The Five Teachings of Taido
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Keep your mind as clear and calm as the polished surface of a mirror. This way you will see to the heart of things. Having the right state of mind will help you avoid confusion. Be composed. Body and mind should be as one. Bear yourself correctly and you need never fear insult.
Invigorate your spirit from the source of energy deep in your abdomen. With the right spirit you will never fear combat. In every action, follow the correct precepts you have been taught. By doing so you cannot act wrongly.
Be adaptable in your techniques and maintain freedom of physical movement. The right technique will prevent you from being dominated. I think that this is a good translation, but there are some things that I think need to be explained a bit more. In what follows I will comment upon each one of these statements and provide supplementary explanations. I will also come up with a version of Taido Gojookun that, at least partially, is slightly different from the above translation.
I have used Shinkaratedookyoohan, a book written by Saiko Shihan, to find information. In addition, Yuetsu Tanaka-sensei has given me his comments and suggestions, which have also been considered.
2. The meaning of the expression Taido Gojookun:
äº” go means â€˜fiveâ€™.
æ¡ joo this character can mean, for example, article (of document); â€˜clause; line; item;
è¨“ kun means â€˜lesson; regulation; ruleâ€™. This character is also used in the word è¨“è¨€kungen
â€˜instruction, preceptâ€™, and also in the word æ•™è¨“kyookun â€˜a precept; a lesson; oneâ€™s teachingsâ€™.
I therefore think that Taido Gojookun can be translated as â€˜The Five Precepts of Taidoâ€™, or
possibly â€˜The Five Teachings of Taidoâ€™.
3. Suki and Taido Gojookun:
Suki is an ordinary Japanese word with the meaning â€˜an openingâ€™, â€˜a gapâ€™ etc. It can also refer to â€˜unpreparednessâ€™ or â€˜an unguarded momentâ€™. This word is very frequently used in Japanese dojos. I think that in Taido the translation â€˜gap in oneâ€™s defenceâ€™ is rather accurate. To take a very simple example, when standing in kamae, it is important to keep the elbow of the soete close to the body.
If the elbow is not held closely to the body a suki (in its most basic sense) will be the result. More generally, bad techniques and movements will also result in a lot of suki in that it gives the opponent many opportunities. A practitioner with no suki is thoroughly and carefully guarded, since s/he has no openings in the most elementary sense of the word, and also because the movements and techniques are good. We can also talk about suki if the practitioner shows his breathing to openly, the opponent can then use this to his advantage.
Moreover, there are mental suki as well as physical ones. To conclude what I have said so far: it is crucial to be thoroughly on the alert, and to be prepared at all points, both physically and mentally. The Taido Gojookun tells us that there are five suki that we must not show the opponent. That is, we need to avoid these five suki when performing techniques. To show these openings to the opponent means that one lay oneself open to attack, that is, one is off oneâ€™s guard. We are now in a position to take a look at each one of the teachings in greater detail.
4. Kokoro no suki â€˜the suki of the mindâ€™:
The beginning of this line says that the mind should be â€œclear as a mirrorâ€, but I think that it refers to a â€˜a serene state of mindâ€™, which is the meaning of a similar expression, namely æ˜Žé¡ æ¢æ°´ meikyooshisui (literally, â€˜clear mirror still water). The sentence continues and says that the mind should see â€˜the real aspects (conditions)â€™, or â€˜the real state of affairsâ€™ of â€˜earthly (worldly) thingsâ€™.
Of course, the comparison with a â€˜mirrorâ€™ is also good, since a mirror objectively reflects all things exactly as they are. Human minds, on the other hand, can be misled. I think that what Saiko Shihan means here is that we should have a calm mind that sees things as they are. The sentence concludes by stating that with such a correct state of mind one will not be â€˜misleadâ€™ (or â€˜deceivedâ€™).
We could apply this either to our daily life or to the practical training of Taido. Considering this from the Taido training point of view, this seems to be an explanation of mukoo no kamae, which can also be called kokoro no kamae. An English expression for it could maybe be â€˜the kamae of the mindâ€™ or â€˜the mental kamaeâ€™. This mental kamae is as important as the physical one, since, as Saiko Shihan says, the mind is â€œthe source of movementsâ€.
One should not show any â€˜mental openingsâ€™ to the opponent. If the mind is misled or deceived then a mental suki appears. With the right state of mind there will be no suki in the movements. Furthermore, Saiko Shihan says, in Shinkaratedookyoohan, that with this serene mind one can properly judge the movements of the opponent and avoid being mislead (or deceived). My own translation is therefore:Your mind should be serene and see all things as they really are, and if the state of mind is correct then you will not be mislead.
Furthermore, Tanaka-sensei says that one can see things as they really are if one â€œuses the eye of the heartâ€, and with this state of mind one can â€œmake proper decisionsâ€.
5. Tai no suki â€˜The suki of appearanceâ€™:
Saiko Shihan writes that tai if it is applied to ordinary life refers to oneâ€™s personal appearance. He also writes that regarded from a training point of view the word refers to kamae. First it says that the appearance should be â€˜correct and orderlyâ€™ and that the â€˜body and mind should be as oneâ€™. The latter part then tells us that â€˜if the state of the appearance is correct then nobody will look down on youâ€™.
