kata” filed in the category “Dojo Experiments” below. After reading the earlier post, please embark on the “experiment” and contemplations set forth therein before moving on to the within post.
In part one of this Dojo Experiment, I purposefully omitted the last paragraph of General Patton’s observations. That paragraph is as follows.

After lunch, General Walker arranged for us to witness one of the exhibitions (of horsemanship), which was extremely interesting and magnificently performed. However, it struck me as rather strange, that in the midst of a world at war . . .(some fifty men) had spent their entire time teaching a group of horses to wiggle their butts and raise their feet in consonance with certain signals from the heels and reins. Much as I like horses, this seemed to me wasted energy. On the other hand, it is probably wrong to permit any highly developed art, no matter how fatuous, to perish from the earth – and which arts are fatuous depends on the point of view. To me the high-schooling of horses is certainly more interesting than either painting or music. General George S. Patton., Jr., War As I Knew It: The Battle Memoirs of “Blood ‘N Guts”, (Bantam Books, 1980), p. 311.

   Patton On Horseback

Based upon your analysis of the first part of this experiment, how would your analysis change, if in fact it would change, in light of the above? Do you feel that Kata is glorified as an end in and to itself? If so, how does that impact Karate-Do? To what extent does the “modernization” of Karate allow it to “not perish from the earth” as the general would say. Does the term “modernization” equate with “evolution“, “development” or “innovation”? Or, as some “Masters” assert, does any change (including evolutionary processes) dilute the art? To what extent do modern gymnastic-type Kata impinge upon the traditional Kata? Does the “forgotten” aspect of Bunkai dilute the Kata? If so, how? To be sure, there is no correct answer as it depends on one’s point of view.
For me, the proverbial “Gyrating Horses”, lead to an intense study of Kata and (of course) Bunkai which, after much sweat, resulted in my book – Koryu Kata-Jitsu: Ancient Style Art Of Kata. Many years later, after continued practice, study and self-reflection, I began to conceptualize and develop my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do – The Way Of (attaining) Inner Salvation Through Kata. The foundation of this methodology is to be found within the heretofore hidden and undiscovered teachings of the Sanchin Kata. These secrets are then carried forward through certain other unique Karate-Do Kata which I have incorporated into the system of Jiriki Kata-Do. The hidden teachings of Sanchin Kata are set forth in my newest book on Sanchin Kata which is described on the Sanchin Textbook page of this blogsite.

I hope this Dojo “experiment” has given you pause to consider your personal feelings as to Karate-Do or other martial art you may practice. Look for more Dojo Experiments in future posts on this blogsite.

Please feel free to view the page herein on my new Sanchin textbook.

You may also find additional information on Jiriki Kata-Do, by reading my article herein dated December 15 , 2009. Entitled “Kata evolves into a methodology and ideology …”

General Patton, Horse Gyrations & Kata

18 Jan
I am often asked by those who either attend my seminars or read my newest book on Sanchin, how I evolved my ideology and methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do from within the confines of the Karate Dojo. Karate-Ka (those who study Karate) and particularly those that enjoy Kata are the most curious. While I offer a series of seminars that methodically and ideologically guide attendees through the evolutionary process, I will post a few concepts herein for your consideration and experimentation. These submissions will all be filed under the category – Dojo Experiments.

My approach as a Sensei is to lead a student through a process of self-discovery. Sensei Thomas DeFelice was often fond of saying “A technique taught will often be forgotten whereas a technique discovered will not”. With that in mind, the articles filed under “Dojo Experiments” will offer guidance for you in your practice. The articles will not offer answers. You are to discover your own answers after experimentation, consideration, reflection and sweat (the oil of the machinery of Karate according to Maestro Peter Urban).. For additional information on the contextual paradigm shift in Kata, please see the category below entitled “Kata as enlightened meditation”.

One of the first experiments you can conduct is based upon an observation made by United States General George S. Patton,. Jr. during World War II.

