Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The most used word by Taika (when describing the practice of RyuTe®) was the word perseverance ("Nintai" in Japanese) Dictionary.com defines perseverance, as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement ”.
Taika devoted the vast majority of his life (66+/-years) to the study of understanding the practical application of physically protecting one's self from an aggressor. He focused his attention on deciphering kata motion and understanding how those motions would/should/could be applied.
Kata, are essentially the combined motions of prior protection experts/pioneer's preferred techniques. Though possibly having been recorded (at one time), any such writings have since been lost over time (because of numerous circumstances, not the least of which was the advent of WWII).
The only difference for Taika (compared to those who did the same before him), was the guidance provided by his instructor's (Wakinaguri & Uhugushiku). Using their examples and the guidance he had received from them, he began his (own) deciphering of the kata motions. This research continued until the final weeks of his life.
Many of the finalized versions of his (previous) exercises and kata variations/interpretations, were based upon this research. Taika's research went beyond the (simplistic) comparison of motion to technique, his bunkai included variations that are often forgotten or ignored by other practitioner's.
Unlike the majority of person's doing similar research, Taika didn't settle with having determined only a single interpretation (or two, LOL) for each motion. Taika examined every movement, every twist and/or turn of the hand/arm and body. Each motion held significance to him.
He combined those individual motions with different motions from different kata, and additionally with reversed versions of previously observed/known techniques and motions. Unlike the rest of us, Taika had his entire day/life to work on these applications, and the results were what he shared and taught to us.
Through his example, Taika demonstrated the very essence of the definition for perseverance that is required of any student that is striving to attain their own ultimate level of ability.
For many of us, just being able to discover a single interpretation for a motion would be an achievement, for Taika it was only a beginning. The majority of us (instructor's and students alike) don't have the ability to devote the greater part of our free time (much less, our whole lifetime, as Taika was able to) towards personal training in the martial art of our choice.
Despite that deficiency, we are still able to devote as much time as our lives will allow (even if that only amounts to a few hours a week). Though few of us will ever experience anything close to that same level of ability/opportunity that Taika had (to devote to the study of our art of choice), that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to try, despite the inevitable failures, to strive, regardless of our own limited abilities, to Persevere, Nintai...