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Mundial - Humility, Passion, Spirit and Hospitality

por Juan Borrero - US/ - 25-out-2018



Shitsurei Shimassu,

A slight verbiage change was made based on Takeshi Senpai`s recommendation.

Niten 1st World Kenjutsu Tournament and 25th Anniversary

Humility, Passion, Spirit, and Hospitality

The weekend of October 19 – 21 of 2018 will be one of the most memorable weekends in my life to date. It was with great effort, that I was fortunate enough, to find the solutions that allowed me to travel to Sao Paulo, and not only participate in the tournament, but learn from the source that is Sensei Jorge Kishikawa and all the Senpai’s and Kohai’s that were present. I travelled without goals, without expectations, I wanted to live in the presence of the energy (ki) of Sensei and all the Senpai’s and Kohais from across Brazil and the World.


As a native Spanish and English speaker it was my concern that there could have been a language barrier. I quickly learned that the language of the sword is universal and despite everyone’s language skills, we were able to communicate, celebrate, laugh, make jokes, and provide assistance when needed, requested, or even when we though we didn’t need it. It brings me to my first point in my title, humility. This trait is subtle and sometimes imperceptible, often times we lack it, or see others who lack of it. Seeing so many of our Kohai’s and Senpai’s from San Dan to 0 Kyu learning in the same space, struggling and making the teaching a part of their being really expanded on my concept of humility. To be humble of character is to learn from the young, the old, the Kohai, the Senpai, nature, the people, and from those whom you don’t frankly understand their language, but learn you do. At Niten humility is taught from the first lesson, how to greet, how to approach a Kohai, a Senpai, or Sensei. This is a skill that transcends the halls of Niten dojos and the students take home, to their schools, to their work, and even on the public transport. It allows us to influence community one humble act at a time.

I mentioned earlier, that I travelled to Sao Paulo to participate in the tournament and to learn from Sensei. My goals where not medals, nor awards, as my focus was more intended in being passionate about the subtle art of Kenjutsu. I am very grateful that the universe gave the Miami unit a Senpai, like Takeshi. I am even more grateful, that in Denver, we have Senpai Thomas. Both their efforts in the instructions of their respective dojos are seen in the ardent passion of their students. Passion for Kenjutsu, for disseminating the Japanese culture, and for the values given to us from the words and actions of Sensei Kishikawa to the world. I got to experience the passion of all our other Senpai’s, of many different Kohai’s from different cultures, different ideologies, but must importantly from one family. As I entered my first battle, my thoughts were flooded and emptied at the same time. Flooded with the memories of all my previous battles, battles before Niten, when I was young and had encounters with Bullies in school, or at the street of my house, how stiff and nervous I used to be back then, I call these memories the rough steel. Thoughts of my battles in Niten, with our Kohai’s in Miami, with Senpai’s that had visited us, and how those battles tempered the rough steel. Afterwards, I let the thoughts leave, and just focus on the present, the combatant in front of me, and I simply followed Sensei’s golden moment’s lecture, and the reinforcement of Senpai Takeshi’s words, Move Forward. With these thoughts I won my battles, but with Passion we must win the wars, that inner turnmoil of our rough steel.

For my third word, Spirit, it is difficult to put my thoughts into words that everyone will understand. The spirit is unique to each individual, it is both tangible, and invisible. I felt the spirit of Niten, in a very broad sense at this tournament event. It was visible in the fierceness of the battles, it was tangible when speaking with the Senpai’s. Niten is the visible yet invisible spirit that unites all of us. It is like a string, both pulling and pushing us all in the same direction. I felt it in my chest, around my solar plexus, for those who know what that is. It brought me to speak with Senpai’s and Kohai’s despite their place of birth, or their native language. This spirit also allowed us to fight fiercely against each other, and then quickly run towards each other to greet our former opponents in combat, to let them know the fight was good, that the battle was not with them as an individual but within the spirit of the samurai.

Lastly, Hospitality, I was privileged to meet Senpai Takeshi’s family, and the family members of other Kohai’s or Senpai’s as they were dispersed around the tournament grounds. I came from a middle class family in Puerto Rico, at my grandma’s house, there was always a plate on the table, for anyone! I felt the same in Sao Paulo, with Senpai Takeshi’s family, and with the family that is Niten. It is a humbling lesson to see so many people assisting each other, providing for each other, and specially supporting each other. That even regardless of our appearances, our languages, or even religions we honestly care for the well being of all the member’s of the Niten institute. From the youngest aspirant to the most celebrated/graduated Senpai we bring hospitality to all. Some Kohai’s/Senpai’s want to visit us in the United States, some wanted us to visit them, some even offered their homes to us, and some even opened their doors. In a world that is constantly beset by dark actions, and the reservation or judgment of those around us, in Niten we fostered all these traits: Hospitality, Humility, Passion, and the Spirit of the Samurai.

Thank you all for the memories, the laughs, the stories, the battles, but most importantly, for being a part of Niten’s family.

Sayounara,
Juan Borrero

Miami/Weston Unit - NITEN




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