The master

Das Dojo des Meisters With my master Vertrauen

There are a lot of quotes and writings about masters and their students. Mostly posted from people, who never ever have had one at all.

The concept of master and student of Asia is not to be compared with the master concept from the middle ages in Europe. The guilds made this concept for supporting their craft and invented rules of engagement and how to handle business. So, it was mainly a financial approach.

The old concept of master in Asia and especially Japan was built on trust and work. Nowadays there are many Asian masters and they have a lot of followers from the West, but do they work as hard as you, the student?
You see, that is the difference.

For us in the West there is one more problem to this master-thing. As anybody is aware Japanese people think and talk in pictures as their language and writing depends on pictures.
From a very early stage in childhood the citizens of Japan are trained in watching, understanding and interpreting pictures.
The education system is built on pictures.
So if you have a master she/he will talk to you through pictures. That can either mean with symbols in speech or like in my case, with pictures drawn from body movements.

It is vital then to learn how to see. To see is the key.
And you as a student have to trust your teacher, that he shows you the right pictures.
Furthermore to learn all the kanji (Japanese writing) you need structure. You can not learn all the signs from scratch. You start with signs only having three lines, then four lines and so on, until you reached the fifteen lines kanji. So again, structure is vital to a Japanese person.

In martial art, you first should learn basics (three lines) until you reach the koryu (fifteen lines).
And again you must trust your teacher that he shows you the right basics, so you can one day reach the koryu. So, the structure is understood only through experience. And that needs a lot of trust.

We in the West do not have such structure in our life’s. We have it a little bit at the institutions of education but the rest? No, we choose to be free in mind on purpose. We in the West say only a non-structured mind can find new ways of something.
We feel instinctively, structure means hierarchy. I mean be honest, to be a leader, a king, an emperor in ancient Europe was equal a death sentence. We, the people, killed them all, after some time. What we can not stand is to subordinate.

But that is exactly what the old Japanese system of education demands.
In old martial arts, like mine, there is not other way of getting to know each other than through working together.
How does he throw me? How does this feel? And so on.

But there is one thing that nearly nobody knows about that structure, hierarchy and picture thing of real Japanese martial art.
Do you really think, that the Japanese people like to be structured, in a hierarchy so much?
Don’t you think they feel the same and are sometimes nerved by all this?
So they found an additional approach. The concept of the “waza.”
“Waza” means technique or ability.
Once you only focus on the technique, on your doing with the purpose of ultimate efficiency, you lose your anger, your proudness, your ignorance and your bad feelings.
Just focus on what you are doing. Stop thinking, start feeling, start watching, start inhaling.
The truth about everything lies in the physical action and not in the mental thinking.

And that is it what makes my master so special. I say unique.
He does.
You know, we work a lot together.

I know a lot of so called “masters” in Europe, who never spent much time in physical labour. Some even only made videos and watched them at home on the sofa to later proclaim themselves “Soke”, meaning Head of a branch.
Or there are some, who worked in their thirties but are fifty now and since then never work again.

The trust can only begin in physical contact and work. The theory is a part of the training but not the main. No matter what you want to do in your life. No matter what you want to achieve. You need someone, who teaches you. You need a role model. And this person shall be someone to touch and to feel.

I am blessed in my life now. But I had to make a lot of sacrifices to reach that point. And one of that was to trust my master.
To be sure, that this might go south, but still trying.
After so many years now I am blessed.
Because he held his end of the bargain. He never lied, he never broke a single word, he never stopped drawing pictures for me.

Once you reach the master level yourself, you can only be grateful what you have. And you want to give this experience on to the next generation.
That is the reason, why very old man in Japan, who can barely walk are still held up in high esteem and not thrown away like we do it in Europe.
Because these masters made masters and once the students reached master level, they understood all the sacrifices their masters made for them and the student realizes, it is all in balance.

What I gave, the master did too.

Domou arigatou gozaimashita