Monday, January 25, 2016

Broadening Perspective - Balance in Budo.

It has been some time since my last post as I have been extremely busy with training, work, family, and I have been looking a lot into some Bush crafting and Foraging, something I plan on practicing over the Spring and Summer as I hit the woods for some good hiking, climbing, and camping.
It is always good to have multiple interests outside of Martial Arts training in order to apply it as a driving force behind every endeavor rather than letting it become a domineering presence that rules your life in every single moment.

I would like to discuss this in this Article as I have known many people within the world of Budo/Karate that have become consumed by their love of the Arts to the point that their very lives seem to become roller coasters of chaos and they all they seem to focus on is their training.
It is important to train as often as possible, but it must NEVER become a dominating force in life, there must be a balance as Budo is meant to be a driving force that sees a person apply themselves wholeheartedly to everything they do, including training, but NEVER solely to training in only one aspect.

I love Budo, but I also love writing, drawing, learning new things, and I love spending time with my family.
If my only interest were Budo then, first off, that would make for some very boring conversation and I may end up with no friends and no life whatsoever, secondly, I become a very two dimensional person with very little knowledge outside of whatever training I happen to participate in.
As it stands I have many interests, including outdoor survival, which was brought on one day when I realized I knew absolutely nothing about my surroundings while out hiking, a HUGE revelation, especially for someone whom is supposed to know how to defend himself in physical confrontations and handle himself in emergencies.
I know First Aid, I know CPR, but I knew absolutely nothing about which plants were edible, which were poisonous, which had medicinal properties, best ways to build a fire, how to build a camp utilizing what is around me, ect. (Good videos on this can be found on Youtube - I recommend Dave Canterberry of the Pathfinder School at
Maybe not important to some people, but I like to hike, and I feel I should know these things, plus it makes hiking much more interesting and MUCH MORE than a simple hobby.

As a Budoka it is simple, I take the focus I have dedicated to my training and apply it in a way that enriches life - rather than narrowing the focus I expand it and make EVERYTHING part of my Budo training and practice.
This means I focus on everything with equal intensity, which means my entire life should be spent in deep mindful focus at all times, leaving no opening for surprises... This takes real skill and intense training and is a way of being that was suggested by Swordsman Munenori Sensei, author of the Heiho-Kadensho/Life-Giving Sword, a book I have read over a dozen times and have been putting to practice for more than a few years.

My own Sensei, Michael Dascenzo, viewed everything as Kata, which is very much a Japanese way of looking at things as the Japanese have a keen sense of 'Kata,' or proper form, within every situation.
It begins in 'Shu,' where a person simply emulates, moves to 'Ha,' where they explore the deeper aspects and variations on the path to 'Ri,' true self expression of the formless within the form... In other words, to path to real freedom and fluidity of self expression within any given situation, without effort, it becomes second nature.
This is achieved by following the path of Shin-Gi-Tai, or Heart/Spirit-Technique-Body. Applying all three to profound levels in order to develop intense spirit.

If training is ONLY for fighting then a person really misses out on what their training can really bring to their lives.
Most people spend time focusing on one thing, becoming consumed by it, and these people are easily broken as they have no ability to adapt to change.

My Sensei taught me this lesson in his retirement... He no longer trains Karate and now focuses on his Massage Therapy Practice and his work as an Artist, including his recent development of skill in creating some very amazing Stained Glass pieces.
Do I wish he would continue his Karate? Yes. However... He is... In a way. The lessons are more important than the form in which they are presented.


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