Many are familiar with the exploits of General George S. Patton, Jr. during World War II. Many are even familiar with the motion picture entitled “Patton” in which George C. Scott gave a remarkable and memorable portrayal of the General. What many of you may not know is that during World War II Patton kept a diary. After many years, the United States Army declassified the diary and it was subsequently published. Many, many years ago, I was very fortunate to have purchased a copy. There is a passage in the diary which inspired many of my experiments with Karate-Do in general and with Kata (and Bunkai) in particular. For the non-martial artist reader, Bunkai is the practical experiment conducted with a partner (who serves as an attacker) that tests the self-defense hypothesis set forth in the Kata. My experiments with Kata and Bunkai lead to my discovery of the heretofore metaphysical aspects of certain unique Kata codified in my system of Jiriki Kata-Do.

In May, 1945 when General George S. Patton, Jr. made the following observations which he contemporaneously recorded in his personal diary. General George S. Patton., Jr., War As I Knew It: The Battle Memoirs of “Blood ‘N Guts”, (Bantam Books, 1980), pp. 310-311).

On arrival at General Walker’s Headquarters, we found that XX Corps had captured intact, at an adjacent chateaux, the whole of the Imperial Spanish Riding Academy which had left Vienna on the approach of the Russians. This Academy had been running in Vienna since the time of Charles V of Spain.

Originally, the gyrations taught the horses were of military importance. That is, the “courbette”, or half-rear, was for the purpose of letting the horse come down at the same time the sword was swung, so as to give the latter more force; the “volte” or “demi-volte”, was for the purpose of avoiding attack; while the leap into the air, striking out fore and aft with the feet, was for the purpose of extricating the rider from too close contact with the enemy, and so on.

With the passing of years and changes in the art of war, the purposes of this form of equitation was forgotten, and the movements were taught as of value in and of themselves. In other words, people began, as in many other arts, to glorify the means rather than the end which the means were supposed to produce.

The first Dojo experiment that will guide you along an understanding of Karate-Do, Kata and the manner in which I evolved Jiriki Kata-Do is to consider Patton’s observations of the gyrating horses as you practice in your own Dojo. Consider whether the observation applies to Karate-Do, in general and to Kata (and Bunkai) in particular. If you feel that it does apply, then consider the manner in which it applies and whether the true essence of Kata is found within or without of the confines of the observation. This is the first step in understanding the evolution of my Jiriki Kata-Do. As Miyamoto Musashi said in Go Rin No Sho (The Book Of Five Rings), “You must consider this well.”

For additional information on my new book entitled: The Dynamic Meditation Rite Of Sanchin: Gateway To The Three Battles To The Plateau Of Human Serenity, please see the Sanchin Book page herein or feel free to visit my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com

Mushin Applied To Daily Life-Part 4 (final): Mushin As A Sacrament Of Spirituality

11 Jan

*** NOTE: For parts one through three of the series on the Mushin state of mind, please see the bottom of this page and click on the category: “Martial ideology extended to daily life” & then click on the icon “Previous Entries“ at the bottom of the page***

Part 4 (Final installment): Mushin as a sacrament of earthly spirituality. 

This installment of the series on the Mushin state of mind is one that tends to raise the most eyebrows. Perhaps because of its connotations as to certain effects that are deemed the province of religion, I do not know. In any event, I would call to the reader’s attention, the following observation of Dr. Beverly Rubik as quoted in Kaku, Michio, Physics of The Impossible (Anchor Books, NY, NY 2008) p. 179.

“You can recognize a pioneer by the arrows in his back”.

With that said,

Through the Mushin state of mind a new frontier of earthly spirituality is encountered. In the self-imposed chaos of modern living, spirituality is often engaged in superficially, suppressed or even ignored. Historically, the human required four fundamental needs to be satisfied so as to survive and prosper. Those fundamental needs are water, food, clothing and shelter. Once early man evolved from a hunter-gatherer and farmed the land he lived on and raised livestock for sustenance, he began to assume his fundamental needs were, to some extent, always to be satisfied. Early man then began to look to the skies and nature as enveloping a spiritual world within which he resided. To ancient man, spirituality existed in all things.

