“That which is hidden is the flower”, 秘すれば花 is a well known statement made by Zeami, master of Noh.
It is true that hidden and abstract messages are where the true beauty exists in art. This is often the case with Hatsumi Sensei’s martial arts and teachings. I have somewhat come to understand this, only after almost two decades of translating and training by the side of Soke. In reality, how these messages are interpreted can play an integral and important part of the understanding of the Martial Arts in general.
In my last post on the Recent DKMS, I used several of these messages, some of my own and some of our Soke. For some reason, I feel compelled to explain these messages in further detail in hopes that it could spark a brighter light and further reveal the vast infiniteness of these Budo concepts. These messages are achieved due to the natural and convenience of the expression ability within the Japanese language. Japanese can truly be an abstract an ideal language for communicating feeling and potential, rather than directness.
Let me start by speaking about the term “Kukan no Kyusho”. Soke, spoke of this concept several times at the DKMS. The correct characters for this would be空間の急所. However in the below title, I have suggested that the idea of Kyusho can also be expressed as “Nine Victories”, hinting to the concept of Win and Lose that Soke also spoke of on that first day under the autumn leaves. This also demonstrates the feeling of the concept of the Kukan being spherical or circler in nature, with the idea of infinite control. Nine being the number of ryuha in our lineage, as well as the magical number of the Ninja or that of Happo Biken. Either way, this must result in that of Fudoshin for the 15 Dan=The Rank of Banpenfugyo-No suprises!
Before the DKMS, I had several conversations with Soke regarding the concept of scrolls and how there is no seeable possibility that they could house any real secrets, and that the relentless pursuit of such fictional secrets could eventually drive a man insane-my precious-Resulting in being lead down a losing path. I thought it was timely that Soke presented a few examples of the Maki Mono at the DKMS, revealing that there actually does exists some hidden bits of knowledge, but nothing that will immediately transform one into the ultimate warrior or rule out common uncommon sense. Therefore, playing with the sounds of Maki Mono, I have suggested the characters Make Mono負物-losing thing or Make Mono負者-losing person. The sounds are not exact, but close enough to not lose the image.
The balance of Kachi 勝and Make負
The two characters of of Kachi 勝and Make負combine to form the term “Shobu” or fight to the death. Soke also made reference to this concept on the first day, describing that in the early days of training, one will strive for the Kachi or the win and not even consider the idea of losing. The explanation was that once one reaches the age of 40 , they will need to seek balance and accept the idea of defeat. This is a basics example of all things in life where we strive to achieve something, then eventually allow ourselves to find a more simple or tranquil solution. This is an example of maturity, internalization of ability and ego control, in the sense that losing can actually be victory. One must seek balance in the concept of Shobu and those that only see it as a battle to the death still side on the need of sure victory to feel victorious. The wise warrior knows that a Win/Win is far better as losing can be winning.
This is also brings me to an opportunity to further explain this concept of the “melancholic warrior”. Yes, this concept was mentioned and the warrior path can be lonely in the sense that it is more often than not, misunderstood. However, it should not be forgotten that it is not a jidai drama and it carries great responsibility to walk this lonely path. Lonely, because not many will have the courage to walk it. It is a choice to accept the responsibility of protecting self and others. It is a choice to take action to improve humanity and strive to make the world a better place. Soke often states that you should not study martial arts if you are afraid of injury or dying. We must learn to make the world a better place through the study of Budo, without injuring, but empowering others. Therefore, as lonely this path may be, it is a dignified and worthy path if you chose to walk it justly and empower others to follow.
Lastly, as we view the world in the prismatic way of the Dragonfly, the kachimushi or victorious bug, we kachimushi- 勝ち無視=Ignore the need for personal victory.