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Thursday, June 18, 2015

S - Shinzen Ritsu

Shizen ritsu [自然律]

The character/ideograms mean, “Natural law.” The first character means, “oneself,” the second character means, “sort of thing; so; if so; in that case; well,” the third character means, “rhythm; law; regulation gauge; control.”

Together with divine laws (shinkyo-ritsu) constituted the ideological framework of natural and divine laws of Old Ryukyu. This term is used to describe the ideological framework for Old Ryukyu in the form of the military organization referred to as the Hiki. It uses various holistic military and naval tactics and technologies and is represented by the sword as a symbol of military authority. 

Along with this it provides two basic forms of historical martial arts of Ryukyu where the second goes on to describe how Ryukyu was transformed into a semi-militaristic system of feudal police, criminal justice, and vigilantes mainly employed for the maintenance of inner law and order, guard duties, protection during maritime voyages, and coast guard functions, within the ideological framework of Neo-Confucianism. This is represented by the Bo and Sai as symbols of law and order.

Shobo [死亡]

The characters/ideograms mean "death; mortality; to die; to pass away." The first character means, "death; die," the second character means, "deceased; the late;   dying; perish." The word shibo-ritsu refers to the death rate; mortality.

Mortality, as youth we tend to not think of this at all except for certain circumstances. We are all invulnerable in our spring and summer years but when fall and winter years arrive mortality tends to come forward into our conscious minds. How does this apply to martial arts? Good question. 

Much like mortality most younger martial artists tend to ignore self-defense fundamentals that actually lead to fights, civil and criminal, and psychological repercussions. Underlying all of that is the potential in any conflict to die. It is there, it is scary and it is ignored for some reason. Are you prepared to go all the way? To either take a life or give up a life? Is this actually a consideration in self-defense? What are the probabilities that one will both encounter violence in life and a life and death decision in a violent encounter?

As I reach my winter years I find that I an confronted by mortality. The aging process does send cues to you that maybe the life you live is not immortal. Every time you walk into harms way for any reason, i.e. as a professional like a police person or as a warrior in the military you deal with mortality. In those cases to ensure that your mortality is addressed properly you must train, train, train and gain experience, experience and more experience. In civilian non-professional life you have to gain the same, i.e. training and experience, but in most cases life and death are not within a probability of happening. But, what if? The what if monkey says it might. Regardless you as an individual have to address this in your training. It matters.

Sho [] bu [] Shobu [諸武]

The character/ideogram for the first word/term means "various; many; several." The character means, "various; many; several; together." The character/ideogram for the second word/term means "the art of war; marital arts; military arts; military force; the sword; valor; bravery; military officer; military man." The character means, "warrior; military; chivalry; arms."

This particular term or character set means, "match; competition" in its usage for Kendo. At one time it also meant a death match between two martial artists. It is misused by karate aficionados as a word describing a form of practice where pre-defined or semi-defined attacks and counter attacks are practiced. There is not definite use definition found in most of the translation systems I use and the meaning conveyed in the various western forums, blogs, etc. are also not forthcoming as to its meaning.

In one instance the youtube video was linked to the word, i.e. the participants in the video were said to be doing shobu, i.e. in an Isshinryu system. I have practiced Isshinryu for thirty-three years and have never before heard the term used in the dojo, training hall or elsewhere. It is also used as "shobu kumite." 

It is also used to denote "tournament kumite" that is considered "full contact" or "hard contact" where the winner must achieve a knockdown, knockout or down twice for a period of time. To me it looks like kickboxing with a lot of force - a bit like brawling, which in and of itself may be beneficial for defense training and I will let more expert authorities determine that benefit if it exists. 

It is theory that this may have been the precursor to such televised matches called MMA, etc. but I cannot speak authoritatively to this aspect or view. 

Another viewpoint is something called "shobu ippon kumite" which is a system whereby one is awarded an ippon for a technique judges as decisive or a move that is clearly in good form and leaves the opponent little to no opportunity to defend against it - seems hinkey to my view. 

This one will remain vague and iffy for me but I include it as a common word/character/ideogram used in the west martial arts. 

Shobu [諸武]

These characters/ideograms combined mean "Morotake - family name." The first and second character still mean the same as I indicated above. 

Shobu [勝負]

The characters/ideograms mean "victory or defeat; match; contest; game; bout," and the first character means, "victory; win; prevail; excel," and the second character means, "defeat; negative; minus; bear; owe; assume a responsibility." 

When explaining tactics and strategies the term is used to express, in martial arts, the importance of not using up the mind and its energies considering either victory or defeat. Both have a negative connotation to the meaning and set unconscious and unrealistic restraints on the need for the mind to remain free, open and clear. We think of "mu" or emptiness or void where we are present, in the moment. The moment where either training and practice achieve their goals or they don't. 

The mind is critical in all combat and leaving shobu outside consideration is important in achieving a state of "mushin."

Shodai [初代]

The characters/ideograms mean "first generation; founder." The first character means, "first time; beginning," the second character means, "substitute; change; convert; replace; period; age; counter for decades of ages, eras, etc.; generation; change; rate; fee."

Shodai or "first generation" is a term used often in my branch of Shorin-ryu, i.e. Isshinryu. It would seem to hold a high level of importance as to relational training and practice of those who trained directly under Isshinryu's founder, Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei. The argument, debate or illusion that somehow training directly under Tatsuo-san provides some mystical insight into Isshinryu or any other system of karate is ludicrous and distracting as to the essence of martial training regardless of the system, style or branch of practice. 

Many of the finest karate-ka I have had the privilege of training with over the years I found to be more rooted and earthly in nature than most so declared "first generation" practitioners as described here.

Shoden [初伝]

The characters/ideograms mean "first teachings." The first character means, "first time; beginning," the second character means, "transmit; go along; walk along; follow; report; communicate; legend; tradition."

Chuden/Chuuden [中段]

The characters/ideograms mean "middle steps; middle grade; half-way up a slope or stairway; landing; center of three (horizontal) columns (of print)." The first character means, "in; inside; middle; mean; center," the second character means, "grade; steps; stairs."

Okuden [奥伝]

The characters/ideograms mean "inner teachings; esoteric." The first character means, "heart, interior," the second character means, "transmit; go along; walk along; follow; report; communicate; legend; tradition."

These terms come from the "koryu" systems of ancient classical/traditional learnings of the martial systems. You will find them in all Japanese arts such as the tea ceremony, music, Noh drama, to flower arrangement. You may find different terminology but the underlying meaning remains the same across all disciplines. 

Shoden is the foundation of all systems ergo why they are called the beginning teachings. These are the foundational supports of the entire system starting from the fundamental principles of all martial systems to the upper and lower singular basic techniques, the kata and the various beginning two-man drills called kumite with and without kata. This is possibly the most critical stage of any martial practitioner (Juji-sha [従事者]). It is were the corner stone to all the following training and teaching require to make a whole, solid and wholehearted system of practice, training and teaching. This seems to be the level where most modern martial system stay and stagnate. This is where newly minted sho-dan disappear from practice and training. The assume they have reached a level of expertise when in reality they have only proved they have the stamina and ability to go into the novice stage reaching for student. 

Chuden is that stage in the middle that build upon the foundation to create the support system for the last stage or level. Much like building the frame for a building that will support the roof and thereby contribute to the whole system that makes the building withstand all that nature can throw at it. It is the level where the juji-sha find the individual unique way of practice and training. This is the stage where the decision is to diverge from either/or personal training and practice or teaching. These are those middle teachings that add to the beginning teachings and lay the blueprints out for the inner teachings, the okuden. This is the level that a few reach for and achieve. The numbers here fall drastically and usually are the fledgling yudansha of Ni-dan and San-dan levels. It is where technical proficiency is fairly strong. This is the level where one goes to a dedicated student and teacher levels. 

Okuden is where we strive for perfection and enlightenment in martial systems, it is the mastery of the system. These are the inner teachings where everything to this level are brought together then the adhesive that binds them permanently into a one wholehearted holistic system is applied. Few reach this level. This is a level of mastery coupled with a certain level of enlightenment that only a very, very few can reach and achieve. This is that stage where spontaneity takes your training and practice beyond and into a expressive, free flowing style of application - in application in life to include conflicts, all aspects.

Shodo [書道]

The characters/ideograms mean "calligraphy." The first character means, "write," and the second character means, "road-way; street; district; course; moral; teachings." 

Calligraphy or the Chinese ideograms are an art form that has influenced China, Okinawa and Japan, both culturally and spiritually. Shodo is the Japanese word for the art of calligraphy while the word "Shufa (Shuu-fah)" is the Chinese term. 

Since China is the source of the characters/ideograms, etc. lets take a look at the definition given by Calligrapher Chan Him of the University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education. He states, "Calligraphy is not a symmetrical arrangement of conventional shapes. It is like the coordinated movements of a skillfully composed dance; movements that include impulse, momentum, momentary poise and the interplay of active forces combined to form a balanced whole." - Chan Him

He goes on the explain that it is the ability and skill of the individual and the writers imagination that give the characters their interesting shape as to the strokes and when composing their beautiful structure  with out redoing, retouching or shading of any kind. It includes a well balanced spacing between the strokes. 

This effort takes a great deal of time and effort and usually begins at a very young age. There are about five thousand ideograms that all have to be memorized. It is this that gave the Japanese their unique culture, beliefs and etiquette. 

This culture, belief and etiquette is part and parcel to the practice of martial arts including the arts from China, Okinawa (karate) and Japan. It is the patterns (kata) and rhythms that infuse the essence of karate, all martial arts. It is the "shikata" that is the driving force of karate practice and training that comes from the influences of the culture and beliefs. 

It was asked of us in Isshinryu to learn of the Okinawan culture and beliefs so we may better understand what it is we practice and train in for it is the spiritual essence of traditional/classical Okinawan Karate-jutsu-do.

Shogeki-teki [衝撃的]

The characters/ideograms mean "devastating; gut-wrenching; shocking;' startling; sensational; astounding; astonishing." The first character means, "collide; brunt; thrust; pierce," the second character means, "beat; attack; defeat; conquer," and the third character means, "bull's eye; mark; target; object."

The word means in this instance "shocking." In the martial arts it refers to the tempering of iron to change it into a harder form, steel. The idea is that this also pertains to humans as well. Humans need to be tested and tempered over and over again much like iron as it is converted to the strength of steel to bring out the best in the person. 

Humans are tested and tempered by both human affairs and events. Human affairs is this means according to the ancient sages those cosmic interactions to the human which is beyond human controls, i.e. lightening and storms, earthquakes, hurricanes all the way down to viruses and bacteria, etc.

It is best to divert these energies in such a wa that results in the least amount of personal harm. The old adage that what does not kill you makes you strong, i.e. rather than allow things to weaken you or discourage you, you let them become lessons that make you stronger and more capable. 

When events occur to you personally and tend to have an immediate impact you look upon them through self-reflection and then bring about self-transmutation by remaining centered both internally and externally, i.e. control emotions and their effects and remain aware of the substantive issues of the event.

"Human beings must be tested and tempered over and over again to bring out the best in them." - Boye LaFayette DeMente "The Chinese Have a Word for It."

Sho-go (also shougou)[称号]

The characters/ideograms mean "teaching titles or degrees; title; name; degree." The first character means, "appellation; praise; admire; name; title; fame," the second character means, "nickname; number; item; title; pseudonym; name; call."

This is a Japanese teaching system (master teaching title-system) for honorific titles bestowed on persons of exemplary character who projects the very best of the martial arts. In Okinawan one would have bestowed on them the title of "bushi" where the meaning is similar to that of the sho-go system, i.e. a Karate Gentleman, i.e. a gentleman of noble character -= a noble karate-man.

Sho-go consists of three honorific titles, i.e. Ren-shi, Kyo-shi and Han-shi. They are often symbolized on the black obi with one, two or three gold stripes. The three titles are based on each individual's knowledge, teaching ability and the outstanding development of character through the study of the karate.

Renshi [錬士

The characters/ideograms mean "a refined, polished expert: held by 6th dan." The fist character means, "tempering; refine; drill; train; polish," the second character means, "gentleman; samurai."

The three titles are based on each individual's knowledge, teaching ability and the outstanding development of character through the study of the karate

Kyoshi [教士

The characters/ideograms mean "a refined, polished teacher: held by 8th dan." The first character means, "teach; faith; doctrine," the second character means, "gentleman; samurai."

The three titles are based on each individual's knowledge, teaching ability and the outstanding development of character through the study of the karate

Hanshi [範士

The characters/ideograms mean "a refined, polished master. fencing master of the top rank (pattern; example; model: gentleman; samurai): held by 9th and 10th dan." The first character means, "pattern; example; model," the second character means, "gentleman; samurai."

Shokkaku [触覚]

The characters/ideograms mean "sense of touch; tactile; tactual." The first character means, "contact; touch; feel; hit; proclaim; announce; conflict," and the second character means, "memorize; learn; remember; awake; sober up." 

Tactual/Tactile/Kinesthetic Principles

As I study the tactual idea of the goku-i I discovered that the words used in the third line also are used when expressing both a hard or soft feeling. These are touch dominant words. 

A soft feeling is described by feathery, fuzzy, limp, silky, soft, and so on while the hard feeling is firm, solid, hard, crispy and tough using just these few words to describe this view.

When we speak of unbalance same as a weight, the touch description is one of a heavy feeling where that same feeling comes just before the fall - so to speak. When we use karate, or practice a martial art, we are required to touch something. We brush up against an opponent. We feel them move and respond accordingly. We strike, we tap, and we pinch a vital point to gain control. We grasp and grab to apply the tactile method - grappling, aikido, judo, etc.

All of these relate to the goku-i as to heart, hard/soft aspects, balance/weight, strikes, directions, sides, seeing, hearing and grasping tactual or tactile - feeling the body movement. When Chinese system practice sticky hands techniques they are applying those tactual/kinesthetic principles that involve touch with balance and body connections. 

In the martial arts we respond to stimuli, i.e. another tactile driven explanation of applying martial arts. This is why touch dominant persons tend to do well in sports or sport like physical activities. Martial Arts are about training us to be responsive to the touch/intent of others

Shokunin [職人

The characters/ideograms mean "craftsman; artisan; worker; mechanic." The first character means, "post; employment; work," the second character means, "person." 

This term was first introduced to me in a documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is a term used to denote that a person has attained a certain level of proficiency in his work, a craftsman. It is a means of saying one has achieved a level of proficiency along with a spirit of a true artisan, a level of pride that shows in one's work.

This can be said of a martial artists who has attained a certain level of proficiency in the system, style or branch martial art. In my view this level is also acknowledged when a person achieves a level of san-dan in karate-goshin-do. Higher levels are to indicate the path toward mastery, i.e. a level of knowledge and wisdom. 

Normally this term is used to tell that a person does his work, the every day work you do for a living that can be employment or teaching a martial art (if you are lucky). It can be adopted to martial arts as well but is not normally one to use as a title like sensei, senpai or kohai, etc.

The essence of meaning here is "spirit." Achieving a true spirit of the karate-ka, a craftsman or artisan of martial arts.

Shokusokugi [触即技]

The characters/ideograms mean "instant touch technique; or touch, feel and go technique." The first character means, "contact; touch; feel; hit; proclaim; announce; conflict," the second technique means, "instant; namely; as is; conform; agree; adapt," the third character means, "skill; art; craft; ability; feat; performance; vocation; arts."

If your touch sensitive or use touch sense mode than you will find this concept easy to understand and practice but if you're a sight or hearing sense person you may find this one a bit touchy. This aspect of the kakie and shokusokugi pair also introduces practitioners to the concept of in-yo or in Chinese yin-yang. 

This is something that teaches a martial artist the proper actions when a person and adversary have that first physical contact. It is the ability and model to teach and learn how to perceive an adversaries intentions by tactual contact alone - by touch. It is a means to sense an impending attack and giving the person a lead in applying a proper counter, etc.

Instant touch technique; or touch, feel and go technique.

See also "Kakie."

Shomen [正面

The characters/ideograms mean "front; frontage; facade; main." The first character means, "correct; justice; righteous," the second character means,  "mask; face; features; surface." 

There are a few definitions provided for the term shomen. First, the martial arts uses the term to designate the front of the dojo where students present themselves using proper etiquette to honor those who are influences to the practice, training and application of martial arts. There is an alternate reading, i.e. matomo [真面 ], with an alternate meaning, honesty; uprightness; directness; decency; normality and the front. Also, in general, it refers in martial arts to a frontal technique used or applied to an adversaries head. This term is used in Aikido, Japanese and Okinawan karate, Kendo, etc. 

Shomen is the front of the dojo, as determined by proper feng shui ([風水] in Japanese the term is "fuusui" meaning Chinese geomancy; feng shui), where either a Butsudan [仏壇] (household Buddhist alter) or Kamidana [神棚] (Shinto shrine) may be placed along with the Dojo Kun, Kenpo Gokui, Picture Scrolls, or pictures of Deceased Masters. Other pictures of living or deceased may be posted or sayings to inspire may also be placed at the front wall of the dojo.

