Utada Kancho's Aikido Conduct in Doshinkan Aikido
I) 道場とは (dojo to wa)
“how to conduct oneself in the dojo environment”
One must start from the self, once our inner space is cleaned then extend that onto our gi and into a cleaned and open space as we call the dojo. This is a form of training. Our goal is to be purified ourselves and extend ourselves outward into our everyday lives. In the dojo, it is our goal to always keep a clean mind, a clean gi, and a clean dojo.
“what to do within the dojo and extend the dojo in the world”
Any environment is there for our training. We might meet some partners we do not like to train with, but we overcome that and they become our greatest teachers. The key is to deal with whatever comes up without backing away. If you hide from any difficulties, then you already have been defeated. The goal is to deal with all things harmoniously – no matter in the dojo, in the home, or on the street. We must accept our environmental conditions, accept our partner’s differences and embrace your partner just the way they are and your environment for what it is.
II) 心技体の稽古 (shin gi tai no kei ko)
“the importance of the body and mind/heart training”
Our mind is constantly changing and wavering. Often times we can be affected by our thoughts as well as our immediate or perceived environment. We must learn to let go of any distractions and do not allow the ever-changing mind to take control over our bodies and our conducts.
Another part of the training is to pay attention to your body. The body has 63 trillion cells renewing at a very fast pace with every 7 years we obtain a completely new body. We know that about 80% is water in the body, so for example be smart about hydrating yourself during training. Our body is an network of intelligence and we can put that network to great use once we are with “One Mind” and “One Body” – meaning that with everything we do, we act with the focus of all parts of ourselves and that is where we can find the most impact.
When the body is here, the mind must too be here. We can only deal with the HERE and NOW. That is 心技体 – the training of combining Body with the Mind/Heart. During training, only focus on “what is happening NOW” – be simple, be pure with your mind/body combined as one.
III) 二つの目付き (futatsu no me tsuki)
“two ways of witnessing”
When we stand facing a partner we must look into his left eye first to see his true intention. Then gaze upon his True Eye (third eye) and watch him as a complete whole. Hence we say there are two ways to look, two ways to witness. The first way is 見, which translates to the physical look through the use of our eyes. We can see intention, movements, and physical activities. An example, it is clear to see a sword that is stiff and we can see it is not a good sword but a sword that bends like a willow tree is the best. We can see this in people as well. We can see from the physical manifestation of a macho man – he is not a strong man but a way to cover up his weakness.
Another way is 観 (which is the first word in the Heart Sutra where a deep meditation takes place), which is an internal contemplative quality of sensing. This is a feeling, a sense of wholeness, and a inner knowing with your true intuition. Don’t underestimate intuition when you are walking down a dark alley or facing someone who wants to battle you. For example, it is said that smart samurais are good intuitive researchers where they look for strategic time, location, and intuitive guidance to win a battle. Note: ignore the weavering of the mind, always trust your intuition.
IV) 伝統と継承 (dento to keishou)
“from tradition to succession of the art”
In the western way the students are always lowers than the teacher so when the teacher pass away the art becomes less than what it was before. But in the Eastern tradition, succession is an important concept. The teacher will selflessly pass valuable information to the student. The student then train in the old tradition while discovering his own expressions of the art. He then reaches the same level as the teacher but still holds respect for the teacher. Then the student use the foundation of the old tradition and build his expression on top to surpass the teacher yet still holding that respect. When the teacher passes away, the new teacher (student) is now at a higher level then the old teacher. From this traditional gift, we give life to the art and create true succession through dedicated lineage where the art can grow as a result.