In today’s modern world, for the vast majority of humans, this spirituality is at best superficial and at worst, ignored completely. Unlike our prehistoric ancestors, modern humans no longer seek out the spiritual aspects of the world in which they reside. I submit, that the modern human has entered into a hedonistic paradigm wherein the fulfillment of the fundamental needs is insufficient and has evolved to a state of existence wherein the fundamental needs are glorified and augmented to perverse levels. Modern man is no longer satisfied to have a shelter. Humans now seek to have mansion, often built on exclusive parcels of the environment. The human claims exclusive ownership of the environment over and above the ownership rights of all other humans, the Earth, and even the universe itself. The idea of a fundamental need for food has evolved from being satisfied with a bowl of grain, fruits, vegetables and a source of protein to a perverted and obscene example of consumption, gluttony and wanton waste. One need only look to the headlines and the vast array of television shows to see examples of a thirty dollar hamburger made from rare beef and a one thousand dollar ice cream sundae offered in the city of New York which boasts gold leaf as an ingredient. To be sure, the human needs exit this perverse paradigm and return to earthly spirituality.

That return to spirituality is nurtured in many ways, including by way of the Kata, rites dynamic mediation and the Mushin state of mind. The Mushin state of mind gives one the ability to acknowledge, understand and synchronize with spiritual matters that exist within our lives. Though, it does not necessarily convey the ideology of spirituality, one may look to religion as a means of appreciating the Mushin state of mind. For the vast majority of humans, religion is the sole mechanism by which they experience spirituality and the wonders of the universal cosmos. Humans tend to participate in and accept much religious dogma on a superficial level. This is terribly unfortunate. Further, it is not necessarily due to the fault of the religious or spiritual leader. Rather, the fault lays entirely within the religious devotee and can be remedied by an understanding of Mushin.

Most religions contain a story of creation that seeks to explain how the physical world came into being. The creation story contains an acknowledgement by the Divine Creator. The name of the Divine Creator, whether is God, Allah, Judah, Zeus, or any other human derived name is immaterial. Such a name is the human’s arrogant attempt to provide a human name to such a Divine Attribute. At some point in the story of creation, the Divine Creator pauses to view the creation, and, being generally satisfied rests. This day of rest often evolved into the day of the Sabbath for the Creator‘s future followers. Now, at this point in the story of creation, there is a need to appreciate the Mushin state of mind. For many, the day of the Sabbath no longer requires contemplation, introspection and reflection. The Sabbath no longer involves a pilgrimage to the place of worship. Rather, the day of rest has evolved to a day spent quickly raking the leaves from the lawn, laying on the couch with a cold beer and watching the latest football game on television. The mundane human, who is incapable of attaining a state of Mushin, has no understanding of the means by which an omnipresent, omnipotent Divine Creator rested.

Through the mere process of thought, the Divine Creator caused the material world and its inhabitants to spring into being. Clearly, rest for the Supreme creator did not mean a physical rest, but contemplates a type of mental or spiritual rest. By extension, such a mental or spiritual rest translates into a creative rest. This does not mean that the Divine Creator quieted the creative mind so as to no longer perceive that which was created. I submit that if the Divine Creator quieted the creative mind so as to no longer perceive the created world, the repercussion would mean that the created world would no longer exist. If the Supreme Creator was no longer aware of the flowing river, the cycle of the planets and our own feeble, insignificant existence within the universe of creation, all would vanish. Thus, for the Divine Creator to rest, a Mushin-like state of mind would have to have manifested. The Divine Creator would have to perceive and absorb all that exists without focusing a single thought onto any one element created or about to be created. Thus, the Divine Creator could have only rested by maintaining a Mushin state of mind. This is the ultimate expression of Mushin.

