“In the old days, musha shugyo was the way to cultivate reliable warrior skills in Japan. When there was a war, could students attend training at a dojo every day? Of course not. Training halls did not even exist. Teachers moved here and there as they were needed. You might have seldom seen your teacher, so when you did see him, you learned as much as you could from him in the span of a few days. What you learned from him in that short time would give you some suggestions for improving physically, mentally, and technically. These training tips were at best suggestions, and in the real fighting world, these student warriors created their own survival methods based on these suggestions.” – Soke Masaaki Hatsumi
There have been many times in my years of training where I was alone or distant from my instructors. I would often fly across the country to live and train for a week at a time with one of my instructors. Now don’t think that we just went to class each day for a few hours, I am talking about getting up around 10:00am, eating, then hitting the pool for laps or footwork practice, stretching out, weapons practice, reviewing videos, books articles etc, sparring, lunch, dummy practice, off to class for several hours(usually more than 1) out for dinner, back to the house for more training, around 1 or 2 am we would head out for a power walk, then do more research and finally fall asleep around 4:00am (YIKES!) This went on for 5 – 6 days straight. Then I would come back, review all of my notes, practice each day, call my instructor with questions, get a partner or student to come over for practice and then just hammer away.
Over the years I have taught and attended seminars in several countries and all over the United States and I continue to do this on a regular basis. It is a great opportunity to train and spar with other talented martial artists and their arts. It keeps me sharp and aware of what I may have to face in a real world combative encounter. Each time I come back I complete an AAR, and analyze what went right, wrong and lessons and strategies learned. Always seeking to improve just a little bit than I was yesterday. The other day I was reviewing notes from a Pat McNamara video and I came upon this statement “ Think about you having a clone of you yesterday, and today you came back, and had to fight him, Could you kick his ass?” Well that is the whole purpose of this blog post…your personal musha shugyo and continuous improvement should be with that question in mind every day. Later this year I will be releasing my first publication in a long time, it as a heads up it will be about an individual’s solo training and how to use it effectively each day.
More later on this!
Airyu – “Living the Ninja Lifestyle”