Hatsumi Sensei's "Gambatte" Inspires and Destroys Excuses.

A well known quote from Sensei:

"Gambatte" or "Keep Going. "

Simple.  Two words.  So why does it mean so much?  Why is it so hard to do?  And what does he mean exactly?

Soke wrote:

Forget your sadness, anger, grudges and hatred. Let them pass like smoke caught in a breeze. You should not deviate from the path of righteousness; you should lead a life worthy of a man. Don't be possessed by greed, luxury, or your ego. You should accept sorrows, sadness and hatred as they are, and consider them a chance for trial given to you by the powers... a blessing given by nature. Have both your mind and your time fully engaged in budo, and have your mind deeply set on bujutsu.
    Adapted from Tetsuzan, Hatsumi Sensei's original newsletter in English.
    © Tetsuzan & Bujinkan International


There is the idea in Japanese culture of Musha Shugyo.   It is a warriors quest.  But also a life quest.  In order to discover your purpose and along the way, yourself, you must take a journey.  The journey often involves hardship.  It costs money.  It may cover great distance.  There may be pain and suffering.

So why go through all that?  Why bother?

The funny thing is you can't answer those questions unless you take the journey.  So it requires a leap of faith.  A  hope for the future.  And trust in those who have gone before and who beckon you to follow.

Or, you can stay where you are.  And do nothing.

There are times during your life when it is important to stop and ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

Training in the Bujinkan is like that.   Why do you do it?  Or, why DON'T you?  Useful questions to know the answers to.  I think the only real reason for you to do it is if it is crucial to your Musha Shugyo.   Is it important for your journey in life?  If it is, then do you treat it seriously with your full commitment and heart?

There are times when giving your full commitment to something is difficult.  Those are the times where the simple idea to KEEP GOING can  get you through.  The reasons are many.  Here are some I've experienced personally:

  • Lack of time.
  • Lack of money.
  • Injury.
  • Transportation.
  • It's too far.
  • Too cold.
  • Too wet.
  • Too hard.
  • I'm frustrated with my progress.
  • I don't like someone I have to train with.
  • I disagree with my teacher.
  • I'm not in shape.  (seen this one a bunch, people feel like they have to get everything else with   their health/diet/lifestyle perfect before they can train.)
  •  Conflicts with other things- work/school/family/friends
  • I don't have anything to wear- silly, but true.

This list can be really long.  The obstacles on the journey can seem overwhelming.  But the secret is this: There is only one obstacle,  Myself. 

This is a great lesson of the journey.  Don't just read it.  It deserves more than that.  Live with the idea.  The journey is a journey of self.

And Sensei's idea to "Keep Going" is a deceptively powerful tool to help you.  It is like dripping water that doesn't stop.  There is power in that idea for your Taijutsu.  A technique can work better if you you keep going.  So can everything else.

Have the courage to make your journey.  Be strong and decide if training is part of that journey for you.  If it is, give it the commitment it deserves.

One idea from Sensei that I discussed in my last post:

"The longer you train you need to be able to ignore things that you don't need.  Things that are unnecessary.  And set them aside.

As you do this, you start to see the bad parts of your own self.    And you have to be able to toss those things aside as well. 

Because if you have one bad part of yourself still within you, everything will collapse later.

So part of what Shugyo is, what training is... is discovering the bad parts of yourself and tossing them aside.

That's what life is.  Not just in the dojo."

Destroy the excuses with two words:  Keep Going.


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