However, if we apply this to our training, and take tai as referring to kamae, then we could probably change the last part to â€˜make light of â€™ or â€˜underestimateâ€™. That is, if our appearance (in daily life) or our kamae (when we train taido) are not correct, then suki will occur. What Saiko Shihan describes here is the best kamae, in which the mind and the body are unified.
He calls this perfect kamae the mutaimukoo no kamae. A practitioner with such a perfect kamae (mentally and physically) shows no suki, and has a dignity and calmness that makes it very hard for the opponent to attack. If you want to read more about kamae, then you can consult a handout that I wrote on the subject in 1999 (see the references).
Let me conclude this section by giving two possible versions of this precept, one referring to the use in daily life and one to our Taido training: Your appearance should be correct and orderly and the body and the mind should be unified. If your appearance is correct then nobody will look down on you. (The wording here is rather close to the Japanese version.)
Your kamae should be mutaimukoo no kamae, in which the physical and mental kamae are unified. If your kamae is correct then nobody will make light of you. (This interpretation is based on how I have understood what Saiko Shihan says about this precept, regarding the practical application in training. In addition, Tanaka-senseiâ€™s comments also confirm that this is a usable translation.)
6. Ki no suki â€˜The suki of ki:
This precept teaches us the importance of a correct state of ki. It starts with â€˜be filled with kiâ€™ and then continues â€˜energy spring up from the tandenâ€™. The last part says â€˜if the state of ki is correct then you will never tremble with fearâ€™. It should be emphasized that this is the one that I find most difficult to translate into English, and I am certainly not sure that this is the best translation. Furthermore, the importance of ki could be a topic of several essays by itself!
This part of Taido Gojookun is certainly a topic of further research. However, what Saiko Shihan seems to mean (in Shinkaratedookyoohan) is that to â€˜tremble with fearâ€™ is a suki which provide the opponent with an opportunity. By being full of ki this can be avoided. My interpretation is therefore: Be filled with ki and let your energy spring up from the tanden. If your state of ki is correct then you will never tremble with fear.
Iâ€™m not totally happy with my own translation here. However, Tanaka-sensei has provided me with another version, which is not a literal translation. It captures the meaning of this precept very well: Be brave by gathering your energy in the Tanden-keiketsu points, and breathe properly. Then you will become strong enough to defend yourself.
7. Gyoo no suki â€˜The suki of conductâ€™.:
In daily life gyoo refers to our how we act, conduct and behave. The first part is not easy to translate, but the best that I have been able to come up with is â€˜behave according to the proper 6 code of conductâ€™ for the first part and then â€˜if your behaviour is right then you will not make any mistakesâ€™. I shall now try to explain how I have understood what Saiko Shihan writes about this in Shinkaratedookyoohan.
There are certain principles about how one should behave in society, and it is important to follow the proper course, and put into practice the code of conduct that one has been taught.
That is, one should follow the path of righteousness (the straight path), and stay on the right track. If one deviate from the right path and act unrighteously then this will become a burden in oneâ€™s life. This is the application in daily life.
But how about our taido training? Well, Saiko Shihan says that â€˜behaviourâ€™ (or action) in our daily lives corresponds to â€˜movementsâ€™ in our training. There are principles for movements as well, and we have been taught how to move according to certain guidelines. Furthermore, there are natural ways and unnatural ways to move. If we move according to the principles that we have been taught then these movements will have no suki.
Therefore, to behave improperly in daily life makes life hard for us, in the same way as moving in a wrong and unnatural way provides the opponent with chances to defeat us. Here are two versions again: Behave according to the proper code of conduct. If your behaviour is right then you will not make any mistakes. (almost like the Japanese original) Move according to the proper principles of movements. If your movements are correct then you will not show any suki.
Tanaka-sensei provides some very valuable insights. His words are similar to mine, but he says that the behaviour (or conduct) should be based on a â€˜general moral senseâ€™. He also points out that if we behave in such a way then we will not â€œviolate humanismâ€.
8. Gi no suki. â€˜The suki of techniqueâ€™:
I think that the previous translation of this (see the beginning of this essay) is very good. Maybe one could make it even clearer and say Adopt your techniques according to the circumstances and move your body freely. If your technique is right then you will not be dominated. We can also consider this from a very â€˜Taido specific point of viewâ€™.
Tanaka-sensei shows this by presenting the following version: Cope with your opponentâ€™s attacks by changing your position in the 3 dimensional space, and
use proper techniques of Taido. Then you will never be beaten.
This is about not giving the opponent a chance to handle oneâ€™s techniques. One should not show any technical gaps in oneâ€™s defence. Technically weak spots will provide the opponent with opportunities. One needs to be guarded by having good techniques and movements. In order to become good enough for this, it is crucial to practise in a reasonable, logical, and appropriate way.
There is no other way, says Saiko Shihan. He also says that one should train a few techniques until one can use them with great self-confidence. I think that he means that it is necessary to have some â€˜favourite techniquesâ€™. These techniques should be trained so that they can be applied in many different kinds of situation. The word â€˜applicationâ€™ is important here, I think. Saiko Shihan seems to mean that it is crucial to constantly work on oneâ€™s techniques and movements in order to make them better and increase their field of application. ~ By Lars Larm 5 Dan KyoshiYou might also like: