Budo is something that can not be taught

Soke has often said that Budo is something that can not be taught. Well what does this mean? Many people think that if it can not be taught, it can not be learned. However that is not true. Budo can be learned, but budo is not taught in the conventional sense of step 1,2,3.

This is a hard concept for many people to grasp. However, we have to understand why. Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is a Japanese art. Japanese art is very different from western arts such as wrestling and boxing. Not only are the techniques different, but the philososphy is different as well. When studying Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, one should study with the source as much or whenever possible (Soke). We should also study with those who have the most experience with him (Nagato, Noguchi, Oguri, Senno).

Nagato Sensei once told me that is important to train with him. He said this because, Nagato Sensei is like a translator for Soke. Instead of translating words, he is translating movement. Soke is light years beyond the Shitenno, and the foreign Shihan are even further behind them. However, when we keep our ties or train with the Shitenno this gives us a glimpse into Soke’s mind. We all have different experiences, and I can only speak for mine.

Another thing about Japanese budo, is that it is Japanese! It seems pretty obvious, but how many people really try to learn the language and culture of Japan to better understand the art. Although you do not have to be Japanese to understand Budo, the more experience you have with the language and culture, the further you will get along in the art.

I usually suggest to people who really want to understand Soke and the Bujinkan, to move to Japan for a year or so. If you move to Japan and live like the Japanese (speaking, eating, reading, riding the train) etc, you will find that another universe or dimensional will open up in your training.

If you can not make this huge sacrifice, then I suggest that you study with someone who has. There are more people moving back from Japan, and although everyone is different, one thing is the same. Most of them all have the common thread Japanese movement. There is really no such thing as good or bad. We are all trying our best to learn this art. Many of us make the sacrifice to go to Japan yearly, and sometimes we can even make more than one trip. But why should your training end with that trip?

Now that there are more people moving back from Japan, try to study with those people even if it is only once a month. You do not have to wait for a seminar, or a Japan trip. In-between the trips and seminars, you can still get a taste of Japan. This does not mean that you should leave your teacher. Many people get the wrong idea, and think that they need to leave their teacher when someone “better” comes in the area. However, there is no such thing as better or worse, the only thing that exists is the truth. So if you can take time to go to another dojo to experience the Japan feeling, do so. There is nothing wrong with that.

We are all on our own path, and like I said before everyone’s path is different. Many people train with each other after coming back from Japan. However there are even more opportunities out there for all of us. At our dojo this year, we are hosting Duncan Stewart, Paul Masse and Pete Reynolds Jay Zimmerman, and Rafael Franco.

Gambatte Kudasai!

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