I come to you again presently challenged by the writings and mind(lessness) of our Soke. While on my travels in the states, I was fortunate enough to receive another request from Hatsumi Soke and Kodansha International legendary Editor, Kuramochi san, to lead the translation of the new book 武道の極意 (“Budo no Gokui), roughly translated as the Essence of Budo. This new book is due to be published in 2010.

Since returning to Japan from a long but short venture in my home country of the USA, I have attended several training sessions with our Soke. I am often blessed with the sideline comments of Soke’s wisdom in these training sessions and nothing has hit more home recently than his words a few weeks back of “Drowning in Budo”. As I post to you today, I realize that my posting is potentially overdue, but I cannot post with a clear mind as I’m simply “Drowning in Budo”.

Soke impressed upon me that as a Budoka it is important that we do not find ourselves relying solely on Budo for our wellbeing, we must learn what we can from the lessons in Budo and separate ourselves, allowing it to seep into our everyday lives without effort. If we cannot separate ourselves from Budo then we find ourselves a slave to Budo, bound from that which we seek freedom and do not allow it to flow free as is must do so naturally.

Thinking about this has lead me to deeper thinking about the challenge of truly integrating the teachings of Budo into my life for the purpose of success, happiness, balance and wellbeing.  As well a somehow avoiding fixation on the violent aspects of Budo for the maintenance of peace and harmony.

I have started my portion of the translation and I stand baffled at the words in front of me, as I do in the Dojo when Soke demonstrates the control of the space. There are infinite outcomes and infinite possibilities as per the convenient intrinsic usage of the Japanese language.  As I  ponder of the meaning of the words before me, they immediately begin to variate and change before my eyes, leaving an infinite outcome of possibilities and confusion. The more I struggle the more I become confused and farther from the natural truth.

I think, I have been here before, in my observation of Soke’s Budo and in my previous translations, but somehow it all seems new.
In the dojo I try with my might to reproduce what I have seen demonstrated before me. As I test this image on my training partner, I quickly realize that my interpretation of Soke is not even close. I accept this, knowing I have a lifetime to train and learn.

This translation is not different from the previous, I again I somehow feel that this is not an aspect of words at all, and my attempt to put it into a language that does not allow the freedom and beauty that Japanese does, feels like I’m doing it an injustice. But then again, Soke often speaks about unorthodox justice, could this be an example of this?

I’m quickly drowning in Budo, but I hear Soke laughing saying that it is nothing more than doing your best, you cannot expect more. Never hope for something as it will lead you down the path of expectation.

You cannot expect, you can only do what you heart feels right. Trust in that and trust in Budo, as it has taken us thus far without the need of control or care.

Kinishinai Koto Da Yo!

Don’t worry, you are only drowning, once you realize and relax-you will swim.

Bufu Ikkan.