Dojo Files ~ Sword Form

“New eras don’t come about because of swords, they’re created by the people who wield them. ” ~ Nobuhiro Watsuki

The study of sword forms enhances both the understanding of physical principles of movement, distance and dynamic and mental focus.

Aikido has many forms of practice with a bokken (wooden training sword) but as a rule these forms are taught with the intent of increasing understanding of Aikido principles and improving posture, movement and coordination.

This gives the martial artist a deeper understanding of martial arts concepts and principles which include movement relative to an opponent, distances from which to operate, and the coordination of feet and hands when holding and moving with an object.

Also part of practice is the reigei or etiquette. The sword, often referred to as the soul of the samurai is a serious weapon, deserving of serious consideration of the consequences of its use and careful handling and needing serious mental focus. The reigei is designed to imbue the practitioner with the correct frame of mind that builds respect for the weapon and the philosophy behind its use.

The bokken, although made of wood, is also a serious weapon in it’s own right. Although used extensively for training a bokken in skilled hands can be deadly. Not just that, but also less blood on the dance floor, so to speak!

It is said that Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary ronin samurai, by age 28 had fought over 60 duels to the death, but only two were with a live blade (shinken), the rest were all with his bokken, and often against a shinken. Also many samurai in battle conditions preferred to fight with a bokken rather than risk chipping the blade of their precious katana. So, never think of the bokken as a toy or just a training weapon!

Remember also that training with a bokken represents training with a sword and a bokken should always be considered as one and treated with the due respect that a shinken deserves. Training with a sword is in all it’s essence a Bushido practice.

Bushido is the Warrior Code, the Samurai “way”. The philosophies are deeply seated in the Jidai (traditional) Samurai methods, etiquette and respect (rei ho). The whole ethos has developed from the warrior class over many centuries and commands a quiet presence of place and worth.

The main thing to remember is to do everything with full attention to every detail and commitment to the essential values of the form.

~ Dent


Making it Matter

Do everything in life with meaningful intent.

If you are not happy with you life then you need to change it. But what if you cannot change it?

There are always tasks in life that we do not want to do, but have to. There are always situations that we find ourselves in that we cannot get out of or away from.

“Do every little thing in the spirit of the ‘thing’ itself” – Samurai maxim.

What this means is to do whatever task is required of you, regardless of how much you may abhor it, with complete attention to every little detail and giving it the best possible effort that you can muster. Totally embrace it and make it your own.

With this philosophy on board you can make any chore into a challenge and obtain enjoyment from the experience of a successful completion.

If you then apply the same principles to all of life then you will find fulfillment. The art of Zen finds immense beauty in the simplest things. There is no need for arduous pursuit of all manner of entertainments, possessions and experienced to obtain a fulfilling life. Fulfillment can be in the completion of the smallest task, or assisting a friend or family member, or even a stranger, just for the sheer enjoyment of a thing accomplished with caring and pride.

Knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world and not in a closet.Lord Chesterfield

Do not hide yourself away from life. get out there and do everything that you can imagine, but make it worthwhile.

If you must do it, do it well. If you have to do it for duty’s sake, do it with pride. Take ownership for all of your actions and that will moderate what you undertake. Only in full truth to yourself will you ever realise the full potential of your life and experience fulfillment.

so, don’t be a fool. Be fulfilled!

~ Dent

The Origins of Confusion

“Sometimes, for instance, he would be mesmerised by the sight and sound of rain on the water; the rain on the sea; the rain on a lake; the rain on a stream. He would look up and see the clouds untroubled by the deluge they had let loose and his mind and spirit would be numbed into a trance of understanding. Understanding what, he could not hope to explain. But there was a sense of rightness about the way of the water, a sense which he never drew from Christianity.” ~ From the novel ‘Credo’ by Melvin Bragg.

This passage is relating the thoughts of a Celt warrior of the time of Wilfred, Cuthbert and King Oswald in Northumbria. A Christian convert, but still in touch with his Celtic spiritual side.

This passage has suddenly given me insight into a question that has bugged me for many years.

So many people give lip-service to the Christian faith yet still secretly, somewhere deep down, believe in pagan concepts, not realising that these have become absorbed into traditional Christian methodology and form part of the procedure of the current established church.

Total belief in a single deity has given rise to an attitude of contempt for the spiritual nature of all living things on this earth. It has also given license to ‘fobbing off’ a regard for ‘minor’ elements in life as ‘not being worthy’ of concern or effort, because GOD is looking after that, so why should we worry.

It appears that multi spiritual beliefs achieve a hell of a lot more when it comes to respect for things outside our selves. I have observed much deep understanding and tolerance within the multi-spirit beliefs of the First People and also the Shinto. Their assignment of individual spirits to all things seems a much fairer concept and instils an immediate and intimate relationship between oneself and all elements of nature, each other and also one’s self.

I love the concept of the ‘spirit’ of the horse. Each individual horse has one, then each group of horses has one and then there is one for all horses collectively. This means that each horse is watched over by at least three spirits, But you can keep adding: the spirit of all animals; the spirit of the prairie, the plain, the sierra, sky, mountains, etc., etc.


It makes me feel great to know that horses are so well looked after.

I look then in horror at the bitter, small minded, hatred mongering coming out of the so-called civilized religions and cringe inside. Does not feel good at all. My heart wants to cry when I see the killing and the injustice that can be acted out in the name of their “God”.

We need to get in touch with ourselves on a better level! Become responsible for who and what we are. Stand up and be seen as caring and sensitive citizens of this planet.

~ Dent