When I arrived in Kashiwa yesterday, I met my friend Philippe from France, and his students for dinner.
They have been here for a few days now, and speaking of sensei’s latest classes; Philippe said that Sensei was emphasising a lot about control.
During the last years, we’ve been mainly focusing on zero and Mutō Dori. How can we link these concepts to self-control?
As always in Japanese, there are many words to express “control”, but Philippe explained that Sensei was referring to self-control.
When we parted, I tried to put some thinking to it. As I have not attended any class yet, the following is only possible interpretation.
Amongst many other meanings, self-control can be either Kokki (1), Gaman (2), or Jisei (3).
Kokki only means “to overcome the self”. Gaman goes a little deeper adding to it the Bujinkan concepts of patience, endurance, and perseverance.
But the one that makes more sense to me is “Jisei”.
Jisei with the idea of self-restraint seems to be the summary of Kokki and Gaman. By adding the idea of self-restraint, you are zero. Like in the Mutō Dori, you are in control of yourself. You do not emit intention; you monitor the situation until it is time to react, and you do so by not overdoing it. In Jisei, you are “zero and one”. Remember what sensei told us last July “zero is not nothing”, well, my guess is that this Jisei state is exactly that. Your attitude is matching uke’s intentions, and like with Ishitobashi (4), the skipping stone, you surf on uke’s movements until you finish him. It requires a lot of self-control to do that.
You act like a magnet, invisibly pulling uke into your reality, to destroy him.
Jisei (the control you have) is the result of Jisei, your magnetism (5). Remember that magnetism is one of the three aspects of the Gyokko Ryû.
Anyway, I’ll know more tonight when I go to train at the Honbu.
1. 克己/kokki/self-denial; self-control
2. 我慢/gaman/patience; endurance; perseverance; tolerance; self-control; self-denial
3. 自制/jisei/self-control; self-restraint
4. 石飛ばし/ishitobashi/skipping stones (on a body of water); skimming stones
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