強弱柔剛 Kyojaku Jyugo: Like a Dream in the Void

Paul Masse Santa Monica Training
We had some great training with Paul Masse last weekend. One idea that Paul shared with us is:
強弱柔剛あるべからず 故にこの心から離れ 空という一字に悟り  体また無しとして 之に配す
Neither strong or weak, soft or hard, separate from the heart of these and enlighten yourself to the one character of nothingness. Make your body nothingness and reside therein.
This comes to us from Toda Shinzaburo Masahide of the Togakure ryu. Another translation of this phrase can be found in Hatsumi Sensei's book, "The Way of the Ninja,"
"One should be neither strong nor weak, neither soft nor hard. Leave such thoughts behind, awaken to the Void, and make your body Null to abide by this."
Paul had us exploring these ideas through 虚実 kyojitsu, 無心 mushin, and 縁 connection.

Paul explained that for kyojitsu to be effective you have to sell it. He likened it to a magician performing an illusion. In order to sell it, he has to believe in it himself. In the world of magicians this is called misdirection. The next day Paul and I shared our personal stories as magicians with each other. We both studied and performed magic when we were younger. It was a lot of fun sharing memories on prestidigitation and coin sleight of hand methods.

With kyojitsu you can show the kyo to the opponent (misdirection) and then you hit him with the jutsu. The interesting part is, if he doesn't fall for the kyo, it becomes real- it becomes the jutsu. Maybe it was never fake to begin with?

Soke on Kyojaku Jyugo,
It's not whether you're good or bad. If you think you've reached a certain skill level then you probably haven't. That's why there's this saying, strong or weak, it doesn't matter. You have to have the balance of these points (heijōshin 平常心).
Mushin 無心 means "innocent" or "free from disturbing thoughts" or simply, "empty mind." Mushin is held in the fourth, intuitive level of Godai:
"The fourth dimension is that of the world of Mu— nothingness— a world haunted by death, a world of spirit only. It is a world with no physical existence, where everything simply disappears. That is why in that world you must not let an opponent see or sense your form- you must wipe it out entirely." -Masaaki Hatsumi, The Way Of The Ninja
In Zen, Mushin is the thinking of the body. In the Bujinkan we often describe this as flow. And it is obvious when watching someone whether they are doing technique from their heads or from the wisdom of their body using flowing taijutsu.

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
-Lao Tzu

Hatsumi Sensei describes Kyojaku Jyugo further:
"This means that in Budo, it is naive to get caught up in thoughts of strong weak or soft/hard; in the end, even concepts such as skillful/unskillful simply fade away, Jutaijutsu contains fifteen strong arts and fifteen weak arts, making thirty in total, which can be seen as three sets of ten (as in Sanshin no Kata: Tenchijin and the Juji idea). Nevertheless, one deliberately and willfully eliminates all of that to make oneself Void."
Mushin is like looking at your own reflection in the moonlit water. If the water is still, maybe you see the moon reflected there with your own shadow. You  might forget that the moon is in the night sky behind you! Don't trouble the calm water with your worries and doubts. Allow your mind to fill the sky and be with the moon.

This type of connection to heaven is something Soke reminds us about constantly.

Thank you Paul! It was all like a dream (夢 yume).

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