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Message from Sensei (2002)

Feb. 2002

Happy New Year!

For this year's first issue of Seiryu, I will introduce some words regarding practice as a New Year's greeting. These words were spoken by Sen-no-Rikyu, who established the primary style of Japanese tea ceremony, to a disciple.

"Practice is to learn beginning from 1, know 10, and from 10 to return to the original 1." This means one learns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…and after knowing 10, one returns to the foundation, to 1. But, when 1 is learned again, the mind of the learner is completely different. Thus, looked at from outside, 1 is the same, but to the learner it is different from the first time. This fact is connected with a person's progress; it means that a person who after learning 10 does not return to 1 cannot hope to make any further progress.

I have gone through the techniques of each Ryu-Ha dozens of times by now, but each time I discover something new. At this time I have been introducing techniques in videotapes, but after I have finished one and some time passes, I am not satisfied with them. Of course, while we are filming I think they are fine.

This year we will train with Taijutsu (unarmed combat) as the emphasis. Let's all train hard. I pray that this year will be a better year for all.

Unsui Sensei

Jinenkan Kancho

May 2002

As the saying goes, "Time waits for no man"; already a year has quickly passed since we established the Jinenkan here in America. During that period, thanks to the support of our members, we have been able to achieve our first goal: though it is small, the Honbu Dojo has been satisfactorily completed. I will use this space to give my thanks once again.

In addition, at the recent Honbu seminar I was able to watch everyone's beautiful movement. Everyone has made particular progress compared with last year, which made me feel very glad.

Now we are entering our second year, and I feel a renewed conviction that my method of instruction last year was not mistaken. Spend sufficient time doing the basics, then move on to the techniques. I think that repeating this pattern is the fastest route for the body to learn. The martial arts of the Jinenkan are the real thing. Please have confidence and pride, and continue with your training. I am holding training four times per week at the Honbu Dojo, so those who would like to train with me, please do not hesitate to participate in this training.

I pray that in work, in your studies, in training, and in service to your families, all of our members will have a satisfying year. We ask for your continued support in the future.

Unsui Sensei

Jinenkan Kancho

July 2002

Greetings to you all in this season of lingering summer heat!

In this season where the heat is still severe, how are you spending your time? This time I would like to talk about nurturing living things.

It may be because my mother was a teacher of flower arranging, but I love flowers and trees. It is our good fortune that the place we live now has many natural growing things. I think it is best to leave natural things to Nature, but with the love and handiwork of people, an even more beautiful appearance can be maintained. In taking care of trees, we Japanese cut and bend branches, so it may look like we are putting too much work into them, more than is necessary, but it is thus that Japanese gardens are maintained, a unique part of our culture that we can be proud of before all the world.

Obviously, an English garden is just the same: it is created and maintained through the meticulous care and love of many people.

Exactly the same thing can be said about nurturing human beings. To all of you, it must look like I have a strange living arrangement. However, for teaching a way of seeing and thinking about things, for raising a person, I believe that the Shosei [live-in student] system is the best. In Japan, this is called "Te-Shio ni Kakeru" ["adding salt by hand"; putting careful effort into raising a person]. Shawn and David are under my observation from morning to night, and certainly they feel suffocated from day to day. However, this is what is called Shugyo [discipline/training]. In order to stand on one's

Kano Jigoro, who founded Judo, also worked to develop and spread Judo in the same way, by nurturing many pupils as live-in students.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I cannot teach Budo to you all by the same methods as I am teaching Shawn and David, but this is exactly the same feeling I keep in my interactions in situations where I am instructing.

In closing, here is a poem: "Kobudo no waza to Nasubi no hana wa sen ni hitotsu no muda mo nai.": "In the techniques of Kobudo and the flowers of the eggplant, not one in a thousand is wasted." [A characteristic of the eggplant is that if a flower blooms, the vegetable will never fail to grow. In the same way, every part of every technique in Kobudo has a reason.] The original poem says "In the opinions of a parent and the flowers of an eggplant, not one in a thousand is wasted."

In this hot season, please be sure to train leisurely, without overexertion.

Unsui Sensei

Jinenkan Kancho

Dec. 2002

I hope all of you and your families are having a good New Year's. I am enjoying New Year's in Japan, as I did last year.

As of the end of 2002, the Jinenkan has:

  • One person of 5th Dan;
  • Four of 4th Dan;
  • 16 of 3rd Dan;
  • 16 of 2nd Dan;
  • and 37 of Shodan rank.

Seven years ago I established the Jinenkan, and have carried out testing quite strictly and without compromise. All of these people, through effort, have been remarkable in achieving their goals.

In the coming year it is my intent to keep teaching as I have until now, with care toward each technique and its spirit,

As I wrote last year as well, in learning an art it is crucial to repeat and repeat, continuing this with patience.

Many things happen in a lifetime, but "Do not forget the spirit of a beginner" and "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." This year I, too, intend to go back with the spirit of a beginner and work hard at my training.

Finally, I lay down my pen praying all of our members will find much happiness in the year 2003.

Unsui Sensei

Jinenkan Kancho