I thought that I might put pen to paper in regards to my interpretation of Soke’s mindset in the year of the mini horse. The reality is that it is not something new or groundbreaking and the message is similar to other past messages, however a timeless message that is painted on a different canvas with contrasting colors, evolving as the ink dries and the paper ages.
We often jump to conclusions on what Soke might mean when he writes the proverbial scroll. In my humble opinion, it has become quite a different message once the year comes to an end and the scroll is taken down. Again, the quintessence is the moment, the moment Soke puts pen to paper the dance of the brush on the paper tells the real story. Ironically, the characters can be meaningless unless they are re-written in the space with the blood, sweat and tears of our training.
A month has passed since the striking of the sake barrel and therefore the ever changing meaning as had some time to decant. However, when asked by Soke to demonstrate taijutsu in this year’s theme, I unfortunately found myself thinking (because I was thinking) of how this becomes an interesting challenge in application of this mindset to taijutsu. Furthermore, how we can try and interpret Sokes words and teachings that resonate that of the said theme, regardless of the importance of any theme.
Soke often speaks about the detachment of technique and how we cannot make this of ourselves but of a higher and more mysterious power that is only cultivated through just and rigorous consistent training for the simple purpose of peace. This heart and mind will somehow connect with the divine and allow for the passing of divine intervention or guidance. Only when this is for the greater good and that of peace will the martial ways lead us to a path of reverberation of the heavens.
Soke explained in training recently that if you force the opponent or try to control them you will lead them to you. In this they will discover you, therefore positioning yourself in a place of danger or counter control. Ultimately, we must lead and they will follow you to submission and peace. This aspect of leading is expressed in the final character of “Michibiku” 導 to guide or lead.
Mature warriors know well that one cannot force someone to do something and if we do it results in making us a target or subject of criticism. Therefore, we can only lead and inspire in the way that Soke does for those to truly follow. It is often said that naturally the weak will follow the strong, but in Budo you must not be weak nor strong you must forget attachment for the need of power and only then can you fully understand the aspects of strength or weakness. You cannot lead weak students without becoming weak and by fully understanding weakness. This is often stated by Soke to the Shihan.
Ultimately the true warrior seeks to lead self and others to peace and safety and to reach the level of mastery of the cat as in the legendary Neko no Myojitsu.