Musha Shugyou (One’s own training)


I was speaking to two good friends of mine, and they said that no one showed up to their dojo this week  for the first day of training. I was very surprised to hear this, and I asked them why. They told me that one or two of the students let them know ahead of time, but the rest of them never called or emailed these instructors. This type of behavior is unacceptable. Many people call themselves Budoka. Budoka means one who studies Budo. However, how much commitment is being put into the dojo by these Budoka. This is something we all have to think about. When I lived in Japan, I trained as much as possible. However, we have to have balance in our lives. Therefore, we can not train 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Yet, as Budoka our training comes first. We as instructors do not expect our students to read every book, watch every video, or make every seminar. However, we do expect Budoka, to live their life accordingly. We train 3 days a week at my dojo, and two of my shidoshi each teach one class a week. Just about every class I teach, everyone makes it all of the time. Of course there are things that come up, but as Budoka training comes first. What I mean by this, is that you have to schedule your life around your training. Most places only train twice a week. Twice a week for 2 hours a class is not that much time when compared to the other 164 hours left in the week. So as Budoka, we need to make sure that we train consistanly every week. If you know that you have something to do for Thursday, try to get it done on Wednesday, so that you can make it to Thursday’s class. Your family, the weather, money, or time, does not affect a Budoka. You can not be a part time Budoka. A Budoka is one who lives his life according to the teachings of the martial arts. This is one of the biggest problems I see in America today. There are too many commerical dojos. Money is more important to some than the benefits of training properly. Think about this: everytime you are not in your dojo, you take money away from the dojo. Everytime you are in the dojo you put money in. The dojo is a place where a Budoka studies the martial arts. Therefore it is very important for each and every person in the dojo to contribute time, money, etc.. to the dojo. This will ensure that the dojo stays open for the Budoka. One can not call himself a Budoka unless they live their life accordingly. So if you only train two days a week, and never go to a seminar, that is fine. However, you should be in the dojo those two days a week without fail. Many people complain that the guy who started after them recieves more rank, or is given more attention. One must understand that a teacher is only going to put his energy into those who want to learn. Students also complain about their individual growth as well. Oftentimes, these are the same people who do not show up to class consistanly, and these are the same people who never train on their own.


 I would like to share with you a little bit about my experience on how I trained on my own.  When I first started studying the basics from Kamioka-Shihan, I would visit him 2-3 times a month and trained with him about 3 hours each time. We went over all the basics to include rolling, dakentaijutsu, Ashi Sabaki, etc… Kamioka-san told me to stretch every day in order to become more flexible. When I started this art, I could not even sit in seiza. After one year, I became more flexible and Kamioka-san told me to stretch twice a day. I have been doing this every day for the past six years now. Flexability in the hips are especially important for this art. This is only one way I used to study on my own. I also used to practice everything that I learned from Kamioka-san’s classes the day or week before, every morning, and sometimes every night. I worked as a cop, and sometimes we had to do security. We usually were guarding aircrafts on the flight line. I would do this for 12 hours at a time. Some nights, I would practice my basics while I was out there. Danny Parks and I used to meet up together on the flight line and train together as well. I even used to bring a bokken or jo with me, and practiced there as well. Amongst all the physical training I did on my own, I also studied the Japanese language and culture as well. So there is a lot a Budoka must do, to truely become good. However, all the dojo expects from you is to show up when there is class. There can be no excuses. I love people who think that they can be successful as a Budoka, but their lives are all screwed up.


The levels of the Bujinkan rank also represent stages in one’s life. When one reaches the godan and then the judan ranks, he must be in a similiar or equivalent position in life. This is the relationship between the Martial Arts, and life.  However, many people come up with every excuse in the world. If you want to be successful in life, train hard. If you want to be a good Budoka, live a good life. Please try to understand what is written here, and change your life. Become a better person as well as better Budoka, because they are one in the same. There are no excuses. There is just truth. Either you are Budoka, or you are not. The level to which you commit your life to martial arts, is up to you. However, you should at least show up to training everyweek. The more you train, the better your skill level will increase. The more you train the less stress is put on the dojo and your teacher, and yourself. The dojo will always be there. Can you say the same about yourself? The path of Budo is as long as the path of your life. You have lots of time to grow and understand what it is that you are doing. Therefore, show up to class regulary and train hard.


Chris Carbonaro

Bujinkan Shihan

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