Master Shimabuku also lived in his dojo so had a Buddhist household altar called a Butsudan at his Shomen.

Many traditional dōjō follow a prescribed pattern with shomen ("front") and various entrances that are used based on student and instructor rank laid out precisely. Typically students will enter in the lower-left corner of the dōjō (in reference to the shomen) with instructors in the upper right corner. Shomen typically contains kamidana—an area for a Shintō shrine and other artifacts.

The shinzen [神前] is place at that wall (meaning before god; before an altar) known as the shomen (true face) or front of the dojo. Kamiza ([上座] meaning chief seat; seat of honor) or Shinza ([神座] meaning place where there is a god or spirit; place containing the sacred object of a shrine) is the seat of honor  which is usually a sitting place at the front of the dojo. The tokonoma ([床の間] meaning alcove where art or flowers are displayed) is the recessed alcove containing the kamidana containing some spiritual token.

Shomenmoku [真面目

The characters/ideograms mean "one's true character; one's true self; oneself; seriousness; earnestness." The first character means, "true; reality; Buddhist sect," the second character means, "mask; face; features; surface," the third character means, "eye; class; look; insight; experience; care; favor."

Martial arts in the realm of the more esoteric principles must be approached with honesty, diligence and earnestness. The martial arts taken and practiced as intended with full use of the universal fundamental principles will bring out the true self by allowing the practitioner to see behind the masks that reside on the surface of all outward appearances to we can see our true selves, our true reality to achieve self-improvement. 

This actually leads us to embrace and master many of the principles such as zanshin, oneness, etc. thereby connecting the entire spectrum of principles to achieve the oneness of the system, oneness of true character and oneness of true self.

Shomei-sho [証明書]

The characters/ideograms mean "credentials; certificate (usually of proof of something)." The first character means, "evidence; proof; certificate," the second character means, "bright; light," the third character means, "write." 

Shomei-sho, or credentials. What actually constitutes shomei-sho for martial arts? Yes, it may be simply a certificate which in ancient times equated to a teaching certificate or a conveying of the entire teaching system from master to disciple but in reality what is it and what is its value?

Credentials are what westerners first desire to view and review and verify before they will "believe" one has proficiency in any discipline. We look to the source of those credentials such as the university systems for education where local colleges take a lower level of importance than say a major prestigious university such as Duke University or MIT or Harvard, etc.

Do these certificates and level of perception as to "being prestigious" actually mean that the individual warrants the same perception? No, even a person of high regard as to university credentials can still be a psychopath, a very educated psychopath but still a psychopath.  

Shomei-sho in karate goshin-do, what would be considered adequate credentials for a Sensei or even a proficient practitioner. This is and will be a debatable issue as long as it is not fully accepted as an art or discipline like other art systems. It becomes even more important when one seeks out training in self-defense. 

Do we take advertisements and testimonials as credentials? We do, often and with sometimes disastrous results when someone is confronted with violent attacks. 

Does the west require some larger entity to state that some discipline or art or way is valid and prestigious in its teachings and practices, i.e. like a governmental agency or some large body of considered and accepted by the majority entity? 

I tend to turn inwards when it comes to credentials and that one is accepted regardless and until they prove one way or the other their expertise and proficiency on "the dojo floor." That set of credentials and validation does not need anything more than the efforts of the individual. The question then comes as to acceptance by the two primary participants, i.e. the Sensei and the Deshi or the Senpai or Kohai, etc. It is the one discipline that requires one to demonstrate in actions and deeds their level of proficiency every single time they meet and train or practice with another person.

Shoshin [初心]

The two characters/ideograms mean "original intention; initial resolution." The first character means, "first time; beginning," and the second character means, "heart; mind; spirit." It infers one who can maintain a child's mind that is innocent; a bit naive; inexperienced; unsophisticated allowing the mind to absorb all information regardless and then through polishing of the spirit they achieve a data-bank that the mind can access and retrieve instinctively for action.

A beginner's mind. It is an attitude where all preconceptions are left outside the dojo doors. It is a means by which practitioners keep the mind open and receptive to all things even when it flies in the face of their beliefs and cultural perceptions. This allows one to achieve knowledge unblemished and unmark by either the individuals perceptions and those perceptions of others. It is derived from the study of Buddhism and Zenism. 

The closer we can achieve true beginner's mind the greater our capacity to see, hear and touch the many possibilities of martial practice and training, not to forget the spiritual side of the coin.

