View Full Version : Do you need a goal?

Tripitaka of AA
18th March 2003, 08:54
Is it necessary to have a destination in mind, when you take those first steps on the path? Should you be willing to walk wherever the road goes, or should you read all the maps first, and pick the road most suited to your abilities (as you percieve them)? Once on the road, should you concentrate on where you place your feet, or looking only at the horizon?

Did you analyse and compare, before you selected this path of Shorinji Kempo? Do you keep making comparisons with other arts now that you are on the journey? Or are you staring at your feet.

This isn't controversial, or anything particularly original, but it is a question that comes in the Howa syllabus and is worth asking yourself from time to time;

Why do you do Shorinji Kempo?

I welcome the views of the forum. Please remember, many people who read this forum may be beginners or even non-kenshi looking for an art in which to place their trust. Be honest and open, let people see how things worked for you, it may help them to discover something for themselves. In other words, let's have some proper replies, and we'll leave the quick quips in the Member's Lounge Forum

Or, you could ignore this post completely, to get on with your training :D, I just thought the forum needed a pick-me-up.

tony leith
18th March 2003, 10:46
Purpose is something I think all humans need. I've gone through phases of thinking these are simply devices we use to distract us from the ultimately nihilistic nature of the universe, but I suppose the Zen path is to pursue your purposes sincerely, and given that what you experience, think and feel IS the universe for you, that should be enough.

There's a question quite like this in the sho dan gakka homework, and I ended up giving about two weeks fairly solid thought to it. The reasons that you thought you started with might not have been what you think was actually motivating you in retrospect, and like anything else your reasons you have for continuing to do something like kempo evolve over time

What I think has stayed constant for me is the need for a discipline which is mental and spiritual as well as physical - I had tried other training regimes before kempo, but tended to get bored with just exercising for the sake of it, probably because when it came right down to it, I was the only conspicuous beneficiary of the exercise. I haven't done any other martial art in sufficient depth to have any idea of how they compare as a gyo to Shorinji Kempo - I'm sure if practised with sincerity in a good dojo they are equally good vehicles ('all different roads up the same mountain' is one aphorism I've heard to describe it).

What has changed, and changed through my practice of Kempo, is my realisation that this path of spiritual development doesn't have to be a solitary one - that you can achieve more by building solid relationships with other people than you can by just pursuing it on your own.

I could go on, but I think that'll do for now. Well, you said you wanted serious replies ;)

Tony leith

Tripitaka of AA
19th March 2003, 04:31
Spot on Tony, one from the mind and heart.

An interesting point about:

The reasons that you thought you started with might not have been what you think was actually motivating you in retrospect

I think I started Kempo because I wanted to improve my fitness, sharpen up my reflexes and learn some of those crazy, freaky pressure-point locks that my Kenshi mate was showing me. I think I carried on because I was amazed to discover that in certain respects I was getting quite good at it. A crass comparison (but one that springs readily to mind) is the addictive computer game. A good one will be easy to start, but difficult to master. Progress is rewarded by offering greater challenges, achievements marked by greater understanding of the whole.

Unfortunately, for a lot of people the analogy goes further. When they get to the difficult part, they get distracted, bored and eventually something else comes along to take its place (some might look at my past and say that "marriage" was my next fad :D ). I don't necessarily think that the high turnover rate in any MA class is anything new, but it does reflect the natural development of individuals, whose lives are constantly changing.

19th March 2003, 05:36
Everyone has a reason for taking up a martial art, as the default position would be to do nothing. In most cases, I'm sure that motivation is to grow stronger, tougher, harder, and yes, be a hero. All minarai have secret buccaneering dreams of fighting off a dozen villains and rescuing the damsel in distrss. (I'm so immature, I still do. ;) ) This is because life hurts, and being strong (or, rather, people's initial goal can be as unrealistic as to become invincible), is a way to escape the constant nagging pressure of such mortal concerns. (BTW, the reason Kateda still has not died is, I'm sure, to do with their promises to the gullible, weak, and impressionable to make you invulnerable to attack by using "Central Power"; i.e., The Force.)
Kaiso saw nothing wrong with wanting to be strong as your initial motivation for joining; his point was that you should not stay that way, but that your motives should mature over time. Put another way, your motives should become less selfish. "Live half for oneself and half for others" is a credo that is very difficult to live by, as we all tend to want personal glory and acclamation. Thus, for us, there are two parallel paths that we must travel simultaneously: the physical one, and the mental one, each of which offer their own challenges, and are difficult in different measures for each of us. (In my case, they're both well-nigh impossible.) The trick, as Kaiso understood and taught, is to make the effort, for that in and of itself is worth something. The skills mean less to those who are naturally good, and don't have to work for them.
This has been more meaningless babble from the Kenshi at the End of the Universe.

