The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, December 14, 2009


Austere training, or Shugyo has become a re occurring topic. I've posted articles here and here. My youngest daughter plays volleyball for her college. As a freshman, this year she was introduced to 3 a day practices at the college level. This was certainly a form of shugyo. The coach has several things in mind. With the team being together 24/7 for the week that they held the 3 a days, they bonded through the shared hardship. He pushed them very hard, so they knew what they'd be capable of; and it was competitive. Everyone knew where they stood at the end of the week in terms of conditioning and skill. Below in an excerpt from another article on Shugyo. The full article may be read here.
Learning to maintain and move with good posture and good energy is a process of better understanding our own internal experiences. We are learning how to “polish our spirits” by better understanding ourselves and gaining an increased awareness and capacity to control the nature of our internal experiences.
We will then progress towards better being able to connect at an “energy” level to the uke. We will suddenly begin to experience how our bodies are no longer engaged in a struggle with an opponent, but move in unison with a two-beings-connected-as-one entity. The techniques will begin to feel easier and we will begin to think that the uke is “just giving us the technique.” True martial arts looks and feels phony!!!!!!!!!!!!
Austere training is the path towards achieving these changes. We must be very sincere in learning to better understand ourselves in training and in life. We must be very sincere in serving as both an uke and nage. We must be willing to honestly test our experiences to see if we are moving towards this direction. We must be willing to openly question the teacher and fellow students to see if what we are doing has any “truth” and “integrity.” This is learning to live in the moment. This is the moment that existed in some people who developed from life-and-death circumstances and passed both their genes and teaching on to the next generation. Can we learn from their wisdom without having to experience life-and-death circumstances? Can we re-create that spirit in our training? This is the path towards transforming our practice into SHUGYO.

2 comments:

S,Smith said...

Indeed, that sounds like ideal training to me.

I'd like to harness that spirit more often.

Rick said...

It's tough to schedule in our regular daily lives.