誠 Makoto: In Defense of Sincerity

Michael Glenn reflection selfie in Harajuku
I just watched Hatsumi Sensei make an attacker kill himself. This has been happening in every class for the past week. Sometimes it is with a sword, sometimes a knife. But the opponent always ends up cutting or stabbing himself.

I'm in the middle of my Bujinkan training trip here in Japan. And I haven't had much time to write. But also some things in Soke's budo are difficult to express. Like how does he get the attacker to do this?

Hatsumi Sensei told us,
"It's important to do this kind of action through the kukan. Use the kukan, become the kukan. You need to receive the opponent's power and be grateful for his power."
This sounds like a joke but Hatsumi Sensei sincerely meant it. In fact, sincerity became something of a theme my first night here. Hatsumi Sensei painted 誠 makoto for me on a scroll. Of course this has more than one meaning. One is sincerity, another is truth or reality.

Hatsumi Sensei was trying to get us to understand how to use sincerity as a strategy. You may not know this, but kyojitsu only works when it is backed up with sincerity. Truth becomes false, or the false becomes real.

Soke said we can understand the truth from a lie.  When you hear a lie, doesn't it betray the truth? He told us that if we tell a lie we must be very sincere.

In fact I will be very sincere right now when I tell you this: the opponent's attack is a lie. He doesn't really want to hurt you. He may think so, but he only wants his own destruction. You can help him find this truth.

When one attacker cut in very fast, Soke was not concerned. He said that the way to deal with a very fast attack, was to have 平常心 heijoushin. This is a normal calm state of mind that is not disturbed  or surprised by the attack.

Then Soke changed the last kanji of heijoushin. It becomes 真 which can be read as "shin" in the case of truth... or, makoto for sincerity. So what does having this type of heijoushin do for you?

It means that you sincerely want to help the attacker get what he is seeking. This may be his own destruction. And because of your own sincerity, you know from the moment he attacks where to move. His attacks can never hurt you, but they will find their true target. Even if he doesn't know it yet.

1 comments:

Guilherme Fauque

Nice! Good post. I've been following your post for a while, though I never write here. Good blog!

Bufu Ikkan

Guilherme (from Brazil)

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