|Richard chats with Peter Crocoll|
In many dojos, a Bujinkan 初段 shodan is not really treated as such a big deal. In most of the Bujinkan it requires at least a few years of study and a proficiency with the basics. But in my dojo and my teacher's dojo, we see it as an important event in a student's journey. So we approach this threshold with certain key ideas.
|Peter Uses a Ninja-to on Richard|
The next part has to do with the personal journey. How or why did you start? Why do you keep going? For most of us, these reasons change as we grow in the art. Richard's path to his shodan was not straight or direct, but it was natural like life.
|Peter Disarms Richard|
The importance of 忍 nin in our study cannot be overestimated. We often think of nin as perseverance. And it is.
|Peter Cuts Richard Down|
You may also find your heart reflected in the polish of the sword. It might be a way to hold your own blade or you may find it reflected in your enemy's weapon. But your heart can be made clear by the polishing done in the dojo.
|Richard relaxed and happy before the storm|
This idea takes us well beyond shodan. But this weekend all of us who were there to help Richard were there to be nothing but a mirror for him. Our job was to remove our agendas or egos from the process so that he would only find himself reflected back.
|Michael Glenn and Richard with his new shodan|