Studying Ourselves

What an incredible weekend with Hanshi Bruce Juchnik’s instructor/curriculum seminar this past weekend hosted by Sensei Jeff Driscoll at his dojo in Potsville PA.

Accompanying me was my senior student and good friend Valerie and also another good friend Sensei Brian Kreizinger the director of the New England Martial Arts dojo in Seekonk MA which is were our group is located. Both Valerie and Brian wanted to meet Hanshi and the other Yudansha from the Kai and they weren’t disappointed

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Other instructors from all over the country and even my friend Sensei  Bart De Baker of  Belgium was in attendance. It’s incredible that Kosho Ryu is even in Europe amongst other countries around the world and each time I attend, I make new friends and learn from them, especially Hanshi.  It’s always important for the teachers to get together to learn and share with each other.

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We started Friday and went all weekend right up until Sunday afternoon. Hanshi spent a lot of time helping us understand natural law and how and why the body moves the way it does. Everything from the ground up was covered even sight and sound was demonstrated. The emphasis in all of his lessons are the three levels of study called the Sho Chiku Bai. These words are familiar to most Kempo practitioners, however when they are explained as what they really are which are Low Mid and high arts, it really put things in perspective.

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This three level study includes everything including eye direction, breathing and all movement no matter how slight! Slight and subtle movements were highly appreciated and concentrated on. Tension and release of not only ourselves but our partner played a big part. One plus one equals one I was told…. It was incredible and I have so much to work on and share. So much to think about!

Hanshi also took us all really deep into the historical aspect of martial arts and how most arts really do come from the same origins. Some styles of the same art may have been created for political, religious or physical limitations of the teachers but the origins of the teachers before us is the essence.  It was very interesting and informative. Hanshi also  mentioned that when practitioners segregate themselves from other “styles” it does nobody any good because no one learns from each other and no one grows. “Look for similarities” I was also told, that is Kempo….

We then were told to observe while some of us tried to  imitate each other when we walked talked and then engaged each other physically.  It was easier to do then they thought, and the laughter in the room proved that it really isn’t hard to imitate each other when you spend time with them. The lesson here was that it is true that we emulate our teachers both in and out of the dojo. A Great lesson and a great time.

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On the final day we studied Kata and it’s importance in preparatory movement before each “step” or “move”, and that transition of movement is were the study really is. At the same time focusing on the three levels of study. Sho Chiku Bai. It never left us all weekend. Also to break free of kata and REALLY study it in different forms of movement. A lot of eyes were opened including mine.

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At the end of the seminar we then took some pictures exchanged gifts and goodwill to each other and parted ways to go back to were we came from keeping in mind we really do all come from the the same place both in budo and in life in general, a humbling weekend.  I’m privileged to be among these folks and an incredible organization with outstanding teachers.

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What I took from it all and sometimes I forget, is that Kempo is simply the study of ourselves, natural law and how the mind, body and spirit works as one. The hard part is the application. But like Hanshi told me. “Just don’t be Stupid!”

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I would like to sincerely like to thank Sensei Jeff Driscoll for hosting and to Hanshi Bruce Juchnik and the other Yudansha for making the trip and sharing with my friends and myself what they have so we can then share with others. We look forward to the next Gathering in Reno Nevada in Ocober. For more info on Kosho Ryu Kempo and the upcoming events go to www.skski.net 

Yours in Budo,

Tom

 

Looking Forward to Learning and Sharing.

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June is coming up, and that’s the time for both teachers and students alike to learn from each other at the Kosho Ryu Kempo Curriculum and instructor training program hosted by Sensei Jeff Driscoll in Potsville PA at his dojo. Our headmaster Hanshi Bruce Juchnik will be there and we always look forward to his visits on the east coast. We all learn so much and it’s certainly a humbling experience. Makes me so incredibly thankful to be part of the organization.

Last year we trained for three days with Hanshi, going over what would appear to be basic movements and concepts within the octagon. However timing and distance and other factors are changed from the usual martial thinking. Things then get very challenging both in technique and simple motion. Especially exploring these adjustments with Bunkai in kata and each other’s methods. When I drove home with my fellow budo friends, my brain and body was well spent. Incredible weekend!

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The weekend is filled with so many teachers sharing so many concepts and methods of how they have grown with Hanshi and the Kai. The beauty of Kosho Ryu Kempo is that all martial arts can favor from the teachings no matter what you do. We all come from different backgrounds and other arts, but when we get together, all speak the same language but with different stories. It’s true Kempo.

It’s very exciting and I recommend anyone interested in a lifelong study of budo to join us on June 1st 2nd and 3rd. in PA. All are welcome! Teachers from all over the country and even Europe will be in attendance again this year, and I look forward to seeing both new and old friends and bringing back more knowledge to share with my friends  here at our dojo.

Tom

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