Shihan Henderson Awarded 6th Dan In Shorinjiryu Kenkokan

Shihan Henderson-formal-300It is with great honor that The International Budo Institute Announce that Shihan Dr. Jeffrey Henderson was awarded 6th Dan in Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo from So Shihan Masayuki Kudaka at the London International Koshiki Tournament held in London, Ontario in July, 2017. Shihan Henderson was presented along with Shihan Paul Jackman of Ken Nin Kai, the host of the tournament.

 

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2016 Canadian Koshiki Tournament

The International Budo Institute would like to congratulate its student David Migneault for having placed 3rd in Kata and 2nd in Lightweight Shiai at the recent 2016 Canadian Koshiki Tournament held in Toronto Canada on December 10th, 2016.

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Shihan Henderson (L), Sensei Steve Jackman (L-C), David Migneault (C), Shihan Paul Jackman (R-C), Shihan Philippe Nadeau (R)

Are You A Paddle Or An Anchor?

japanese-river-boat-arishayama-600Your Karatedo or Budo life is similar to that of a boat on the open water. The boat floats across the water moving across the sea or down the river. On the sea it may encounter calm weather or turbulent waves. On the river the going might be smooth or you might hit rapids or rocks.

On every boat there is a Captain and that position is similar to the position of the Sensei. The Captain tries to steer the boat across the sea or down the river as safely as possible so that his crew may arrive at their destination without harm. The crew listens to the experience of the Captain who typically has many years of service behind him. Similarly, the Sensei in the dojo tries to instruct his students so that they may arrive farther down the way of development without too much harm. The students recognizing the experience of the Sensei act diligently in following his orders. 

However, in this boat of life we have some who act more as an anchor on the boat than that of an oarsman. In order to have the boat arrive at its destination the Captain must rely on all to contribute to the good functioning of the ship. Similarly, in order to provide the lessons within the dojo the Sensei must rely on all students to contribute to the proper functioning of the dojo.

Knowing that we are a member of this ship we know implicitly whether or not we are contributing or detracting from the well-fair of the crew. We know whether we are adding value or if we require undue attention. Requiring undue attention means that we take extra resources away from the mission of the ship and from our shipmates. It ends up being self-serving and selfish behavior. We act as an anchor dragging and slowing down the ship.

Though the above example of a lazy crew member in a boat or ship is easily understood by everyone, it seems that many students come to the dojo and are happy to be an anchor. They show up with lazy intent. They do not listen to the Sensei. They fool around and are not attentive to the lessons of the day. Moreover, they do not contribute in a positive fashion to moving everyone forward in the dojo. The student acts as an anchor and drag on the mission of the dojo.

What every ship, and every dojo, requires is for everyone to be contributing and moving the group forward. Each member of the ship or dojo should be an active oarsman putting needed strength behind the levers that help to move the dojo forward through collective energy.

So it is important to look at your effort and to see honestly if you are contributing or if your are detracting from the mission. Are you a paddle adding extra energy or are you an anchor dragging down the forward momentum. It is important for every member of the dojo to understand that similar to the environment of a ship a lazy member not only provides little effort they actually take energy away from the crew, the same as if there was an anchor dragging behind the boat.

In the boat of life do not be an anchor. Choose to be a paddle: a strong oarsman who adds value with your effort. Move your shipmates forward. Add benefit to your Captain. If you focus on this basic principle your voyage in the martial arts will see more calm waters than turbulent seas.

First Spiritual Training

This is a cross post from the permanent page found at: Home / Bubishido Monks / Spiritual Training

First Spiritual Teaching: 12 Day Routine – Gratitude

The 12 day routine consist of kata practice for 12 days in a row each morning repeating the same kata 12 times. It is important that the same kata is practiced each day throughout the routine in order to open the door for insight and gratitude. Non-karate practitioners can replace the typical karate kata with other forms. This routine takes approximately 45 – 60 minutes to complete depending on the length of the kata chosen. Many Sensei teach younger students that when practicing kata the student should complete the kata at least 12 times in order for learning to take place. It is in this spirit that the First Teaching is designed. Any less than this and the student will not consolidate even the basic elements of the kata teaching thereby preventing the cultivation of spiritual understanding. This level is considered the beginner or entry level teaching and is simply meant to move the student towards a sustained practice manageable to all. A sense of gratitude for having been provided with the essential teaching that enables one to improve the physical, mental and spiritual natures should be contemplated. As with all the training illustrated herein, it should be started before dawn so that the body can feel the energy of the new day. This training is available to all practitioners.

