What is training like?
What is a typical class like?
This is a natural question as one is considering studying the martial arts, and in this post we will try to capture the essence of a martial arts class in the static medium of words. At its core each class is a chance for a moment of enlightenment.
A chance to learn something about oneself with regard to martial arts movement. We approach each training session with the ideal of learning, in that very moment, in that very class, real skills that can be used at any moment, since at any moment outside the dojo one may be called on to use the skills of budo taijutsu.
The structure of our training followed a method of learning outlined by Masaaki Hatsumi known as the tenchijin ryaku no maki- the way of heaven, earth, and man, the shidoshi scrolls. Class first begins by working on excercises to learn how one moves in the martial arts- ukemi, taihenjutsu, kamae, kihon happo, san shin no kata.
Ways of learning about the balance, distance, timing, and generation of martial arts movement from the individual. In the Japanese martial arts these may be considered kihon movement. The next part of class involved exploring martial arts movements with regard to how they effect the ability of a training partner to move- gyaku gi, nage waza, shime waza- locks, throws, immobilization methods. We learn how through our martial arts movement, we can effect the ability of our training partner to move.
Which leads into the final third part of class, the exploration of movement transmissions (kata) that involve the interaction of you and a training partner. Parallel to this, as an extension of understanding movement, lessons from the sword and stick are also explored in addition to other traditional Japanese training tools.
Binding these lessons together are the various philosophies, strategies, and methods of viewing situations (heiho) passed to us from Masaaki Hatsumi.
Budo taijutsu can certainly be seen as a martial arts, yet it can also be seen as a philosophy which is expressed and understood through movement.