– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei
So what space do we imagine we are studying this in? Because it’s all imagination. We don’t know O’Sensei. We don’t know him. And his students…well, I’ve heard, depending on who experienced what he did, just really black and white differences in what they tell us about him.
But I consider O’Sensei’s being like the Guru, the Light-Bringer… that’s why I do this.
I just get really bored with the whole martial, “Would it win in a bar-fight?”… you know, all the violence people try to add to it, which is like, to me, what children do: playing with sticks. Versus a swordsman, versus someone who’s practising the mandala of footwork…
The fact that you don’t murder someone with your spiritual study is not a weakness.
And this is the falling into degradation of an age where… Shmuel-san, I’m sure you can understand this, particularly… you read writings from these very old traditions, very well known people who – if you take just a minute to step back – there were no street-lights there were no political groups, there’s no Facebook, there’s none of the pressure to be popular… it was like deepness… and they were doing it because it was the only thing that it made sense to do. It was a love. The deepest thing a person on their own, utilizing what has been written, exists, and listening to other teachers… your deepest attempt to make contact with the universe.
That’s what it is…
And, you know, I’ve learned brutal things, I can handle a fire-arm, I’ve seen s***, I’ve been harmed. I understand all that stuff. But I am studying to learn the stuff that would prevent that: the kind of mind and spirit that would prevent that. And when it cannot prevent it, would allow me to go through it without becoming foul myself: the ability to extract the fire of a situation and turn it into something really noble.
Not a game, not Halo, not some digital bulls***, but something where you put your whole life into something and at the end, you’ve extracted something out of it.
And so I think that often, people in this age, they don’t understand that virtues are earned. They’re earned by deep processes and the sacrifice of things. You know, there are a lot of things I never did that people do, because I spent my life trying to become awake. And also to be available when there was a good teacher.
But people looking for the virtue that’s earned, I think, super-impose the violence of MMA and the violence of all this stuff, as if that’s how you earn it… you earn it through some kind of physical contest… or you earn it through violence of some kind against yourself and against your spirit.
But what we’re after is way, way more difficult and sublime.
Because you can get punched in the head, and you lose your match, and then you go on and do the next one. But that’s not getting up every day to study. Because then there’s no line to draw: “I win” or “I lose” is gone. it just doesn’t exist anymore.
And I think about André Nocquet, at the end of his life, saying: “the current way of life is no help…in understanding and applying what O’Sensei told us to do”… Nocquet lived his whole life living this philosophy that we do, too… seeking it deeply, and came up with some insight.
And O’Sensei supposedly said, when he was reaching the end of his earthly cycle… he said: “I’m sad. No-one’s following me. I have made this Way and no-one’s following the Way I made.” And I understand what he’s talking about.
But you guys do follow. You understand when you see aiki. And you also understand the spirit of what we do
And that’s it.
Because if you just totally sucked at ikkyo, I don’t care… If your spirit is right, I don’t care! Because the universe does ikkyo. You get out of the way. You beceome hooked up to that… And I can think of no better thing, no better exhibition of your dedication, than that you and the universe have worked out a deal…