Jujutsu school, late eighteenth century


Some who have trained at fencing with wooden swords have worked out a trick of striking at the space just in front of the opponent’s head (instead of squarely on top of the head in the orthodox cut). In this way they catch him with the very tip of the sword, and can make the attack from a little further off, with a gain in reach. But there would be nothing like this in actual combat. How often is an enemy despatched by a cut of only a couple of inches. And especially if he were in armour, he would probably not even be wounded.

It is well said that one should think deeply and train the heart, for the principal thing is the ri. When the enemy comes jumping at you, flying through the air like a bird, the spirit has to be perfectly controlled and the inner awareness wide awake, with the vitality brimming over to every part of the body. One must plunge into training before one can attain this.

What has been said about the secret tricks in kendo must be thought over carefully. It is not our tradition at all, nor does it help in grasping the ultimate Way.

A former teacher, Kumazawa, who was a follower of the Way, taught that the main thing is to train the heart, not to train in technique. This is the teaching of the masters, that the ri is a training of the heart. On this point our tradition is just the same as the tradition of that former master.

My own teacher used to explain a technique to us only roughly and then say: ‘Now you have the root, and to complete the Way you have to train ruthlessly, crushing flesh and bone, for a long time, never forgetting that the basis of our tradition is mental training.’

Jujutsu is shinjutsu (the art of the heart, mental training).
For soft (ju) to control the hard (go), the first thing is to train to mature the inner principle (ri) in the right way. Hardness and strength are indeed most valuable in life, but people do not know how much to use. He who loves to dominate others, in fact ends up under the domination of others.

Force goes only so far, and it has a limit. It is not great when it arises, but great when it is fully committed. This is the basis of human passion. To discover means (ji, technique) for using force selectively, by first yielding to the other man and then using the lead so gained, is jujutsu. The most important thing is to practise ruthlessly; sleeping or waking, do not abandon control of the heart. First one specializes in technique till he conies to the end of technique and bases everything on the heart itself – this is the best way of practice.

Ki (vital energy) should fill the body. When it is aroused it is yang (positive), when it is quiet it is yin (negative). In our school we stress performing the techniques (waza = ji) by using ki, but ki is not something visible. If the body is defective in ki, the promptings of what is needed are not followed completely $ though when seated in a correct posture the body may be at ease and relaxed and the ki-principle seems to fill it, when he moves to take up something, by the action his ki gets concentrated in one side of the body, and in the end the even flow of the vital ki is impeded. The secret teaching of our school is to cultivate the ki in the ‘square inch’ (just below the navel) and not to let the heart cling to outer things but hold firm at that point as the base. Then though in movement when active, or when sitting or standing, the basic ki is kept right and the functioning ki is quite free, so that when strength is put into the left side, the right side is not left empty of it, and when the right side is engaged, the left side is not left blank. And so with front and back.

Rising and sitting, moving and still, the even ki pervades all, and this is called ‘immovable awareness’ (fu-do-chi). A tradition says, ‘While this is retained, there is success.’

The ki must fill all, and no part must lack it. Then it is full of functioning yet does not move; like a top spun by a child, though functioning in turning, it is as it were unmoving.

Kitoryu School of Ju-jutsu

To win by securing the lead and not letting it go is the leacL-of-the-lead.
When attacked by the enemy, to get the lead away from him and win is called lead-of-the-reaction.
The way of winning is not to be determined upon in advance. If one decided to try for lead-of-the-lead or lead-of-the-reaction, one’s mind would get set on that, and if the mind gets set there is no right to a win. It may happen that it does win, but the timing and inner unity are precarious, and one should know that it is not the true principle of ri.

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