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Coffee with Sensei

Thoughts and comments by Sensei Jorge Kishkawa




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    30-ago-2018

    Letter from the heart

     
    "Sensei Jorge Kishikawa
    Niten Institute
     
     
    Our Golden Moment yesterday was about patience. It reminded me of something I`ve meant to do for a few months now.
     
    When Senpai Thomas first recommended that we write a "letter from the heart", I resisted. As a severe introvert with a few months of training, what could I say that would be meaningful?
     
    I was impressed by Senpai Kenzo of course. He was strong and graceful, confident and direct.
     
    Sensei, when you came to visit I was even more impressed. The students who came with you were many, capable, and confident. The training was (just the right level of) challenging and helpful. The demonstrations of keiko and weapons skills were exciting, wonderful, enlightening, and inspirational. I was grateful for your time and attention.
     
    Honestly though, having studied with some exceptional humans in my life, I expected no less. Your leadership, skill, and grace were remarkable, but a few hours is not enough time to really get to know someone. Still, this experience confirmed that I was in the right place. I want to learn as much from you as I can.
     
    The second time Senpai Thomas requested feedback, I was slightly embarrassed that I had not responded the first time. But still, I struggled to find the words to express myself and my commitment. What could I possibly say that you haven`t heard before?
     
    When Senpai Wenzel visited, I was impressed by his grace, fluidity, confidence, and intelligence. During class with Wenzel, I remembered a quote that I like: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" (Steven Covey, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”).
     
    After class I remembered an excellent definition of intelligence: Intelligence is the ability to receive, organize, and transmit knowledge and understanding. Senpai Wenzel demonstrated his intelligence by creating a new exercise during class. The "falling sword" demonstrated relaxation and tension with remarkable clarity.
     
    Now finally, after reading the first volume of Shin Hagakure, I feel that it’s important to share my appreciation for the skills and lessons we learn with the Niten Institute.
     
    At 42 years old, I`m relying now on the ki developed during childhood, as I now work on technique and endurance with interest and intension. But there’s something more available here. Obviously the benefits of martial arts in general are many, and have been transmitted through many schools, in many different ways over the centuries. For me personally the spiritual and philosophical teachings known as the Golden Moments and the Shin Hagakure stand out in our training. I have studied with Jesuits and with Shao-lin masters for years, and today I appreciate the values, morals, and ethics that we learn with Niten.
     
    I appreciate how simple and accessible these ideas are at first, and how deeply they can shape our lives when we listen and apply them. In addition to the technique and physical training we learn with Niten, the philosophy and spirit we receive is In the Shin Hagakure you say: "Westerners don`t understand Bushido". Thank you for your persistence and patience in teaching us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to begin to understand what Bushido truly means.
     
    Sincerely," - Zac Vohs - Niten Denver
     




    People say that to get to know Mount Fuji, you have to climb it.  
    Niten, tall as Mount Fuji, has its own climbing and with each passing moment, you are faced with a new landscape.
    These landscapes are unique in the world, and there´s a reason because it brings together all the best views of Japan, views I brought during my decades of pilgrimages.
    Niten is so high that a "heart" is not big enough to describe it...




    On the left, Vohs toasting with Denver students




    Hokusai engraving, from the collection "100 views of Mount Fuji", early 18th century

     




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