The translation of the Budo Taijutsu book is coming along and taking up most of my free time. The biggest reason why I have not been posting to this blog as of late.The process has brought me again much closer to Soke with plenty of opportunity to ask him specific questions pertaining to the text. As most of the readers of this blog know, getting a straight answer out of Soke is quite challenging. However, Soke’s face changes and his answers are very passionate when he begins talking about his experiences with Takamatsu Sensei. This is a time that I really listen hard to his words. His stories and recollections of training with Takamatsu Sensei are vivid and very interesting.
I have just finished the chapter on Takagi Yoshin Ryu and had several questions for Soke regarding the waza and other things. What I noticed is that after each section of waza, there is a record of text pertaining to the fact that there exist many more Kuden waza. I’m very aware of what Kuden means, but I thought that I would ask Soke the significance of the Kuden. Kuden for those who don’t know, is the tradition that is past on via word of mouth. It is the things that are told, and not written. In a sense, the real experience of the Ryuha is the relation between student and teacher and then eventually Soke. Ku is written with the Kanji for “mouth” and Den written with the kanji for “tradition”
He explained to me that the secret of the Ryuha is in the Kuden, and that this is part that must be passed on via experience through training. Of course, there is an element of change and evolution as things are passed on. This is the natural flow of history and the pure form of tradition. Tradition is not unchanging, it is dynamic and changing, to think otherwise is to stop the tradition. What is written is what was put down at the time, but it truly is the kuden that binds the ryuha and the tradtion.
I have said many times in many other posts, that the only way to experience the tradition is to train close to the source of that tradition consistently, until it becomes internalized. This is another example that only solidifies that statement.
Soke also mentioned to me that when he was given the Sokeship by Takamatsu Sensei a year before his death, that at the time he really had no understanding of what Takamatsu Sensei had bestowed upon him. Only today is he able to fully realize what he was taught and what Takamatsu Sensei meant in his words to Soke.
Soke said that because he lacked confidence, the only way he felt he could muster the confidence was to trust his teacher and to find what he had be given through continuous training. Luckily for us, that Kuden and tradition was kept alive by Soke’s passion for training and desire to live up to the tremendous responsibility that Takamatsu Sensei had given him. We are all very lucky to be part of this Kuden.
I realized again that without Soke’s Kuden the densho mean nothing.