Another example may be found within the teachings of the Biblical Jesus. Regardless of whether one believes that Jesus was the Son of God, or whether he was an enlightened Prophet, many religions acknowledge his presence and importance while he lived on the Earth. Jesus had expressed a desire that his peace be known and shared amongst his followers. This expression of peace has been interpreted in a very limited manner to mean “non-violence”. It is unfortunate that this interpretation exists. A good friend of mine is a Roman Catholic priest. He had contracted a very aggressive form of cancer and was forced to relinquish his pastoral duties. Fortunately, with the aid of highly experimental treatment, he not only survived the cancer but was able to return to his pastoral duties. During the first Mass he conducted, he was hit by a spiritual thunderbolt. A part of the Mass calls for the participants to shake hands and extend a wish for peace unto each other. My friend realized, for the first time, that no-one in the Church that Sunday morning understood Jesus’ concept of peace. Many simply shook hands, said the words and thought about leaving the church ahead of the others so as to be the first to get to the local diner for Sunday breakfast. Peace, as Jesus meant the term, is not limited to non-violence. Peace meant total, complete peace from physical suffering, mental turmoil, spiritual assault, and all sorts of human frustrations. Peace in that level of experience is only knowable through the Mushin state of mind where all is perceived, accepted and absorbed as a integral part of the human state of existence.

Through Mushin, humans can, finally, begin to comprehend the feeling of attaining the qualities of a Supreme Being. This process is known as apotheosis. Such an understanding of the omnipresent spirituality attained through the state of Mushin, clearly drives and enhances a truly heightened state of human existence. I submit that Mushin can accurately be called the sacrament of earthly spirituality.

Mushin is the state of mind that serves as a gateway, or portal, to all the other infinite states of perception. It is codified within the various rites of dynamic meditation. The Rite of Sanchin, derived from the Sanchin Kata, is geared towards developing this state of mind and perception known as Mushin. As such, it is the rite which is uniquely designed to bridge one’s ability to transform oneself from the mundane modality of “normal” human existence to the state of being known as “The Plateau of Human Serenity”. This Plateau of Human Serenity is attained only after one has become enlightened to the true and complete teaching of the Sanchin Rite.

An expanded discussion of Mushin may also be found in my new book The Dynamic Meditation Rite Of Sanchin: Gateway To The Three Battles To The Plateau Of Human Serenity. Please see the “Sanchin Book” page on this blogsite. 

You may also find additional information on Jiriki Kata-Do, by reading my article herein dated December 15 , 2009. Entitled “Kata evolves into a methodology and ideology …” Please feel free to visit my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com

The Martial Ideology Of Mushin Extended To Daily Life-Part 1

21 Dec
An integral component of my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do (The way of (attaining) inner salvation by Kata) is to incorporate methodologies and ideologies that were previously thought to extend solely to the martial arts to daily life.

The methodology is the physical movement of certain unique Kata. This methodology is designed to improve one’s overall physical health and well being. The ideological component is designed not only to enable one to spiritually function in an environment that contains factors that attack one’s sense of well being, but also to awaken one to our interconnectivity with the physical universe and the universal consciousness. The extension of these ideologies to daily life will be the subject of various continuing articles.

Prior to discussing the manner of ideological extension, a seemingly simple point needs to be addressed. Initially, it must be noted that the ideologies are not meant to develop the “brain”. I use the term brain to identify a specific organ of the human body designed to monitor bodily functions and enable a human to think rationally, interpret sensory inputs and act accordingly. A higher result of the function of the organic brain is the mind or spirit. The mind or spirit is that function of the brain that gives a human a sense of self, and a sense of that self as a component of the physical world in which the human dwells. The mind or spirit also fosters within the human a quest to ascertain the human’s purpose and function within the consciousness of the universe both while existing on this physical plain we call “life“ and on the next plain of existence accurately called “afterlife“. It is the mind or spirit that is cultivated and nurtured through the meditative performance of the rites of Jiriki Kata-Do.

