At almost every training session with Soke we hear him say, “I am not teaching form”, what I’m showing cannot be taught, it must be discovered for yourself in your own training”.
Then how can we learn? What reference do we have to learning what Soke is teaching if he is not teaching?
Before it was stated as the feeling, “I’m teaching the feeling”. How can we teach the feeling? The feeling must be felt, not taught. Therefore, Soke gives the feeling and then asks to express what they felt, so that others might feel the same. This is not teaching, but facilitating experience and experience is something that one must experience on one’s own.
So why copy form? Why have a style? You often see students who have the same form or “move” like their teachers. They are copying the movement and then trying to recreate the feeling. This is an aspect of Shuhari and maybe the first “shu”. So to possess a specific style or form is then what level of attainment in training? It is a place to start and what others will copy in order to have some possession of progress.
I have come to believe that fancy flash is sign ineffectiveness. Furthermore, from what I have learned is that fancy technique or smoothness of flow is only a sign of a cooperative uke in a dance of compliance and not the practice of effective Budo.
I think a good example in a more recent observation is that of the Godan test. As many are aware, there are now 195 or more 15th Dan around the world, therefore more and more gaining the opportunity to give the test for the first time. I have humbly observed that often those will pose thinking that they need to move the sitter of the test with their intention.
The omote and ura is revealed when the test often becomes a bigger lesson for the 15th Dan than for the sitter of the test. There is no form for giving this test, although there often appears some form of form.
The biggest challenge of the sitter is to throw away the self and allow to be hit. Again in my observation, those that allow themselves to be hit, often pass very smoothly. Then it would be fair to say that for the 15th Dan that it is ok to intend to hit the sitter of the test to experience this intention.
If you are open enough to hit the sitter, then you may be free from the form that you will be able move someone with your intention without the experience of doing so.
The kihon of the test are, for the sitter to not get hit and for the hitter to hit with compassion free from form.