Shoshin [所信

The characters/ideograms mean "belief; conviction; opinion." The first character means, "place," the second character means, "faith; truth; fidelity; trust." 

It is amazing what things are crafted from mere words, how beliefs can form from books. It may be due to how people WANT to believe in these things. Not everyone wants to believe the truth. Then there is the whole subject (subjective nature) of truth. 

It has been said that the truth of history is one sided, the side that wins in war. War being a part of human evolution in societies. Belief has been the spark of many such wars from religion to political. 

Beliefs are influenced by words but the words have not substance without the underlying communications of the body, i.e. the face, as well as the tone or intonation of the voice. They all work in unison to convey words and those words make up the beliefs held dear to each person. 

Want is huge in this perception. How one might discover things about another and then form the words to persuade a person to believe in something even when the truth of it is not truth. It is incredible how a belief can lie to someone for the sake of comfort and security. We all want to be safe and survive so that belief becomes an intricate part of that survival. 

Once a belief becomes encoded in each human changing that belief becomes impossible except in the rarest of situations. It can be forced and over time those who follow tend to lose site of the fact that it was forced upon them so they then embrace a new belief - this takes time, a lot of time.

As a martial practitioner who embraces all aspects of the principles involved in the practice of the art it becomes necessary to have only one belief system, one that allows for changes in each and every moment of life and breath. This is not an easy belief to embrace because humans resist naturally and instinctively any change of a belief that is proven beneficial toward comfort, security and survival. This belief system will take time to achieve even for one lifetime.

Shoshinsha Kokoro [初心者心]

The characters/ideograms mean "beginner mind." The first character means, "first time; beginning," the second and fourth character means, "heart; mind; spirit," the third character means, "someone; person."

This is used in martial systems as a means of symbolizing a beginner's mind or an empty mind. The meaning is to inspire a person to always approach training and practice with an open mind as devoid of assumptions, presuppositions and preconceptions as possible. No human can remove all things from their mind but a shoshinsha kokoro spirit will remove as much influence as possible allowing for change and open-mindedness to achieve growth within a martial system.

Shototsu o yokeru [衝突を避ける]

The characters/ideograms mean "avoid conflict." The first character means, "collide; brunt; highway; opposition (astronomy); thrust; pierce; stab; prick," the second character means, "stab; protruding; thrusting; thrust; pierce; prick," and the third character means, "evade; avoid; avert; ward off; shirk; shun." 

This term is important or rather the phrase because it speaks toward avoidance of conflicts. I expand on this for martial arts for this art of avoiding conflict becomes more critical in the teachings of martial system especially in regard to defense, both in general as to violence and especially toward the legal aspects attached after.

You need to know about force, violence, violent people, the effects of violence, the follow up to violence and all that it entails. You cannot get all this in one post or one sitting and this knowledge can be critical to your ability to avoid things including conflict.

If you don't know what to avoid then how can you avoid conflicts? If you don't know what to avoid how can you or your Sensei create a path that teaches you how to handle conflicts - way before physical intervention is required or even necessary. 

Shuhari [守破離]

This term is defined by separating the three characters, i.e. the word, into three parts, i.e. "shu," "ha," and "ri." Note, that the number three is significant in the ancient classics, i.e. I Ching, etc. 

The standard definition of the character/ideograms are, "Shuhari; three stages of learning mastery: the fundamentals, breaking with tradition, parting with traditional wisdom." The first character means, "guard; protect; defend; obey," the second means, "rend; rip; tear; break; destroy; defeat; frustrate," and the last character means, "detach; separation; disjoin; digress."

Overall, for me, the standard definition says it all. Most of the western world seems, to my view, stuck in "shu stage or level." They work diligently on the fundamentals of the system or branch and then attach a dogmatic doctrine whereby the practitioners is taught that to deviate from this level is taboo and disrespectful to the founder of the system and/or branch. They are taught that to remain diligent and dogmatic adherence to what the master taught is a wholehearted way of practice. I disagree.

To transcend your Sensei is a means of honoring that Sensei and all those who came before. To reach a level of competence in the fundamentals where the ability to "break with tradition" seems a natural means of advancing toward enlightenment in the system, i.e. both physically and mentally. Think where the martial arts would be today if the likes of Jigoro Kana and Morihei Ueshiba had remained dogmatically attached to the way they were originally taught the systems that gave birth to both Judo and Aikido.