The first martial ideology that should be extended to and incorporated into daily life is Mushin (pronounced “Moo-shin“). Mushin is an abbreviation of the phrase “Mushin No Shin” which refers to a mental state described as “Mind, No-Mind”. Mushin is taken directly from my training in Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Mushin is the omnipresent state of mind in all the dynamic meditation rites, or Kata, of my methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do.

Mushin is a unique state of mind wherein one actively experiences one’s environment with the totality of one’s senses. The sensory inputs are transmitted to the brain. The brain processes these sensory inputs and accordingly transmits reactionary impulses to the body and simultaneously creates a state of mind, or spirit, attendant to the inputs received. Invariably, an undeveloped spirit will focus on what it believes to be the most pervasive of the sensory inputs, to the exclusion of the other sensory inputs, and evolve a mental or spiritual state to meet the situation transmitted via the sensory inputs. This state of mind is characterized as “clouded”.

The Mushin state of spiritual being is “unclouded”. Instead of focusing the mind or spirit onto a specific sensory input to the exclusion of the others, Mushin perceives all inputs from the sensory world and absorbs them totally. Prior to contrary belief, the Mushin perception does not necessarily focus the mind onto one specific sensory or mental inputs to the exclusion of all other sensory or mental inputs. Rather, a specific input is perceived within the context of all other perceptions. Thus, the spirit is uncluttered by a single exaggerated sensory input. The spirit is uncluttered so as to experience and accept all sensory inputs for exactly what they are. In my Karate Dojo, I use the following as a means of describing the mind/no-mind state of perception found in the dynamic meditation rites.

Focus and the leaf and see the tree, Focus on the tree and see the leaf, Perceive all and none.

Again, the point is that no one sensory input, or object thereof, is focused upon to the exclusion of another. All sensory inputs are perceived within the physical, environmental, sociological and ideological context of the others.

Mushin distinguished from traditional forms of meditation:

 Traditional forms of meditation seek to either “quiet” the mind or intensely focus it. One may sit in meditation for prolonged time periods and seek to actively think of nothing in an attempt to quiet the mind. This is not the Mushin state of mind. Mushin and the dynamic meditation rites of Jiriki Kata-Do recognize that the natural state of the organic human being is an active state that tends towards motion. Like all other aspects of the human body, the organic brain naturally tends towards action. This is true of the higher state of mind, which is incubated by the organic brain. To willfully direct the brain, and thus the mind, to a state of inactivity is unnatural and therefore, requires the exertion of one’s energy so as to overcome the mind’s natural tendency. This is inefficient and a waste of one’s mental capacity. Thus, Mushin rejects the unnatural exertion of energy and embraces the natural state of the organic brain, and higher mind, by embracing and enhancing the natural state with an omnipotent heightened sensory perception.

The opposite of the quiet mind is the focused mind. One may sit and meditate so as to focus the mind on a single physical object, such as a candle flame, or on a thought such as a sutra, or on another mechanism, such as a chant. Again, focusing one’s mind expands energy for an unnatural effect. Mushin, as a heightened natural state, does not seek to focus or direct the mind to one specific arena. Rather the mind flows naturally to all.

Mushin allows one to welcome and embrace all sensory inputs so that each input is perceived within the context of all other inputs received from the five senses. Once attained and maintained, Mushin allows one to experience life in a fully enraptured state of being.

Future submissions in this series will discuss:

1. Mushin as it relates to the mythology of Bodhidharma;

2. Examples of how Mushin is incorporated into daily life;

3. Mushin as a sacrament to spirituality.

For additional information, please feel free to visit my website at WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

An expanded discussion of Mushin may also be found in my new book The Dynamic Meditation Rite Of Sanchin: Gateway To The Three Battles To The Plateau Of Human Serenity.

You may also find additional information on Jiriki Kata-Do, by reading my article herein dated December 15 , 2009. Entitled “Kata evolves into a methodology and ideology …”

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