  • Preparation: Wake-up before dawn;
  • Meal Preparation: Eat a very light snack: light soup or yogurt;
  • Entrance: Enter the Dojo and bow to Shomen.
  • Spiritual Preparation: Complete Candle Meditation for 5 minutes as spiritual warm-up. Practitioners should meditate on the importance of maintaining appreciation and gratitude for their study and for the teachings being made available to them;
  • Physical Preparation: Bubishido Yoga Sun Salutations, circumambulations of the dojo or other routine;
  • Integration: Kata Practice – Same Kata repeated 12 times each day;
  • Completion: Candle Meditation and/or Corpse Pose for 5 minutes;
  • Exit: Bow to Shomen 3 times in gratitude and exit the Dojo.

Shihan Henderson Awarded 5th Dan In Kenkokan

Shihan Dr. Henderson was recently awarded 5th Dan, Kengo, in Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo by Hanshi Hisataka along with the Koshiki Teaching License by Shihan Masamitsu Kudaka. Shihan Henderson wishes to give special thanks to Hanshi Hisataka and Shihan Masamitsu Kudaka for all their help in his training and continual progress. Also, a very special thank you to Shihan Paul Jackman for his continued support of Dr. Henderson’s efforts. The videos below show Hanshi Masayuki Hisataka (Kudaka) and Shihan Masamitsu Kudaka presenting Shihan Dr. Henderson at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo, Japan.

 

Namekata Presentation

Shihan Namekata, Chairman of the Board of Examiners, presents Dr. Henderson with the Go-dan certificate.

 

Shihan Namekata prepares the Sake !

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The Easy Part !

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Sensei Michael Coleman Participates In The Celebration !

Interview With Sensei Tetsutaka Sugawara

An interesting interview concerning Budo with Sensei Tetsutaka Sugawara from Katori Shinto Ryu.

He was born in Hokkaido in 1941. In 1960, he began Aikido at the Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, under O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido. In 1961, he became uchideshi under O-Sensei at the Ibaraki Dojo.

In 1964, he returned to Tokyo and entered Chuo University. In 1973, he established Minato Research and Publishing Co. (currently Sugawara Martial Arts Institute, Inc.) In 1975, he entered the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu receiving the ‘kyoshi’ instructor’s license in 1986.

April 1992, introduced Aikido to Shanghai Institute of Physical Education, Beijing University of Medical Science. November 1992, received Kyoshi-license of Okinawan Goju-ryu Karatedo by Yasuichi Miyagi. June 1993, introduced Aikido to Wuhan Institute of Physical Education, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medical Science in China. May 1995, received Aikido 7th Dan by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Introduced Aikido to Chengdu Institute of Physical Education in China. Received the Lecturer’s License of Shanghai Institute of P.E. He is currently visiting 12 countries teaching Aikido and Katori Shinto Ryu.

Training Symposium In Japan July-2016

The International Budo Institute is happy to announce a training symposium at the Taiikukan dojo in Niigata, Japan. The training session will be from 18-July-2016 through 22-July-2016. All interested parties are welcome to come and participate. The symposium is open to all practitioners of Shorinjiryu and members of The Institute. 

Register-Now-400

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TRAINING: There are three (3) training sessions per day: morning (2 hours), afternoon (3 hours) and evening (2 hours). Participants will be able to train for 35 hours in total in polishing their techniques.

COST: The cost of the training symposium is $250 US. Participants must make their own arrangements for travel to the venue.

HOTEL: A hotel has been reserved on a first come first served basis. The hotel is located 5 minutes from the dojo and is a traditional Japanese hotel. The room rate is $80 US per night and includes 3 meals each day. The hotel is located at: 656 Ubashima shinden, Minami Uonuma, Niigata, Japan.

 

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EQUIPMENT: The dojo will make every effort to provide equipment for the participants. However, participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment. Please note that only Japanese Iaito (Japanese made training swords) are allowed to be brought into Japan and you will be required to show proof or origin. Participants should bring their Karate Gi and Kendo training jacket along with a pair of blue or black Hakama. For new students we may arrange to have these available at the venue upon your arrival.

Naginata, Kendo, Jo

5 Lessons Of The Empty Hand-Gokyo

By: Dr. Henderson, Shihan

In 1991, I had the pleasure of visiting the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Hombu dojo in Tokyo for a short visit while touring Japan. While there I had the good fortune to meet with Shihan Des Paroz from Australia and formed a relationship that has lasted through the years. The Hombu dojo and Japan in general was a very new experience for someone from North America whose only other travel had thus far been to Europe. The sounds and the sights were all very different and it had an interesting effect of heightening the senses trying to take in all the new information from this seemingly strange environment.

