Margate 2011 – Shinden Fudo-ryu Shoden and Gyokko-ryu Iaijutsu

Transcribed by Luke Crocker

This is the art of every art, it’s the heart of every art. If you don’t know how to look (see), it’s going to be really hard. In the classical history of martial arts, be it ninjutsu or others, the master never explained, by knowing he could not talk.[i] Why? Maybe because he is uneducated, maybe he didn’t learn, he didn’t have time to go to the monastery as a monk in order to learn how to read and write. Sometimes he knows, but the student is twenty years old, and the master is sixty, the gap of life and experience is completely different. The only things the student can do is to copy and to shut up. This is a contradiction to the western student where, especially the French, we like to argue, we like debate, and talking, which most of the time doesn’t bring about knowing, but we love to talk. In classical martial arts, most of the warrior never talked, they used to practice and apply, and that’s the only thing.

So, we are going to practice Shinden Fudō-ryū (神傳不動流), this is a very interesting school, and we will practice one level. A few things about that level will be explained, the Shoden level (initial transmission; 初傳). Why is it an interesting school? It is the first one with Kotō-ryū that Takamatsu sensei learned from his grandfather, Toda sensei. Some people say that it’s his uncle, it’s dependent on the translation. Sometimes it’s written sofu (grandfather; 祖父)[ii] while sometimes its Oji-chan, which depending on the kanji can be “my grandfather” (お祖父ちゃん),[iii] “my uncle” (叔父), etc. If you read the Takamatsu Sensei Meiji Mokuroku (likely the Shinden Shūra Roppō), the kanji used means grandfather. It is the father of his mother, not of his father. That can be really important in Japanese genealogies and inheritance. Otherwise Takamatsu sensei’s name would be Toda, but it is not Toda. It is something that would be common sense, but for a lot of people… Where is the grave of Toda? Who cares honestly? It’s like looking for the grave of Moses. What is important is the message, the example.

To see the rest, visit the seminar video HERE!


[i] “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” ― Lao Tzu

[ii] Literally the one before the father, or the origin (祖) of the father (父).

[iii] In this case “お祖父ちゃん” is a Colloquialism, an informal term, such as “granddad”.


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