The sword of sho-chiku-bai is not a precise form. O’Sensei’s movements varied according to how he was feeling [- following his ki]. Sho-chiku-bai is a symbol, not a particular sequence of movements.
The Western mind tends to want to define everything. But when you define something, you realize that it is made up of several things. Each of which, itself, breaks down into several things. And so on, and so on, until, finally, I’m sure, you arrive at the infinitely smallest part. But then you realize that you’ve lost sight of the whole and that you absolutely don’t know its essence and its totality….
When you practise budo, you must be looking in all eight directions, and you must seize on every interesting thing that comes within your reach. You must keep your eyes wide open and try anything that seems interesting, keeping the good and discarding the useless. This is how you must live. And this is how we were taught by O’Sensei, and how, in a sense, we were encouraged to learn: to seek and understand for ourselves.
– – – Tamura Nobuyoshi Shihan
– – – French language interview on the Budo no Nayami website