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Thoughts and comments by Sensei Jorge Kishkawa

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    Gashuku Kenjutsu Combat 2 - Niten vs. Ronin

    "I have not participated in a Gashuku in about one year. A lot has happened since then. It was a tough year. I felt in my bones how it is to be a Ronin (a masterless Samurai, unemployed). It is not easy to be without work."

    I also went through tough times. In 2003, the year of the "Last Samurai" movie, I was called by my "Daimyo" (feudal leader), to leave my position in the castle, and also become a Ronin. The reason: I picked up a call from a jornalist of Folha de São Paulo (main newspaper in Brazil), while with a pacient.
    Although I did not know who the pacient was, I answered the phone and quickly asked the journalist to return the call after, since I was working. The pacient was none other then the head of HR of the company that we were working for.
    But sometimes life is like this. A luck game...

    2003 - The year of "The Last Samurai" Movie

    "I went through highs and lows, but what kept me focused was, without doubt, the Niten. With a lot of effort I was able to concentrate and persevere in my daily search of a new opportunity. Each Golden Moment made a special impression in me, made me review concepts and behaviours."

    A big part of our actions have influence of experienced sensations and emotions in meeting and living with others.
    We adopt behaviours, atitudes and make correct decisions based in past meetings and experiences with great masters, important people, people we admire.
    But this sensations, like batteries, get empty with time.
    There is only one solutions: recharge them.
    Lucky us when we find the correct socket, with the correct voltage to plug in and be conected in our pursuit of happiness.

    "It was very interesting the evaluation of Kendo kamaes (fighting stances/postures). Very different in comparison with Kenjutsu kamaes. A layman really could not tell the difference. Comparing the pratical situations, the superiority of the Kenjutsu was clear."

    You should not impose thoughts and conclusions in respect of the superiority of one technique or kata above other, without demonstrating it first. You demonstrate and then the spectator will draw its own conclusions with clarity.

    "Without wasting any time, we go through combats where the opportunity of meeting and fighting against new collegues and test your techniques was very important. We had a lot of corrections. Sensei enphasized the use of Jodan (fighting stance where the tip of the sword is higher), the resourcefullness of fighting with the Kodachi (small sword), and the importance of using different cuts (or strokes) in combat.."

    The secret to win is in the use of the Kodachi.
    If one do not study this lesson, one is neglecting the Way of the Sword.

    "Final shiai, lots of combats to end the day with a yet higher energy. Followed the dinner, allways a very happy moment to meet againg everyone you fought against/with after a day of war, with a lot of things to share, and a lot of celebration for the productive day, during the Birudo."

    The one that does not appreciate drinking sake with your fellow warriors, will be harmful in any group.

    We had little time to rest, and again we were fighting. It was my first Gashuku in which I could practice the Iaijutsu, and for me it was very important. I learned a lot this past year, and to see the detailed corrections were specially helpful, no doubt. Sensei was very considerate, correcting every important detail at every moment. Moments like this, where we all learn new things no matter what level or graduation, show us how rich the Iaijutsu practice is. It may sound silly, but there are details... within the details! Only with Sensei's correction we can evolve, only with the intense repetition we can improve. The Iai has become yet more important for me this year in particular because made me improve my concentration and focus."

    It is impossible to not concentrate when wielding a metal blade. Specially when it is a real cutting blade.

    "The double piece cut was impressive. To went through the experience of learning to control your own energy it is not easy. The first impression is that we need more strength to cut two pieces. It is not exactly the case.
    NoIn the cutting moment, a lot of things comes automatically. Only after the cut we can evaluate what we done.
    Senpai Araujo allways reminded me in our trainning sessions, that the stopping position of the sword makes all the difference at the end of a kata. It is like a signature. The final part is essencial for the conclusion of the cut. If something distract us at the end, we lose the efficiency. I took a deep breath and I believe that my technique got better and better."

    Words cannot describe or explain. Only the ones that were there and tried the special cut know how it felt and now know how to do it.

    At the end of the Gashuku I received with great joy the 5th Kenjutsu Kyu and the 6th Iaijutsu Kyu (graduations). It was hard to breath normally... for some minutes at least. The blue Kimono for me represents a new beginning, the opportunity to learn more and improve in the Path. I was very happy. I am sure that 2017 will be full of battles, lots of learning and a lot of opportunities."

    In Niten, after you are able to wear the blue Kimono, certainly the Path will be full of battles, where only the most determined ones win.

    "And about my Ronin situation, I gladly inform that in this month of March, I begun working at a new job, as Senior Project Manager in a new Company. Nothing in this life happens by chance. To find the Niten Institute is a unique opportunity. To learn that the practice is important to maintain ourselfes alive and competitive, learn to make a bigger effort every day, that we need to be righteous, to improve in the details, and that we need to sweat a lot. Arigatou Gozaimashita Sensei, Senpais and collegues of the practice, for not letting me lose hope and to always keep me going foward!" -
    Guimarães (Niten branch in São José dos Campos city - Brazil)"

    In about one year I have guided Guimarães so that he becomes a warrior leader, to participate more in oour classes, and encouraging him to become a Coordinator in Niten.
    The result of this is what you just read: From Ronin to Project Manager.
    One more victory for Niten.


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