Ri or parting with traditional wisdom to my view is the stage that transcends the original culturally driven philosophy of the founder and system, i.e. both the traditional one that laid the foundation and the one created by the individual that provides the yin to the yang making it a whole and modernized form of practice and training. 

Shu-ha-ri is the expression of the individual and if that translates back into a wholehearted and polished system as it did for Judo, Aikido and Isshinryu then you could say they achieved shuhari!

Shubi-tekina ugoki [守備的な動き]

The characters/ideograms/phrase means "defensive move." The first character means, "guard; protect; defend; obey," the second character means, "equip; provision; preparation," the third character means, "bull's eye; mark; target; object," the fourth character means, "move; motion; change; confusion; shift; shake." 

Get out of the habit of saying attack or attacking, etc. Get into the habit of talking in a defensive mode. Use the words "defensive move." You don't want to use aggressive words to describe your self-defense situation especially in a court room, both criminal and civil. You want as much defensive terms as necessary to convey to to everyone including witnesses that your acted in a defensive manner. 

Shudan-ryoku [集団力]

The characters/ideograms mean "group dynamics; collective force." The first character means, "gather; meet; congregate; swarm; flock," and the second character means, "group; association," and the third character means, "power; strength; strong; strain; bear up; exert."

The Chinese believed and lived according to nature's way, i.e. the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth changed the tides and in turn those same forces influenced the tides of human actions, affairs and lives. This collective force is called "shi" in Chinese and Shudan-ryoku in Japanese. To acquire the ability to experience and work with this energy or force  is by successfully achieving a high level of self-discipline. 

The second element to achieve this power is through achieving the ability to empty the mind, wu-wei or mushin. This opens the mind to receive the flow of energy from the cosmic forces, the universe or some refer to as "nature." You use this force or energy and focus it on you goals and the activities to attain those goals. It is both an internal and external shudan-ryoku. 

In order to take advantage to nature's power or collective force is to gain knowledge of, and compatibility with, the current social, political and economic forces of your environment. It also takes communications of such a nature that you can bridge the reality gaps between you and others, i.e. communicate clearly with family, friends and others. 

To gain the most out of shudan-ryoku one must also achieve goals through leadership and a powerful vision that will attract others to you and help you maintain that vision in the face of all life's roadblocks, obstacles and setbacks.

Shukei [集計]

The characters/ideograms mean "aggregation; tally; totalization." The first character means, "gather; meet; congregate; swarm; flock," the second character means, "plot; plan; scheme; measure."      

Aggregate: Formed or calculated by the combination of many separate units or items; total; formed of separate units gathered into a mass or whole;

Aggregate or shukei is a teaching term often overlooked, ignored or forgotten for the immediacy of instant gratification felt when one reaches to the good stuff in martial arts practice and training. Another way to view this is taking a more whole system and break it up into individual parts, i.e. take a holistic model and break down into a separate atomistic model.

In the effort to teach optimally we break things down into its various parts so that the mind can encode them but we then must reassemble them back, i.e. aggregate or "", into a more holistic form, a whole which is the function of aggregation or shukei, i.e. the formation of the many separate atomistic units or parts back to a total formed holistic whole.

Shunkan [瞬間]

The characters/ideograms mean "moment; second; instant; present moment." The first character means, "wink; blink; twinkle," the second character means, "interval; space."

The present moment is the only moment we have in life. Once it is gone the moment is passed and the next moment is present and the future moment does not yet exist. A conundrum. A Zen Koan if you will. 

When we humans have to deal with the constant monkey chatter of the mind especially in this industrialized era we tend to chatter away on things that seem important yet are not really as important as the present moment. 

What is missed when we create a mind-connection to things past and possible futures. This is something martial artists consider every single time they enter the dojo and every moment of every day when the chatter subsides, if it subsides. When do we focus intently and in context to what is happening in life at the very moment it is experienced.

A martial artist tries to train toward present moment mind allowing the instinctual training of reality act without the mind's interference of monkey chatter, i.e. can I beat this adversary; will I get hurt; will I go to jail; will I get sued; and so on or I can beat this guy; I will not be sued; I won't get hurt, i.e. mind chatter that takes up the minds energies leaving very little to act in a difficult conflict. There is no space, void, emptiness that will allow your training to achieve its ultimate goals through trained strategies and tactics. 

Take out the garbage and leave an empty space for the present moment and allow things to happen as planned. Read more ....

