Budo: Some Advice

By Peter King

What kind of advice do you have for a nikyu? I know it is pretty vague and the opportunity to give a pat answer is easy, but I am interested in whatever you can share with me.

Often we already know the answer to such questions.

Have the endurance and hunger to continue your training. Make yourself physically fit, flexible, agile, strong and focused. Know your body and your character, so that you can push your limits without damaging your health. This is endurance and perserverence.

Have a playfull heart, but also be serious about your training. Set your goals for where you want to be in 10 or 20 years time. If you want to progress beyond the level of your peers, then you must work and be comitted 2, 3, 4, 5 times + harder than then.

Don't burn out - try to find small pockets of time during the day to train. Perfect your technique - watch videos of Japanese Shihan and use the pause botton to analyse their movement frame by frame. Watch these many times and reconstruct these movement (once you understand them) and make them your own.

Understand that Budo (IMHO) is about the struggle to bring your mind and body under control. Use kihon waza as the tools to achieve this. Once you have good technique (not a western external facade of technique), then build speed and power (true power, not the resistance to movement). This should be between 1st & 4th dan. From 5th dan you should understand Nagare (flow and change of movement).

Obviouly watch any videos of Hatsumi Sensei. This is like trying to catch onto the tail of meteor, but after a time you may pick up some of the nuances of his movement. At the least you will be inspired by his incredible mastery.

Think carefully and decide whether you really want to embark on this journey. It wil not be comfortable and will bring both hardships and joy.

For those who have to limit their commitment to training, the Bujinkan can still provide an interesting recreational activity. Not everyone has to treat Budo as an oportunity to expand one's human potential.