Essays From The Master

Archive for November, 2006

Pilgrim’s path

The shadows in lousiana.

Rain and kiba

 

We were relieved to have stepped off the bus after a Twenty two hour ride, in what could be called the underworld, for in the south it is always warm. Not to mention much more humid than we are used to. Before we knew it, our minds were clouded by the shadows of fear mixed with excitement and all of a sudden, we were at the dojo deep in the heart of  murky swamps of that  interesting State. We felt that training would consist of dull repetitive exercises, or balancing on wooden poles for hours on end practicing the movements of the great dance (instead those poles were stone but that is beside the point.) We had trained for a time with each other in the discipline of Koga Hai lung, and we thought we had made reasonable progress, or at least enough to earn a black-belt. But when we came here our perceptions were greatly changed. The first thing that any True Ninja should to is to learn to stand. We realize that this may seem a bit odd but in any case it is true for as we were told when we were children, “you must learn to stand before you walk, and walk before you can run.” And oh, how true this really was. In terms of sleeping quarters, we were used to the floor and as such the cold barren floor of the dojo was just fine for us. We started conditioning with the most awful exercises that have ever been conceived by god or man. And that was only the beginning, for as things push hard we push back harder.

 

Our first day was rather interesting for it consisted of asking all the questions we could think of and then realized that we already knew the answers. After which we stretched out a bit and began. In our studies we came to know that it is not how long you train but how effectively you train and how much you learn while training. For the most part our routine was not set except for the fact that when we awoke we immediately began to stretch and limber up, preparing ourselves for a new day. We learned the basics of the Komuso system and then the philosophy behind what we had learned. We can describe it thusly: You can see the model put together and you can see all of the pieces that make up the model individually, however it takes instructions to see how to make all of the parts work as one. And that is exactly what our sensei did. In our previous experience, we used the Kuji-Kiri Mudras and breathing exercises to simply make ourselves faster or stronger or whatever was needed, but here we learned that that is only the mundane side of the true magick of the ninja.

 

We learned how to perceive the subtle energies that make up the very universe itself, permeating all things in existence, the heart of all things if you will. Then we learned how to cultivate, circulate and use that energy and began our subtle transformation from normality to a living shadow. Some lessons cannot be taught they must be experienced.

In the words of a popular recent movie, “I can only show you the door, you are the one who must walk through it.” we have gone from just another piece of the masses to a beings of living shadow, able to become invisible at will. We have felt the fear that resided in our own minds and we have embraced it.

 

We are not evil, for we have learned the truth. Just because something is dark does not mean that it is evil, for energy itself has no morality. Just like the energy that flows through our bodies we must make an effort to not judge others as good or evil. And we have come to understand that good and evil are just as biased as a political campaign. In the end you must strive to be in harmony with all things that are in the cosmos for all things are interconnected to one another.

 

In our studies we have learned that the most complex things can be broken down into simple elements and in so doing you gain a deeper understanding into the ways that things interact both outside of the body as well as in. We learned this by channeling inner strength through Kuji-Kiri and by delving into our minds. So much can be learned by thinking deeply on a subject and in the end comes the realization that no one can be made into a ninja through constant training, you have to want become one, you have to be one in everything you do for it is not simply something that can be turned on or off. It is who you are at your very center. You have to realize this fact to progress further.

 

We have been taught by the elements of nature. From the earth comes stone which teaches us balance and movement control as well as how to move silently even in the midst of obstacles and in situations that seemed impossible. From the wind we have learned how to become invisible and to vanish without a trace. From Fire we have forged our bodies in the fire of our will and we have conquered our emotions and become truly whole. From water we have learned efficiency of motion and the ability to adapt from any situation whatever it may be. And from wood we learn to hide in ways that can defy even the most adept of minds.

 

We have also learned the ways of unarmed combat in terms of discovering different ways to strike but also that it is important to never strike the first blow if you can avoid it, but rather to wait and then when an attack comes, we evade, then block then attack for this is the way that it has to be in order for one to maintain harmony within oneself. It is in this way that we find our harmony. It is in this way that we find the truth that we sought after for so long, the truth being that the answers for all things can be found within, and that mastery of the self equals mastery of the all.

 

We learned the ways of armed combat from the nine elemental forces that make up the cosmos. We have found that any weapon that exists can be created by simply combining two or more of the elements. We learned the secrets of combining the unarmed combat forms with the armed combat forms to create a style that is truly complete in every sense of the word. We have discovered that in the end it is not about killing the opponent, it is about surviving to live another day, it is simply about enduring so that you may go on. We cannot save the world, so the best we can do is to provide a good example for all whether they choose to follow it or not is their choice.

 

For us to become a true warrior of the Komuso tradition we had to take responsibility for our actions. This means that we have to face our inner demons and become one with them. It is against our philosophy to place blame on others, for in the end there is only the self, no one can help you except you. You cannot expect there to always be someone there to lend a hand and for that fact we have been forced to undergo an evolution of sorts. We rely on no one in the end, and that is how it is in the natural world, which it should be.

 

We have learned to separate non productive emotion from the rest of our minds, to not think negatively or unproductively. We find strength through action. We have no fear of that which will not harm us. We have learned how to master our instincts and honed our minds to listen to them and as such this makes us strong.

 

We have seen and learned much in our stay here. We have faced our inner evils and made peace with them. We have seen the legendary scrolls of the Komuso ryu and it was a life-changing experience indeed. We plan to return very soon, for us training will never cease. We have merely begun our journey and the time is at hand to begin walking down the path.

 

Though it seems that words are a bit too hollow to convey the kind appreciation and gratitude that we feel for him, we sincerely want to thank our Sensei, T. Broussard for showing us the silent way of Komuso Ryu, we believe it to be the path in which we shall find enlightenment. He is a warrior in every sense of the word and it has been one of the greatest honors of our life to have been trained by him.  And we would also like to thank Grandmaster Ashida Kim, for without his guidance we would probably never had met our sensei in the first place, as well for all of the truly inspiring reading material. Thank you all.