Sho Shin

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“Shoshin (初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.”  Bujinkan Life Dojo Facebook post

Even after 33 years in the martial arts, I still approach any subject with open eyes and an open mind.  Learning never stops.  The basics are not something you do once and forget about.  There are layers upon layers of understanding within our basics, and each new day brings new eyes to see what you did not see before.  Some of this is due to the fact that your own skill level changes over the years.  Early on, you just simply may not be able to process what you are seeing and practicing, or only see it at a gross mechanic level.  Later, as your skill and understanding grows, then you gain fresh eyes and can see the same material in an entirely new light.  Those that do not bother to re-look at the basics as they progress in their training, or do so without a beginners mind will miss the value and truth buried within.  Be humble.  Go back to your basics.  Look at them with new eyes and always consider your self a student.

Bo – Essence of Budo – Martial Arts Seminar

The Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo is pleased to host long time resident of Japan – Dai Shihan Phil Legare at our new Dojo for the weekend of April 5th, 6th and 7th.

This event will focus on the aspects of the Bo (6 foot staff). Come see why the RokuShaku Bo is the very Essence of Budo. Dai Shihan Phil Legare will also share the current Bujinkan training theme in Japan. This promises to be a jam packed weekend of training!

Saturday 10am – 5pm (Dinner afterwards, costs on your own)
Sunday 10am – 4pm

(We may have a short Friday night session as well, will confirm if timing works out.)

Open to all, no prior experience necessary. Please bring all associated training weapons with you for the weekend.

Fees for the weekend are $150 per person prior to the seminar dates ($160 at the door). No single day option available. You can send the seminar fees via Paypal to brent@pittsburghbujinkan.com. All credit cards are accepted via Paypal, and if paying at the door, we have Stripe merchant credit card processing account as well.

This will be another great weekend folks and we look forward to seeing you here!

20 Year Anniversary of the PBTSD!

We have reached an amazing milestone as the Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary!  Hard to believe that we opened our doors to the general public a full two decades ago .  Along the way we have trained hundreds of students from all walks of life in Budo Taijutsu, Batto Jutsu Japanese Swordmanship, Personal Protective Measures and modern day Self Defense.  Please join us as we move into our next decade of training and studies!  Exciting times lay ahead. 

See YOU on the mat!

Brent Earlewine – Dai Shihan

David Fetterman – Dai Shihan

GoJou – The Five Ethics

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From Duncan:

“Soke has been mentioning the Gojou 悟宝.

The Gojou represents the five ethics which should be kept by a human being in Confucianism. The Tokugawa Shogunate adopted Confucianism as an official ideology. The Gojou therefore became a samurai’s ethics standard. These are also the five values represented by the five pleats in the front of a hakama.

Fumetsu no Fuse 
滅の不施 
Everlasting giving

Mamichi no Jikai 
真道の持戒  
Vow of the true way

Shizen no Ninniku 
自然の忍にく 
Natural resolve

Shizen no Choetsu 
自然の超越 
Transcendance of nature

Komyou no Satori 
光明の悟り
Illumination of the awakening

I was told a story by Nagato Dai Shihan about Fumetsu no Fuse.
There was once a monk who was proud of his ability to fulfill the goal of being able to selflessly give endlessly. Hearing this, a man approached him and said,” I’d like your ear please.” The monk looked at him, then cut of his ear, and gave it to him. The man took it and when he turned to walk away, he threw it into the bushes!

These precepts are given to aid those in developing a balanced life. If ( like anything ) you develop in an unbalanced way, you can loose the capacity to discern right from wrong and live in society harmoniously with the self and others.
Developing in a balanced manner also allows you to see the truth and falseness that lies everywhere around us. It also minimises the chance of being manipulated.
南虎”

Jo Ha Kyu

Jo – Introduction or Beginnings
Ha – Change
Kyu – Impact

Or perhaps we could apply this to Shodan, Shidoshi, Shihan?
Or perhaps we could say “learn, understand, apply”?
Or perhaps we could say Form, Formless, always Form?

There is a rhythm to our training and levels of understanding.  I drew a circle in class the other night and discussed how it represented the path of training from the beginning with no understanding – all the way to applying the knowledge/mastery.  We also discussed how this cycle never really ends and as we THINK we have reached the “end” or mastery, we are actually starting over to discover new depths of the information.  So as Jo leads to Kyu, Kyu leads to Jo.

As we have been training on the sword, we are seeing the sword cut away our own misconceptions and lay bare who and what we are. There is nowhere for false bravado or false fronts when faced with the thin line between life and death. In that moment, the truth is self evident.

See you on the mats.