Kage No Keiko: Don't Ask a Shadow for Answers

Photo by OiMax
There is an old tale about a teacher whose students asked him, "Where does your teaching come from?  What is its source?  Who is your teacher?"

The teacher replies,
You are not ready for my answer.  If I say that my teaching is from inspiration, you will consider me crazy.  If I say it is my own teaching and skill, some will worship me and never learn.  If I name my teacher, many will turn to him to ask the same dumb questions while ignoring real study.

In the Bujinkan, Hatsumi Sensei has told us that training is a process of developing the eyes to be able to see true budo. Hatsumi Sensei talks about different types of keiko or training, even in dreams.  He says that when he is training intensely, he will have weird dreams.  He tells this story about his teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu,
He would draw from 5:00 a.m. to noon every day.  One day, he painted a picture of a dragon for his friend.  A few nights later, my teacher dreamed about a dragon that had no eyes.  The dragon said to him, "I want eyes."  The next morning he called his friend and his friend told him that the painting of the dragon had no eyes.
Sensei says that this dream training comes when you are having a hard time mastering something.  He says the "secrets of budo are introduced as "dreams from the gods."  Soke tells us that the best way to train is to learn physically first, then understand the theory.  Devote yourself to constant keiko.  Have the feeling of Ninpo Ikkan.

He says that if you get stuck you can focus even though you cannot move forward.  This is when you pass into kage no keiko (shadow training).  I wrote about the phases of training and other types of keiko here: Beyond Godan Into Wakaranai-Keiko

The teacher from the old story continues, "If, after being told a hundred times that the teachers are all one and the techniques are meaningless you still look for the source, you will never find it."

The students ask, "Then what shall we do?"

The teacher responds,
"Stop imagining that, just because you can ask a question, you can perceive the answer without any of the foundation necessary for such a perception to occur."

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