Tripitaka of AA
21st March 2003, 20:13
Thank you Tony K, it is nice to see a post of yours that extends beyond a single sentence ;). I had begun to wonder if perhaps you were using the latest wristwatch Email texting gadget to be online and asinine 24/7. Now I understand that you're typing half for yourself and half for others it all becomes clear, perhaps you are using the right hand for work and the left hand for E-Budo :D

22nd March 2003, 02:11
What's wrong with being laconic?

Tripitaka of AA
22nd March 2003, 09:10
.. it can be a tonic.
But lest it become chronic
or something demonic. I'd say, in words phonic at speeds supersonic that me and Harry Connick... junior, :D, would only admonish and not seek to punish the one with such polish who typefies British or specifically English humour to all E-budo members.

So thanks Tony K, for making my day.
I'll get my cheap thrill, imagining your quill
translating in a technical way.
While reading your fine words
I'm envying swine herds for their very fine rates of pay (well it's good compared to mine :eek: )

22nd March 2003, 11:40
Thank you, David.
I can die happy now.

Tripitaka of AA
23rd March 2003, 10:02
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
I welcome the views of the forum. ...{snip}... In other words, let's have some proper replies, and we'll leave the quick quips in the Member's Lounge Forum

What have I done? :(
So quickly do I forget my own advice :rolleyes: .

I guess that's what happens when you "rely on yourself and not on others", if, like me, you're perhaps not quite as "well-disciplined" as you ought to be.

NB. this last is coined from the translation of the Dokun that was in use when I trained. I know part of it changed, now I cn't remember whether this is the current usge or not. In full, "Rely on yourself and not on others, no-one is as reliable as your own well-disciplined self". Quite a mouthful, but it stayed in my memory, so it wasn't all bad.

24th March 2003, 10:55
That bit is still in use: Seiku, 1. Who translated that into English by the way? In japan over the summer we were in Hombu, and the Dokun over there took about half the day to recite, whereas we only take a couple of mins to say it all. What are we missing out on?! I have one copy from when i joined, the pink book has a different version, other countries seem to have other versions, but they are all supposed to be the same thing. Why are they so different?
Off topic i know, but curious...

Rob Dawson

25th March 2003, 00:12
In Japan, we have two extra parts to the Kyoten: Dokun, and Raihaishi. That's why the recitation takes longer. Dokun in particular is very long.
As to why different countries use different translations of the Seiku, Seigan, and Shinjo, originally we all used the same version, but there were some people in North America who felt that saying "rely on yourself", etc., was talking about other people, not themselves. Personally, I thought that changing "yourself" to "oneself" would have solved the problem, but they went with a different translation. HTH.

Gary Dolce
25th March 2003, 15:52

Tony's assessment of the use of different translations of Seiku, Seigan, and Shinjo in North America is not correct. I have never heard of any issue regarding "rely on yourself" as referring to other people or any issue regarding "yourself" vs. "oneself" in the translation.

When I first started Shorinji Kempo in the early 1980's, the translation available from Hombu was very poor. It was not grammatically correct in places and did not flow well in English. Since we did not have a single national federation to deal with this sort of thing, some individual Branches or groups of Branches prepared their own translations. As a result, there were several versions in use. The various versions weren't that different from each other in terms of overall content, but as translation from Japanese to idiomatic English is not an exact process, there were differences in the words used.

When WSKO released the new translation of the Fukudokuhon (early 90's?), many Branches adopted the new, much improved, translation of Seiku, Seigan, and Shinjo that was included. Some, for reasons of tradition or inertia, have continued to use other translations. While the use of different translations can be a minor problem at gasshuku, in general I accept it as a result of the historically de-centralized approach that has been taken in Shorinji Kempo in North America. Perhaps that will change in the future, but I personally don't see the use of different translations as an overwhelming problem.


25th March 2003, 22:05
Dolce Sensei, in about 1990, Mizuno Sensei came to me and said that certain American Kenshi were complaining about the "yourself" phasing of the Kyoten, and that they wanted to change it. He asked my opinion. I suggested "oneself" as a grammatically-acceptable alternative, but then at the World Taikai in 1993, the US was using a different version of the Kyoten.