In the book Kishido, author and martial artist Peter Hobart shares with the reader the lessons learned and insights gleaned from having trained with and under a martial arts master throughout his life; the journey from student to teacher and; from teacher to master, himself.
One particular passage, “Kotan”, resonated so much so that I was moved to share the lessons within this post. “Many of the Master’s students supposed that his custom of practicing some of the most basic techniques before class was intended for their benefit, by way of example. They were constantly being told to begin with kihon, fundamentals, as opposed to the more sophisticated and advanced waza. Yet on more than one occasion, the Master’s wife confirmed that even when he trained alone, it was the repetition of these simple movements that occupied the majority of his time.”
Oftentimes we forget and forgo the building blocks upon which our foundation was established. Even in the cultivation of bio electromagnetic energy, true proficiency in the basics is that which leads to advanced capabilities. Furthermore, the basics are that which provide the underlying structure for on demand, on command capabilities.
Recently, while reviewing the School of Chi Energy Training regimen for 4th year Instructors, I smiled at an inconspicuous suggestion for our own benefit. Over the years, Sifu Jones has given the students eight small, simple exercises to perform for two minutes at the end of the workout.
These exercises, interestingly enough, are the kihon of this methodology; these small, unassuming two-minute efforts form the foundations upon which sensitivity to the fluctuations and nuances of bio electromagnetic energy is built. Whereas many of us began this journey with the destination of advanced, high level capabilities in mind, we cannot lose sight of the need to refine and recalibrate our sensitivity to and awareness of the energy with which we are intimately engaged and focused.
When I began training in kenjutsu, I recall the kihon were the simple, basic techniques that would keep a novice warrior alive in combat. The difference between a swordsman versus a man with a sword is not the number of advanced techniques and fancy kata, but the simple elegance with which he can perform the basics; they have become part of his innermost being; likewise the exercises within this methodology.
Hopefully these sentiments will resonate and encourage you in your training.
In the interim, as always:
Be well; be mindful.
Sifu Brown MSIS [Certified Instructor for The School of Chi Energy ]