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Meeting Sensei Masayuki Hisataka in Japan and seeing the Hombu was a joy. I had previously met him in Montreal at the Dawson College Kentokukuan dojo in the mid 1980s. During my short stay in Japan, I would be able to spend a few classes training under Sensei Hisataka and getting a feeling for the difference in his approach and the variation due to the environment.

After the warm-ups of the first class were completed and as we began kata practice Sensei Hisataka approached me and asked an important question that all Karateka ask themselves at some point in time when considering kata practice. He asked: “What is your favorite kata”? Having a sense of propriety and considering that it was my favorite kata in any case I responded with “Naihanchin”. With this Sensei Hisataka asked that I demonstrate the kata for him so that he could evaluate. Naturally, without hesitation I bowed and began the kata and completed the first side after which he stopped me. As a recent Shodan I nervously waited for his comments.

At this point, Sensei Hisataka gave an agreeable look and then proceeded to tell me to replace all the horse stances in the kata with reverse cat stances. As you can imagine, as a recent Shodan I found this very perplexing. Firstly, I had always done Naihanchin kata with horse stances and replacing them with reverse cat stances felt very weird. Was Sensei Hisataka in his right mind, I thought to myself. My thought process continued that there was a correct and an incorrect stance to use in the kata and replacing the correct stance (horse stance) with an incorrect stance (reverse cat stance) just didn’t make any sense to me. Nonetheless, I continued with the exercise until the kata section of the training was ended. Once ended, I filed the exercise in my mind. Within a week’s time I was traveling again around Japan on my own with a million new distractions and diversions to attend to and the kata lesson was quickly forgotten.

Timeless Lesson

After returning from Japan back to Canada I continued my Karatedo training and also began my professional career. The years passed by and success came both professionally and in the martial arts. The experience at the Hombu dojo remained with me as a special event and unknown to me the lesson that Sensei Hisataka had requested of me would be the start of a deeper understanding of kata training and Karatedo training in general that I would only come to understand sometime in the future.

The Right Technique

When we start our Karatedo training we are looking for definitive answers from our teachers. Our Senseis are the fountainheads of martial arts knowledge and when we are stumped we look to them for guidance and exactitude. At a young age the world is often seen as black or white and we expect the same kind or classification within the martial arts. When studying kata we expect to be told which technique goes where. When we don’t know or more likely when we have forgotten we run to our Sensei and ask for clarification which is usually quick and satisfies our need to know, any confusion is quickly erased and replaced with certainty. Moreover, when we take part in competitions the judges deduct points for the wrong technique at the wrong time. Both the certainty of the Sensei and the rules of the kata competition reinforce within us the understanding that there is definitely a correct technique for a correct moment within the confines of a particular kata and it is our job to learn the timing and occurrence of those correct techniques.

Kata Variation: Speed Versus Power

As I grew in my own karatedo and kata training, I started to teach my own students how to modify the katas that they were studying in order to see new aspects of the learning. At first, this modification would focus around varying the speed of the kata: fast versus slow. Next, it would focus on varying the power of the techniques within the kata: hard versus soft. Lastly, it would focus on the amount of space being used to execute the techniques of the kata: large versus small. Varying the kata’s emphasis along these attributes I believed showed the practitioner that kata was not something carved in stone or immutable. Kata is a living thing something that is mutable by the practitioner and something that can become and reveal new understandings depending on how the kata was interpreted and executed.

Some of my contemporaries, such as Shihan Max Mastrocola, remember my teaching of “Hotel” kata. This was in response to students who would complain that when they traveled they could not train kata because they would not have enough space. My response would be that you only need a 5 foot by 5 foot space and I would show them how to complete a kata not moving off of one spot. Only needing one spot for the kata one can train in the smallest of hotel rooms! Up until this point the variation in the kata training focused on speed, power and distance. The actual techniques within the kata were not modified.

This point in time in my teaching career with respect to kata lessons can be represented by the graphic below where the practitioner places themselves on the graph with respect to the two attributes of: power and speed. The graph then illustrates whether the techniques are predominately masculine or feminine along with the resulting level of stamina or endurance that can be expected if that combination of power and speed were to be maintained. Thus, the graph is both descriptive as well as prescriptive in so far as it can be used as a key to explain the elements of the kata (speed & power) as well as prescribe the overall nature of the kata (masculine or feminine) given the combination used. As one might see the attribute of distance of the technique, whether the kata is performed in a large or small space is not represented on the graph due to the nature of the two dimensional representation and the practitioner simply needs to overlay this attribute in their mind’s eye.

