The tradition of Master & Student

Training beim Meister training at the master

What many people missunderstood, when Toyoshima sensei told me to focus on my education only, was, that I had to transform into another person.
Soke and Toyoshima sensei agreed, that to get rid of old habits and old ways of thinking someone must undergo a stressful but meaningful cleaning of soul and mind.

To go silent and not to show off therefore was a necessary step to heal and grow. Many things needed to be learned again.
But this time in the right way.
To begin again therefore is not a task for cowards. It is a task for brave and strong people.

When your life throws you to the ground and you manage to stand up again, your view, your knowledge and your soul will heal and become bigger then ever before. You heart loves what you are doing and your „kokoro“ slowly will become silent.

Both, Soke and Toyoshima sensei as well went through that process. Soke, when his master died and he did not know what to do. Sitting alone on Mount Yagura in an empty dojo.
Toyoshima sensei, when his life was constant travelling from one dojo to the next for fifteen years. Fifteen years!

We do not ask for backslapping, for appreciation, for approval from anyone anymore. Once you rebuilt your life, your soul and your mind, you have other things in mind.
The future.
For others.

That is, what the old way does to you. While others do business, prance and explain to the world how great they are, we follow our path. Others need our help now, that is the reason, why they came to us in the first place.
And that you can see in your students.

Once, long time ago in 2006 I went to the Gasshuku (Summercamp) in Japan, with two of my students.
And there was a non japanese „Japan-understander“. He has lived there for 15 years, trained there and then left. The moment he came to the Gasshuku he has not been in Japan for more then 10 years, but of course he knew everything better.
And he was Joden Shihan at that time.
Poor him, he lost a sword shiai against my 7th Kyu student.
But this did not stop him from giving non asked advice after advice.

Another one, having spent 5 years in Japan and then left for good and also coming back after years of doing some entirely different martial sport, did the same.
Not knowing the basis anymore but trying to coat their lack of knowledge in permanent unasked support, which all turned out to be wrong anyway.

In 1996, when the first and last tournament between Europe and Japan happened, we drove there after training a whole year for that event.
Of course we lost all fights, because the teacher at that time again was full of good advices, which came from never having fought at a tournament in Japan.

There was a guy on our side, whom we hoped to succeed. He was former karateka and had 10 years of training Takeda Ryu. A full decade.
When the fight came close and he already had lost some points he suddenly changed his fighting style and fell back to the old habbits of karate, which of course did not work in our school.

I was asthonished and asked myself, after ten years it is still possible to fall back in a time long long before that? So, how strong, how deep must the last ten years had been, when nothing was stable enough, to hold in this stress situation?

That was a turning point in my life, 25 years ago. I realized, that it is not only the hard work, and the sweat of 10.000 hours of training. This still can not work!
The rule, that you just need to make 10.000 hours and then everything will be fine must have been WRONG!
To reach the top level you need guidance from someone, who also had it. You need someone to tell you the direction and to correct you.

That is the YIN.
The YANG is, that you accept the teaching as what it is.


It is not your property, it is not your thing, it stands for its own.

You are allowed to dive in, to search and to use it.  But it is not yours.
A tradition, a proven way is for everybody, who wants to use it anyway.

That is, what this „masters“ and fake „Sokes“ do not understand. There will always come someone, who does it the right way. Who dives in, who sacrifies and after a while will do everything better then them. And the rest of the world will see it. Will realize, that there is someone worth being followed.
And then?

It is not a phenomena of todays time, Sokrates wrote about it and Nietzsche is full of it. The so called „downfall of our civilisation“
They all wrote about the loss of trust and hard work in learning abilities.

Puberty is the phase when nothing is believed and everything is done better alone. No teacher, no advice is accepted. Stuborness rules the life and leads to mistakes, which make the individual learn until the insight comes, that it makes more sense to learn from experienced people.

And for some puberty does never stop.

But for others it does.
And this are the people you should ask.

The tradition of master and student makes sense.
You do not loose anything in simple checking, whom you should give a little bit of your time.
But choose wisely and always trust your eyes and senses.

It is your life and future after all.