What does Zazen - seated meditation - and an image of the deep muscles of the back have in common?
Well, these are the two major areas that Budokan has targetted to focus on in 2018 - the training of the mind and the cultivation of greater flexibility in the body, so as to ensure the proper adoption of the BUILDING BLOCKS of our Budo.
This workshop actually began with a Mind Your Back exercise in how to put your mind through the process of conscious breathing in order to fully relax the deep muscles of the entire spine and its articulations.
And this, of course, includes all of the musculo-skeletal articulations of the entire body.
The principal cause of problems with technique is poor posture, brought about by a general physiology that is embedded in tension, mostly caused by everyday stress, but in terms of martial arts, is a misconception, particularly among men, that muscular tension is required at all levels, in order to properly expedite the wide variety techniques found in traditional Japanese Budo.
When exactly the opposite is required.
This was followed in general discussion by a brief historical snapshot of the evolution of Mahayana Buddhism in India, one of three principal Buddhist sects there at the time - to the development of Chan - (meaning meditation in Chinese) - Buddhist thought in China - to what eventually became Zen - (meaning meditation in Japanese) - Buddhism spreading to Japan in the 12th Century.
The workshop was split into three sections, each of which began with a discussion in small groups of what had preceded it, followed by a short 20 minute zesshin in each.
Discussion touched on a variety of topics, including...in no particular order...
Buddhist Teachings - a snapshot of the The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path ......read more.....
How students can use the consequences of meditation - calm - concentration and clarity, to further their Budo training.
How to manage thought processes.
And just a few more.
At the end of the workhop, each individual was asked to submit their responses to one of two following statements;
Why do you think the practice of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhist meditation is important to the evolution of Traditional Japanese Budo?
Can you solve the riddle of what appears to be the complete absence of meditation training in the teaching of Traditional Japanese Budo outside of Japan today?
All responses submitted from Dan Grades will be edited, if required and posted up on the Dan grade forum, for everyone to read and comment on in a shortly to be launched Letters to the Editor column.