Power-Endurance-Elegance

Back To Japan

As I continued to progress in my own training and teaching I would return to the lesson of Sensei Hisataka in Japan asking me to replace all the stances of Naihanchin kata with reverse cat stances in place of the typical horse stance. What I came to realize is that he was teaching in the same manner as myself but he was focused on varying the stances and techniques in place of varying the power and speed of specific techniques as I had done. Two different approaches with the same type of pedagogy in mind: to expand the mind of the student to new interpretations.

A Combination of Approaches

Recently, I decided to look in more detail at the teaching of Sensei Hisataka and I realized that the Gokyo (5 teachings) of Shorinjiryu could be superimposed on my own graph to yield a very interesting learning tool. Long time students might remember the 5 teachings as: Ikkyo: Tiger, Nikyo: Crane, Sankyo: Bull, Yonkyo: Snake and finally Gokyo: Dragon. Each teaching stresses the attitude of the particular animal and has particular techniques and stances attributed to them. The fifth teaching being represented by the mythical Dragon is a combination of all the techniques and learnings to fully develop the practitioner in combination of mind, body and spirit. It is thus the ultimate learning. Superimposing the 5 attitudes on the previous graph as we obtain the following:

Animal-Quadrants

For completeness the graphic above also illustrates the elements of: water, fire, earth, wind and air as presented by Sensei Hisataka in his training manual “Essential Shorinjiryu Katatedo”. These elements are not discussed in this article as they are considered more mythical and esoteric than practical and useful for the sake of kata and karatedo training purposes. It is also probably important to note at this time that any representation for illustrative purposes is essentially that, a representation, and has its limits and should be taken in the spirit of sharing and further understanding. There is always the possibility for debate, discussion, relabeling and reinterpretation.

A Pedagogical Tool

Again, as a pedagogical tool the above graphic can be superimposed with the actual techniques that are most suitable for each quadrant. Students can vary the speed and power of their kata and marry those to specific techniques in order to produce a variation of a kata that is more appropriate for each quadrant. Specifically speaking and using our example of Naihanchin kata earlier discussed, Sensei Hisataka had us replace all the horse stances from the Bull quadrant to reverse cat stances in the Crane quadrant. He moved us from the Sankyo teaching to the Nikyo teaching. His shift also changed the nature of the kata from a predominantly masculine one to a predominantly feminine one. The speed or cadence of the kata remained the same but the power employed within the techniques was modified from high to moderate or low. Students and teachers can mimic the same kind of changes or modifications using this graphic by replacing techniques from one quadrant to another for each kata considered.

Techniques

Kata Practice Is Alchemy

This final graphic enables the intermediate to advanced karateka to have a better understanding of the nature of their techniques and how they can be interchanged in order to derive a new understanding of a particular form. Better understanding comes from not just knowing to change the speed and power (and distance) of techniques but in understanding the change in the attitude of the technique and how feminine and masculine techniques compliment each other in a ying and yang fashion. Moreover, kata forms are taught in a way that emphasizes a certain quadrant (its dominant nature) this is most likely for simplicity of teaching, i.e.: pedagogical reasons. But that does not mean that the kata must solely be that way. Replace the default techniques with techniques from a different quadrant and experience how the kata changes its nature, and how you as the practitioner is also changed by the kata. Otherwise said, kata practice is a type of alchemy. By changing the base elements of the kata the ultimate nature of the kata is changed and the practitioner performing the kata is thereby changed. This alchemy ultimately leads us to the Gokyo training appropriately represented by the mythical Dragon.

Conclusion

Studying the martial arts means studying the nuances and interactions of a myriad of techniques not just mastering one set of techniques, i.e.: hard or soft. Mastering the martial arts means understanding how all techniques interact and interchange, not just through speed and power, but in deriving a new attitude and character. Understanding the relatedness of the techniques and how the attitude of a particular technique or group of techniques express themselves is where the true mastery of Budo lies. Being able to recognize and assume different attitudes in a fighting situation and have that attitude expressed in variations of speed, power, distance, versatility, elegance, stamina and endurance at will is the goal of all martial artists. The above graphics are a tool that can be used in trying to better understand the various stages of the learning process and ultimately achieve the alchemy and mastery of the Gokyo level of training.

Women’s Self Defense 1947

Interesting video with some good Judo techniques !