Purifying the Senses with Less Muscle

photo by davco9200
There are different ways to consider the words rokkon shoujou.  When Hatsumi Sensei put this idea out for us as a theme for 2010, many of us gave the concept a lot of thought and smiles (he did say it was the purification of the senses through laughter). But it is not only about thinking. To succeed with rokkon shoujou, we need to include it in our everyday practice and training for it to have any effect.

Our training consists of fighting and combat. How does one purify the spirit while fighting?

I can give you something to work on in every training session that will get you started. But first please consider how training reflects your spirit. Maybe you've heard a song of the gokui that says,
"If you possess a heart like clear water, the opponent is reflected as though in a mirror."
Well the opposite of this is also true: if your heart is muddled and confused it will be reflected and magnified in your taijutsu. Another gokui reflects this idea,
"Bottomless waves that reflect on the water's surface, it is humiliating for my mind to be known."
One of the easiest ways to spot this in yourself or an opponent is the over reliance on strength or force. I know you've heard this from your teachers before. "don't use force," or "do it without muscle…"

So you seek to remove force. This is an act of purification. Overuse of strength and muscle in training reflects something about the spirit of the forceful. There is something in your personality or in your heart that seeks that release of power (or fear).

Hatsumi Sensei says,
"In the case of any technique you are practicing, it is necessary to absolutely eradicate any excess strength or power from your technique - in essence you must purify yourself of these ways."
If you do this every class - focus on this one simple aspect of training - then you will be living the practice of rokkon shoujou. And you may discover that one natural way to remove too much strength is to train with laughter and a light heart.

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