Ten Ways to 清澄 Seichou

Shibuya, photo by Michael Glenn
A few nights ago, Hatsumi Sensei was trying to give us clarity (澄明 choumei) when he changed the kanji in juppo sesshou to 清澄 seichou which means clear and serene. The idea is that when you have this kind of clarity, you cannot be harmed by any attack. And he has often told us that the Bujinkan can only be understood with a clear, pure heart.

But not many of us in the dojo were clear that day. I think some people may be confused about what Soke is doing with his current line of training. This is understandable, because it is really hard to keep up with Hatsumi Sensei's progression.

This will be the first of several articles about the training I am currently doing in Japan, to receive all of them, please subscribe here.

It's like that feeling when you see your train pull in to the station but you're on the wrong side of the tracks. You know you can run, through the gate, up a flight of stairs, across the overpass, down another flight of stairs… you might even make it before the hiss of the doors closing.

Then again, you might fumble with coins at the gate, your suica card might be tapped out, you might trip on the stairs, maybe you drop your hat, even then you have to swim through a flood of people going the other way as they get off the train.

That's how training feels right now. It's a sprint to catch a train leaving the station. Soke's budo is as high level as ever. It has always been a challenge to comprehend or physically connect to Soke's training. But now, his budo seems to be leaving the station.

Some people seem to think they know where this train is headed, but they are probably wrong. That is what is difficult as a student. We can't understand where Soke's budo is headed because I think Soke is along for the ride too.

From my perspective, Soke's current budo is not fixed, it is searching. He himself has made every effort to let us know about the coming changes in the Bujinkan and the world. He says that he has taught us everything in the Bujinkan, and now he is searching for the "next one."

I get the feeling he himself doesn't know what that is. How can anyone? He has been a shepherd for the schools he inherited, and for us, his students. But the next phase will be out of his hands.

But budo has survived centuries despite the people who practice it. Some people add to this wealth of knowledge and understanding. Other's seek to destroy it.

Yet it keeps going. And anyone with a pure heart can catch a ride. May your journey be clear and serene (清澄 seichou).


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