Shunen [執念]

The characters/ideograms mean "tenacity; implacability." The first character means, "tenacious; take hold; grasp; take to heart," the second character means, "wish; sense; idea; thought; feeling; desire; attention."

Shunen or tenacity is speaking toward the worst nightmare of anyone, even a martial artists. A truly tenacious adversary will not yield to all but the worst pain and the sole goal is their victory, i.e. to do enough damage to you to get what they seek from you be it money, pride, status or you life. It is an intensity that is unparalleled in any situation and is not easily trained in any dojo. 

It is a quality where one can not easily define or teach it. It is not giving up until you are dead. It is the tenacity that causes you to overcome any and all adversities and to keep reaching toward a goal, regardless of what damage you may take. The martial artists must develop the type of intensity to apply the proper vigor and power that they deliver in each and every technique, but in a calculated and  collected manner. It is using intensity to you advantage vs. depending solely on intensity to carry the load for you. 

A martial artist must develop a "calculated intensity." A state of outward calm and actions that are guided by a cold passion. Not anger but rather a strength in our emotions so actions are stronger, more intense, but do not interfere with our ability to use the OODA to our advantage. We use our emotions and their power to our advantage and keep them from taking hold and controlling the martial artist like anger or fear tend to do.

Doggedness; persistent determination; tenacity; tenaciousness along with shunen all describe a certain trait or attitude that takes a person beyond normal endurances. Being shunen or tenacious is to persist in maintaining, adhering to, or seek something valued or desired therefore a great description of one who seeks out and remains steadfast in training, practice and application of disciplines such as martial arts, self defense and self improvement. 

This is one of those traits that sets one apart from being another sheep or being a sheepdog. It is what sets most military and civil professionals apart from the general masses.  

Seiryoku [勢力]

The characters/ideograms mean "influence; power; might; strength; potency; force; energy." The first character means, "forces; energy; military strength," and the second character means, "power; strength; strong; strain; bear up; exert."

Force, in the marital arts the final tactic in self-protective measures is the use of force. Does the system teach the practitioner when and how to apply force and to what degree to achieve the overall goal of stopping the damage. I am not promoting physical interventions but rather the last resort, the use of force. Avoidance is the best and achievable goal but when that fails what force is necessary and to what degree.

To be a martial artist and apply those skills properly and within the laws of society, legally and morally, there is a huge amount of information/knowledge a practitioner must know. They must then apply that knowledge. Knowing and applying are two different things and a martial artist must bridge that gap before it is to late. Practice, practice, practice of reality based strategies, tactics and techniques. There is no other way. 

Force is so complex that I recommend starting by study of what force is and how it is viewed by society and the law. It is complex and convoluted but there are fundamental sources that can get the academic aspects started and will lead you to the sources or experts to assist in applying the academic to the applications. 

Sogai [阻害]

The characters/ideograms mean "inhibition; obstruction." The first character means, "thwart; separate from; prevent; obstruct; deter; impede," the second character means, "harm; injury." 

In martial arts one shall find sogai a detriment to applying their craft in a defense or combative situation. A person's inhibitions will hurt them far faster than anything. Being self-conscious results in the inability to act and to further exacerbate the situation it also removes the ability to remain more relaxed and to move in a natural way. It can be either a voluntary or involuntary restraint one puts on themselves and can hinder a more direct expression or action of our instincts regarding survival. 

Overcoming sogai should be an integral part of training, practice and the application of all aspects of defense. This means you have to remain aware of and within the boundaries of the rules, i.e. the legal and medical ramifications of using martial arts. It speaks toward the importance of the entire spectrum that includes avoidance and deescalation before the physical implementation of martial arts or any other physical method of defense.

Soji [掃除]

The characters/ideograms mean "cleaning; sweeping." The first character means, "sweep; brush," the second character means, "exclude; division (x/3); remove; abolish; cancel; except."

A mostly lost form of etiquette that comes from a more traditional/classical practice of martial arts. It is the expectation that all members of the dojo will clean before and after training. It helps instill pride for the dojo. One cleans the floors, mirrors, and all equipment, etc.

The form it takes in a traditional dojo involves all ranks including sensei, etc. to take clean cloths that are dipped in buckets of clean water then starting at one end and crossing the entire floor in a position of equal-ness and humility teaching a practitioner that regardless of status and rank we are all the same level in the human circle thus keeping humble in our efforts.

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